Originally published on Dreamwidth NOV. 19TH, 2007 02:30 PM.
Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor wrote: “The bill proposes to remove the need for IVF providers to take into account the child’s need for a father when considering an IVF application and to confer legal parenthood on people who have no biological relationship to a child born as a result of IVF.
-um, ya mean, kinda like folks calling someone “Father” who not only has no relation to them genetically or legally, but whom the folks answering to that appellation still see as necessarily overriding the folks of the first parts’ own judgment in all kinds of personal and political situations?
Of course, they did say that “The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life is always wrong and is not just one issue among many, […]It must always be opposed.” I wish they had been holding to that standard there in the 1960s-1990s, when they were asked to defend innocent human life. – Oh, right, they only care about protecting innocent life when there’s a chance of controlling a woman along with it. Because otherwise, as Garry Wills says in his LA Times opinion piece, “The supreme irony is that, properly understood, abortion is not even a religious issue.”
I have said before, verbally if not in this forum, that
the damage goes beyond disillusionment with a father figure because the exploiter-abuser was a priest, a “godlike” person, who occupied a position of sacred trust to the youth and his or her family. Furthermore, the victim had not only been violated but his or her source of spiritual support in a time of trouble—the church and its representative—had been rudely swept away.
The authors of this article and writers of the above words obviously (and unknowingly!) agree with me and bring back to the fore the fact that, media skew aside, we are really, really not talking about priests being homosexual predators. On page 56 of this document, they examine the various sources and interpretations of the statistics. But even if only half as many girls as boys get victimized – a statistic questionable on a number of grounds – that still means that a full third of the victims are young females, and their predators thus heterosexual priests. AW Richard Sipe is quoted in that same Boston Globe article as finding that “the numbers change dramatically among late adolescents and adults, with woman victims outnumbering males 4 to 1.”
John Paul II said in his Evangelium vitae of 1995 that
It may be that many people use contraception with a view to excluding the subsequent temptation of abortion. But the negative values inherent in the “contraceptive mentality”-which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act-are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived. Indeed, the pro- abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church’s teaching on contraception is rejected. Certainly, from the moral point of view contraception and abortion are specifically different evils: the former contradicts the full truth of the sexual act as the proper expression of conjugal love, while the latter destroys the life of a human being; the former is opposed to the virtue of chastity in marriage, the latter is opposed to the virtue of justice and directly violates the divine commandment “You shall not kill”.
I submit that the full truth of the sexual act is a proper expression of affection between consenting adults, and that the total rejection of any sexual permission outside that of a conjugal attempt for reproduction in itself breaks down the attempt by morally desperate but fragile people to understand the rules – which are psychiatric and neither physical nor legal in nature – by which we may sustain a society.
The sexual act between friends – male and female, or female and female, or male and male – does not in itself cause mental agony. The sexual act of a solitary person, like the sexual act between more than two friends, does not cause mental agony.
But a sexual act between an authority figure and a dependent person, whether a child, a legally or religiously submissive person, or a mentally or emotionally fragile or non-competent person, does cause mental agony. It destroys the dependent person’s full capacity for societal participation; it injures and may destroy the dependent person’s full capacity for sexual expression; and it destroys the dependent person’s trust in unconditional love, which has been shown to be profoundly necessary to full moral development.
And a sexual act between people who are not friends, or between people at least one of whom has promised sexual fidelity to one not present, does cause mental agony, to the participants who find their sexual experience to be mechanical or even despairing, and to the person or people not present, who find that their trust in their beloved is unfounded.
There are sexual crimes, oh yes. But I have no ability to hear the words of the authorities of the Catholic church on this matter: their actions are screaming too loudly.