Thursday, April 15, 2010

News Updates: More Reactions to Bertone's Equation of Homosexuality with Pedophilia

Some news updates supplementing postings in the last several days: yesterday, I noted Barbara Dorris’s statement at SNAP refuting the recent claims of the pope’s right-hand man Cardinal Bertone that homosexuality is liked to pedophilia and this equation explains the the abuse crisis in the Catholic church.

After I posted a link to Dorris’s statement in Tom Fox’s summary at National Catholic Reporter, the complete statement appeared on the SNAP website.  Note that Dorris regards Bertone’s remarks as deliberate and strategic, and not a slip-up:

So his remarks were no “slip up.” They were calculated, as are so many similarly misguided, distracting, blame-shifting, finger-pointing comments by so many church staff seeking to scapegoat others - among them journalists, prosecutors, lawmakers, victims, lawyers, liberals, and gay people.

And I agree.  The name of the game in the last few days with both leading church officials and their vociferous defenders has been to divert our attention to the going-nowhere discussion of red herrings like sexual orientation.  As long as we stay focused on that issue, we will stop looking at what continues to demand every bit of attention we can give it, and which will not go away: the longstanding, brazen determination of Catholic pastoral officials at the very highest levels to continue moving known clerical predators around, while claiming that they are effectively addressing the abuse crisis.

The diversion may serve temporarily to distract, but it’s not going to make the crisis—or all the questions about what church authorities have done—go away.  Though the defenders of the current regime are now boasting that the Vatican has weathered the storm and they’ve silenced the “hang-‘em-high” crowd, the problems the church faces are deep and intractable, and the the boys’ club bullying is not going to shut up the many voices who will continue to elbow their way into the pub and talk freely now that the pub doors have been flung wide.

SNAP’s website also carried a statement by Peter Isely yesterday about the Bertone affair.  Isely notes the key role Bertone played in the cover-up of the abuse of some 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin by Fr. Lawrence Murphy, and hence his unsuitability to . . . shall we say, pontificate . . . on issues of clerical sexual abuse.

In the Bilgrimage posting I cite above, which has the link to Barbara Dorris’s statement about Bertone at SNAP, I also provide a link to Fr. Jim Martin’s reflections about Bertone’s claims at America’s “In All Things” blog.  Later in the day, Fr. Martin posted an expanded version of that statement at Huffington Post.  I recommend this expanded version as well.  It’s thoughtful and morally insightful, as with everything Jim Martin writes.

I want to note, too, another extremely valuable statement—Fr. Edward Beck’s response to Bertone’s claims at ABC news’s website yesterday.  As Fr. Beck notes,

To link homosexuality and pedophilia (or ephebophilia) is obviously erroneous, uninformed and irresponsible. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation. Pedophilia and ephebophilia are sexual disorders that afflict both heterosexuals and homosexuals, and mostly heterosexuals.

As a gay Catholic (albeit an alienated one) who has expressed repeated consternation at the silence of the Catholic center about the injustices done to gay persons—including gross injustices done by the church itself—I am heartened by and grateful for the many strong statements of some Catholic leaders in recent days, challenging the false and malicious assertions of Cardinal Bertone.  I can’t remember a time in recent years in which so many voices have been raised to speak unambiguously and with moral fortitude about these issues, voices of those who continue to find a comfortable home in a church that has very effectively alienated many of its gay and lesbian members.

The fact that people are willing to speak out with new-found voices right now convinces me even more that, despite the bullying of many defenders of the indefensible in recent days, despite their attempt to divert the conversation with incessant spin and constant disinformation, and despite their smug certainty that they’ve begun to shut down the conversation, this discussion is going to continue.

Once permitted inside, many of us are finding that the pub is cozy, and I expect we’ll be pulling up a chair and making ourselves at home for quite some time to come.  And continuing to claim our right to have our say despite the bullying.