Thursday, April 29, 2010

Richard Sipe on Rigidity, Submission, and Psychosexual Immaturity as Precondition for Power in Catholic Clerical System

Richard Sipe writing at National Catholic Reporter about how the unholy trinity of lies, secrets, and power around which clericalism revolves fosters the abuse crisis, and would bring the walls of the church tumbling down if the lies were ever exposed, the secrets told, and the power effectively challenged:

Roman Catholic clerical culture favors doctrinal rigidity, conformity, obedience, submission and psychosexual immaturity, mistaken for innocence, in its candidates. These are the personality elements that lead to advancement and power in the clerical system. Single men are more easily controlled if their sexuality is secret. Double lives on all levels of clerical life are tolerated if they do not cause scandal or raise legal problems. Sexual activity between bishops and priests and adult partners is well known within clerical circles. The secret system forms a comfortable refuge for unresolved gay conflicts. There is a new emerging awareness of the systemic nature of sexual/celibate behavior within the Roman Catholic ministry that is increasingly destabilizing to the church.

Dire consequences will follow the exposure of this sexual system embedded in a secret celibate culture. Authorities who are or have been sexually active, although not with minors, are hard put to publicly correct clerics who are abusing minors. The need for secrecy, the cover-up, extends beyond defending criminal activity of a sex abuser. The power and control that holds the Roman Catholic church together depends on preservation of the celibate myth. The Vatican and Pope John Paul II declared its inviolability.

The truth about secret sex in the celibate system portends grave danger. The reality of celibate violations extends beyond priests who abuse minors and the bishops who hide them.

If celibate violations beyond minor abuse and cover-up are exposed, will the church fall like Humpty Dumpty? Or will the truth about clerical celibacy and its systemic corruption lead to a needed reformation?