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By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 28, 2003

Alarmed by the embarrassingly public evidence that most priests involved in sexual abuse target teenage males, the gay-friendly therapists that appointed themselves experts in fixing the problem came up with the term "ephebophilia" as a kind of misdirection play: if Father hits on sophomore boys he's not homosexual, he's an ephebophile. No, the condition doesn't show up in DSM, but it sounds scientific and it gives bishops and superiors an excuse to ignore the BIG problem -- the problem Mary Eberstadt called The Elephant in the Sacristy.

It worked. You could almost hear the collective sigh of episcopal relief as public attention was successfully directed onto pedophilia and the Putting Children First programs. Not only is it great PR -- the hustle and bustle gives the impression that serious steps are being taken -- but it requires purely cosmetic adjustments in the really important areas: seminary recruitment and formation, promotion of priests, selection of bishops. Even better, those who insist that the gay priest problem is key to the general corruption (of which The Scandal is but one manifestation) are dismissed as obstructionists.

An episode fetched from afar shows that other bishops were not slow to see and exploit the semantics of ephebophilia. Australian Monsignor Philip Green interfered with a boy for several years, beginning when the victim was 13. Eventually he confessed, and his bishop transferred him on the QT.

The Archbishop wrote to another victim during that time, saying he was confident Monsignor Green would not repeat his behaviour and "there are actually very few young altar servers in the Lindisfarne parish".

One of the victims wasn't buying this, and demanded and got a meeting with Green and other diocesan officials:

The meeting had agreed Monsignor Green would undergo counselling and evaluation, and would not have contact with anyone under the age of 40.

Under the age of 40?

Well, how do we codify the Msgr. Green Syndrome for our bishops? We can't use the "h"-word, remember -- that's excluded a priori. We need a term for that disorder whereby a person is "fixated" on sexual partners who are younger than his grandparents. Suggestions, anyone?

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  • Posted by: AveMaria580 - Oct. 28, 2003 3:02 PM ET USA

    An excellent article by Eberstadt. One of the less emotive and sensible I have read. If only we could clear the politically correct air and look at the problem as clearly and dispassionately as Eberhardt. "What do we call a person 'fixated' on those much younger?" We could start with sinner so that the root cause could be addressed. Then, perhaps, narcissitic-like Narcissus gazing at himself in the pool they try to embrace themselves in disordered ways. Lift up your eyes to the cross.

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