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A different sort of personality disorder

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jun 03, 2004

Let's just suppose, as a thought-experiment, that a particular seminary began turning out a disproportionately large number of priests with a serious personality disorder that was NOT related to sexuality.

Let's just say, for the sake of the argument, that many priests from this seminary were choleric to the point of pathology-- not just hot-tempered, I mean, but prone to fits of extreme violence.

First you'd start noticing fistfights at the seminary itself, and later in rectories. Then there would be the nasty incidents in parishes: parishioners hospitalized, perhaps eventually somebody killed.

Would the seminary rector protect the violent students? Would he tell timid, frightened kids to be more manly and stop complaining?

Would the diocese cover for the violent priests, and transfer them to new assignments when things started getting ticklish? Or would they be sent to St. Luke's for anger-management classes?

Would this seminary stay open? With the same administrative team in charge?

I realize the situation wouldn't be really analogous, since pathologically violent people don't have any inherent interest in promoting the interests of other pathologically violent people. Except, perhaps, in the Mafia.

OK, so suppose you began to notice that an awful lot of priests from a particular seminary were involved with the Mafia...

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Jun. 05, 2004 2:30 PM ET USA

    Father E: The Catholic Church could use some more Priests like St. Nicholas who I heard flatten a Bishop that was teaching errors. Perhaps, you will be the one who will start maybe not with fist but with loud voiceful words that defend the true teachings

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Jun. 05, 2004 2:28 PM ET USA

    Father E: The Catholic Church could use some more Priests like St. Nicholas who I heard flatten a Bishop that was teaching errors. Perhaps, you will be the one who will start.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Jun. 04, 2004 6:21 PM ET USA

    Fr. E- Mine, too.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jun. 04, 2004 3:52 PM ET USA

    Father E, That was brilliant. You made my day.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 04, 2004 8:09 AM ET USA

    That is a strange analogy. I would rather have violent clergy than a homosexual clergy. Maybe if the more clergy were violent instead of homosexual, then maybe the Kennedy's would change their minds for fear of their lives and Kerry would stop taking communion out of fear that he would have the crap beaten out of him in the parking lot. Peace be with you.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2004 5:05 PM ET USA

    They are involved with the Mafia. The Lavender one.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2004 1:13 PM ET USA

    As the son of Italian immigrants, I resent the comparison to the Mafia. At least that “family” had a code of behavior that was “religiously” followed. Loyal family members were protected and nurtured—not abused. And when a member of the family persisted in manifest grave sin against the family's father, excommunication was usually swift and sure.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2004 10:18 AM ET USA

    ...they'd be on the fast track to Bishop.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jun. 03, 2004 10:16 AM ET USA

    Bishop Wilton Gregory, you have Gov Frank Keating holding on Line 1, something about la Cosa Nostra....

  • Posted by: - Jun. 03, 2004 10:03 AM ET USA

    Or suppose only 18% of American Catholics paid their income taxes ... or stopped for red lights ... or took their medicine as directed ... or paid their Master Card bills ... or went to Mass on Sundays???