One Robert Scheer has chosen to pitch a fit in this morning's Los Angeles Times:
And, as is so often the case with the most severely judgmental and repressed, the church's stance is rife with moral hypocrisy. ... This is all especially outrageous considering that the openly gay community has offered a model of honest and socially accountable behavior, while the Catholic Church -- secretive and unaccountable -- has provided exactly the opposite. ... The church will continue to face eruptions of sexual scandal because of its renewed insistence on a sanctimonious medieval morality ignoring the main lesson of this sorry affair: Sex is natural, becoming ugly and exploitive only when denied healthy outlets ... etc., etc.
Scheer's reasoning is less than cogent. It's as if one were to argue, "The British Secret Service lied to hide the fact that Soviet spies were discovered in its ranks, therefore all Britons should become Marxists."
The villainy of a villain doesn't prove that his beliefs are false; rather, his villainy makes it impossible to trust the villain to tell us what his true beliefs are. Bishop Ziemann (to take one example) taught that sodomy was sinful, committed the sin of sodomy, and lied about it. From this we deduce, not that sodomy is licit, but that Ziemann is not a reliable source of information about Ziemann.
Yet Scheer's anger is not wholly without cause, even if his hysteria fails to land a punch on the right target. At the level of confession of faith it's important that clergymen are what they say they are, and it's true that fewer and fewer of the faithful trust their pastors to tell the truth about their real convictions. Of course priests and bishops themselves could close the gap between true and professed belief -- if, at bottom, they were out of sympathy with Scheer.
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($162,325 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!
Posted by: Sterling -
May. 25, 2005 7:50 PM ET USA
"Sex is natural, becoming ugly and exploitive only when denied healthy outlets..." What these imbeciles can't understand is that the Church doesn't DENY anyone anything. Go ahead and have all the sexual relationships you want. Only you can't be a priest (or stay in the priesthood, if that's where you are.) And the Church isn't going to say that what you are doing is right. But no one is DENYING anyone anything.
Posted by: Zoromyster -
May. 25, 2005 7:32 PM ET USA
<< I remember him from UC Berkeley, where he was a prominant leftie tied in with the likes of Bettina Aptheker et al. Leo 13 >> Wow Leo, you are old.
Posted by: -
May. 25, 2005 9:20 AM ET USA
Correction: In the 60's, Scheer was editor of Ramparts, not Slate. I remember him from UC Berkeley, where he was a prominant leftie tied in with the likes of Bettina Aptheker et al.
Posted by: opraem -
May. 24, 2005 10:21 PM ET USA
scheer's comments are wide of the mark. but as long as the abuse victims are alive and the bishops who failed to act correctly in this crisis remain unpunished and in their posts, the crisis will never be far away from the headlines. we can't rely on the episcopalians to keep us off the front page indefinitely.
Posted by: -
May. 24, 2005 3:53 PM ET USA
"Sex is natural, becoming ugly and exploitive only when denied healthy outlets..." I assume that here Scheer has in mind the healthy activities to be found in gay bath houses in Gavin Newsom's Frisco.
Posted by: -
May. 24, 2005 1:50 PM ET USA
At this post, I can only bow to the Maestro. Bravo, Uncle D. Bravo. It's no exaggeration that your commentaries strengthen the faith of (most of) your many readers. They certainly have strengthened my own resolve in those dark moments when the American version of Catholicism seems so hopeless.
Posted by: extremeCatholic -
May. 24, 2005 1:32 PM ET USA
If you want a community that should be the model, it should be the faithful Catholic community. Fidelity to the Gospel, observance of the Commandments, and the desire that justice prevail are the way to overcome this crisis and not the embrace of sin.
Posted by: -
May. 24, 2005 10:58 AM ET USA
Scheer is an old-time Berkeley leftie. He was there in the 60's during the so-called "free speech movement." I believe he was also a founder of a left-wing mag called "Slate."
Posted by: benedictusoblatus -
May. 24, 2005 10:46 AM ET USA
Scheer's a bigoted moron ... or a moronic bigot. Of course, there is the kernel of truth behind the rubbish he writes. Priests are the last people you would see on their knees praying in a church. It didn't use to be that way. Let ALL of them become known for their orthodoxy, poverty, penance, prayer and spirit of self-sacrifice for the salvation of souls and this modern nightmare will eventually end. St. John Vianney, pray for us.