Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

A different sort of personality disorder

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | 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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