There's that elephant in the living room again

By Domenico Bettinelli, Jr. (articles ) | Mar 01, 2004

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bob Bennett, of the National Review Board, were on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday and in the whole discussion there was exactly one tangential mention of "the lifestyle that dare not speak its name" while several minutes were devoted to mandatory celibacy. Here's former Clinton lawyer Bob Bennett's contribution:

Well, I think celibacy has to be studied for different reasons because I agree with the cardinal that it's a great gift of some but it is an albatross to other.  It causes--some men are not prepared for it.  It's loneliness, alcoholism, the crossing of boundaries.  But I don't think it's fair to say that celibacy is a cause of this crisis.  I concluded that if a man is going to breach his commitment to celibacy, if he's homosexually oriented, he's going to find an adult mate.  If he's heterosexually oriented, he's going to find the appropriate mate.  But I do think it's something that has to be looked at, focused upon and studied.  I mean, celibacy is no more a cause of this problem and doing away with it than you would say because of divorce you do away with marriage.  But it's something that you have to work on, you have to train priests to honor.
That was it, the only mention of homosexuality in all the discussion of the abuse, despite the fact that 71 percent of the victims were young men between the ages of 11 and 18. And even then I don't get the sense that they consider the "breach of his commitment of celibacy" to be a grave moral act, a mortal sin, but an inconvenience and a little slip-up that can be overlooked as long as the priest satisifies his extracurricular itch with an adult.

We are on a learning curve.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

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!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 02, 2004 2:35 PM ET USA

    As it was explained to me, some men are given the gift of celibacy. Of those men, some have a call to the vocation to the priesthood. In order words, celibacy isn't something tacked onto the call to the priesthood; it's an integral part of the call. Until they discuss homosexuality in all its unhappy deviant nature and the effect it has on a persons world-view no real solution can be found. I do not believe received a call to the priesthood. Start will the call the rest may follow.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 01, 2004 6:51 PM ET USA

    What more can you expect from a neo-intellectual who supported Bill Clinton? I suspect he may be { and I am not fond of the term} a neo-catholic.

  • Posted by: Eusebuis1 - Mar. 01, 2004 6:05 PM ET USA

    It's interesting to note how the "Study" has been limited primarily to only those who have accesss to the Internet. USCCB is charging $29.95 for this document but only $11.95 ($7.17 discount member) for "The Bible, the Jews, and the Death of Jesus" - published earlier in the week. You know what is more important? I doubt whether pastors will be given copies of the "Study" by their bishops. How sad.