Why Archbishop Sean O’Malley makes me see red, and I don’t mean hats. IV

By Leila Marie Lawler (articles ) | Mar 19, 2006

I wish the reporter had asked Archbishop Sean about Talking About Touching, a sex education program mandated for the Archdiocese (perhaps now under a different name -- it's devilishly hard to find out anything about it), which in itself constitutes a form of sexual abuse of children. I can see why he doesn’t, though – it fits in so well with the liberal agenda, why rock the boat?

And we still have a long way to go, but certainly the thousands and thousands of CORI checks and sex abuse training of our volunteers, and the training of the children has been a monumental task…

CORI checks. Training. What we have here is the Talking About Touching mode of expressing deep concern over the sex abuse crisis: that of sounding good to program-minded people while selling the next generation up the sex-abuse river.

If he were more father than reluctant administrator, Archbishop Sean would realize that the point about being children is that they can't be trained in the sense he means – they just aren't big enough, even the teenagers. They are, in fact, children.

What adults in other less litigation-minded eras have somehow known is that they are supposed to protect kids, period. The bishop is supposed to teach responsibility to the adults. St. Charles Borromeo ordered Silvio Antoniano’s On the Christian Education of Youth to be read in public to parents. He didn’t invade the child’s psyche to accomplish his goal.

All this prelatic lamenting over the Crisis is so much smoke obscuring the fact that in essence, Archbishop Sean and the rest of his TAT gang have pretty much sat back and said, "Yeah, we aren't doing that any more. Too bad. Here's some stuff you could say to the fat drunk guy breathing down your neck in the summer house that your parents said you could go to with him because he’s a priest and they trust him." Subtext: the training is actually for the trial later on. But who knows, maybe then you'll be at fault for not having implemented your TAT training, you dumb kid.

Seem harsh? Here’s what Pius XI (last seen spinning in his grave after reading Dom’s article on TAT) wrote in his encyclical On Christian Education :

Far too common is the error of those who with dangerous assurance and under an ugly term propagate a so-called sex-education, falsely imagining they can forearm youths against the dangers of sensuality by means purely natural, such as a foolhardy initiation and precautionary instruction for all indiscriminately, even in public; and, worse still, by exposing them at an early age to the occasions, in order to accustom them, so it is argued, and as it were to harden them against such dangers.

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  • Posted by: parochus - Mar. 21, 2006 3:21 AM ET USA

    I disagree with the tone and factual ambiguity of this entire series. Contructing a 4 part blitzkreig on partial statements is poor form.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2006 10:05 AM ET USA

    If a diocese cannot design and implement a curriculum that addresses the Christian moral issues surrounding marriage, love, chastity, and sexuality, then I guess Paul VI had no business writing Humanae Vitae, and John Paul II was way out of line with his Theology of the Body, delivered during Wednesday audiences where there were pilgrims of all ages. If 6th and 7th graders in Catholic schools are engaging in oral sex why should we have educational contraception?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2006 5:32 AM ET USA

    This kind of ad hominem denunciation -- apparently not even based on facts, since they're "devilishly hard to find" -- is disheartening to read on a site otherwise given to reasoned, witty, often hilarious commentary. No one doubts that the church has failed to reform itself (read Uncle Di again for the reason why it cannot), and it may be that the program this entry mentions is even detestable, but why skewer the Cardinal for an answer he never gave to a question he was never asked?

  • Posted by: - Mar. 20, 2006 1:12 AM ET USA

    Parsing the words of a Cardinal’s interview with a reporter is at best unprofessional and at least uncharitable. Being the chief shepherd and a father for the church in Boston is beyond understanding and should be given a little consideration. Biological parenthood is much different from adoption and a world away from foster parenting. Leila, your analysis seems like YOU’VE been given the grace of orders. Are you willing to take on the responsibility that comes along with that authority?

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Mar. 19, 2006 11:57 PM ET USA

    Leila, am with you. It makes me see red when we get that "it's not sex-education" and "the lessons are age appropriate" garbage. It's obvious these are programmed "talking points" for the sale of this horrible and dangerous experiment with our kids. Sad, so many Bp's are taking advice from the same groups who helped to get us in this mess: shrinks & legal handlers. It's distressing to see how many otherwise holy & solid men like AB O'Malley have walked into the snare.