Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

priests as father-figures

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 26, 2006

Yes, I'm jealous. Over on Touchstone's Mere Comments blog, the always incisive Anthony Esolen outdoes himself with some thoughts on the priest as father-figure.

You need to read the whole thing to appreciate it, but just to whet your appetite:

In other words, when we sever the idea of ordained ministry in quantum imago Christi from its foundation in human nature, we revert to the barbaric idea of the minister as magician or ritual functionary. He is a father no more, but the sacerdotal equivalent of a sperm donor.
“Just consecrate them hosts, fella,” says the pious Madame, crushing her Marlboro into the thurible, “and don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

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: a son of Mary - Jan. 20, 2011 9:12 PM ET USA

    @animadversor - when you hire an attorney, he speaks for you and you coordinate responses Unless the priest disavows his attorneys comments, you can pretty much assume it's agreed-upon response.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 19, 2011 4:36 PM ET USA

    "Curiosity and lack of self-control", eh? To someone with normal sexual desires there is no curiosity to see child porn and no self-control called for - such material is repugnant and avoided at all costs. Only a seriously depraved sexuality would need self-control for these purposes. It's like saying one needs self-control to avoid eating dirt instead of healthy food. Absurd.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 10:33 PM ET USA

    Go figure.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 10:06 PM ET USA

    [Somehow I cut off the end of my comment.] was blaming the Church's discipline of celibacy. His own statement is rather more honest. And if I may anticipate objections that what his lawyer says for him in court, Mr. Shannon himself says: that's certainly true for the court, but men in the world are not bound so to attribute. Remember St. Thomas More at his trial regarding the legal notion that silence implies consent.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Jan. 17, 2011 9:02 PM ET USA

    But the 1980s definition of celibacy is (From the "Modern Seminarian's Dictionary"): CELIBACY: Refraining from heterosexual genital activity.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 7:18 PM ET USA

    As you note, it was his lawyer, Andrew Finlay, who said that celibacy was to blame. What the priest, John Shannon, said was that it was, “curiosity and lack of self-control that led him to access these websites and it became a compulsion.” A lawyer will, quite properly, offer any halfway-plausible argument possible on behalf of his client, if that's all he's got, and apparently that was the best that Mr. Finlay could come up with. But I don't think it's quite fair to say that Mr. Shannon himself