The real cause of predatory priests

To the editor:

The Register & Bee’s May 16 guest editorial from The Washington Post expressed little confidence in the efforts of Pope Francis to significantly curb the rampant molestation and rape of children by Roman Catholic priests, but never mentioned the real reason for the persistence of this tragedy and for the failure of all efforts to remedy it. Though, thankfully, neither I, nor any of my family has been a victim of a predatory priest, I feel that I can have some idea of how crushing and traumatic the experience must be. And without in any way trivializing a tragedy of international scope, I can’t help but see an analogy between Francis’ energetic disciplinary strategies and the fabled farmer who entrusted the care of his chickens to the fox, only to find that he was eating them. To correct this problem, he appointed a wolf to oversee the chickens and the fox also. The result, of course, is that he lost more chickens than ever because it is the very nature of these animals to prey on chickens. It is terribly risky to entrust a child to a sexual deviate.

Though occasional cases of child abuse occur in all religious groups, this heinous practice is endemic in the Roman Catholic priesthood, and what is strange is that any one should really be surprised by it. The priests and nuns to whom these children are entrusted are men and women who have voluntarily elected to forego normal, natural heterosexual courtship and marriage; and it seems to be assumed by rank-and-file Catholics that they are therefore asexual. But the horrific exploitation of their dear children proves this to be a very faulty assumption. The procreative drive which God gave to the human species was terribly vitiated by the rebellion of our first parents, Adam and Eve — vitiated, but not annihilated. Which means that, apart from the few isolated cases of physical and mental disorder, there are no asexual people in the world. The man who is not attracted to a woman is attracted to men and to children. The same is true of a woman who is not romantically attracted to a man.

True, there is such a thing as genuine Christian celibacy — the apostles Paul and Barnabas lived and died as unmarried men, though they were thoroughly heterosexual, and were as innocent of child molestation as an angel could be. When God calls a man to a celibate life, he always provides grace to override the natural procreative drive, so enabling him to live a chaste, decent, godly life in Christian service. What defines the Roman Catholic priesthood as fundamentally un-Christian is the mandated vow of celibacy which has not a shred of Biblical warrant and which brings open, practicing homosexuals by droves into its seminaries. Another enormous indictment against this priesthood is the fact that the man who is falsely alleged to have been the first pope — Peter — was himself a married man. (Matthew 8:14)

There is not the slightest disrespect or unkindness toward Catholics intended in this letter, nor any effort to recruit them into any religious denomination, but only to point them to that unfailing Lord Jesus Christ who graciously drew me out of Roman darkness more than 60 years ago and constantly proves himself to be more — much more — than I will ever need.

MATTEO PACIFICO

Danville

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