Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
I have long maintained that a massive amount of the outrage being directed at the Church over the abuse scandal is completely phony. Not that the crimes and sins committed by abusive priests and their Episcopal defenders are phony in the slightest—but rather that many of the people who are crying “I’m shocked—shocked—at the thought of sexual abuse of children!” are, in fact, completely uninterested in the sexual abuse of children or are, indeed, supportive of the sexual abuse of children.
Case in point, child rapist and molestor Roman Polanski and his ardent defenders, including such moral giants as Woody Allen, Whoopi Goldberg (“It was something else, but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.”), John Landis, Mike Nichols, Salman Rushdie, Martin Scorcese, Tilda Swinton, Diane von Furstenberg, and Debra Winger (”[The arrest] is based on an… old case that is all but dead but for minor technicalities.”).
One doesn’t see the New York Times pulling out the stops to demand accountability from Polanski or to arraign his defenders as moral idiots. Why? Because Polanski is the right kind of Roman, made some good films, and is a good Lefty who lives the lifestyle of Exaltation of the Groin that is part and parcel of liberal left culture. So he gets a pass. How tres tres Euro!
Speaking of which, here’s another artifact of the same sort of thing: a piece on how German lefties in the late 60s decided it would be ever so cool to get rid of all that shame and taboo stuff surrounding sex with children. Rod Dreher, understandably but, I think mistakenly, sees this as having “paved the way” for pedophilia in the clergy. I think that’s giving rather too much credit and power to a nutty German fringe group. The problem of pedophilia in the clergy (and indeed of pedophilia throughout the human race) is one that antedates 1968. However, what the article does do is demonstrate how our cultural elites intend to approach the question in the future. Here’s the money quote:
“Does what happened in a number of the Kinderladen qualify as abuse? According to the criteria to which Catholic priests have been subjected, it clearly does, says Alexander Schuller, the sociologist. “Objectively speaking, it was abuse, but subjectively it wasn’t,” says author Dannenberg. As outlandish as it seems in retrospect, the parents apparently had the welfare of the children in mind, not their own. For the adherents to the new movement, the child did not serve as a sex object to provide the adults with a means of satisfying their sexual urges. This differentiates politically motivated abuse from pedophilia.”
What this means, as with the case of Roman Polanski, is that our Leftist arbiters of Correct Thought don’t really have all that much of a problem with sex with children, so long as it happens on their terms. If you do it with “the welfare of the children in mind” then it’s A OK. Prescinding from the fact that every pervert in the world says he does what he does for the good of his victim (“She really wanted it”/”I’m just trying to show that boy that sex is normal and healthy”), what a quote like this signifies is the radical inability of lefty media to make moral judgments. German perverts “meant well” so we are to cut them some slack. Indeed, in the post-modern world where consent is the sole criterion of the good our average lefty libertine has no means whatsoever to say that the German perverts were perverts. So we get half-baked apologies about how they “meant well” alloyed with the uneasy sense that nobody’s buying that—and that people who don’t buy it are “judgmental” for clinging to such taboos.
Only one exception is made: Pope Benedict XVI, the one guy who has actually done more than anybody else to clean up the perversions that had been practiced and protected by an institutional structure. Against him, every rumor and murky attempt at character assassination has been fair game. But even in this we see a sort of back-handed testimony to the uniqueness of the Church. For the attacks from lefty media attest to the fact that the one basis for attacking the Church is its own moral code. You can’t complain of the perverts in the Church that they fail to measure up to the rigorous standards of Roman Polanski and Woody Allen whom you lionize and excuse. You have to say that the Church’s own moral teaching is what bad priests and bishops fail to honor.
The problem, of course, is that this moral code is precisely what our lefty libertines wish to see swept away. So they wind up writing the sort of gibberish we see above to exculpate Roman Polanski and make excuses for “well-meaning” German perverts and distinguish them from priestly perverts. It makes no sense, but then sin never does. Suffice it to say that the day is coming when our Manufacturers of Culture will condemn the Church, not for permitting pedophilia, but for condemning it. Large numbers of the Church’s critics see abused children, not as abused children, but as human shields for attacking the Church. That’s why they only care about Catholic abused children and pay no attention to the reality of, for instance, abused children in public schools or, worse, make excuses for it when the culprits are German lefties.