The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, April 30, 2002  

N.Y. Post Columnist: Blame the Bishops, Not the Gays

Was someone asleep on the editors' desk at the New York Post last night?

We can't helping thinking such was the case, having read today's column by Susan Konig, "Blame the Bishops, Not the Gays."

Konig's essay -- temperate, rational, and judicious -- is so far from the usual fare on the Post's op-ed pages that we thought for a moment we were reading a different newspaper entirely.

Aside from a rather patronizing view of the protesters who recently gathered in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Konig presents a solid and reasonable argument that the Catholic Church's problem is not one of homosexuality.

"Many [of the demonstrators] were Catholic," Konig says, "and they spoke calmly and persuasively to reporters to get their message out. Their central complaint involved a sermon from the pulpit of St. Pat's by Msgr. Eugene Clark."

"Speaking out on the day the cardinals traveled to Rome, the monsignor intimated that gays were part of the problem by saying homosexuality was 'a disorder and, as a disorder, should prevent a person from being ordained as a priest,' " she wrote.

"Should gays be banned from the priesthood?" she asks. The response seems to come easily: "A calling is a calling, and many people can be called. The fact is, there are gay priests -- good men, celibate men. Just as there are heterosexual priests who are good men, celibate men."

Konig -- correctly -- rejects the notion that celibacy causes priests (and presumably those in religious orders, including monks, brothers, and nuns) to become sexually deviant? "One has nothing to do with another," she writes.

Pointing to the painfully obvious, an exercise mandatory given the current controversy, "Lots of men and women -- in and out of the church -- lead celibate lives, either by circumstance or by choice," she writes. "It doesn't turn them into child abusers."


"So the problem isn't homosexuality. The problem isn't celibacy. The problem is not one of giving in to human weakness," she adds, "because child abuse is not a human weakness -- it's a predatory crime."

Thus the problem is cause by predators and those who protected them. [Ed.: Emphasis added.]

Pointing to easiliy the most extreme example of the Church's failure to exercise even the most reasonable degree of oversight over its priests, viz. the case of Paul Shanley, Konig argues, "When a priest goes to the founding meeting of NAMBLA [North-American Man-Boy Love Association] or is repeatedly and fraudulently reassigned to parishes where he is in contact with children after being identified as an abuser, then church leaders need only point to themselves, and not the gay community, to figure out where the problem lies."

Why it is so difficult for soi-disant conservatives and orthodox Catholics to accept this simple premise is a question for the ages.

Unfortunately, their failure to recognize the reality in front of them raises the very real possibility that the Church's reaction to the current crisis is apt to be one that aggravates, rather than ameliorates, the conflict that today simmers below the surface from Rome to New York to Buenos Aires to Sydney and to Jersusalem.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |