|Why is the Catholic Church|
so obsessed with
just about everything sexual ?
Now we haven't even mentioned the avalanche of sexual scandals involving the R.C. clergy which have only come to the attention of the public in recent years. Historians know that it's not the scandals that are new, but their revelation by the news media and the courts - which are no longer nearly as reverential and protective of the Catholic Church as they have been for centuries. [ We devote an entire page to clericalpedophilia.html].
While many people in the world are celebrating "New Year's Day", for a thousand years or so, Roman Catholics were required to observe the day as a "holy day of obligation" to commemorate the circumcision of the Christ-child's penis. Over the centuries as many as 18 different holy places boasted - sometimes simultaneously - that they were in possession of the holiest of relics, Jesus' foreskin (the only part of Jesus body left on earth). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_prepuce. What an appropriate symbol for an institution obsessed with sex! Maybe they should change the hymn titled "Faith of our fathers" to one called "Faith of our genitals".
When this sculpture by Jerry Boyle called "Holier Than Thou" appeared on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, KS, in 2003, it created quite a stir. I can't understand why the R.C. tried (in vain) to have the courts force the U. to remove it. Can you?
There are several worthwhile insights about sex in the Roman Catholic church on this page, which I urge the reader to explore. But if you can't wait to find out WHY the Catholic Church is so wierd about sex, then go straight to WHY?.
"Christians" who have a dim view of sexuality, women and marriage owe that view to Paul of Tarsus, rather than to Jesus of Nazareth, for ...
"Paul had mounted a vigorous defense of celibacy or remaining unmarried. Although he does not require it of his followers, he asserts that he lives the single non-sexual life and he strongly recommends it as the most practical as well as the most spiritually devoted lifestyle. He writes, in this regard, 'I wish that all were as I myself am,' (1 Corinthians 7:7-8). . . one can conclude that if Paul had known Jesus to have been single or unmarried, living a celibate life, he would have mentioned it prominently. In fact it would have been one of his main points. It would have been irresistible. He mounts every possible defense of celibacy, but in the end is only able to appeal to his own example. Imagine how much more rigorously he could have argued had he been able to say, "follow me here, as I follow Christ." In this particular case I think his silence is "deafening." As with Cephas (Peter), the other apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, he knows that having a wife as a companion is the norm and pattern in the group. Paul must have known that Jesus was married," [ http://jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/05/01/was-jesus-married/ - no longer online]
"Conservative" Christians and Catholics, however, don't follow the teaching and example of Jesus of Nazareth so much as that of the "Church Fathers" like Sts. Paul, Augustine & Ambrose, and a long string of celibate popes. Just as they don't feel that human beings are worthy of going to God directly in prayer, they don't feel that they can understand "God's Word" or the teaching of Jesus himself, without the help of intermediaries.
While Paul of Tarsus didn't have any problem with his brothers and sisters being enslaved by others, including fellow Christians, he had real problems with his own sexuality, with marriage, with women, with homosexuality and with his former Jewish friends. Where Jesus urged us to share with others what we enjoy for ourselves, Paul gloried in his own freedom and his Roman citizenship, but didn't see any need for anybody who was enslaved to have what he enjoyed. And his teaching was used by countless so-called Christians to neutralize the teaching of Jesus that the second of the two great commandments, "do unto others as we would have them do unto you". There is nothing new about the teaching of "Saint Paul" being used to justify the oppression of homosexuals in our day or in times past. That very same saint's teaching has been used over the centuries to justify the oppression of Jews, African slaves, and women as well. See what I mean, in Paul's own words, http://www.CatholicArrogance.Org/BadNewsPaul.html.
"He (Pope John Paul II) teaches that sex is a beautiful gift of God. But he can't admit that most of his predecessors taught that it's always ugly and disgusting. Leo I (440-461) said, 'All marital intercourse is a sin,' and Innocent III (1198-1216), 'The consummation of marriage never takes place without the flames of lust.' Two 17th century popes said all foreplay, even sensuous kissing between married couples, is a grave sin.
The entire tradition was: Sex outside marriage is dirty. Within marriage it is also dirty. The only question is the degree of dirt. Marriage, said St Ambrose, is a crime against God in that it changed the state of virginity that God gave every creature at birth. During intercourse, couples should keep their minds on Jesus and the stork. All sex is pornographic, destined to deprave and corrupt. It cannot be spiritualised. Sex, said Augustine, the converted fornicator, must not be sexy. Nuns mustn't eat beans, Jerome decided, because they titillate the genitals. Today, we would send these holy popes and theologians to a sex-therapist.
John Paul praises the sanctity of marriage but can't admit that for centuries his predecessors thought it so lewd that it was never blessed by the church. At best, couples gave their legal consent outside the church, and never with the blessing of the clergy. As Chaucer's Wife of Bath, first married at twelve, put it, 'Five husbands have I had at the church door.' How could clerics bless a thing so sinful they couldn't indulge in it? Marriage was too sordid to be a sacrament until the 16th century.
Like Paul VI, John Paul tries to choreograph what couples do in bed by promoting sex during 'the safe period'. This is a bizarre idea in that human females, unlike animals, seldom know when they're infertile even after using thermometers, calendars and higher mathematics. A case of sexual hide-and-seek. Couples had better be as accurate as a Mafia hit-man.
The method might have suited clever cloistered nuns, not busy mothers, many of whom can't read or write and perhaps have no electric light. If safety belts in cars were as safe as the safe period they would be outlawed. What the Pope can never bring himself to concede was that nearly all pontiffs condemned the safe period or what we might call 'sex for fun'. Their view was clear: sex has only one purpose, procreation. To have sex and not intend a child, worse, to have sex and intend not to have a child is to commit adultery with one's wife.
John Paul teaches that a human being exists from the first moment of conception, hence every abortion, even of a three day embryo, is murder. Not essentially different from what Jack the Ripper did or Timothy McVeigh. Very well, but why did he not admit that nearly all his predecessors said the opposite.
He teaches that every embryo and fetus is an innocent human being. Why doesn't he say that most of his predecessors said explicitly that every unbaptised infant, far from being innocent, is stained with original sin, a kind of venereal disease? Each babe, as part of the massa damnata, is under the devil's dominion so that if it dies unbaptized, they are so disgusting to God they cannot look at him, nor can he at them, for all eternity. Not that tradition ever explained how Adam could hand on original sin when sin is in the soul and the soul comes not from parents but directly from God.
John Paul teaches that only celibacy is in tune with the sacrament of holy orders, conveniently forgetting that Jesus chose married men as his apostles. Also, if Peter were to return to earth today, not being one of the Pope's castrati, John Paul would have declared him unfit to serve as a curate in a city slum."
[ an article by Peter de Rosa, the author of a history of the popes called Vicars of Christ: the Dark Side of the Papacy ]
See much more on the wierd views about sex and about women which was part of the "holy tradition" the Roman Catholic passed on to its "people of faith" over the centuries at
Apologists for the Catholic Church want you to believe that theirs is a holy institution, marred by instances of immorality that are the rare exception. Much could be said or written to argue the contrary, but if ever there was evidence that the very opposite is true, then here it is:
"In Long Island, a Church official, in response to a question about an abused child, responded 'It's not my responsibility to worry about the boy. My job is to protect the bishop and the church.' At the same diocese, which had a team run by two lawyer-priests, one of the two explained that meeting the victim was a waste of time because the statute of limitations on the abuse had expired. Monsignor John A. Alesandro, a member of the team, at a meeting with a victim who had come to talk about his abuse, started the meeting with the words 'You know, the statute of limitations has run out.'
Unfortunately, the legislators had not foreseen the need for laws which would make it a criminal offence for a bishop to transfer child molesting priests from one parish to another (so that it would take a long time for their crimes to catch up with tbem) . Bishops may be held for obstruction of justice, endangering child welfare or even conspiracy. In Westchester County, New York, a grand jury concluded an inquiry by accusing the Church of cover-ups and urging state lawmakers to eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases.
'The grand jury finds the actions of diocesan officials who were responsible for making and implementing policy reprehensible' is what the Suffolk County grand jury concluded. It spent nine months investigating the Diocese of Rockville Centre, a Long Island diocese - the sixth largest in the US - with 1.3 million Catholics in a hundred and thirty-four parishes in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. According to their one-hundred-and-eighty-page report, Church officials protected at least fifty-eight pedophile priests for decades. To that end they employed sham policies and a bogus 'intervention team' to trick and silence victims, cover up crimes, avoid scandals and minimise financial consequences. The report speaks of a Church that purported to help victims of sexual abuse but instead intimidated the victims to avoid lawsuits and publicity. In fact, the Catholic Church ran a deception programme.
The sex-offending priests were shuffled from parish to parish and often allowed to minister to children. Abusive priests were protected under the guise of confidentiality and their histories were mired in secrecy. Thus, when an abusive priest was transferred to a new parish, his records did not go with him. Already in the mid-1980s, the diocese established an Office of Legal Affairs which was internally known as the 'intervention team'. Victims and their family members were immediately put in touch with a priest who, unbeknown to them, was also a lawyer. An internal memorandum of 1993 specifically instructed all diocesan officials referring victims not to divulge the fact that the priests were also lawyers. This team of three, of which two were high-ranking lawyer-priests, met with victims and their families supposedly to discuss possible avenues of action. 'In reality, the grand jury said, 'the office and the intervention team had one purpose, protecting the diocese'. The 'intervention team' treated crimes of priests as sins which were not to be reported to law enforcement officials. The team ignored any recommendations for psychiatric treatments. Their job was to suppress legal claims and to do this, the grand jury reported that the team employed aggressive legal strategies... [to] defeat and discourage lawsuits, even though diocesan officials knew they were meritorious. (i.e., their job was to prevent justice from being done.) . . . Victims were deceived, priests who were civil attorneys portrayed themselves as interested in the concerns of victims and pretended to be acting for their benefit while they acted only to protect the diocese.;
Of all cases investigated by the grand jury, they found only one in which, a priest was defrocked. His crime? Having an affair with an adult woman! Suffolk County District Attorney, Thomas J. Spota, added,
High-ranking prelates protected 58 colleagues from disgrace rather than protecting children from these predator priests. ... Time after time, and despite overwhelming evidence that priests were committing crimes against children, they were willingly sacrificing the truth for fear of scandal and for monetary considerations.
Joanne C. Novarro, a spokeswoman for the Rockville Centre Diocese called the grand jury report unfair. William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights reacted 'I resent the fact that ...(D.A.) Spota is being awarded medals for engaging in a wild goose chase.'
(Double Cross, by David Ranan, p. 327-328)
This is not a holy system with a rare "rotten apple". This is a rotten system, an institution that is rotten to its core. And this situation in one diocese isn't some renegade operation unknown to the Vatican, as is evident from the fact that the Vatican couldn't respond with shock and revulsion. In a similar situation in nearby Boston, instead of punishing the embattled Cardinal, the "Holy Father" rescued him and gave him a plum position in "the Holy City", in the bosom of "Holy Mother the Church".
Moreover, not only in its instructions to bishops, but by direct action, or rather inaction, is the Vatican guilty of a cover-up.
"When the nun and physician Maura O'Donohue of the Roman Catholic Aid Agency, CAFOD, prepared a report on the rape of nuns by priests (all over the world), she must have expected the shocking information contained in the report to trigger immediate papal action. In her report the author cites cases in which priests and missionaries forced nuns to have sex with them and in several instances not only raped but also obliged the nuns to have abortions. In one case a mother superior, who repeatedly complained to her local bishop that priests in his diocese had made twenty-nine of her nuns pregnant, was removed from her position by the bishop. (Notice that no offending "MAN of God" is punished, but this virtuous WOMAN IS!) The report, which was written and shown to the Vatican in 1994, covers cases in twenty-three countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.
Four years later, Marie MacDonald, head of the Missionaries of Our Lady in Africa, presented a similar study on Sexual Abuse and Rape Committed by Priests to the Vatican. It appears that, especially in AIDS-infected areas, priests sought to replace the prostitutes with whom they had sex, with nuns. That was their version of "safe sex". Pope John Paul II and his bishops and cardinals, who regularly exhort the Catholic faithful to keep chaste, prohibit the use of condoms, even to save lives, and do not yield to pressure to allow priests to marry, kept quiet. Seven years after receiving the CAFOD report, and only after the information about the report had been leaked to the media, the Vatican confirmed that such abuse had, indeed, been taking place. For years, nuns continued to be subjected to rape by their own 'brothers in Christ' and the Vatican kept quiet. The highest echelons of the Catholic Church, where no one seems ever to be accountable, sat on the information and did nothing."
[ The author, David Ranan, goes on to illustrate in the next few pages how detached the leaders of Roman Catholicism have proven themselves to be regarding the terrible conditions in the U.S.A. including the attempt to minimize the scandal ] "by suggesting that most of the cases were not cases of pedophiles but rather ephebophiles. [Paedophiles are sexually attracted to children, whereas ephebophiles are attracted to post-pubescent teenagers.] By making this differentiation and by suggesting that most of the abusive priests were in actual fact ephebophiles, the Church had hoped to escape the image of being a haven for pedophiles, who are universally abhorred and feared. Her second goal was to suggest that much of the abuse was possibly consensual sex with teenagers. In a society in which many teenagers engage in sex, sole culpability of the priests for these acts - the Church hoped - could be questioned.
However, (the author counters) priests have a position of immense emotional, spiritual and psychological power in relation to those they minister to. There can be no possible free consent in such relationships. More than that, case after case proved that priests systematically manipulated their victims." (Double Cross, by David Ranan, p. 338)
People are wondering today what Roman Catholic bishops were thinking of, shuffling pedophile priests from one parish (or hunting ground) to another, for God knows how long. Roman Catholics seem to be very upset over this situation. Is that because they can imagine that their own children might have been its victims? But, what makes the lost innocence of a few thousand American children more tragic than the 10 million Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, gays, liberals, handicaps and other "undesirables" who lost everything, including their lives, at the hands of the millions of German Roman Catholics and their close Lutheran cousins who served as Hitler's henchmen? Rather than being told that it was their duty to run from the NAZI crimes, German Catholics were actually told by their bishops that it was their religious obligation to be loyal and obedient servants of Hitler! See much more, together with plenty of supporting evidence for all of the above at The Real Scandal of Roman Catholicism.
Most people think of the requirement of clerical celibacy as just one of the many of the Catholic Church's sexual hangups. But I have come to believe that clerical celibacy is the key to understanding all the other sexual hangups of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
For some 900 years now, all of the Catholic Church's decision-makers have been (usually old) celibate men. If all of those in positions of authority have to go without the pleasures of the flesh, they may not be able to deny the laity who are subject to them those pleasures, but they can do the next best thing and make those pleasures as costly, and painful, and infrequently enjoyed as possible. Sex, they insist, can only be "enjoyed" when there is the possibility, if not certainty, of the dire consequences, another "mouth to feed", etc., etc., etc. for 18 years or so. Therefore, no birth-control before, and no abortion after "enjoying sex". No masturbation. No escape from unhappy marriages. Perpetual celibacy for divorcees. And no sex for infertile couples of the same gender. Let homosexuals either a) practice celibacy (like the clergy ?); b) marry some unsuspecting heterosexual; c) live a promiscuous life-style and go to hell; or d) kill themselves and go to hell. But God forbid that they should settle down with a permanent partner of their own choosing in marriage and enjoy sex without suffering the consequences of procreation!
One of Roman Catholicism'a favorite bible verses seems to be I Corinthians: 7:7-9 where Paul of Tarsus wrote, "I wish that all were (celibates) as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better (i.e. a lesser evil) to marry than to be aflame with passion."
H.L. Mencken could just as well have been speaking of Roman Catholic clerics when he spoke of fundamentalists having "a terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun."
"The discipline of celibacy now in place actually led to unchastity. Proof of this comes in the writing of one of the great reforming saints, Bernard of Clairvaux. In the year 1135 he was responding to the Albigensian claim that marriage is sordid. Bernard said: `Take from the Church an honourable marriage and an immaculate marriage bed, and do you not fill it with concubinage, incest, homosexuality and every kind of uncleanness?' " ( from "Vicars of Christ", p. 409)
Although not nearly as well known, St. Ulrich, a bishop, had argued from scripture and common sense four centuries earlier than St. Bernard that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.
According to the February 1999 issue of U.S. Catholic Magazine, eighty percent of its readers who responded to a survey agreed that mandatory celibacy or Catholic priests should be abolished.
According to John Horan, also writing in the same issue of the U.S. Catholic Magazine, "For the first twelve centuries of church practice, thirty-nine popes were married, in addition to many priests and bishops. Three popes (Anastasius I, St. Hormidas, and Sergius III) produced pope sons of their own, two of whom went on to be declared saints (St. Innocent I and St. Silverius)." Mr. Horan also indicates in his article that it was Pope Gregory VI in the eleventh century who required pledges of celibacy prior to ordination and that this pope was credited with stating as a reason "the Church cannot escape from the clutches of the laity unless priests first escape the clutches of their wives."
[ as quoted in The Catholic Challenge: A Question of Conscience, pp 167-168]
If you can believe the Bible, then "the LORD God" felt the same way, as he said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." [ Genesis 2:18 ]
In 1957, a young Mike Wallace did a lengthy interview with Margaret Sanger on the issue of birth-control, in which he represented the Catholic Church's position against it as well as any Vatican Curia member would have done.
But if the Catholic Church's opposition to birth-control is the open and shut case that it imagines it to be, why is it that over 80 % of Roman Catholic women of child-bearing age in countries like America don't buy it?