Two More Dominoes

Two more Irish bishops have resigned over their respective roles in the Irish abuse scandals. Four down, one to go.

Remember that these are the first ever bishops to resign, anywhere, over their roles in abuse cover-ups, and that the extent of their activity or (non-activity) was no worse than that of numerous other bishops in the US and elsewhere. This is progress, and important progress of a sort, but there remains a long way to go. We still need to see governments elsewhere put the church under the microscope, as the Irish did; and we need to see the power structures in the church to look beyond punishing those involved to serious examination of the causes – and ending them.

This they are unlikely to do themselves, so we must keep reminding them: the causes of the long-standing problems with clerical abuse, of children and of vulnerable adults, are well-known, and lie deep inside the institutional nature of the church. These are the obsession with power and control; the insistence on compulsory celibacy; and a disproportionate number of psychologically immature, sexually repressed men in the priesthood, resulting from inappropriate methods of selection and training.

Bishop Eamonn Walsh

Two more Irish bishops quit their posts over child abuse criticism

Roman Catholics across Ireland were attending Christmas Day Mass yesterday as two more bishops resigned.

Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field bowed to weeks of intense criticism and pressure, announcing at services that they planned to quit their posts as auxiliaries in the Dublin Archdiocese. They are the latest senior clerics to stand down after the Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, James Moriarty, and the Bishop of Limerick, Donal Murray, resigned over the damning Murphy report that exposed the church hierarchy’s shocking inaction and cover-up of paedophile priests over decades.

Bishops Walsh and Field announced their resignations in a statement as Midnight Mass took place around the country. “As we celebrate the Feast of Christmas, the birth of our Saviour, the Prince of Peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse,” they said. “We again apologise to them.”

(More from Times Online)

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3 Responses to “Two More Dominoes”

  1. Mark from PA Says:

    I find it interesting when it is mentioned that a high percentage of men in the priesthood are psychologically immature. I never hear about how many men (of all men) are psychologically immature. Look at some of our noted personalities, Tiger Woods, Governor Sanford of SC, former Governor Spitzer of NY, former Senator John Edwards, former President Bill Clinton. And these are noted people, what about average guys? How many men are totally psychologically immature? How many men never had pre-maritial or extra-maritial sex? People point their fingers at gay men (gay priests) but do the straight men have that much better of a record? In regard to sexual repression and priests. It seems to me that the Church wants priests to be sexually repressed. When I was a teen and young adult I thought that most priests lived lives of chaste purity (as well as being celibate). But lets face biological facts here, how many healthy men (priests included) are repressed to the extent that they have NO sexual release? So I think that a large percentage of priests are probably sexually repressed but they may not be any less psychologically immature then men as a whole.

  2. Mark from PA Says:

    I need to correct one sentence. “How many men are totally psychologically immature?” What I meant was, Of all men, what percentage are psychologically immature? Totally, referred to the total number of men, not totally immature.

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      Mark, of course it is true that immaturity affects many people, gay and straight, lay and clerical.

      However, most people acquire a degree of maturity by open and frank discussion with peers, by education in school, by observing role models in the family and in the media, and by learning to negotiate relationships by practical experience – usually with the opposite sex.

      The process is complicated for gay men and lesbians because they do not have these established processes of socialization to guide them. Instead, most of the standard processes lead them instead in an entirely opposite direction, in conflict with their inner truth. This is what leads so many young people to attempt to hide in a closet, or worse – even to suicide.

      For candidate priests, the situation is even worse: from the moment they enter the seminary (which at one time could have been as young as thirteen), everything around them was designed to eliminate all thougth and discussion of sex of any kind. More than one priest has observed that newly ordained priests emerge from the seminary with the sexual understanding of a twelve year-old.

      For gay priests, both of these problems are combined. Yes, it is true that sexual immaturity affects all groups, no, I don’t have comparative figures – but professionals in the field, who do have some understanding and experience of the relative incidences, are agreed that it is much higher for Catholic priests, with their enforced celibacy and inadequate training, than it is for other groups.


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