Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Pope on Pedophile Priests

Below is a letter I wrote to the New York Times in response to an article on the pope addressing the issue of pedophile priests in the Catholic Church (“Pope, in U.S., Is ‘Ashamed’ of Pedophile Priests,” by Ian Fisher and Laurie Goodstein, April 16, 2008).

This letter is a revision version of an earlier letter I wrote here.

To the Editor:

The pope reportedly has difficulty understanding the actions of his church’s pedophile priests. He would do best to honestly examine certain Christian-Catholic doctrines, specifically their fundamental ideas on man and sex that give rise to pedophiles.

Christianity starts with Original Sin, the doctrine that tells man he is corrupt by nature. Along comes Catholicism to tell him sex is materialistic and thus debased, devoid of spiritual meaning, a “necessary evil” permitted only for procreation among married couples. And so Catholicism deems certain other actions as inherently immoral: pre-marital sex, masturbation, homosexuality and birth control -- because the Bible or its earthly authorities (i.e., the popes) say so.

Moreover, according to Christian doctrine, man is damned not only for his sexual acts, but also for his thoughts, as when he covets his neighbor’s wife. Accordingly, a good Christian must repress sexual fantasy because just that mere thought is morally indistinguishable from a sexual act. Notice, too, that Christianity’s ideals are Jesus, a man without sexuality, and the Virgin Mary, who conceived him without the alleged stigma of sexual intercourse. Priests and nuns embody these ideals in their vows of celibacy.

Meanwhile, Catholics understandably rebel against such a repressive sexual philosophy. Yet some of their religion’s most devote practitioners, priests, essentially revert to another mindless false alternative: sexual hedonism. They who try most to adhere to their faith’s contradictory, anti-man, anti-life ideals must fall short of achieving them and thereby feel unearned guilt and low self-esteem. These consequences can, for some, manifest themselves in an attraction for those they can feel some sense of power over: children.

Ultimately, the pope should understand that Christianity-Catholicism is devoid of, even hostile to, the actual virtues and values that lead to a healthy sex life — independent thought and egoism, and a view of sex as a prideful celebration of one’s rational achievements.

Joseph Kellard
East Meadow, NY

Joseph Kellard is a journalist and columnist living in New York.

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