Friday, February 25, 2011

Abuse and cover-up
The language of clerical sex abuse and cover up
February 25, 2011

A recent Philadelphia Inquirer commentary written by a retired priest recognizes the docility of the response of Philadelphia-area Roman Catholics to the recent indictments of three priests for rapes of two boys ages 10 and 14 and of a priest in a supervisory position for child endangerment.

The author is spot on about Catholic docility. In Philadelphia, like elsewhere in the United States, there is no widespread, sustained, take-it-to-the-streets anger about priests raping 10- and 14-year-old boys. There is no strong anger like we have recently seen in Cairo, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and the state capitol of Wisconsin. That kind of anger flows from something vital to the average person, namely a better quality of life or a fatter government retirement check, not something inconsequential, like the rape of the neighbor’s 10-year-old boy.

The Inquirer commentary is on the surface learned and sophisticated, but with further analysis is wimpy, effeminate, and tame. In other words it’s clerical. It uses limp language, indicating it was written by a priest who lacks cajones, which the clerical formation process is designed to suppress or eliminate. The author doesn’t use direct, everyday, no-bullshit language that conveys the depth of the real problem. This kind of learned but lukewarm writing is what one would expect from commentary by a retired priest in a “family newspaper,” where the use of direct, even vulgar language that conveys tough truth is verboten. The Philadelphia Inquirer is, one must remember, a mainstream American newspaper whose primary objective is to maximize profits by selling products and services to mainstream Americans. The Inquirer is not Bill Maher on HBO or Kathy Griffin on Bravo or YouTube.

Patrons of neighborhood bars and writers of blogs have no such constraints on the language they use. Like Maher and Griffin, they often use real-world, salty language to describe the mushy consciences of the Silent Catholic Majority. The members of this non-exclusive club, both clergy and laity, have outsourced their spirituality and critical-thinking skills to the Vatican in exchange for the Vatican’s guarantee of eternal life. This guarantee is reinforced weekly in a carefully controlled ritual where the “Faithful” are served their dose of an unholy Kool Aid in exchange for donations that keep the barque of Peter afloat. What many of the Faithful fail to realize is that their donations support priests who rape their sons and daughters (mostly sons, for those of you who have been on another planet for the past decade) and the bishops who shield these monsters from criminal prosecution. You know the men I’m talking about: the men in charge, the men who wear dresses and funny hats, the men whom Mafia godfathers use as role models.

The real men in my neighborhood bar whom I remember from my misspent early years, would often, after drinking enough to lubricate their larynxes, use very direct language when sharing their opinions about the big issues of the day.

If today they were discussing the current insanity called the Clergy Sex Abuse and Cover Up Crisis, they would call this clerical and lay Silent Catholic Majority wimps, pansies, pussies, whores, and suck-ups. They would say that members of this Silent Catholic Majority are more concerned about being buried in consecrated ground than in protecting little kids from pedophile priests who f— little boys. They would say that Catholics should send the bishops a message that this shit has gotta stop. Like right now.

Frank Douglas | Tucson, AZ | February 24, 2011

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