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Discussion 1 to Meditation 952
The Church doesn’t need reasons -- only excuses.

by: Paul W. Sharkey

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In a former life, with a former wife, I was once an advisor to a Catholic Bishop on issues including the sexual “temptations” of his priests. Happily I was never confronted with a case involving child molestation; perhaps those, if there were any, were just kept from me. However, there were more than enough other incidents involving women in the parishes to provoke enough moral disgust for me to eventually leave the Church – not so much because of the incidents, bad enough in themselves, but rather because of the almost universal attitude that it was always the woman’s and never the priest’s fault for such “transgressions.”

The attitude was basically one of: “Those damned women are always trying to seduce our priests” -- forget the fact that it was the priest who took a “sacred vow of celibacy” or who should be stronger and more morally, emotionally, and spiritually mature than those to whom he “ministers.”

In one case a young Catholic woman came to see me because she was having an “affair” with a young priest and was, not surprisingly, having problems of conscience about it. With that young woman present in church, that very priest gave a “hell-fire and brimstone” sermon on the evils of adultery one Sunday after having slept with her just the night before --- and continued to try to have an “affair” with her even afterwards.

In another case a priest was “counseling” a very emotionally vulnerable woman whose husband had been abusing her. The priest somehow managed to convince himself – and tried to convince her -- that seducing her – literally trying to have sex with her – would “comfort her” and “be in her best interest,” disregarding completely any number of moral and professional duties on many levels he had to her -- and again, his own “sacred vow of celibacy” which I guess he was willing to “sacrifice” for “her best interests” – what a loving guy! This poor woman was, needless to say, only more emotionally devastated as a result of his attempts.

All this, however, is simply prelude to the following: Largely because of these kinds of incidents I finally had had enough and left the Church, as well as somewhat relatedly becoming divorced from my wife. Of course the Catholic Church does not recognize “divorce” but they nevertheless granted an “annulment” of our marriage of almost two decades. My wife and I had been unable to produce children.

But wait, I then eventually re-married; that is, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I started “living in sin.” My new wife and I are well beyond the age of being able to produce offspring. Nevertheless, for reasons totally beyond my comprehension the Church wanted us back, despite my well-known heretical views on various issues of theology, and wanted to “solemnize” our marriage.

Yep, you got that right. You see, “The Church” doesn’t need reasons for what it does -- only excuses. I don’t think I have ever seen anything more morally, let alone conceptually (no pun intended) inconsistent. Ever since coming to that realization I have been able to live happily ever after in sin and out of the Church.