When a reader commented that he would pray for, love and forgive Ellis, Ellis replied by asking if he could forgive the sexual predators? And, Ellis wrote, if everything is forgiveable, why is there a God? This blog is my reply.
I have never seen a writer who commented back to his commenters. That's great and a bit brave, Mr. Ellis.
Forgiveness is essential part of Christianity. In the Our Father, which Christ taught us to pray, we pray "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." We will be forgiven only as much as we forgive.
For example, Christians have gone so far as to act kindly to their guards in the Roman Coliseum and in Nazi prison and death camps. That's one price of following Christ, forgiving our trespassers. Hard, but not impossible, with Christ as our model. He forgive those who tortured, mocked, and crucified him.
Part of the healing of the victims of abuse might be for them to forgive the ones who damaged them. A Church father I read in the Breviary recently said that unforgiveness is like a rusty arrow tip poisoning the soul.
Forgiveness does not imply that no wrong has been committed or that the person should not be punished.
What the sexual predators (priests or not) have done is heinous. The priests who do such things are worse than other pederasts and child sex abusers and should be held to a higher standard because they abused their roles and sacreligiously broke their vows of chastity. And they brought shame to the Church and to other good priests, damaged many lives, and led many to despair and lose their faith, and gave ammunition to the Church's enemies.
I make no excuses for them. But I want to remind you of a few things.
Do you remember that at the time when most of these crimes were committed, reputable psych journals were publishing articles claiming that sex between adults and children can be healthy and positive for the child? Removes sexual repression and all that rot?
It stunned me to hear that kind of filth coming out of the lips of a sedate woman Ph.D. student in psychology I knew in the 1980s. I read the articles myself.
A lot of people doubted their right to disagree with the psychological establishment. Our society has deified psychologists for many decades. We are too enlightened to believe in prophets, unless they are shrinks.
In addition, for another example, remember that Kinsey published research from pederasts who were abusing children from the time they were babies. One of the Kinsey Institute "researchers" was a Nazi who did his experiments in camps. Kinsey's website still has writings that claim that the only real damage to a child who has been abused by an adult occurs if the mother finds out and makes a fuss. To his mind,that was the only trauma. Kinsey not only ignored the obvious physical damage to anuses and undeveloped vaginas, he denied the psychological damage.
Why has everyone found it in their hearts to forgive Kinsey? And to forgive the sickos who were trying to push the sexual "freedom" agenda as far as normalizing sex between children and adults?
All of the homosexuals with whom I was once friends believed that children should be "liberated" from sexual restraints, and they would love to be the "liberators," and would be if the occasion arose. I know kids who have been approached in park bathrooms by homosexuals. Should we go after all homosexuals too because of that? Or should we just go after those who knew about those actions and didn't report them?
I would be all for consistency.
Rock Hudson had parties to which beautiful young boys were brought for his pleasure. He was not the only movie star or theatre person to participate in sex with young boys, the younger the better. The same thing was done by John Donahue, director of the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis would invite boys to his parties to be shared among his pervert friends with a threat that they would not get parts in the plays if they did not play along. Their friends knew. But they didn't turn him in.
Let's have equal retribution for all. When are you going to exhort people to shoot movie stars, theatre directors, and psychologists and to bomb Hollywood, theatres, and wherever it is that psychologists hang out? And don't forget to shoot the ones who knew but didn't call the police!
The psychological establishment gave people with those leanings perfect justification. That philosophy may have also given some bishops a fear that if they took radical action against predators they would be considered narrow minded and unenlightened.
In those years, practically everyone (Catholic or not) practically deified psychologists and some bishops (sinners who truly also violated their roles as shepherds of the flock) trusted the "science" of psychology more than they trusted their Church's own consistent moral teachings.
Psychologists had not yet "discovered" that sexual predators cannot be cured. So treatment was always recommended as the appropriate response. I have heard stories of those treatment centers, which were flawed because they didn't teach chastity appropriate to the priests' station in life. At the same time, psychologists were preaching the goodness of fantasizing to priests and religious. It doesn't take a high IQ to realize that what you think about you become.
Jesus said that what you think about in your heart, you have done.
I even saw a sign at the Minneapolis convenstion center once advertising a MBLA (Man Boy Love Association) convention. Unbelievable, but true!
But nowadays people who hold those perverted views are keeping their lips zipped until the excoriation of the Church is finished.
I ask you to answer this fair question. If all is forgiveable, why have a church, or a God, at all?
All is forgivable, but not all is allowable and not all is excusable. You made excuses for the victims who went on to victimize others. Perhaps the predators you despise had been victims themselves?
Don't mistake me. Anyone who does these things deserves to be removed from contact, jailed, or otherwise punished and prevented from committing future crimes. To be consist, of course, punishment would have to include the victims who went on to victimize others.
You mentioned Graham Greene was called an agent of Satan. All I've ever seen is that his flawed doctrine in the Power and the Glory was called into question. And Pope Pius XII actually supported him. Graham was an unfortunate Catholic who let his pursuit of sexual "freedom" drive him out of the Church, out of his marriage, and out of decent life. His promiscuity was loathsome and pathetic.
Or do you have a different view?
I think there were several different classes of bishop. Some were complicit in the same crimes and would not act. Some were practicing homosexuals, some of whom were sympathetic to their pederast peers and, even if they were not, their peers had too much dirt on them for them to act against them.
Another third class is the bishop who was chaste himself, but who was swayed by the psychological establishment. He would either believe the canard that the abuse was not really all that serious, or would believe that the right thing to do was to send the perpetrator to treatment, and give him another chance. Since we are supposed to forgive 70 x 70, then perhaps this might explain the multiple reassignments of some priests. A member of this class of bishops should confess his own sins and not hide his culpability for his own years of cowardice behind stringent new regulations to protect children. After their innocence has been stolen.
Another class of bishops was perhaps naive. Chaste and sincere himself, a bishop in this class most likely believed that priests who sinned this way were capable of repenting and amending their lives. Priest predators like all child molesters are cunning and charming, and they fooled adults and superiors alike. They probably fooled good bishops too.
I'm hoping for the day that some of the bishops who were in the third class, the ones who trusted psychologists more than their own Church's clear teachings, will come forward and confess instead of pointing their fingers only at the priests.
I'm also hoping for the day that all sexual predators are held to the same standards by people like you, whether they are priests, ministers, scout leaders, parents, relatives, or free-thinking journalists.