God’s Holy Apostolic Church of sex criminals

As an atheist I have little use for clergy. But I recall a positive vibe when Howard Hubbard, then just 38, became Albany’s Bishop in 1977. A “street priest,” he seemed a good guy, with his head on straight (for a priest). When, after he retired in 2014, allegations of sexual abuse of youngsters began dribbling out, I was actually skeptical. Howard Hubbard? Even Hubbard too? Then the drips became a flood. (He denies abuse.)

It’s hard to be shocked any longer at how pervasive sexual criminality is among Catholic clergy — and how reprehensibly the Church’s highest echelons have handled it. Recently the Albany Times-Union reported that Hubbard acknowledges that (its words) the “Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany engaged in a decades-long cover-up of chronic child sexual abuse committed by its priests.” Via the now familiar paradigm of handling such cases not as crimes for law enforcement but, rather, as personal peccadillos, sending priests for counseling and treatment, and often transferring them to other parishes with fresh victims to abuse. The harm to those innocents engendered scant concern.

The paper reports that one teenaged boy molested by a priest, Gerald Miller, was so traumatized he killed himself. His aunt phoned Bishop Hubbard, who said he knew about the situation. She was so shaken by his next words that she recalled them exactly: “Father Gerry is being sent to New Mexico [a treatment site] where they have more respect for priests.”

Religion is a suspension of rationality. Were such beliefs not widespread, anyone espousing them would be diagnosed as insane.

Sex in particular turns inside out the brains of the religious. Nothing is more fundamental and natural to a human being than sexual feelings. Simply because that’s how nature ensures reproduction. Which is literally all that nature “cares” about; otherwise there is no nature. Thus powerful sexuality was built into us by evolution.

To be human is to go with the flow of that. To fight it is a denial of our essential humanity. Yet that’s exactly what Catholicism in particular seeks to do, making sexual feelings seem dirty and wicked, piling guilt and shame on believers, with terrorizing threats of eternal torture.

Wrestling with their messed up take on sexuality has long plagued Christians. Exemplified by Saint Augustine begging God to make him chaste — but not yet. And it’s also exemplified by Catholicism’s priestly celibacy rule. Surely a very misguided solution to the “problem” of the human sex drive. Asking priests to suppress it completely is asking for trouble. Especially when that’s bound to attract to the priesthood men whose relationship with their sexuality is already troubled.

And they’re guilty not only of crimes harming innocent victims. They are also frauds. Preaching what they cannot possibly believe. How could anyone actually believe sinners burn in hell while committing monstrous sins like raping children? But maybe that’s too harsh. They may be so morally mixed up that they’re blind to the cognitive dissonance, or else somehow convince themselves God condones their crimes. Religion does tend to scramble ethical instincts in that way, as evidenced by the parade of faith-inspired horrors throughout history.

5 Responses to “God’s Holy Apostolic Church of sex criminals”

  1. Don Bronkema Says:

    Chaste, but not yet: Smiles of a Summer Night, Bergman, 1955 & One Summer of Happiness, Mattson, 1951–each a chef d’ oeuvre. Carnal guilt–noxious effluent: Plato thru Paul, Origen, Augustine, Calvin & Edwards to sundry Bible-pounders quondam & quotidian. Euro ultramontanes & their US abgenitors especially seem, like Origen, orchiectomic. Sigmund Der Grosse is still germane, but salvation looms in neuro-CRISPR, as he foretold. Dubious? Recall Archimedes, Aryabhata, Darwin, Freud, Godel & Shannon. The stars await our progeny. Meanwhile, the wise say, “nihil humanum a me alienum puto.” [Publio Terencio Africano, 165 CE]. Let the bold rebut.

  2. David Lettau Says:

    The radical anti- hedonism of Christianity comes mostly from the inventor of Christianity Paul,who turned a Jewish messianic set of beliefs into a Greco- Roman mystery religion. As for reasoning with the adherents of religion, UFO cultist,or supporters of ex- president Trump who still believe he won the election,given the fact that cognitive dissonance seems to be the normal human condition,it is usually a waste of time

  3. Don Bronkema Says:

    Usually? Always. Rationis never persuades, but exemplary behavior does in time. IPCC says there is time, but we must act forthwith & w/fortitude. Even the ‘isms’ can be hurled to oblivion in time. This nonagenarian’s survival contra montane odds suggests to him that conditions could be better a century hence. Dubious? See his Guinness-record 158,410-page correspondence & drive on!

  4. David Lettau Says:

    You are right.So I suppose was Voltaire who referenced the religious and Trump supporters of his time when he opined,”The earth swarms with people who are not worth talking to”,

  5. Don Bronkema Says:

    Ecrasez l’infame, then & now…all swine to the abattoir!

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