Sunday, October 23, 2005

An unholy purge?

A reader writes:

This "Commentary" [note: requires free registration by the Philadelphia Inquirer] was published hot on the heels of the uproar created by the grand jury report and in the midst of editorial sympathy towards striking down statutes of limitation that prevent charges from being filed and lawsuits filed. It interested me for several reasons. First, it caused me to wonder if there might not be some sort of loose coordination within certain groups so that anti-Church articles appear at about the same time (such as the Catholic Charities piece and others you cite). Second, there are several factual errors circulated here by editors who are sympathetic to attacks on the Church. For example, Briggs says "The first count of scapegoating is the shameless effort to blame homosexuality for child abuse. No credible study supports that view, but the Vatican reinforces that erroneous conclusion anyway. It's flagrantly unjust." This ignores the existence of the only "credible study", the John Jay College USCCB report, that found that over 80% of the allegations concerned homosexual abuse of adolescents. Also, for example, I doubt - but can't prove - that Paul VI ever "sided with nature over nurture".

I can't answer this lady's questions. A "loose coordination" of anti-Catholic mainstream media articles? Maybe. But I'm thinking that Catholicism is, as has been said many times, the last acceptable bigotry target, and maybe that's all there is to it. Maybe not.

Maybe, as the editorial headline writer put it, without thinking, that there is an "unholy purge"...against the Church, that is, not against "chaste gays."

Which gets me to my only point. The column, as the reader indicates, is filled with holes. The biggest one being the term "chaste gays." That's like saying "dark light," or "male woman," or "cool heat." Or "square triangle." You get what I mean. There's no such thing.

The opening graph is sort of a giveaway, I think:

Picture a journeyman priest called Father Cronin who has served the church faithfully and well for decades. He is gay - a matter he shares only with God - and has heard that the Vatican intends to stop homosexuals at the seminary door and root out gays who had made it inside. He wonders, "Will they come for me next?"

"A matter he shares only with God?" Doesn't look like it, does it?

If you can offer anything to help the reader -- and me, too -- fire away. Thanks.