Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Boys beware!

Go ahead and watch this film. I know it's kind of offensive, but watch it anyway. You'll need it for reference.

All done? Good. Look, this film was made in 1961. As late as the 1970s I remember being warned about homosexuals and public restrooms every time we went to Portland to go shopping. Times have changed. Can we agree that this would be repudiated today?

Except in one case, and here's where you need to think back to the film. If you made this film today, and replaced the word "homosexual" with "priest," it would be acclaimed in media reviews and perhaps shown in every school in the country. Put a white collar on Ralph and nobody would question its veracity.

Want evidence? Pull up almost any news story dealing with the Catholic Church. Even on an unrelated story, look down at the reader comments and see how far down you have to read before some yahoo brings up the fondling fathers. It's worse on the actual abuse stories. Some people actually believe that the Church runs schools and orphanages for the sole purpose of keeping its priests supplied with victims. And God forbid anyone should suggest that any accusation might be exaggerated. Better to be a Nazi than a priest in today's climate.

I once asked David Clohessy, the executive director of SNAP (Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests) whether his organization had ever, under any circumstances, admitted that a given priest had been cleared of charges and deserved to be left in ministry. He didn't answer, but a look at the organization's website suggests that they not only haven't, but would consider the whole idea preposterous. An uncharged priest is just a pervert who hasn't been caught yet.

This leads into another post, which I'll put up in a bit.

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