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It’s been almost 125 years since the story, “The Priest and the Acolyte” was published in a collegiate, gay magazine, “The Chameleon,” in London, England.
It was quickly labeled banned, shocking reading. The tragic tale was actually written in 1894 by John Francis Bloxam, a gay Exeter College undergraduate.
The so-called romance, once attributed to Oscar Wilde, is about a Roman Catholic — or Episcopalian — priest and an altar boy who fall in love and eventually die in each other’s arms by a touching agreed-upon suicide.
Since that “fairy tale” point of demarcation, so to speak, all hell has broken loose for the RC Church worldwide, because of priests who sexually abuse boys, and occasionally girl acolytes and youth parishioners, in, and out of, their dioceses.
It’s no exaggeration that the cost of lawsuits, punitive legal actions, embarrassment, resignations, incarcerations, defrocking and attempted cover-ups by priest relocations has cost the Church billions and billions of dollars.
One published estimate this year alone has reached $8 billion, and that 300 priests in Boston were recently identified as sexual abusers!
And, a week ago, the New York attorney general’s office issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state to embark on an expansive investigation of sex crimes committed and covered up by Catholic priests. And on rare, but impious occasions nonetheless, by offending 12-inch ruler nuns.
A few journalists, sexologists, social workers and gay priests, to be sure, saw the handwriting on the wall, almost two decades ago, when an innovative and shocking blog first appeared: bishopaccountability.org.
It started in June of 2003, and the blog was kept by the courageous, lone voice of journalist Kathy Shaw. For 15 years, she researched, reported and exposed priest abuse of the young. She died this year, age 72.
The site has grown from cautious documentation, including breaking news coverage and articles in several foreign language newspapers, and first-person accounts by victims whose families have been denied counseling, legal action and advocacy in too many instances where a victim’s story has little or no validity. Rendered so because “God’s servant — the priest — is “without sin.”
Today, the blog is forthright in its exposure of abuse wherever it is uncovered worldwide, including numbers and names of perpetrators, cities where they serve, the number of times they have been shifted around or relocated, where they are imprisoned, and the shocking, skyrocketing dollars it has cost.
Categories include: survivors’ accounts, international coverage, bankruptcy, settlements, seminaries and data on the crisis. Under the accountability category, users can find accused bishops, removed bishops and their criminal charges.
Readers are encouraged to send photos of survivors, offenders, affected parishes and important meetings and events. Along with clippings and other memorabilia “to post online.” (One, perhaps, is made to wonder whether, the new formating — bannered by the pictures of respectable appearing Catholic clergy — and invitation to readers to participate — is either an embarrassing showbiz plus for the RC Church, or an ongoing, shaming, subliminal minus.)
It’s obvious that the priesthood attracts a high percentage of gay males. Some important reasons might include:
– Priests are not expected to marry, but to appear to remain celibate. This is a perfect cover for a homosexual male.
– Priests — at least before the advent of public confessions — heard daily repetitious confessions, many times of a sexual, mastubatory nature, from Catholic school boys. Some priests actually watch and collect porn. Some imagine it secondhand.
– Priests in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and sometimes 70s and 80s, are male and human and presumably in reasonably good health. Sometimes they are subject to the demands of non-reproductive biology. They too, get horny.
One also wonders. Was priest/acolyte abuse ever a ploy to fill the RC priesthood ranks, and save the altar boys from the greater sin of having sex with women outside of marriage?
Don’t let your left-behind, biblical brain know what your right-at-hand is — or, supposedly isn’t — doing. Ora pro none-of-your-business! Et cum spiritu tuo a go-go boy! (WWJD?)