I do not like raging diatribes. I believe that it is my responsibility as a writer to criticize when I feel it is necessary to criticize but to do so thoughtfully, reasonably, and with what I humbly consider to be the resources of truth. But today I am deeply angered and profoundly saddened by what I have read in the dicoesan newspaper which arrived in my mailbox this afternoon. What has been printed in this edition is so ignorant, so irresponsible, and so insensitive that I feel I must now seriously consider whether I can be associated with a church that propogates this brand of homophobic misinformation and still maintain my personal integrity.
At this moment I cannot decide whether to vomit or to weep.
The title of the article on page 12 of The B.C. Catholic is "Homosexuality, pedophilia related: cardinal." The subhead is "Most clerical abuse cases involve attraction to male adolescents, Vatican spokesman confirms." The reader does not have to go beyond these two lines to be alerted to the ignorance of the editors of this newspaper as it is a well-known and documented fact that pedophilia involves the abuse of pre-pubescent children, while ephebophilia, the abuse of post-pubescent children, is an entirely different disorder. It does not matter whether the editors know the difference or not; to juxtapose these two lines is egregiously irresponsible.
The article begins:
The Vatican Secretary of State [Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone] told reporters in Chile that no study has ever shown a connection between celibacy and pedophilia, but many psychologists and psychiatrists believe there is a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
At no point in what follows does the reporter give any indication that the general response to Bertone's statement has ranged from outrage to outright ridicule. Nor does it state that when the independent report on clerical sexual abuse commissioned by the USCCB was released, one of the architects of that report was asked directly by an American bishop if the research of the reporting body indicated that sexual abuse was more likely to be committed by a homosexual; she replied that the research produced no evidence of a link between sexual abuse and homosexuality. Has anyone at The B.C. Catholic read this report?
If the reader of this article has not looked at the facts that lie behind the crisis of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, not to mention the scientific research on sexual abuse in general, he or she will be led to believe that both pedophelia and ephebophilia are linked directly to homosexuality. One does not have to be a genius to see that the real purpose of the article is to use the cardinal's profoundly ignorant statement as further "evidence" to support and promote the teaching of the Church that homosexuality is "disordered."
I am sick at heart and I frankly do not know where in the Church to turn for healing. If the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vancouver can issue forth such despicable ignorance, it is not likely that my pastor or any other priest is going to acknowledge that this article is a willful and hurtful example of what is truly disordered: the teaching of the Church on homosexuality.
As I said, I do not like diatribes. I apologize for this one lapse.