Larry asks about the 'few bad apples' argument among the good priests who should not be judged by the crimes of the few.
An old friend of this blog and frequent poster on Sylvia's Site, Larry Green asked a salient question on that site a while back. Here was his comment:
How is it that so many Catholics ( laity and clergy) can go on and on with the pathetic claim that ” there are only a few bad apples?” “All”of the “good” priests suffer so deeply because of a “few bad apples” they say. Why do those claims appear to be so empty and disgusting? If “all” the “good” priest’s suffering is so terrible because of these “few bad apples”, then why aren’t they doing something about it? Why don’t we hear them standing up and demanding justice for victims and changes to take place immediately? Why is it that all we here from “all” the “good” priests is that we shouldn’t be making hasty judgments about accused? Why is it all we seem to hear from” all” the “good” priests that they will hire lawyers and sue anyone who speaks out and voices there anger and disgust with these predators ( pedophiles and deceitful conspirators alike). Why do the “all” the “good priests spend most of their waking hours monitoring and scrutinizing every word that good people who’s ,concern is to seek justice,say.
The answer to Larry's question is easy to comprehend. I would first ask Larry how many priests that he could heard of and could name from memory with a bit of prompting? I'm certain that list would run to more than a hundred. Then I would ask him to name those from that list who stand convicted let alone accused from that list. If the priests of his corner of the Ottawa Valley are typical of others around the globe, there would be VERY FEW if ANY groups of people on the planet who would have as good a record as offered by Catholic priests through the ages.
I would also remind him of some basic facts, some of which he often points to himself:
-that celibates are no more likely to become pedophiles than would any other person who was unable to engage in sex. To claim the contrary is to say that nothing can be more important to the human person than achieving an orgasm on a regular basis and that any societal and prohibition must be thrown aside lest one morph into a sexual predator. This seems to be a necessary corollary of reducing the human experience to such a primal defect in our nature.
-that what one does with their sexuality is a function of the maturity of their character and their creativity to chastely live it out in a manner that accords with his commitments and convictions as a priest. It is a few who are demonstrating a defect in both their psychological and spiritual maturity that have harmed children.
-that the issues of pedophilia has nothing to do with one's sexual orientation. That there is no connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
-to date there have only been three cases that have generated criminal or civil litigation. There may be more in the future. God only knows. Given the publicity these cases generate, one would hope that any other victims who can identify a living priest who is a pedophile would step forward if only to ensure that others do not suffer as they have. But as it stands today 3 priests out of the hundreds who served the Diocese in parochial ministry during the lifetime of anyone alive today who have failed to meet the minimal standard of legal conduct.
-Priests have in fact FAR SURPASSED any such depraved assessment of our conduct pastors and men, as we will continue to do whenever and wherever our services are required by believers. People might suspect priests in general in the wake of these recent revelations, but they are comfortable in trusting the 'Father' who lives and services in their local parish. The fact that it is their phone that rings in the middle of the night to comfort and aid families in their moments of need speaks VOLUMES about the inherent trust the past and current good conduct of ALL but a few.