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Dowd’s Vatican II Lunacy

Jim Burroway

April 7th, 2010

Maureen Dowd decided to be the meek, obedient Catholic girl and let her devout brother analyze the Church’s sexual abuse problems. He diagnoses the problem from personal experience just fine:

When I was in the 7th grade, one of the new priests took four of us to the drive-in restaurant and suggested a game of ‘pink belly’ on the way back; we pulled up a boy’s shirt and slapped his belly until it was pink. When the new priest joined in, it seemed like more groping than slapping. But we thought it was inadvertent. And my parents never would have believed a priest did anything inappropriate anyway. A boy in my class told me much later that the same priest climbed into bed with him in 1958 at a rectory sleepover, but my friend threw him to the floor. The priest protested he was sleepwalking. Three days later, the archbishop sent the priest to a rehab place in New Mexico; he ended up as a Notre Dame professor.

But then in the very next sentence, he blamed Vatican II, whose “liberalized rules set up a takeover of seminaries by homosexuals.”  But that ecumenical council didn’t start until October 11, 1962, and ended November 21, 1966. For those keeping score, that’s four to seven years after that future Notre Dame professor was kicked to the floor.

She might as well have invited Bill Donahue to write her column.



April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I read Dowd’s column and it appears that you are right. Her brother’s experience predates Vatican II.

I don’t think that Vatican II brought men who were questioning their sexuality into the priesthood. That had been going on for quite some time.

Imagine being a young gay man who happens to come from a very Catholic family. Obviously, you’d rather not meet a woman, settle down and start a family. (At least not with a woman). So what do you do if you want to remain unmarried but not attract whispered rumors? You join the priesthood, where bachelorhood is required.

The thing I don’t understand is why they turn to little boys rather than to adult men. If you’re going to spend the rest of your life living as a closeted gay priest, sneaking around, can’t you at least sneak around with someone your own age? Another priest, maybe?

That’s what disturbs me about this. I might have some sympathy for a closeted priest who cruised the gay scene. But little boys? Come on.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

This clergy abuse scandal hits close to home for me. The local diocese was rocked with this sort of thing, starting in the 80’s and continuing on until just recently. (Not my diocese; I’m not Catholic).

One of the men, Richard Lavigne has been defrocked, but even that was a fight. His enablers thought it would be too much of a “hassle” to defrock him. That’s what they said anyway. It wasn’t until 2004 that we learned that Lavigne’s main defender–the bishop–was also a pedophile.

A woman named Joanne Connors-Wade wrote part of her book “No Tomorrows” about Lavigne and the church scandal.

When Lavigne was asked during a polygraph test if he was a homosexual, he said no. The test registered it as a lie. The bishop who covered for him had a relationship with a boy that continued into his college years.

It’s really sick stuff. I feel for the victims of all of these perverts. I can empathize with them because of my experience at the hands of a child predator.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

To be fair, the “takeover by homosexuals” comment isn’t in the next paragraph, but two paragraphs later.

But its presence is still bizarre and unsettling. The paragraph consists of exactly one sentence:

“In his book, ‘Goodbye! Good Men,’ author Michael Rose writes that the liberalized rules set up a takeover of seminaries by homosexuals.”

There’s no discussion of how this is relevant to the topics under discussion (pedophilia, clergy abuse, the role of the Catholic hierarchy in concealing abuse). There’s no discussion of how this fits into Dowd’s brother’s disenchantment with the post-Vatican-II church. And, of course, no mention of the fact that gay people are hardly one and the same as pedophiles and sexual abusers.

He might as well have said, “In his book, `Principles of Interior Design,’ Joe Smith writes that homeowners should avoid using saturated colors in small rooms.” It would have contributed about as much to the essay. So why is it there at all? I assume that Dowd’s brother wants to believe that gay men are somehow at fault, but can’t construct a compelling argument to support this. Instead, he inserts a throwaway reference to a book with what sounds like a poorly-thought-out premise, leaving the reader to infer his meaning.

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Joey– you’ve answered your own question here. These are NOT gay men, as we usually understand the term, who are molesting these boys. Gay men are men who are interested in othr adult men. In my whole life, I have met only one gay man who was actually a chicken hawk– he prefered under-aged boys, but 16 was his absolute lower limit. Chicken hawks in the gay community are held in no greater esteem than the Humbert humberts among heterosexuals. The only other males who were interested in underaged boys were underaged boys themselves.

These priests who are oding the molesting are disturbed personalities who probably entered the priesthood as a way of escaping their psycho-sexual difficulties. You should read that bit in BTB about who is actually molesting children. you might learn something.

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

“For those keeping score, that’s four to seven years after that future Notre Dame professor was kicked to the floor.”

Not to mention, I doubt even Vatican II (pace South Park) had a big meeting to discuss the new rules allowing pedophilia.

What has this so-called liberalization have to do with the idea that child molesting was EVER OK?

Timothy Kincaid
April 7th, 2010 | LINK


Your attempts to link homosexuality with pedophilia are not as subtle as you imagine.

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Much more direct than me, Timothy.

Ben in Oakland
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Joey: here is a little logic lesson. It’s called the contrapositive. It has the same truth value as its original statement. so here is your statement:

Original: If a priest is gay, then he should have sex with adults men, not boys.

Contrapositive: If a priest is not having sex with adult men, but with boys, then he is NOT GAY.

Paul in Canada
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I agree with Martin – what on earth does the one isolated line ‘inferring’ homosexuality with pedaphilia have anything to do with the rest of the article? Perhaps it’s as Dowd says right up front – her business is to be controversial. Too bad her business isn’t also to be logical and on point.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

i’ve often heard that rape is more about “power” than anything else… a classic example being male rape in prisons.

i suspect that pedophilia (statutory rape), is also about “power”, not homosexuality.

perhaps the power structures in the catholic church and their effects/consequences/manifestations/whatever could be compared to those in prisons? perhaps not?

…just thinking out loud.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

considering the fact that both girls and boys have suffered abuse in the catholic church… i don’t think it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality.

i think it must be that “power” thing found in rape discourse… or a close relative. i could be wrong.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

It’s all about who they have access to. One of the latest accusations making big news involves girls.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Joey: The Church’s own 2002 John Jay Report found that 53% of the victims were 12 years or younger and 37% were 13 or 14. That’s a staggering 90% of the victims that were 14 or younger. You might be able make an argument that those 15-17 were preyed upon by gays and straights (some were girls), but I don’t know any kids 14 and younger that have the physical bodies of adults. Sorry, the “blame the gays” meme simply won’t fly.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

“Sorry, the “blame the gays” meme simply won’t fly.”

Uh…who said I was “blaming the gays”? I am gay, for crying out loud!

There seems to be a deep denial on this website as to the reality of sexual abuse. Child predators can be gay or straight, male or female. The fact that a gay man sleeps with someone under the age of consent (which can vary from state to state) doesn’t mean that he’s not gay.

My abuser was a pedophile gay who had sexual contacts with men and boys, seeming to see the line between the two as arbitrary and based on the prejudices of the unenlightened. I grew up to be a well-adjusted, non-pedophile gay man who remains in a committed relationship with a man of approximately my same age.

Let’s take a look at Bishop Dupre of the Springfield Diocese, a despicable human being if there ever was one. He began a relationship with a young altar boy and continued it into the altar boy’s adult years. So when the relationship first began, he was a child molester and certainly not a gay man. Nope! Not gay at all, he just had same sex attractions, which is far different from being gay. But by the time the relationship ended, his victim was an adult, which would mean that Dupre had morphed over night into a gay man. When was that night? Well it was during the night of the boy’s sixteenth birthday. The second his victim became legal, Dupre ceased to be a child molester and became a gay man. Does that make any sense at all?

Look, I’m not saying that all gay men are pedophiles. I’m not saying that there aren’t pedophiles who prey on little girls too. But for crying out loud–I could name a thousand examples of adult gay men who cross the line into sex with children, and it’s disgusting.

NAMBLA used to march in gay pride parades until the bad publicity changed their minds. Do you hear me? It was BAD PUBLICITY, not a sense of right and wrong, that ended the partnership between gay pride parades and a known pedophile group. If no one had shamed them into changing the policy, they’d still be doing it. Wake up!

Timothy Kincaid
April 7th, 2010 | LINK


The more you continue to try and link homosexuality and pedophilia (“a thousand examples”), the less credibility you retain.

I had the opportunity to be part of the organization that limited participation in the Pride Parade in Los Angeles many years ago. So when you make your claim, you are not accusing some unknown “them”, but are making an accusation about me. (This was not the first banning of that organization, but we continued the ban)

You are wrong.

Jim Burroway
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Look, I’m not saying that all gay men are pedophiles. I’m not saying that there aren’t pedophiles who prey on little girls too. But for crying out loud–I could name a thousand examples of adult gay men who cross the line into sex with children, and it’s disgusting.

It certainly is disgusting. I won’t waste a single moment disputing that, although I do dispute your ability to name “thousands of examples.” Nevertheless let’s be clear, whether it’s thosands or just one, the disgust is the same.

Research however shows that for every thousands of gay men (identifiable as such according to adult relationships) abusing boys, there are multiples of tens of thousands of straight men (defined according to the same critera) abusing children — including boys, as counterintuitive as that may seem. Again I urge you to familiarize youself with the research as I urged you to do earlier.

To date, the research shows that gay men are no more likely to abuse children than straight men. It also shows that gay men are also not less likely to abuse children either. There is no exceptionalism here, and none of this inalidates your experience.

As for this:

NAMBLA used to march in gay pride parades until the bad publicity changed their minds. Do you hear me? It was BAD PUBLICITY, not a sense of right and wrong, that ended the partnership between gay pride parades and a known pedophile group. If no one had shamed them into changing the policy, they’d still be doing it. Wake up!

Where did you get this version of history? WorldNet Daily? As I recall NAMBLA was kicked out precisely because of objections over the imorality and illegality of their positions, and it was gay people leading that charge. The fact that it had a publicity element was incidental. If the concern was publicity, drag queens and go-go dancers and people with AIDS and Dykes on Bikes would have been given the boot too. Or the entire pride thing would have been scrapped and we all would have gone back into our closets, as that would have been the only “publicity” accepable to “decent” society. To say that gays are incapable of moral outrage on it’s own merits is to reveal one of two things: either you aren’t really gay, or the gays you hang around with as your frame of reference are truly reprehensible people. I would suggest in either case you get out more.

Lynn David
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

There is and ultra-con/fundamentalist conference starting Thursday in Washington DC with David Horowitz, Bishop Harry Jackson, Dr. Jerome Corsi, Cliff Kincaid, Pierre Bynum, Faye Hardin and others. Cliff Kincaid in his newsletter has written the following about his speech on Friday:

I am going to blow the lid off the Catholic Church during my speech at the Jericho conference this Friday in Washington, D.C. I am going to document Barack Obama’s Catholic AND communist connections.

It’s the Marxist infiltration of the church that explains how and why so many homosexuals have become Priests.

Amazing how delusions pass as truth these days.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

You say you could name “thousands of examples” Joey? Okay, go on.

Name exactly two thousand examples.

I’ll be waiting.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK


I would not be so quick to dismiss the link between Vatican II and the current sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.

Vatican II was designed to open up the Church, increase the involvement of the laity and bring down some of the barriers between the priests and their flocks. By using the local language in Mass and other changes, the goal was to humanize the Church and make it more welcoming to all. People were expected to feel more comfortable in Church and in dealings with the priesthood.

The liberaizing trends in the Church (as well as in society in general) led to parishoners thinking more independently about matters affecting their community and the Church. They were less likely to just defer to the parish priest or local bishop or archbishop.

I don’t think that Vatican II led to either the abuse or the criminal coverup of the abuse by the bishops, and as it increasingly appears, the Vatican itself. But I think that several decades after Vatican II, Catholics, first in Boston, then throughout the US, Ireland, the UK, Australia, and now much of Europe, are willing to step forward and criticize not only the pedophiles that committed these crimes, but also the bishops and Vatican officials, who were instrumental in covering up the crimes, and by moving the perpetrators, aided and abetted further sexual abuse of children.

So, I do think that Vatican II is am important part of the sexual abuse scandal, but I think that Vatican II has been a force for good in helping Catholics to step forward, share their stories, and hold these corrupt bishops, cardinals, and quite likely the current Pope, to account.

Ironically, the current Pope (Ratzinger) participated in Vatican II, along with his predecessors: John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI, and John XXIII

April 8th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t think the abuse started with Vatican II, or that the track record of abuse in the church starts even recently. I do think that what has changed is that there is less shame now in reporting abuse at the hands of the clergy in the Catholic Church. My personal opinion is that the Catholic Church is reaping the results of:
1) Hiding and moving pedophile and pederast priests,
2) Stonewalling or preventing outright civil investigations,
3) Preventing civil trials and punishments against the criminal clergy.

Plenty of other faiths have had pedophile, pederast, or even simply philandering clergy. But most faiths expel such clergy, which then face civil trials for their crimes. Has any clergy in the Catholic Church faces criminal sanctions for their crimes?

Andrew Sullivan has been running a series of blog posts covering many aspects of the abuse scandal, including how other faiths have dealt with the issue of abusive clergy. O. His series “How Long Has This Been Going On” investigates how the abuse seems to have been present for a long time, but the reporting of the abuse is what is new to the last several decades. (

The Catholic Church hierarchy works against the acceptance of homosexuality in society, as we’ve seen with their work condemning gay relationships and same-sex marriage. They’re deliberately conflating homosexuality and pederasty because it helps deflect criticism against the way they’ve handled this abuse against a minority that they’re working against anyway. Between claiming ignorance, it’s a great strategy for maligning a group they’re working against anyway.

April 8th, 2010 | LINK

Consider the following excerpt from the debate on the Sexual Offences Bill in the House of Commons, London, on 11 February 1966. The Bill proposed to de-criminalize homosexual behaviour between consenting adults over the age of 21 in private. The Member of Parliament speaking was William Shepherd, who was at that time MP for Cheadle, Staffordshire, and who was fanatically opposed to any liberalisation of the barbarous laws on homosexuality then in force in England and Wales, and the object of this part of his speech was to attack the judgment of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, who had declared his support for the Bill.

“Some little time ago a clergyman in my constituency was sent to prison for six months for an offence against a boy. It came to my knowledge that there had been some question of previous conduct. I made inquiries and as a consequence it came to my knowledge that the Church of England re-employs clergymen in parish duties who have been convicted of offences against young persons. This is not true of the Free Church [i.e. the Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalist, Presbyterians and other non-Anglican Protestant churches] OR, I UNDERSTAND, OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.” [Emphasis added]

The explanation, of course, is that the Roman Catholic Church moved heaven and earth to make bloody sure that priests guilty of “offences against young persons” WEREN’T convicted, and covered up their crimes by quickly and quietly moving them on to other parishes.

If only he’d known! I expect that Mr Shepherd has now passed on. If not, I’d like to throw this back at him.

April 10th, 2010 | LINK

Here is the view taken, from a veteran observer of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal, that *the backlash*, that the hierarchy’s fundamentalism in response to Vatican II inside the RCC is to blame for the extent of the current disaster to them.

James Carroll
Rescue Catholicism from (the) Vatican.

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