Monday, February 25, 2019

Draining the Tiber swamp

The Vatican just wrapped up a sex summit in Rome. It won't change anything. The hierachy will not and cannot solve this problem. One reason is because the leadership is a large part of the problem. To drain the swamp, the hierarchy would have to do the following:

i) Rescind the policy of mandatory clerical celibacy 

ii) Put a moratorium on homosexuals in holy orders

iii) Defrock all known homosexuals in the priesthood and hierarchy 

Essentially, start from scratch. Do a reset. But that's not going to happen.

There's no intrinsic reason why the Catholic church can't drop the requirement of mandatory clerical celibacy. But it's very pigheaded about that. 

One reason it won't put a moratorium on homosexual entrants to the priesthood is because many bishops don't think homosexuality per se is wrong. At best, some of them think homosexual activity is wrong. And many don't think consensual homosexual activity between adults is wrong. 

They won't clean house in part because that would require many members of the hierarchy to step down. In addition, there aren't enough straight replacements if all the homosexual monks, priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, cardinal archbishops (and popes) were to resign en masse. 

If the Catholic church revoked the failed policy of mandatory clerical celibacy, that might deepen the recruiting pool of straight men. But it's not clear if that would be enough. For modernism is another factor in the death spiral of contemporary Catholicism. Many men are not inspired by liberal theology. That's not a cause to live for or die for. They need something more inspirational (heroic, idealistic) to aspire to. 

On another front, most erstwhile Catholic institutions of higher learning have become militantly secular and progressive. Those use to be a pipeline and support service for Catholicism, by training the next generation. Not only is the Catholic church in disarray, but the scaffolding is gone. 

Within the foreseeable future, the Catholic church will remain a malarial swamp. And there's a lot more bad news to come. 


  1. ///Many men are not inspired by liberal theology. That's not a cause to live for or die for. They need something more inspirational (heroic, idealistic) to aspire to.///

    Organizations within Roman Catholicism such as Opus Dei actually do preach something like "live heroic lives of the faith". The problem is, those organizations are so far on "the outs" that they may not have any influence at all in the current hierarchical environment.

  2. Steve, I'm interested, what exactly is your position on what the Catholic Church is? Is it Christian, with unnecessary and harmful accretions? Or do you think that if any Catholic is a Christian, it is accidental to their Catholicism (or because they aren't really Catholic, when it comes down to it)?

    1. Catholicism is complex. Syncretistic, like Buddhism. Traditional misinterpretations get locked in, which function as a false premise, so that the Catholic theology worsens as it builds on on one false premise after another.

      The misinterpretations take on a life of their own, detached from the original meaning of the text. Like the internal development of a literary or cinematic tradition (e.g. Star Trek, Arthurian legend, Faust legend, vampires), where the mythos can undergo creative permutations because it lacks factual constraints.

      In addition, Catholicism is reactionary, making stuff up as it goes along. Shortsighted, so that it has to reinvent itself from time to time, adapting to unforeseen situations.

      Catholicism has some residual nuggets of truth, but they've been recontextualized and adulterated by the framework.

  3. Here in Australia, cardinal Pell has just been convicted on child sex offences. A fish rots from the head down.