Saturday 20 March 2010


it's all about willies, apparently

I don't usually worry myself about what the christians get up to, as long as it makes them happy. But sometimes I wish they'd just stop their silly nonsense. Recently a Catholic adoption agency was given official approval to discriminate against gay couples. As a spokesperson said, "the ruling supports Christian groups which want to operate freely and according to traditional values with regard to the nature of family".

And, while we're talking about traditional values, this week the Pope has been apologising to the Irish people for the sexual abuse of children by the clergy. Though people implicated in the abuse, by doing their best to keep it covered up, are still in positions of power in the church.

Over on Radio 4 yesterday, Donal McKeown, Bishop of Down and Connor told the Today programme that people have become more conscious of the reality of abuse. But he added that "it's not more prevalent among Catholic clergy than any other part of the population."

How very wrong and insulting of him. Of course it's more prevalent among the Catholic clergy than any other part of the population.

I was sharing my sense of outrage at his presumption with a friend yesterday. She's a single mother, so presumably a bad parent in the eyes of the Catholic church. And of course, as both a single parent and a trans parent myself, I'm several days into unsuitable country; in fact, according to the Pope, I'm a threat to civilisation. Quite awesome, the power I evidently wield.

Back then when that story broke, I spent a while looking into what the Catholics were getting up to, and found my way to Joanna Bogle's blog, where this business was being discussed. It was quite unwholesome, I must say. Here's an excerpt from the discussion that was going on...

Malcolm McLean said...

Homosexuality is a bit like alcoholism. You cannot become an alcoholic without exposure to drink, and you can't become a homosexual without exposure to sexual activity with the same sex.

However some people won't become alcoholics despite fairly heavy drinking, whilst other will be addicted after only moderate exposure. Similarly some people are more disposed than others to act on homosexual stimuli. A lot of people engage in a bit of homosexual behaviour, say at boarding school, then drop it once they get access to the opposite sex, whilst for others the early sexual experiences set the pattern for later. In both alcoholism and homosexuality once the bahaviour is established it can become difficult to break, with steadily more extreme actions / higher does required to obtain the same effect. Actions and images that once repelled become desired. (This is also true of pornography, it is not unique to homosexuals by any means).

When someone says "I have a homosexual orientation" what he really means is "I am addicted". However that aspect of our psychology is God-given, if you like. It was He who chose that addiction should exist.

2:11 PM

Blogger Dru Marland said...

Presumably, then, the same is true for heterosexuality too? -this strikes me as a depressingly narrow (not to say jaundiced) interpretation of sexuality of any shade.

2:50 PM

Anonymous Don McGovern said...

Justin writes "but I don't feel it is". Fortunately, as a Catholic, I'm taught to deal in objective truth rather than subjective feelings. And buggery is about as natural as trying to feed oneself by poking food in one's ear. If you feel that's natural - fine - but it aint.

10:01 PM

See what I mean? They're obsessed, these poor folk; they can't seem to discuss things without bringing the physical act of sex into it. I came away feeling rather dirty, and gave up visiting Aunty Joanna's blog. I'm sure she's nice as pie herself, but it's the company she keeps.

And as for Donal McKeown, if you live on a dunghill it is a mistake to assume that everyone else lives on either a similar or a worse dunghill.


  1. Do you think that a gay couple would wonder into a catholic adoption agency?

    "The nature of a family"... I can think of a few "proper" families that hide behind that. I've taught a few children from traditional families that had been screwed up by their parents (literally too). You don't have to be homosexual or trans or orange with blue spots to manage that.

    One of my colleagues spent her weekends with her partner trying to give a severely handicapped boy a proper life outside the institutions where he was placed. There was no way the authorities would let them adopt or foster him.

    I did have a blogging friend who was an ex-priest. From a Roman Catholic family he mixed up his disinterest in women with ‘the calling’. He left when he sorted himself out, but it does make you wonder how many others choose that way for the wrong reasons. Of course homosexuality does not make anyone a paedophile.

    In France they did an experiment with classes of children who were under five. The children were given a sex education film to watch (suitable for their age). While they were watching a group of observers could quickly see the children who knew more than they needed to at that age. We saw the results; amongst them one little boy was gagging at the sight of an adult penis (I think that they only saw drawings). The families where then interviewed.

    Last thought from me and I know that others have had similar experiences. When we were in our early teens my sister and I were given a lift home from Sunday School from quite an important man locally. My sister who looked at lot older that she was and he knew how old she was, sat in the front seat of the car and he put his hand on her thigh. She moved it away and when we got home we told my father who just said; ‘You don’t need to take any notice of him’. I don’t think that there is more abuse nowadays, it’s just taken more seriously. So it should be.

    I do feel very strongly about this, One of my pupils was raped by her father and I can still see her afterwards, she was destroyed.

  2. I'd like to know his evidence for saying it's not more prevalent amongst clergy - did he cite any?

    What is certainly different is that no other set of abusers was systematically protected by its employers and put in positions where they could continue abuse with fresh victims. There aren't many other cases either where victims were pressured into signing vows of silence, or where the revelation that this happened is not considered a resigning matter by one of the priests involved (who now happens to be head of the church in Ireland). Add to this the fact that the same shower still feels justified in lecturing other people about sexual morality, and you have a particularly concentrated hypocrisy pate. The Onion put it well years ago, but it's as true today...,101/

  3. The preoccupation with penetrative sex seems to infect the entire Church, not just guilt-ridden cstholics. Auntie Joanna refers in her blog to that truly weird idea of Christ as groom and Church as bride, explained (not!) in ... There are surely better ways of rendering in metaphor notions such as fidelity and commitment. Even a 'husband/wife' metaphor could avoid the bizarre idea of physical consummation between newlyweds coupling for (according to protocol) the begetting of children. I wonder how churchgoers actually visualise their Lord wedding His own church, taking it to bed, etc. Nightmare.

    It is desperately sad for the human race that shame and guilt can provide the foundations for a widespread belief system; sadder still when the shame and guilt is projected by messed-up individuals onto others.

    That [unfounded] defence about the prevalence of abuse among priests being no different from the avarage misses the important point that if you set yourself up as a moral and spiritual leader, such as a priest, with the most private and intimate access to people, you had damn well better be morally beyond reproach, and held to far higher standards than the rest of us poor sinners.

  4. I very much doubt that a gay couple would walk into a Catholic adoption agency, Anji, but it would be nice to think that conditions could change enough for it to be possible eventually... I look at the various domestic arrangements of K's contemporaries, and sometimes am a bit surprised at how well the children are managing in what looks to me, as an outsider, to be a bit of a mess. At least it's not an abusive mess; I remember the daughters of a neighbour in Portsmouth who were very fearful of grown-ups and flinched if you made a sudden movement. Fortunately, the father in that case absented himself and then wiped himself out in a motoring accident...

    He didn't cite anything to justify his claim, Charlie; he just radiated the idea that he was right, and viewed the Church's examination by outside bodies as a generous concession. He came across as either out of touch, or cynically confident that the Church's power was inviolable.

    Thanks for the link; most apposite :-)

    Quite so, Suzzy.

  5. Yes, because homosexuality obviously and absolutely = "buggery" = unnatural (because I say it is) = objective truth (because I say it is).

    The food analogy reminds me of the final part of Stephen Fry's impassioned contribution to the recent Intelligence² debate on Catholicism:

    It’s the strange thing about this church, it is obsessed with sex, absolutely obsessed. Now, they will say we with our permissive society and our rude jokes, we are obsessed. No, we have a healthy attitude, we like it, it’s fun, it’s jolly, because it’s a primary impulse it can be dangerous and dark and difficult, it’s a bit like food in that respect only even more exciting. The only people who are obsessed with food are anorexics and the morbidly obese, and that in erotic terms is the Catholic Church in a nutshell.

  6. He puts it so well, doesn't he? Thanks for the link!