To the Editor:
Seminaries of all denominations and continuing clergy formation has to deal with its hetero, homo, and “ambigusexual” issues rather than teach that sexuality can be prayed away or is merely an issue for the Catholic Church.
Future clergy should be taught how to make healthy boundaries, protect themselves from predators, report wrongdoings, and if need be defend themselves against false accusations. And there needs to be an accountability of the psychiatric community that has released predators they have considered “healed”.
There have never been serious or otherwise well-defined courses on the sexuality of religious leaders. The belief is that one can pray away any sexual desires. And, the common perception that clergy must be “held to a higher standard” that we would never hold ourselves, entertainers, or our sports people to meeting.
The pat answer of “they should allow Catholic clergy to get married” will not address the issue of homosexuality or pedophilia in any church or religion. And, as we know, marriage does not solve all ills.
The overreaction would be to have a site like“bishopaccountability.org” that has clergy and religious listed even if exonerated. No other religion or school system is held to such a standard whereby lists of people accused are there forever. The site tends more toward an occasion of slander rather than advocate of “freedom of speech”.
The creation of “lay councils” as overwatch groups that can be either alt left or alt right (to coin Republican and Democratic party terms) can lead to a congregationalism that can be rather divisive.
This approach has yielded the annual division of Christian denominations based merely on who gets along with whom rather than what is believed (over 30,000 different ones in the U.S. alone). But in the case of the Catholic Church, the awful few makes press and Catholics are rather easy target if not for the front page news they get when something goes wrong, but for the fact Catholics do not have an anti defamation league to end people’s careers if slandered or falsely accused.
The judicial system has two tracks- civil and criminal. Criminal clergy should be prosecuted and never allowed to minister again in any religion. Multimillion-dollar settlements in the civil cases that go beyond psychological help and money lost from not being able to work, hurt congregations (as their tithes support given churches) and end up being more about revenge rather than a search for equity.
Many Christians believe that they are “called to ministry”; in this vein, if they ignore when they are called out of ministry, they must face the consequences of society.
The “some” is not the all, and the majorities that do well barely make press anymore — the last were Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa, who were awarded Nobel Prizes for peace.