An article in the magazine section of today’s Boston Globe posits that the Roman Catholic church’s position of homosexuality may have played a role in the recent clergy sex scandals. What is missing from this analysis is that the scandal is not about gay priests having sex, it’s about priests having sex with young boys. And adults, gay or straight, having sex with children isn’t about sex – it’s about power.
When Boston was in the grips of the clergy sex scandal, I asked a friend of mine, a former priest and Franciscan friar, what was going on.
“As a priest you vow to accept poverty obedience, chastity. What’s the flip side?” he asked.
I shook my head.
“Power, sex and money.”
It’s not the Roman Church’s teachings on homosexuality that’s wrong; it’s the Roman Church’s teachings on sexuality that’s wrong. It’s not gay priests having sex that’s wrong. It’s priests having sex with children that’s wrong. If the scandal was about sex it would have been about priests having sex. (According to the Globe article, between 28 and 56 percent of priests are gay; if gay priest wanted sex, finding a willing partner won’t have been a problem.) But it was about adults – adults in positions of power, using that power to abuse children. It’s about power. And it’s really, really wrong.