(Archive - Week of December 18, 2004)
All About Sex - Not X-Rated
This entire piece is about sex. If that bothers you, skip to the Sports Section or go watch paint dry.
Have you noticed that there has been no mention of the Bill-and-Monica escapade recently? You remember: President Clinton had some pants-on sexual involvement with Monica Lewinski, and then he lied about it. Even though some believe she was the instigator, he was impeached by the Republicans in the House, and chastised in every newspaper in the country. We had a wonderful Clinton-hating orgy. And the letters and columns kept reminding us about it until recently.
What has changed? Well, there happens to be an ongoing scandal within the Catholic church – that messy problem of some priests sexually abusing children and then the bishops trying to cover it up to protect the church's reputation.
The pope summoned the cardinals to Rome for discussion. It makes Bill Clinton's transgression seem kinda small by comparison. The Clinton flogging has stopped, and Clinton haters must hate that.
Just recently a $100 million clergy sex abuse settlement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and 87 plaintiff brought some measure of relief to long-suffering families on Dec. 2, but legal experts differed over whether the blockbuster deal would help resolve a huge backlog of cases in California. We remember that last year $85 million was awarded to 552 victims of clergy abuse in Boston. Some legal experts said the deal would bankrupt the diocese or require the closure of many of its 55 parishes.
Those of you who write hateful letters about Bill's fling with Monica - would you like to share your thoughts comparing that with a priest abusing children sexually? And while you're at it, compare Clinton's cover-up (the lie) with the church's attempt to cover up. Don't be bashful - I'm sure you have an opinion.
A similar sex scandal emerged having nothing to do with any religious organization. It involves the American Boychoir School in Princeton, N.J., a non-sectarian school which educates boys and trains them to be singers. Many of the boys who went there several years ago are accusing the choirmaster and other staff members of systematic sexual abuse.
One interesting fact that has come out of these child abuse scandals is that the events are nearly always reported several years after they happened. Various reasons are given, usually having to do with the child being ashamed, embarrassed, afraid of not being believed, afraid of punishment, etc. How can a kid accuse his priest or choirmaster of such a thing? Apparently he can't until he grows up.
It made headlines when the United States Supreme Court ruled that “virtual” child pornography on the Internet is legal. That's computer animated stuff and doesn't involve real children, but, from what I read, it looks pretty real.
This same Supreme Court struck down the 1966 federal law banning child pornography, saying that it violated the First Amendment right to free speech. “The right to think is the beginning of freedom,” said Justice Kennedy who wrote the majority opinion.
Personally, I'm in a pickle. I don't like pornography being openly available, but I'm a strong supporter of free speech. Attorney General Ashcroft was predictably unhappy with the decision, but, you know, he paid big bucks to put clothes on a semi-nude statue in the Department of Justice building. How do you other supporters of the First Amendment feel?
What is the answer to the ongoing Catholic clergy sex abuse? I have often wondered why a young person would want to give up a life where he could find a wife and have a family. Would it be that they were gay and would be protected by becoming clergy in the Catholic church?
This is my answer to Catholic sex abuse: Allow marriage for all in the Roman Catholic church and that would include the Nuns. This is the way it's done in all other churches.
President Bill Clinton did not ruin the life of Monica. She was a grown woman and a willing partner. The Republican House of Representative impeached him for his behavior, but the U.S. Senate found him NOT GUILTY. When he left office after two terms, the American people gave him a 65 percent approval rating.
The world needs a housecleaning of the men in power of the Catholic church. The Pope is too old to see the need for change. Pressure should be applied for him to retire and return to his native Poland.
May 2002 -- President Bush meets with the Pope and expresses his concern about sexual abuse scandal.
Retired Catholic priest Paul Shanley, arrested for child rape.
Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland resigns, after acknowledging that his archdiocese paid $450,000 to settle a claim of sexual assault made against him.
( Pope John Paul II has warned that the increasing difficulty of recruiting men to join the Catholic priesthood in the U.S. represents a "stark challenge." The Pontiff said the problem must be urgently addressed and suggested one day each year should be dedicated to praying for vocations. The Pope said Bishops should pray for an increase in vocations.)
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