The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan is one of the nation's foremost Catholic commentators, and one of its foremost gay commentators. Today, in response to the bombshell New York Times story about the pope's involvement in a coverup of a Wisconsin abuse case, Sullivan combines these two aspects of his identity in a highly personal and thoughtful post on the roots of the Catholic abuse scandal. He concludes with a call for the pope to resign and for the Church to abandon celibacy. It's well worth reading in its entirety here. If you read one opinion piece on the Catholic abuse scandal today, this should be it.
ON BEING A GAY CATHOLIC TEEN
What do you do? I can tell you from my own experience. You bury it. But of course, you can't bury it. So you objectify sex; and masturbate ... Your sex life becomes completely solitary.
ON HOW SUCH TEENS BECOME PRIESTS
Now suppose your powers of suppression and attachment to religious authority are also strong - perhaps stronger because you feel so adrift you need something solid to cling onto in your psyche. And you know you cannot marry a woman.
ON WHY THEY PREY PARTICULARLY ON CHILDREN
Many of these tormented men have arrested sexual and emotional development. ... Sex for them is an abstraction, a sin, not an interaction with an equal. And their sexuality has been frozen at the first real moment of internal terror: their early teens. So they tend to be attracted still to those who are in their own stage of development: teenage boys. And in their new positions, they are given total access to these kids who revere them for their power.
ON WHERE WE GO FROM HERE
It's hard to imagine a deeper crisis for the Catholic hierarchy than this. If the church is to survive - and it will because it is the vessel of eternal truth - it will have to go through a wrenching transformation.
Beginning with the resignation of this Pope and an end to priestly celibacy.