Intrigue @ St. John’s

Why do these dudes always look so anemic?

Can you spare some change?

This morning when I woke up I opened up (figuratively) the morning paper to see what the hell is going on in this crazy world of ours.  When lo and behold I see that there was some craziness that went down at St. John’s University here in NY.  If you don’t know St. John’s is a Catholic University, and yesterday one of the Chaplains was arrested for sending smut to what he thought was a 13 year old boy.  (Side note it would have been much cooler for him to get caught on the show To Catch A Predator.)  Money quote:

When NYPD investigators showed up at the cleric’s on-campus apartment in Murray Hall yesterday, Plock argued that he sent his X-rated videos only to consenting adults, a law enforcement source said.

“His face is clear in the video. It looks like he filmed it in his bathroom at St. John’s, and he sent it to someone he thought was a teenager,” the source said.

Damn this stuff doesn’t really surprise me much any more, and instead of making some kind of cheap joke about priests and little boys (way too easy to do, and I like my jokes to be a bit more challenging).  Instead I will take this opportunity to throw down a bit of history.

In case you don’t know celibacy among priests was a personal choice, and was not a mandated by the church.  The push for a mandate for celibacy among the clergy began in AD 304 at the Council of Elvira, however, it wasn’t until the Lateran Council in 1139 that The Church really endorsed and enforced the rule.  It is impossible to know whether there were problems among the clergy after this with homosexuality and pedophilia, but some saw a link between celibacy and these behaviors:

Protestants early on took exception to celibacy, arguing that it promoted masturbation, homosexuality and illicit fornication. Martin Luther singled out masturbation as one of the gravest offenses likely to be committed by those who were celibate. “Nature never lets up,” Luther warned, “we are all driven to the secret sin. To say it crudely but honestly, if it doesn’t go into a woman, it goes into your shirt.” American Protestants in the 17th century, fearful of radical religious sects like the Shakers that celebrated celibacy, came out foursquare against the practice.*

In our digital world secrets and indiscretions become increasingly hard to hide, and cover up.  The Church needs to readdress this issue, and move into modernity.  There are quite a few issues–like birth control–where The Church’s decrees are anachronistic.  I’m not going to rail against Catholics or people’s beliefs, but it is hard to defend some of these beliefs.  Not everyone can be celibate, and not everyone should.  People should be encouraged to use birth control especially in light of dangers of infectious disease in our world.  The Church could go from a position of holding the line against modernity to, in some places in the world, becoming a leader in promoting social welfare.  Will it happen?  I doubt it especially with the current Pope, but it would be nice to someday see The Church use their position to help promote positive change instead of holding people’s feet to the fire and promoting fear and anachronistic beliefs and traditions.

Time for me to get off my soapbox, but sound off in the comments below and let me know if I’m off my rocker, completely correct (haha yeh right), or somewhere in between.

*Information was taken from George Mason University’s Historical News Network website.  Read the full article about celibacy and the Catholic Church here.

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~ by Perpetual Memory Loss on October 11, 2008.

3 Responses to “Intrigue @ St. John’s”

  1. i agree with you and by any chance did this chaplain hit on you! haha

  2. Haha, ummm no. I think this guy likes them young.

  3. Wow, that is some crazy stuff.

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