"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Monday, October 15, 2007

Quis custodiet...

The ancient Romans had a lot of pithy, tough-minded sayings that every educated person ought to know. One of my faves is Sic transit gloria mundi, which means: "Thus passes the glory of the world," for the benefit of that distinct minority among my readers who don't know Latin. We can appreciate that one anew in these days of American Idol and of conservative, Republican members of Congress caught propositioning attractive young men. Which reminds me of what happened in the Vatican late last week, which in turn reminds me of another Roman saying: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies—"Who will guard the guards themselves?" The whole thing is very Roman indeed.

I would rather not quote the story, which I've just linked to. The "ick" factor is part of it, but what really sickens me is the sheer gall shown by the offender, a senior official in the Vatican dicastery in charge of "initiatives that promote the sanctity and development of the clergy." He insists he was just going undercover as "a crook among the crooks" and was being framed by the real gay cohort of clergy whom he claimed to be "investigating." There is no doubt in my mind that the man is a charlatan. He just happened to get caught pulling the levers behind the curtain.

I'm afraid this explains better than any speculation why the all the sexual abuse of (mostly) boys was covered up for so long. There is a fraternity among adult males who crave the flesh of (chronologically or emotionally) adolescent males. They don't have to conspire directly; they just know where to go, when to speak, and when not to speak. I've not only read about that subculture but witnessed it repeatedly for most of my adult life. And the largest sphere where I've witnessed it, not just read about it, is the Catholic clergy. Mayhap the Lord was on to something in keeping me out of the priesthood.

The Pope surely knows all about the phenomenon. He's read a lot of files and used the word 'filth' more than once. He probably did not know about Monsignore Stenico in particular, but neither do I think he is surprised to hear this news. He already knows pretty much what he needs to know, about this fellow and many others. But what can he do, beyond what he's been doing already? He's laicized some of the worst offenders; he's put Fr. Maciel under virtual house arrest; he's made clear he wants confirmed homosexuals kept out of the seminary; indeed he wants to bar from ordination any man, gay or straight, who does not accept the teaching of the Church about homosexuality and sodomy. And yet we have this Stenico fellow in the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. So one must ask: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? The Pope is occasionally infallible but never ubiquitous.

But God is always both.

Ah, that's it. The fear of God. That's what's got to get into them. Will our German Shepherd put it there?

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