Should archbishops and cardinals have sexual “conduct” at all?
The most senior Catholic cleric in the UK, Cardinal O’Brien, has just announced to a no longer surprised world, “there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.” Wow. But, what else could a catholic cardinal define what is said to be fondling and kissing seminarians?
Somewhere I feel sorry for this 75 year-old gay man who chose priesthood as his vocation, at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in his country. That was probably his way of trying to control, deny and thereby perhaps kill his sex drive - one that society chose to punish.
O’Brien’s sex drive being what it is was stronger than his will and he is alleged to have abused his position to make advances to some men junior to him. This is undoubtedly wrong. It is wrong to take advantage of your position for sexual gratification. It is also wrong for a man of the church to live a lie. Nobody, by the way, suggested child abuse or pedophilia.
Perhaps, however, our eminent cardinal would not have found himself in this terrible position, had society - led by Catholic and other religious institutions and by lawmakers all over the world - not made homosexuality illegal? Had we not been brought up that gay sex is immoral and disgusting? Had society not pushed homosexuals into deep closets hoping that they might suffocate in them?