I’m sorry, what? Remind me, what kind of sexual conduct apart from no conduct at all is supposed to be the Catholic standard again? At least officially, and ever since it was decreed in CE 1139 at the Second Lateran Council, and last reaffirmed in Canon Law in 1965? To this day, with the exeption of so-called permanent deacons, who are allowed to marry and then not obliged to celibacy if they are married when ordained as deacons, all Catholic clerics have to live a celibate life, and that includes anything from “impure thoughts”, to masturbation, to sex with other people, be they male or female or whatever.
So I’m really confused over the media coverage of this latest admission of sexual misconduct by a high-ranking Catholic priest in Scotland:
O’Brien – who steps down as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh – initially denied the allegations, which date back to the 1980s.
“To those I have offended, I apologise and ask forgiveness,” he said in Sunday’s statement. “To the Catholic Church and people of Scotland, I also apologise.
“I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic Church in Scotland.”
He confirmed in his resignation statement that he will not take part in the papal election conclave, which has been overshadowed by controversies surrounding O’Brien and other cardinals caught up in sex scandals.
He had been due to resign on his 75th birthday later this month but said on Monday that the pope had decided it should take effect immediately.
The allegations include claims that one priest received unwanted attention from O’Brien after a late-night drinking session, Britain’s Observer newspaper reported last month.
Another priest reportedly claims that O’Brien used night prayers as cover for inappropriate contact.
Seems to me that late night drinking sessions and night prayers as opportunities to get laid may not have been what Jesus would have had in mind, or the Second Lateran Council for that matter. But admittedly, the standards expected from members of the Catholic clergy could hardly fall any lower than what they already are, so this latest news really comes as no surprise anymore. How handy that the allegations will be handled internally by the Catholic Church, and only after the new Pope has been elected. It remains a fact that if you are a sexual predator, your best chance of going free is to join the Catholic Church.