When I was in 5th grade my parents got divorced. My father remarried his secretary and my mother, essentially, remarried the Catholic Church. I chose to live with my mother, probably because years of watching Disney movies had programmed me to believe stepmothers were evil people who just waited for your father to die so they can usurp your family name. That was a shame because my stepmother is actually a really nice lady. The Catholic Church turned out to be a much crueler stepparent.
I wasn’t molested and I can’t begin to image the psychological trauma that the boys who were have gone through. But I did have many sleepless nights where I was kept up utterly terrified because I was told I was going to hell. And what was the great crime against God that warranted the eternal damnation of a child? It was because I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about sex every seven seconds when I was going through puberty. I really thought there was something wrong with me. I thought I was an evil person who deserved to go to hell. It wasn’t until I got to high school before I started to see the holes in this logic.
I have been a recovering Catholic now for more than six years. And with the revelation that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, protected pedophile priests when any decent person should have immediately called the police and got them the hell away from children, finally confirms what took me years to realize. The Catholic Church doesn’t know the first thing about sexual morality.
I can still remember the priests in my catechism class piously preaching under the authority of God about the sin of impure thoughts, masturbation, fornication, homosexuality, and birth control. And, if that’s not enough, they also have their sex calendar which tells married couples which days of the month God allows them to have sex. And so all while I was convinced that God was going to punish me for my biologically induced thoughts, they were thinking it would be alright to keep a few child molesters on the payroll if it would help avoid some bad press.
Of course the Catholic Church is not without their merits. They are the original architects of the university system. They provide food and shelter to people in impoverished communities. And many priests choose to ignore a lot of the fire and brimstone parts of the Bible and are great mentors to the children in their communities. But it’s time for the church to admit that they don’t have all of God’s rules about sex. Because I’m done losing sleep over what god thinks about my sex life. But maybe there’s a fifth grade kid out there who still is.