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Déjà vu all over again

Déjà vu all over again,” New Blackfriars, 100, 2019.

The latest sex abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church involving Cardinal McCarrick is compared with that of 2002 in the archdiocese of Boston, and that of 2012 involving Cardinal O'Brien of St Andrews and Edinburgh. Attention is given to aspects of the latter in part because of the privileged perspective of the author. Thereafter, sociological and other reasons are proposed as to why the Catholic priesthood has been afflicted with cases of sexual abuse and sexual impropriety. The issue is considered of the genesis of homosexuality, and apriori assumptions are rejected taking it instead to be an empirical question. There is analysis of the common distinction between (homosexual) orientation and activity, and of its relevance to the issue of admission to seminary formation. Noting that Vatican documents and statements do not refer to ‘orientation’ but to ‘deep‐seated homosexual tendencies’ (tendenze omosessuali profondamente) these notions are related to those of disposition and activity, and it is argued that the important distinction is between orientation and the rest. Finally, it is noted that both traditional and progressive Catholics are often given to idolatry about the Church and to Pelagianism about their faith and practice.

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