The priests were the good guys, likeable chaps who outranked the nuns and might even be counted on to protect us from them. Father M, the youngish priest who joined my local parish when I was in seventh grade, was a jerk whose cocky attitude suggested he watched TV cop shows more than he read the Bible, but the other priests - Fathers Carl, Rebal, and the grand old man of the parish, Father Wencenslaus A. Uhlir (a friend of mine and I used to joke that the A probably stood for Archie), were kind, gentle men. Father Uhlir liked the ladies, at least that was the rumor, maybe because his eyes bulged when he looked at them. He had eyes that bulged, however, so that didn’t necessarily mean the women inspired a bulge in his pants.
There was never the slightest suspicion, however, that any of the priests had a thing for children, but in the past decade the Catholic Church has been rocked by a long parade of charges that priests have been sexually molesting young boys. Last month in Philadelphia, a jury convicted a priest and a parochial school teacher on sexual abuse charges brought on by a 24-year-old man who claimed he had been molested years earlier when he was an altar boy. A second priest had been convicted earlier and is already doing prison time. This is just the tip of the iceberg, or should I say the church steeple?
Americans, so naive about sexual matters even as they are obsessed with them, have offered some possible solutions. The most popular is the most bizarre: forget the vow of celibacy and let priests marry.
Who do these people think a priest with a yen for children should marry?
A 10-year-old boy?
Or do they believe pedophilia can be cured by fixing up the pedophile with a grown woman?
© 2013 Brian W. Fairbanks
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