Fucking Catholics

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Memo to Cardinal O'Brien: WOW, THAT WAS FAST.

And on the sixth day, he pretty much admitted fucking or trying to fuck other dudes.

In a move that makes me realliy, really happy I wasn't in any position to tackle this story last week, British Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien admitted to the sexual misconduct he didn't admit to last Monday, when he resigned because of the sexual misconduct charges he fervently denied at the time.

The misconduct, according to the Observer and my own "allegation-to-English" translation, include hitting on a dude, grabbing at a dude, really grabbing at a dude, and what sounds like at a bare minimum a handy with a dude who came in for counseling, although O'Brien's admission didn't mention any specifics. But, you know. Four dudes admitted to complaining. So that's just the tip, if you will, of the iceberg.

Let's deal with the actual admission first, and then let's deal with the underlying cause, shall we? ACTUAL STATEMENT TIME!

"I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal. To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness. To the Catholic church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. 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."

First, it's very, very easy for one's sexual misconduct to fall below the "priest, archbishop, and cardinal" standard. I mean, the guy's 75 years old. He could have had one moment of weakness at age 48 and rubbed one out to the "Papa Don't Preach" video and still technically fallen below those standards. But at least he apologized, and doesn't get to vote for the next Pope, and gets to live out a pastoral retirement in Scotland in what would be the absolute worst reboot of "Father Ted" ever, because unlike all those other guys voting for the new pope, O'Brien... got caught.

But at the end of the day, it's really the Catholic Church's fault. Not to absolve O'Brien, since he was part of that church's power structure, but if the third season of Downton Abbey has taught us anything, it's that being a gay guy and trying to hit on other gay guys in an environment where you have to constantly pretend you're not gay is seriously risky. You combine the constant repression and uncertainty with a rigid power structure that puts young men under the tutelage and counsel of older priests, well, you've got a system ripe for miscommunication, awkwardness, and, yes, sexual predation.

As with all things in life, the answer can be found with George Takei. Like Cardinal O'Brien, George Takei is 75 years old. Like George Takei, Cardinal O'Brien (probably) likes guys. Both have been through varying degrees of hardship. But one of them is a happily married cultural icon in a pretty reasonably age-appropriate relationship. It's like a 17-year gap, but who among us would dare say George Takei doesn't deserve a younger guy? Anyway, the point is, George Takei is happy, and Cardinal O'Brien is stuck leaving under a cloud of controversy thanks to furtive under-the-robe action. And that's because George Takei is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and Keith O'Brien is a member of the Catholic Church.

And it's a shame, because California hasn't always been that tolerant of gay people. I'm sure Takei spent lots of years, much like O'Brien, in the closet and afraid of getting caught. But Takei's world changed in time for him to be happy. Maybe the Catholic Church will change in time for its young gay priests to be happy, too. And maybe I may have to see my doctor tomorrow about a severe outbreak of airborne rectal simians.