I try to avoid religious commentary, but — Good God! — what is it about confession that the Catholic hierarchy can't seem to grasp?
The grotesque epidemic of priestly pedophilia that has roiled the church has been under assessment in a five-year, $2 million study commissioned by our country's Catholic bishops. At long last, the report is out — but not the truth. Instead, the panel concludes that this horror is not the fault of the church, nor even of the abusive priests. Rather — cue the heavenly music — the sixties made them do it.
Yes, it's the Woodstock defense! The diabolical theory of this study is that "social chaos" created by the tie-dyed sexual revolution of the 1960s so discombobulated otherwise chaste and honorable men that they used their religious authority to rape 10-year-olds and teenagers.
Dios mios, have mercy. That conclusion is as perverted as what the priests did and as inexcusable as the hierarchy's ongoing denials and coverups. Start with the obvious: Rape is not about sex, it's a gross abuse of power. Second, I was around in the 1960s, and while I couldn't seem to attract much free love for myself, I can testify that the sexual revolution of the time most definitely did not even contemplate — much less advocate — old men in dark robes molesting children who'd been placed in their care.
The church's report is as silly as the right-wing's current fiction that all would be well in America if only the sixties had never happened. Excuse me, but enormous progress was made in those years by women, civil rights champions, environmental advocates — and, yes, by American culture itself. The Pope should shelve the nonsense in this report and lead the world in a new liturgical chant: Pedophilia is not a social habit that one adopts; it's a sickness. Deal with it. Honestly.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.