Thursday, April 24, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you this morning.
JOE: Again I have been busy early.
CALLIOPE: What is occupying your brain in the wee hours?
JOE: I have a column to write for the Daily News and decided to write it on priest sexual abuse.
CALLIOPE: What prompted that?
JOE: The pope's remarks as well as frequent articles on the subject in the papers.
CALLIOPE: What do you plan to say?
JOE: I want to talk about what I think has been left out of the discussion.
CALLIOPE: Which is?
JOE: The whole issue of what explains why priests, or anyone else for that matter, might engage in sexual abuse.
CALLIOPE: Why priests specifically?
JOE: Statistics I have seen suggest that priests abuse at about the same rate as other men in the general population. But they are vowed to celibacy and consciously choose to renounce sexual expression as a way to free them to concentrate on their ministry. Yet this does not seem to diminish their abuse to a point any lower than the rest of the population.
CALLIOPE: So what is your point?
JOE: I think that in order to find an appropriate response to sexual abuse, whether among priests or others, it is important to understand why it happens. People can speculate about it, but the motivation lies in the thoughts, perceptions and emotions as well as behavioral control of those who engage in such practices. So far no one has been willing to explore this issue with priests although there has been some attempt to interview other abusers. My book, The Pastor's Inferno, was designed to stir up some conversation about the issue but so far no one seems to want to talk about the whys. I guess I'll just keep trying to get some interest stirred up.
(Lisbon Skyline)

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