10 April, 2010

Beliefs - A Psychologist Steeped in Treatment of Sexually Active Priests - NYTimes.com

Beliefs - A Psychologist Steeped in Treatment of Sexually Active Priests - NYTimes.com

22 comments:

  1. This is a disturbing article, but the statements by the therapist are not surprising to me at all. If we presume that we cannot treat these sexual deviations (as he says... we cannot treat homosexuality...etc...etc), then it means these men are given no hope. In many cases they may feel that the only thing they can do is to give in to their compulsions. I think more research needs to be done into this, but political correctness prevents it by and large. I am not referring specifically to homosexuality, but to paraphilias, one of which is pedophilia. As far as cases of priests going about with women, this may be sinful, but at least not abnormal (biologically speaking).
    I am convinced that all this is due to the sexual revolution. No one has remained untainted by the laxity in sexual mores. Humbling as it is for the Catholic Church, all the scandals will serve the purpose of purifying the Church.
    All those engaged in living a life of celibacy must remain very close of Mary the Mother of God. This too was very much ridiculed by many in the 70s and 80s, to their own detriment.
    CA
    CA

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  2. Hi CA,

    You write: "I am convinced that all this is due to the sexual revolution."

    If you define the sexual revolution as being an event with its roots in the 1960's, then a closer reading of history will reveal that sexual impropriety is nothing new in the Church.

    I refer you to the following historical summary:

    Sexually active Popes after receiving Holy Orders:

    * Pope Julius II (1503–1513) had at least one illegitimate daughter, Felice della Rovere (born in 1483, twenty years before his election). Some sources indicate that he had two additional illegitimate daughters, who died in their childhood. According to the schismatic Council of Pisa in 1511, he was a "sodomite covered with shameful ulcers."
    * Pope Paul III (1534–1549) held off ordination in order to continue his promiscuous lifestyle, fathering four illegitimate children (three sons and one daughter) by his mistress Silvia Ruffini. He broke his relations with her ca. 1513.
    * Pope Pius IV (1559–1565) had three illegitimate children before his election to the papacy.

    Sexually active Popes during their pontificate:

    * Pope Sergius III (904–911) was supposedly the father of Pope John XI by Marozia, according to Liutprand of Cremona in his Antapodosis, as well as the Liber Pontificalis. * Pope John X (914–928) had romantic affairs with both Theodora and her daughter Marozia, according to Liutprand of Cremona in his Antapodosis: "The first of the popes to be created by a woman and now destroyed by her daughter". (See also Saeculum obscurum)
    * Pope John XII (955–963) (deposed by Conclave) was said to have turned the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano into a brothel and was accused of adultery, fornication, and incest (Source: Patrologia Latina).
    * Pope Benedict IX (1032–1044, again in 1045 and finally 1047–1048) was said to have conducted a very dissolute life during his papacy. Accused by Bishop Benno of Piacenza of "many vile adulteries and murders." Pope Victor III referred in his third book of Dialogues to "his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts. His life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it."
    * Pope Alexander VI (1492–1503) had a notably long affair with Vannozza dei Cattanei before his papacy, by whom he had his famous illegitimate children Cesare and Lucrezia. A later mistress, Giulia Farnese, was the sister of Alessandro Farnese, who later became Pope Paul III. Alexander fathered a total of at least seven, and possibly as many as ten illegitimate children. (See also Banquet of Chestnuts)

    Popes suspected to have had male lovers during pontificate:

    * Pope Paul II (1464–1471) was alleged to have died of a heart attack while in a sexual act with a page.
    * Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484) was alleged to have awarded gifts and benefices to court favorites in return for sexual favors. Giovanni Sclafenato was created a cardinal by Sixtus IV for "ingenuousness, loyalty,...and his other gifts of soul and body", according to the papal epitaph on his tomb. Such claims were recorded by Stefano Infessura, in his Diarium urbis Romae.
    * Pope Leo X (1513–1521) was alleged to have had a particular infatuation for Marc-Antonio Flaminio.
    * Pope Julius III (1550–1555) was alleged to have had a long affair with Innocenzo Ciocchi del Monte. The Venetian ambassador at that time reported that Innocenzo shared the pope's bedroom and bed. According to the The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, he was "naturally indolent, he devoted himself to pleasurable pursuits with occasional bouts of more serious activity".

    Cheers...Martin

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  3. Hi!
    Thanks for the historical account of sinful Popes Martin. If the accounts are true, which I have no way of verifying, as I am not a historian, and have no way of tracing original documents--not that men's sins are necessarily found in documents, then it just goes to prove that the Church is still standing not because of man, but in spite of man. Miraculous indeed!

    The sexual revolution of our era took place in the 60s and 70s. This does not discount the fact that other sexual "revolutions" or times of special "laxity" have not occured before. Like fashions, things come and go.

    Personal sins of course, cannot just be blamed on an era. However, it is true that when a culture considers certain types of behaviour to be socially acceptable, then the thermometer that readily impacts moral conscience of individuals becomes skewed. Just an observation.

    By the way, the history of man's hidden sins must be so horrific, that we will all be verily scandalized at the Last Judgment.
    This is why, on a personal level, it is so important not to ever live a double life. White washed walls on the outside, but vermin on the inside. I try to apply this to myself, and I pray, lest I fall and become much worse than the Popes you have described.
    CA

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  4. How do you propose to roll back the Sexual Revolution of the 60s and 70s, CA? I assume you would propose coercive measures against these libertines, since there is no sign that people are willing to reclaim virtue on their own. How would that work, be specific.

    The Saudis have a very effective morality policing program. It is run by the Wahabi clerics in the Kingdom. Hey, maybe the Catholic Church could do something similar in this country? Wouldn't that be neat? I like their idea of having a King. Democracy doesn't foster moral living. Maybe we could have a King too.

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  5. Hi reddog,
    No, I don't believe in coercing virtue. I think fashionable behaviour and trends come and go on their own. To give you an example, I am encountering more and more young women who prefer to be stay-at-home moms, to the dismay of many feminists.
    There is also a greater awareness of the impact of pornography addiction on behaviour. People themselves seek treatment because they realize they are enslaved. I see a parallel with drug addiction. I am currently helping someone who wants to kick a drug habit. No one is forcing him to seek my help.
    Misuse of sex eventually eats away at the personality, and when the person realizes this, he seeks help to change his ways. If many people seek the same, you have a change in culture. No coercion there.
    CA

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  6. You don't believe in coercing virtue. I'm glad to hear it. That means you are pro choice on abortion. I agree with you one hundred percent. Each person has to make up their own mind about what constitutes virtue.

    You are a lot more reasonable person than I thought you were.

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  7. You can not treat pedophilia, you can not treat homosexuality and you can not treat heterosexuality. Heterosexuality is an attraction between adults and homosexuality (regardless if you are for it or against it) is an attraction between same sex adults. That’s the distinction, between adults. Pedophilia is an adult’s sexual attraction towards children. Pedophilia is one sided. There is NOTHING that can be done to change an adult’s sexual preference. There is no hope.

    I’m sorry that there is no treatment and no hope for changing the fact that a pedophile will always be attracted to children. Anybody who thinks that it is possible should take a long hard look at themselves and ask if they think that it would be possible for them to change their own sexual preference, given the right type of counseling. I don’t think so.

    Given that there is no hope for change, the solution is to remove pedophiles from having access to our children.

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  8. Hi reddog,

    I am not prochoice if by prochoice you mean proabortion. I am, however, for informed consent. I would never encourage a woman to have an abortion, I would discourage her, but I cannot force her not to.

    Kabb,

    I am not convinced that some of these things are unalterable. This is according to some few psychiatrists. I say few, because there may be more who just will not dare to come forward.
    CA

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  9. Psychology is based on man-made theories about how the mind works and would therefore be contrary to what the Bible teaches. Some refer to it as psycho-heresy. It is purely a humnistic approach, which probably has very little chance of success.

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  10. CA, pro choice is NOT pro abortion...it is pro CHOICE, which is strictly the purview of the person making the choice and nobody else.

    "Informed consent" is code for anti choice, which is another name for coercing virtue.

    So...which are you, really?

    Wayne, humanism has been around as long as humans have been around, and will continue to be around for all that much longer until we are gone. How do you define "success?"

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  11. Small Town Guy,
    According to work by Dr Satinover--I know he is not very popular amongst some people-- secular programs that help modify sexual behaviour are more numerous and more effective than popular opinion is led to believe. Spiritual programs that lead people into dependency on God, and support them there, are, according to him, more effective. The best of these integrate into their spiritual approach the best that is offered by psychotherapy as well.
    Any sort of behaviour that is pleasurable is difficult to modify because it involves innate impulses and reinforced choices by which sinful activities become embedded in the brain. According to a friend of mine who is a neuroscientist, any new pleasurable experience, if repeated often enough, creates new brain circuitry, which is why habits are very difficult to break. The only way to break a habit is to stop performing the action. Eventually the brain circuits that were created, if no longer stimulated, will atrophy, and the impulse will become less violent and pressing.
    CA

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  12. Lady Janus,
    I do not believe abortion is ever a good choice, so by your definition, I must be prolife :)
    CA

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  13. CA, it does not matter if YOU think someone else's choice is either "good" or "bad" -- it is not your choice, it is theirs.

    If you are not pro choice, you are anti choice. That is not the same as pro life.

    I am pro life. I am also pro choice.

    And your friend the neuroscientist makes some excellent points. And as a scientist, he's less prone to moralizing over someone else's behavior than those who keep angsting over "morality."

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  14. Lady Janus,
    If you are pro the choice of abortion, that is not the same as prolife.
    You are antilife (at least in some instances) and therefore pro death at least in some instances.
    I am not a relativist. I do believe in good choices and bad choices. What I will not do is force you to make a choice via violent coercion. What I will do is explain to you the reasons why respect for life at all its stages is important not only for the person making that choice, but also for a child in utero (who has no choice).
    CA

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  15. I'm not pro "the choice of abortion." I'm simply pro choice. WHATEVER choice. I'm also pro life.

    "What I will do is explain to you the reasons why respect for life at all its stages is important not only for the person making that choice, but also for a child in utero (who has no choice)."

    No. You won't.

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  16. OK... I won't. I respect your freedom not to want to know.
    CA

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  17. Anonymous

    "Any sort of behaviour that is pleasurable is difficult to modify because it involves innate impulses and reinforced choices by which sinful activities become embedded in the brain."

    I agree. What is needed is supernatural help. Galatians says "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Galatians ch5 vs25,26

    1. First the new birth (born again by the Spirit), a work of God's grace.

    2. Then once born again (we are a child of God and an heir of eternal life), grow in sanctification, which again is a work of God, that is, the work of Christ in the believer.

    By a living faith, which is a gift of God, in Christ and his saving work on the cross, the believer is born again.

    Then we are to walk after the Spirit. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans ch8 vs1.

    This does not mean christians are perfect; but it does mean they have an advocate at the right hand of God the Father, Jesus Christ. (ref Hebrews 10:19)

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  18. "I respect your freedom not to want to know."

    You will insist on turning things about to suit yourself, won't you? Perhaps you should consider that you can't "explain," because there is no such being as "a child in utero." If it's in utero, it is not a child. If it's a child, it's no longer in utero.

    "'Any sort of behaviour that is pleasurable is difficult to modify because it involves innate impulses and reinforced choices by which sinful activities become embedded in the brain.'"

    How about everybody forget about modifying anyone's behavior expect your own? If you think what you're doing is a sin, either stop doing it or stop moaning about it! And quit counting your neighbor's sins -- it's not a contest!

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  19. Hi CA,

    You write: "I am not a historian, and have no way of tracing original documents--not that men's sins are necessarily found in documents, then it just goes to prove that the Church is still standing not because of man, but in spite of man. Miraculous indeed!"

    I would suggest that there may be other more mundane explanations for the continued existence of the Church, for example: Some Catholics are simply in denial about the wickedness within their own Church. They continue to support it without truly examining it or insisting that it reform itself.

    You then write: "However, it is true that when a culture considers certain types of behaviour to be socially acceptable, then the thermometer that readily impacts moral conscience of individuals becomes skewed."

    I could not agree with you more. A culture of arrogance, secrecy and corruption has reigned supreme in your Church for centuries, and this has greatly skewed the conciences of many prelates and Catholics.

    The refusal of many Catholics to acknowledge the Church's wicked history (both near and far) dooms the Church to repeat its errors infinitum. Your blase dismissals are an excellent case in point.

    Cheers...Martin

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  20. Martin,
    I don't think I have dismissed any wrong-doing. I do believe that man has been, is, and will continue to be sinful. This is why Christ had to die for us. The fact that the Almighty had to humble himself to become like us (except for sin), must mean that sin is more horrendous than we can ever imagine.
    CA

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  21. How wonderful it is to have a Savior who cares about His sheep. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." John ch10 vs 27 to 29. KJV

    Those who belong to Christ know even if man should fail us, Jesus never fails. "...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews ch13 vs 5.
    Never.

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  22. "I don't think I have dismissed any wrong-doing."

    Then you're not paying attention to your own words. You dismiss and ignore with impunity.

    ReplyDelete

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