The recent decision by a majority of voters in Ireland to support the inclusion of marriage-equality in our constitution continues to echo around the world, particularly amongst dismayed Christian fundamentalists in the United States. The positive outcome in the referendum is viewed by many in that quarter as a defeat in the alleged – and presumably global – “cultural war” being waged against their faith by an alliance of “secularists” and “sodomites”. However, while I can understand the religious literalism that makes some Catholics and Protestants object to homosexuality (while blithely ignoring other, more inconvenient, biblical restrictions), I find it difficult to comprehend the antipathy to women, and to mothers in particular, that so many have embraced in recent years. There seems to be a deep-sowed distrust of the “female”, whether biological or spiritual, that is positively Medieval in form amongst an increasing body of contemporary Christian “thinkers”.
Note this critical analysis on the changes in the Roman Catholic Church by R.T. Neary, chief of the “Pro-Life Massachusetts” group, writing for the conservative website Renew America:
“Seminaries were over-flowing, but few Catholics were willing to point out a feminization which had started to take place in the clergy. Rock-ribbed pastors were becoming less evident, and the sermons, now homilies, became more folksy. Stories about the influence of a priest’s mother on him became more common. Mention of the influence of his father was a rarity.”
So are mothers now viewed as a dangerous and debilitating threat to Christians of the extreme right? Is this a revival of the long-gone days when all women were marked as the daughters of Eve, untrustworthy and corrupting, in contrast to the Christ-like sons of Adam? However the reasoning of Neary is about to get worse – far worse – as he explains away the last decade of child-abuse scandals in the RC Church, particularly as it relates to the city Boston.
“In reality, a small but very influential element of homosexually-oriented men had moved up in the ranks and ultimately formed a powerful cadre. It was not too difficult for them to recognize each other. They became a powerful, sub-surface force, ultimately controlling the 2nd level of the hierarchy in the Archdiocese of Boston. They gradually became more daring and many of them predatory.
After the so-called “clerical abuse scandal” was exposed in 2002 in the Boston area, it became evident that homosexual priests were creating problems in many dioceses in the country.
Despite the media’s determined commitment to label it differently, homosexuality – not paedophilia – was the nature of this cancer. It metastasised – and eventually became widespread.
Had the scandal been correctly labelled for what it was “a homosexual predator priest scandal” – ephebophilia, for those who understood its meaning – that would have been journalism.”
How about alethephobia, for those who understand the neologism? The fear of hearing the truth, which some individuals seem to regard as a virtue not a curse. Particularly paranoid and self-deluding religious fundamentalists of any ilk.