Wednesday, 29 August 2007

# 2 a response to a question regarding the preponderance of homosexual seminarians and priests.

Well ?
One of my heroes is Bishop d'Arcy of Fort Wayne/South Bend Indiana [next cardinal please your Holiness??] - a man with long experience of priestly formation - he's of the opinion, with the vatican, that homosexuality is too much of a burden and struggle within the obvious potential opportunities for sexual intimacy within a seminary - and he would normatively be against promoting celibate gay candidates for the priesthood.

But that is not exactly the point that we are discussing here - What we are talking about is not sexual orientation - it's a lack of definitive sexual orientation - and clinical psychologists back this up.
Over a sixth of adolescent males go through a period of exclusive homosexual attraction/activity for around three years of their sexual development - two thirds of these revert to exclusive heterosexuality after this period providing psychological sexual maturation is allowed to occur - in other words the vast majority of teenage gays are not actually gay at all; but are indeed 'going through a narcissistic self-pleasure seeking phase projected onto other same sex individuals - sexually gratifying the 'mirror image of the self' -
this can hardly be denoted as sexually oriented at all -
for some males this 'period' never leaves them and even through a basically heterosexual life they still have latent homosexual predilections - we all have adult friends who are a bit...um...well ? overfriendly ? it's one of the consequences of confused or thwarted sexual maturation...

But for the majority the sexual maturation process ultimately clarifies their orientation - regrettably socio-cultural and nurturing influences hone in on this period and especially in western cultures there are men who should be psychologically heterosexual but are subsumed into the culture and lifestyle at a vulnerable age and adapt to it [western cultures have 2 to 3 times the amount of homosexual male population they technically should according to anthropological/sociological studies of all cultures]

But let's consider the post-pubescent males entering seminary - some, especially the more 'religious' and 'pastorally active' may have significant delays on their sexual maturation in comparison to their more 'secular' contemporaries - some may have their first sexual encounter with a fellow seminarian or female student many years after the average teenager plays 'doctors and nurses' or encounters heavy petting.
A considerable amount of time should be spent with the seminarian in their training and development both psychosexually and emotionally in this process for them to actually determine who they are and how they are going to channel that sexual authenticity through their priestly ministry.

If this doesn't happen there will be consequences - some seminarians go on a sexual free-for-all once they've tasted the forbidden fruit - going out to clubs and sleeping with anything that moves ; some even going through a process in [mainly U.S.]seminary called 'bed-notching' whereby they have competitions to see how many first year seminarians they can have a sexual liaison with 'notching their bed post'!!!

Some may suppress it, and that has consequences.
Psychologically it will not go away ; for some it can lead to an eating away of the self and a personal emotional breakdown ; for others of ulterior disposition and ill-intent it will express itself through other means - invariably through spite and malice and abuses of power which may ultimately lead to abuse in all its varied forms - but it usually starts with psychological abuse before it gets sexual.

But what of the others who don't go on to be abusers , but are still deeply sexually immature ?
Well some are at even greater risks.

Some may develop an intimate friendship with another and be sneaking into each others beds in the small hours; or sneaking out over the seminary wall to a local girlfriend's - this psychologically demeans sexual activity - rather than seeing lovemaking as a beautiful sacrament between a loving married couple whereby they are most Godlike - it becomes a debased deathly-silent , terrifyingly guilt-ridden conspiratorial mutual masturbatory fumbling in the shadows...an image that remains with them for a long period of time...- one they may later on seek to conquer or redress - but how ?

Assuredly some will attempt prayer and loving understanding of the marital relationships and the good example round them of family life .

But others ?
They'll try and get rid of those sexual 'bogeymen' and guilt trips by trying to sexually liberate themselves with someone who ostensibly cares about them....But there are others too who having only experienced orgasmic intimacy and excitement via the dark,unsubtle,raw,unemotional,clinically almost violent and dangerous, sexual liaisons that they can only continue to achieve arousal or gratification through that means - why do some married men/clergy get their kicks out of cottaging/dogging/prostitution when technically the opportunity for them to get it elsewhere is readily available ?
It's the sexual thrill and risk of it all - a very dangerous psychological disposition - and a sign of deep sexual insecurity and immaturity.

Another insurmountable barrier for some is the factor of modern woman !
The post feminist teenage girl who is frankly , generally speaking, a monster !!! insensitive, selfish, foul-mouthed, incapable of any considerations apart from her own gratification - Go into any school in the country today and you will discover that three-quarters of all the problems will have teenage girls at their source.
The Jeremy Kyle/Trisha/Take a break magazine generation of 'young ladies' are neither adorable or romantically inspiring ; whereas the 'new-man',the responsible caring males, metrosexually dressed, sharing in all the fellow males' interests and pursuits is exceedingly more enticing and rewarding.
Our parenting and media are producing an era when young men are turning gay out of choice and frankly for some who could blame them when faced with the alternative ???
Sometimes the Daniel is prettier, more caring and loving and more of a capable companion than the Danielle; and that's a direct product of society !!!
Feminists seem to be oblivious to the notion that their feminisms are wreaking a new form of misogyny which isn't at a level of thinking men are superior to women; it's being thrust into young men's faces that a lot of women are not the people you'd really want to spend time with.

I've probably outraged a lot of feminists with that comment , and they'll make the same age-old reaction that catholic attitudes towards women are anachronistically defunct - we like to see every women as pure and virginal and motherly as Our Lady - and we are all sexually fixated on that purity and oedipal urges - it's baloney - men do not like horrible women, full stop - and society is wreaking havoc among the mentalities of our female youth - all products of the liberation of women [i.e. they've dumped their husbands for a younger useless model and have to spend all the hours God sends socialising to keep him and her mates 'happy' and working all the rest of the time to pay for it; while she bleeds her lonely abandoned ex-husband dry and the kids are left neglected to go to pot!!!] .

[I'm sounding so Anne Atkins it's scaring me]

My main point is that seminaries are not going to get anywhere when they are filled with students, and run by people, who are allowed to remain in situations of arrested sexual maturation and left in a psychological limbo rather than confronting their sexual orientation and their preparation for celibacy head-on.

I don't think the problem is a directly homosexual one at all ; it's a problem which is now on the wane, but was highly prevalent especially in the US in the 80's - it's having infantile predatory homosexuals being allowed to hold their sway and blackmail/tyrannise/psychologically abuse fellow seminarians within seminaries; while seminary officials turn a blind eye - or even participated in any available 'fun'!

But meanwhile there are many young sexually insecure, immature and vulnerable seminarians who are frightened of their own shadow... receiving little if no support from anyone apart from fellow seminarians just as scared as they are - and psychological intimacy can lead to physically intimate outreachings/misunderstandings and lead to physical mistakes that corrupt and ruin the originally innocent relationship...I honestly ask you - would you want your son placed in an institution where the few predatory 'deviants' [and I do call them deviants - they aren't homosexual any more than we are - they are predatory sexual abusers with not an ounce of love or respect in their souls] can be permitted to hold their sway ?

thought not!!

Would you want your son placed in an institution that didn't give two hoots what happened to the people in their responsibility providing the bills were paid and the exams passed and the liturgies sung and the sports cups won ?

thought not, neither would I !!

A major problem is age - I wouldn't allow ordination till at least 28 - but then again I'd have priestly training being a significantly longer more involved process.
I'd have integrated intense clinical psychological assessments, psychosexual counsellings and therapies given by trained catholic spiritual directors.

Together with that I'd actually force seminary staff to run their seminaries - trust me they aint like Hogwarts - some are like colditz but with a 1970's hippy minimalist vatican-II-ista mentality - some are like repressed holiday camps where anyone can do what they like providing nobody knows....No, seminaries need to be run...not even that well, just well enough to ensure that the poor seminarian isn't either left abandoned or given enough rope to hang themselves, or left vulnerable to the malevolent machinations of people of ill-will and eight hands.

If that really happened - it wouldn't matter if the seminarian went in there either sexually ambiguous,gay,straight,bisexual, or into goats or items of agricultural machinery - they would have a decent opportunity for sexual maturation and an option to address the challenges and sacrifices and understand the graces and benefits of a celibate life.

I don't see celibate homosexuality as being a preclusion from vocations.; but it does have significant difficulties which must be assessed and determined before any decisions regarding ordination occur - being in extraordinary circumstances - a celibate homosexual candidate would be expected to act extraordinarily and prove their loyalty to chastity and celibacy to an extraordinary standard.
Some of the best , most holy catholics I know are celibate chaste homosexuals [and, significantly, they are some of the most sexually and psychologically mature people I know ][some are even priests].

But for the sexually immature to be ordained is reprehensibly irresponsible;and the training staff in the seminary; and the bishop and vocations director responsible for the candidate - should be dragged over the coals for it !!!

Not one of these priest-abusers should have been able to get through the process towards ordination ; human error should statistically dictate that a few would fly in under the radar and be missed - but for dozens upon dozens to systemically continue to abuse hundreds for decades ?

That's a clerical crime crying out to Heaven for justice.and the blame lies at the doors of our seminaries and bishop's palaces.

11 comments:

Psiomniac said...

I wonder if you have any sources for the data on homosexuality and adolescent males. I am curious to see whether the data supports your interpretation.

On the side of the angels said...

certainly - a vast array of long-term cross-cultural clinical psychological research and accrued data has concluded that 15% [+/- 2% across cultures] of adolescent males experience a period of no less than three years of exclusive homosexuality and homosexual experience/activity] and this reverts to 3.4% [+/- 0.3%] after sexual maturation where external factors are not considered [this has changed from when I first studied it - it used to be 13.1% [+/- 0.4%] reverting to 2.9% [+/- 0.2%] after sexual maturation - but times and greater [multicultural] sampling alters things]. I think the inclusion of the Indian sub-continent in the past few surveys increased the mode/mean.
In fact you know the original 1 in 10 argument proposed by the stonewall crowd ? That was a statistical deception by manipulating unrelated figures; even by today's liberated attitudes to homosexuality if you exclude the socio-cultural/nurture/media influence anomalies [which can raise figures to as high as est 1 in 14 across nations or est 1 in 8 in certain cities- incidentally the highest concentration is surprisingly manhattan and not san francisco]of socio-cultural influences you still arrive at a 'definitively exclusively perpetual male homosexual ' subsection of the public at around 1 in 27. Plus you have to understand as well that every figure is adjusted for potential errors [inability/unwillingness to confide statistics are superimposed]
[As well as having to do this myself in both psychology & ethics, my wife minored in gender studies too so these were taken from her textbooks which are probably about a decade old]
You can find world statistics readily available on the internet but please be aware that as they are in the main health or governmental surveys the percentages will be significantly lower than the clinical psychological research figures. Plus please understand that there is still a minefield of controversy over the figures ; especially when the debacle over the statistics for 'male homosexual suicides' arose about a decade ago.
The figures may vary slightly depending upon what research papers you find but they're all about the norm of the figures I stated [although I must admit I haven't looked at any statistics on it for about 8 years so I could be out of date already]

White Stone Name Seeker said...

I don't know how relevant this is and I have not looked into research on the matter-purely from a personal experience pov-I have nursed a remarkably large number of men with ssa in my psychy days and they tended to have quite serious illness including self harm.

I never nursed any lesbians although I had a lesbian friend who was very depressed, on meds, but never admitted.

White Stone Name Seeker said...

Paul
What you say about girls and feminism is so true-and none of these girls are going to be nuns are they? We need a new generation of nuns as well as priests, but while Catholic girls in Catholic schools are learning to be foul mouthed vicious and cruel (even if not sexually up to no good) then how can we expect to see vocations?

I pulled my daughter out of her good Catholic girls school for this reason (among others). My son's girlfriend a lovely, quietly spoken girl has just left the same school to go to college. She has made no friends in the school because the bitchiness was endemic.
My daughter's friend attends the school still and hates the place although academically she is doing reasonably okay.

My husband works with families; parents can be remarkably selfish-doing whatever they want with whomever they choose and the kids had better get over it.
It's that unholy trinity again Me-Myself-I

Psiomniac said...

otsota,
Thanks for providing some figures. Although this falls short of supplying a source, I think what you have said regarding the statistics is credible and accords with my experience. I know that there are methodological difficulties that render such research controversial despite the clever compensatory survey tricks that attempt to account for biases. None of that is where I have a problem with your post though. Rather, it is the spin you put on the stats that I find unwarranted.

On the side of the angels said...

exactly what spin ?
it's merely an objective reality that during the process of sexual maturation a lot of teenage males who are exclusively homosexual during that period aren't at the end of it...it is indeed for a significant amount - a phase - and the 'reversion' is not caused by a socio-cultural heterosexist agenda which induces a collective aversion therapy to ensure the majority in this sub group remain in conformity with the majority of the population. It just happens !

Psiomniac said...

exactly what spin ?
True, there is so much of it in your post that I should have pointed out which aspects are spun in which ways.
The problem is not your statement of the figures, it is the conclusions that you appear to draw from them that are problematic.
To your credit you went out of your way to acknowledge that this is a controversial area. But without being able to inspect the methodology of data collection, how can we conclude that the discrepancy between the percentage of people who report as adult gay in western cultures and the percentage who do so in non western cultures is due to the action of 'socio-cultural and nurturing influences' on males who 'should be psychologically heterosexual but are subsumed into the culture and lifestyle at a vulnerable age and adapt to it'.
The figures just don't validate this conjecture. You say that:
'every figure is adjusted for potential errors [inability/unwillingness to confide statistics are superimposed]' but I'm afraid this is not a straightforward procedure.
No, if you admit that socio-cultural influences can play a part then logically you are committed to the possibility that they can influence people in the other direction. So a conjecture that fits the figures just as well is that 'gay adult male' is just not an acceptable role in some cultures and people adapt accordingly and would not therefore report as gay in adulthood.
I think the idea that such things are in practice a 'phase' for a lot of adolescent males is plausible. What is not supported is your analysis of why it might be a phase. You imply that the dominant heterosexual culture has not influenced people to straighten up and fly right, but not only is this logically inconsistent, you have not supplied any supporting evidence.
I'm surprised that you were unaware that you had spun the figures.

On the side of the angels said...

I'm sorry Psiomniac but I've already said that these are massive cross-cultural studies ; some where there is blatant pressure to conform to heterosexuality, but there are others where it is an acceptable long-term 'sub-cultural' aspect of sexuality and it's considered 'a done thing' - there's the long-standing arab and kurdish subculture of 'a woman for children, a man for pleasure' argot even though their religion is antipathetic their cultural heritage isn't , on the indian subcontinent where families accept that married men have a 'second wife'[male] whom they visit and support. You have the native american and polynesian 'third' sex; the micronesian 'way of the man' where almost mandatory adolescent homosexual practice is deemed as a way of achieving manhood before progressing to take a wife - it's all very complex - but underlying every culture and race the clinical psychologists and anthropologists and every other ologist who sticks their noses in have arrived at 'normative' figures - and deduced that in 'western' cultures there is a modular 'aberration' from these normative figures which are significantly higher - even in western cultures which have/had ostensible 'homophobic' ethoses [Balkans, Baltic states, Ireland, US bible belt etc] .Their conclusions - not mine I might add - so there was little spin on my part - was that nurturing and socio-cultural influences via the media and advertising , and the delaying of adulthood/mature responsibility [occurring throughout the west as well as oriental 'single-child' cultures]
was having an effect on sexual ambiguity and homosexual practices amongst those who , according to the statistics , should tend towards be predominantly heterosexual. There's also a vast array of research [a lot of it denounced /suppressed by the ultra-religious right in the US ]regarding those who are 'maturely' homosexual via predilection and volition and those with sexual neuroses/psychoses who have not progressed in sexual maturity beyond the level of 'ipsissive*, narcissistic' mirror activity prevalent in early adolescent 'self-discovery/experimentation' - but surprisingly this is occurring among both sexes [there are even radical theories that this sexual immaturity is a minor contributory factor towards subsequent marital breakdown ] but also hidden amongst this is the significant rise in female sexual abusers [not politicaly correct I know and the feminists have spent a long time trying to suppress the figures but something that was once a negligible aspect of sexual abuse is now becoming an aspect requiring consideration - but it's one of the last taboos - cultures are unwilling to address the acts that it's no longer just 'dirty old men' who are paedophiles but late teenagers assaulting younger adolescents and children ; and an increasing [albeit minor] percentage of these are amongst the female population - psychologists/social scientists have concluded that this sexual malaise conforms to stunted psychosexual development]
I wasn't referring to mature homosexuality ; but a pseudo- homosexual sexual immaturity which can't really be considered anything other than sexual immaturity irrespective of its predominant sexual manifestation - and please don't forget that this aspect of sexual immaturity can also manifest itself via aggressive multipartnered heterosexual promiscuity.
Please also be aware that I was referring to these figures in light of the prevailing high 'camp' ridiculously passive and immature argot amongst seminarians in times past - almost like an effeminisation you simply don't see amongst the general homosexual community which has all shades and colours of sexual and emotional displays and demeanours - you wouldn't see in seminaries the [excuse my crude resortation to the 'gay vernacular'] the muscle mary body cultists or hard-nosed grant mitchell emulators or nominally 'ordinary' homosexuals where their sexuality wasn't overtly portrayed in the slightest by the way they acted - no it was how father john and others have described it elsewhere on here - a podgy wimpy slothful emasculated asexuality which encroached upon sordid and sickening decadence - I suppose I'd have to call it an unhealthy immature pseudo-homosexuality - something which doesn't resemble the external 'valid/authentic/mature' homosexual culture at all...
am I making it more clear or just waffling? Most of my gay friends over the years have possessed a deep adult psychological stability [some of them have been celibate priests] but this 'authenticity' seemed to be desperately lacking amidst the seedy seminarian 'milieu' of old; and amongst some of our clergy now heading towards middle age. Even on the 'outside' amongst the campest of divas there is that 'hard manliness' and 'survivalist' sanity. Even amongst the most sexually promiscuous homosexuals it was seen as a form of lifestyle and given a rationale - decadent maybe ? but not sordid or salacious. This was something that was definitely lacking amongst this 'emasculating subculture' in the seminaries and subsequent gay priest cliques [and I have to repeat my seminary was not like this] - these were people who might not have even been sexually active but it still displayed an oozing, weasely, pasty, unhealthy, immature, 'baron harkonnen' type of scary sexual intimidation....

Psiomniac said...

What, you mean a spiritual pull on the heart plug? Nasty.

I'm sorry but this is more spin and bluster. Without proper references we cannot assess the validity of such 'normative figures' nor conclude that it is the west that is the aberration rather than the non-west. I'm afraid you can't derive an 'ought' from an 'is'.
I did know an ex-Jesuit who gave me chapter and verse on the homosexual sub-culture of the seminary and what he said agrees with the broad thrust of your specific criticism of that culture. I have no beef with that. I don't know about it directly. What I do know is that it is extremely difficult to demonstrate the links you claim regarding the media and society at large, even with the array of sociological and anthropological techniques currently available. You have now conflated paedophilia with sexual orientation which is the predictable nuclear option in this kind of argument. You are right when you say 'it's all very complex' but then you contradict your earlier admission that the area is controversial by implying that there is a consensus in favour of the idea that western culture is in some way skewing the figures for homosexual adults by the mechanism of systematic stunting of psycho-sexual maturation. Well until you can demonstrate such a consensus with actual references to actual papers, I say 'baloney'.

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