Show & Tell for Priests

July-August 2002

By now you’ve probably heard every conceivable remedy — and quack remedy — for the priestly sex scandals.

Bet you haven’t heard this one: Writing in the Jesuit weekly America (May 13), Fr. Michael L. Papesh blames the scandals on “a repressive clerical culture” and says the remedy is for priests to get together for “forthright, discerning and free discussions about male sexuality.”

Fr. Papesh, who was ordained in 1983, takes us back to his years as a seminarian: “When a friend was propositioned by a priest one evening, my friend winked and we winked. Even when, after being plied with alcohol, I was sexually assaulted, I winked. My seminarian friends winked…. Before I was 19, I learned that when it came to sexual matters, the clerical culture winked.”

Fr. Papesh doesn’t like the winking, nor do we. But his remedy is zany: “open discussion about sexual curiosity, orientation, experience, joy, fear and anxiety” among priests.


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New Oxford Notes: July-August 2002

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