The day after the release of the newest John Jay report, there is a veritable storm of controversy and debate ongoing on various blogs and websites. Check out Googling God and the comments section of National Catholic Reporter, among others. It is all quite sad and depressing. Should we even be giving this report so much attention and credibility? I don't know. Lots of controversy swirling and accusations of sensational reporting in the mainstream press. I await the discerning judgement of wiser heads than I.
Thanks to Reluctant Rebel for his comments here and at his blog, and for Thera and Colleen's input.
Not wanting to contribute to the mayhem, I deleted an earlier comment - which Thera P refers to in the comments - in which I suggested that all sexual contact between Ministers and young people of any gender under the age of 17 should be referred to as pedophilia, regardless of the technical, clinical, psychiatric use of the term, simply because the word resonates in the general public with that sense of horror which is appropriate to the offense. Quibbling about pedophilia/ebophilia is a distraction. Who is horrified by ebophilia. Say What? Though there is also another term for the same thing - hebephilia, which sounds like a skin disorder. But as Moderate Fundamentalist points out in the comments, we also have to take into account the public's horrified fascination with 'gay pedophilia' because of it's own repressed homophobia and unrecognized subterranean desires, which leads the media to focus intently on such cases. Perhaps this is one reason among many for the under reportage of cases involving young girls. Sadly, while anti-Catholic bigotry may contribute to the complications of the issue, the greatest contribution to such bigotry, in my opinion, is the behavior of the bishops themselves. These are not good days to be proud of being 'Catholic'.
In the meantime, I continue to chart my own eccentric, heremitical path, witnessing to the fact that the catholic mystical charism survives quite nicely outside the formal structure of the Roman Church. The Spirit lives and breathes we know not where and none of us can control Her. Let us follow where She leads - and for many of us that guiding hand leads us "outside the door". I can testify to the inner peace and joy that comes from following that loving, all seeing hand, which is revolutionizing the community we call church in many unexpected and radical ways, few of them within the formal institutional structure. Nonetheless, without that structure and the tradition it was meant to enshrine and protect, I would never have been given access in the Spirit to this precious charism that constitutes being a catholic Christian. For that I will always be grateful. Peace, joy and freedom in the Spirit.