Pope is Toast, Boy Diddley, and Me
By Ray Mungo / The Rag Blog / May 26, 2010
The ongoing circus of revelations pinning responsibility for covering up boy-diddling by priests on the Holy Father in Rome himself is pure entertainment to me. Every morning brings fresh developments in the crumbling pontiff’s decline, reminiscent of Nixon’s gradual disintegration under the roaring waves of Watergate. Now, as then, I spring out of bed each day eager and expectant for the latest twist and turn that will lead, one can surely hope, to the vicar of Christ departing the Vatican in a helicopter bound for Bavaria.
Wonder of the ages, could it be? The Pope is toast. Oh joy, oh rapture.
Admittedly, I’m not an objective, neutral observer. I was one of the diddlees, a long 50 years ago when a priest in Massachusetts made a habit of pulling down my pants and using my 12, and then 13, year old body for his own shuddering pleasure.
Father didn’t ask permission. He took me in the rectory, in the projection booth of the parish auditorium, in the car, anywhere he could and as often as he liked. He liked my soft pubic hair and compared it to other boys’, because Father had lots of boys, but I was special, he said.
Stop right there. This isn’t what you might expect. It’s not, for example, the child sex abuse victim railing against his monster, not a polemic against the Catholic church, although its ultimate destruction has long been my favorite fantasy.
My molester escaped any punishment, as was the norm in the church then and throughout Benedict’s career at the controls. My guy was simply transferred to another parish, where he continued to “work with” budding youths. Eventually he died, still a holy pastor to his newly hormonal flock.
I’m not accusing him of having made me into the homosexual / atheist / alcoholic / drug addict / lacking any normal employment history, treated for depression and retired on a dime fellow that I am. Hell, no! I was probably cut out to be a freelance writer from the start and by college age was already committed to the life of the anarchic stoner. Father Fondle didn’t seem to have this effect on other boys. The ones I knew all grew up to be heterosexual breeders and genuflecting believers.
This history comes back to me in the light of all the thrilling new revelations of church cover-ups leading directly to the seat of Saint Pete, and in view of a contemporary friend of mine now serving six years in a California state prison for the felonious offense of stroking a 12 year old boy in the wrong places. My friend is not a priest. Times have changed.
Most gay men are not child molesters, of course. That ancient myth has been thoroughly discredited. Exhaustive research shows that gay and lesbian folks are not any more likely to be sexually abusive to children than straights are. There’s simply no evidence of it. Yet every time a same-sex child molestation case makes the news, the old prejudice flares up, and the Vatican is not shy about using this hateful lie as a ploy to absolve its own culpability. “It’s those terrible homosexuals who cause the problem, not the church,” is their shameful song. It won’t play in Peoria or even Palermo any more. It’s the same kind of voodoo non-science as all the other church doctrines.
The church may be the ironic victim of its own smear campaign. By laying all the blame on homosexuality, it reminds us that homosexuals are disproportionately attracted to the priesthood. If gay is bad, so is the history of the Vatican, a gay ghetto to rival any other. As a 12 year old altar boy I really loved running around in those frocks, and if Father caressed my member in the altar boys’ locker room in the church, maybe that was some kind of secret initiation rite, for all I knew. Priests live in a perpetual little boy’s clubhouse with “No Grils Allowded” scrawled on the door.
It was not for me, though. At age 13 I stopped believing in God or the church. Some might call that a “tragic robbery of faith,” I think of it as the birth of reason.
My friend in state prison is now in an isolated hospital cell after another inmate, who had discovered the nature of his crime, assaulted him in his sleep, breaking his jaw, nose, and both cheekbones before the guards intervened. The attacker meant to kill. My friend may not survive some future assault when he is transferred back into the general population. Convicted killers, rapists, and robbers consider themselves morally superior to boy-diddlers.
It wasn’t always so. Boy-diddling has been going on since recorded history began. Think of the ancient Greeks, or the Japanese Samurai warriors who groomed their pages. A small minority of adults attracted to children has always existed in every society, often taken for granted. But in our own society, it’s a curse, a crime more reviled than any other.
Somehow, though, I can’t summon any genuine hatred toward the guy who did the diddling on me. He couldn’t help himself. That’s just the way he was. He didn’t turn me into a pedophile, I’ve never been sexually attracted to kids, and he didn’t make me gay, that’s something I was born with. Where I can assign blame, however, is on the church that protected and shielded this man for years, allowing him access to children despite certain knowledge of his past.
And where I can issue praise is on the New York Times for its singular role in relentless documentation of scandals the church, and Benedict himself, spent decades trying to hide. The paper’s researchers and reporters have unearthed one horror story after another, all faultlessly documented, creating a ripple effect in all other media. A Pulitzer is surely due. Hell, a Nobel.
Let the fun continue! Every day’s a holiday when the Pope is toast. I’ll toast to that!
[Ray Mungo, a founder of Liberation News Service in 1967, is the author of Famous Long Ago and Total Loss Farm. He is a social worker, tending principally to AIDS patients and the severely mentally ill.]
Only one way I know of to get the attention of those aloof bastards inside the Vatican. A “Puff the Magic Dragon” gunship firing a ton of lead a minute for about three days while circling his holinesses’s quaint little chalet.
Then, after the smoke clears and the brass is swept up and hauled away, a leaflet drop asking, “Can we talk?”
Terry, I understand. In an amazing coincidence, I have had the same fantasy. But the gunship was circling the white house, and the house speaker and senate majority leader offices 🙂
Terry and DHS, Both your dreams are about to come true. Remember all insurrections start with a riot!!
I hope so Richard, its about time! You bring your gang of amnesty loving, Israel hating, capitalist hating, eco-whacko anarchists and I will bring the amnesty hating, Israel supporting, capitalist loving, rednecks. First we can rumble with the government and then with each other. Meet you by the burning cars 🙂
Cataclysmic change comes from chaos, that sounds like a good formula for it.
See you there, I’ll be the one in the black helmet with red vest.
I tried to do a posting on rioting but it was too real for Thorne’s blog.
Richard – Hey, DHS has a blog. Maybe he’ll post your piece! It is, I believe, intended to educate his ilk?
The scenario you both describe is of course common to all non-peaceful revolutions. Overthrowing the state is possible only through a broad, popular, determined movement. But when it is overthrown, one of you (which one, I wonder??) is gonna want to replace it with something, and then the old squeeze play begins!
Thus the appeal of what is sometimes called “Stalinism”: the firing squad, the secret police, and the dungeon, all for the good of the People, who are, after all, but children of the State.
Power doesn’t have to flow from the barrel of a gun.
Legalize cannabis hemp, for whatever purpose man’s ingenuity defines, and enter a peaceful age of self-determination and plenty for all!
I don’t have DHS’s blog URL but would be very interested in reading it. He has lumped me in with the liberals who run and write for this blog, for all I know I am the only Anarchist who reads and who used to write for this blog. For sure I am the only Anarchist/Outlaw.
Ms. Avery, DHS may want to replace the power structure we disembowel with another hiarchy, I of course would oppose any King, President, Overseer, straw boss, “person in charge” or any other authoritive figure in his dream/scheme.
I reference the Seattle General Strike of 1919 as proof that not all revolutions or insurrections need become Stalinist.
There are times when I want nothing more than to play by the rules, be nice and efficiently effective …. to speak words that will change the future. There are times when I want to scream and throw things and smack people until the future is irreprably and violently altered.
Do you have those conflicts as well?
Talking is necessary, yet sometimes boring.
I recall the period 1966-1968 which in the anti-war movement of the day we now refer to as the war to explain the war. Body bags were flowing in from March '65 on and people were asking: where is Vietnam, how did we get there, who are we fighting and why? That war seemed to come out of nowhere and the "masters of war" had