The Divine Sociopath

Why isn't Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien in jail? There are far too many who have left the church because of his bad behavior.

And if, as Perkes suggests, the real question of import is one of sexual maturity, what must the church do to help young priests achieve that level of sophisticated development?

Failing that, how will the church protect its children from deviates?

How can it do anything in a climate of secrecy?





*Author's note: I may be sick, but I am not ill. None of us here at New Times could imagine anything worse than a bedside visit from the prelate without a personality, Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien; so we decided to imagine it in words.
Mark Poutenis

*Author's note: I may be sick, but I am not ill. None of us here at New Times could imagine anything worse than a bedside visit from the prelate without a personality, Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien; so we decided to imagine it in words.

In the courtroom: Bishop O'Brien flanked by defense 
attorneys Patrick McGroder and Melissa Berren.
Christine Keith
In the courtroom: Bishop O'Brien flanked by defense attorneys Patrick McGroder and Melissa Berren.

"Once again, child abuse, while the most heinous systemic problem, is not the only systemic problem," noted Perkes. "We don't address homosexual priests in an open and honest way. We, as a church, need to stop the Don't Ask, Don't Tell [policy]. Homosexuality is not discussed openly in the seminaries."

Rather than frank and open discussion, issues are suppressed.

As an example, Perkes touched upon the obvious.

"I hate to sound sexist," said Perkes, "but there is a different mentality in general in the way that men look at sexuality and the way women look at sexuality."

And gays also have their own orientation.

"[For] gay guys, the ads in the personals you often see [say]: 'I'm 21 but I look 16.' The culture of gay men venerates youth. You don't see this in lesbian ads," said Perkes.

If the youthful male figures on the Grecian urn represent an idealization, young priests are not, in Perkes' estimation, shown how to sort their way through a religion that demands so much sexual sacrifice from its clerics. She is not surprised that some priests lose their way.

"I believe, sadly, a lot of priests who are homosexuals went into the church when they thought they could pray this away," noted Perkes. "We as a society are not particularly mature about homosexuality. For a long time you couldn't even use that term in daily newspapers. Many of these men would have been okay as homosexuals, but as priests their sexuality is suppressed and they are in positions of power. A lot of priests come into seminaries at 13 or 14, and there is a lot of abuse in the seminaries."

In fact, on the topic of reform, Perkes was outspoken but frustrated.

"Look, Mary was between the age of 13 and 15 when she had Jesus," needled Perkes. "Our entire church started with some kind of pedophile act. Joseph was in his 30s."

Perkes' irreverence masks genuine concern. She fears that in an atmosphere that stifles open discussion, serious reform is only a dream.

"It's so lock-step, there is no room for criticism," said Perkes. "If you dare say anything, you're not a good Catholic. God knows I love the priests, but we should only support the good priests."


I am Catholic despite my clergy.

Having abandoned the faith decades ago, I returned to church this past year amidst the eruption of child-abuse accusations leveled at priests throughout the nation.

I had left the church, furious, when a priest refused to vouch to a judge on behalf of my kid brother, a former altar boy, who faced a trip to reform school, an East Coast lockup for kids. He explained that priests didn't get involved in civil affairs. I stewed for decades. But I guess I never stopped believing in God. It is uncomfortable to explain, and part of it's none of your business, but I will tell you this. We all have buried loved ones. The science of Darwin was never any comfort at a funeral. And I never saw an algebraic equation chalked out on any blackboard that explained the difference between the cadaver in the casket and the person I cherished. God made a difference with faith. In the past year, I decided that I regretted ever letting a priest -- of all things -- push me out of my pew.

Here, in Phoenix, the devout have been immersed in lurid stories of local predators protected by Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien. Church authorities claim their research shows more than 50 priests and employees of the diocese have touched and molested the underage in recent memory.

To be Catholic is to understand Christ's rage in the temple and with the Pharisees.

How does belief withstand a procession of assaults? The truth is that often faith cannot survive.

Before Father Giandelone molested teenage Harry Takata Jr., he preyed upon another youngster, Ben Kulina. Bishop O'Brien personally investigated the first assault and warned the parents not to talk to the authorities.

The Kulinas dutifully complied, but it cost them their faith in the church.

"To him, the church was the most important thing," Peggy Kulina said of her husband. "He was in denial that the church could do something like that, and he kept going to church. You know the church teaches that the wife doesn't say anything."

The Kulinas kept trying new churches, but nothing worked. Peggy Kulina could not adjust.

"I'd sit there and cry," said Kulina. "And he'd say, 'Don't be crying, the sermon he's giving is not that moving.' Well, that wasn't why I was crying. I was looking at the priest, like how many other kids have you abused . . . and he was just a different priest."

No matter how many churches they tried, the Kulinas could not make it work.

She said she has not lost her faith in God, but she is unable to recover.

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1 comments
Pauline144
Pauline144

Pervert David Ostler of Prince of Peace in Sun City West - just google Fr. David Ostler Cornwall,Ont. and read about the back door boys David and Gary Ostler

 
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