October 26, 2005

Papal Fallibility

The Phoenix

By Nicholas Gamso
Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I've never been abused by a priest, but I do descend from one. My maternal grandmother's maiden name, DiLillo, comes from an affair between a seventeenth-century Italian girl and a priest from Lille, France. Accordingly, I feel safe saying that, despite vows of celibacy, the priesthood has been corrupt for a very long time. This week, however, I felt particularly irritated and discouraged to read an article in The Chicago Tribune reporting that the Jesuits have settled two suits regarding the alleged sexual abuse of seven Loyola students by a priest and faculty member in the 1960s and 1970s.


These allegations are startling, occurring in a familiar and generally comfortable place, but unfortunately shouldn't surprise us. Rather, the incident serves as another reminder of a growing trend: Over the past few years, the public has been bombarded with stories about illicit affairs, cases of molestation and instances of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, driving the idea of corrupt priests into our cultural conscience. It's become an almost-accepted trait of the celibate Catholic clergy and has become the subject of countless books and magazines, and even a popular cinematic genre. And no wonder: According to Chicago Magazine's September 2005 issue, 4,392 priests have been accused of child abuse between 1950 and 2002.

So, is there an intrinsic problem with corruption in the priesthood? Well, is the pope Catholic?

Posted by kshaw at October 26, 2005 01:00 PM