by Edd Doerr
Years ago I ran into an old Spanish saying -- I can't recall where -- that goes like this: "A priest is a guy whom everyone calls father, except his own children, who call him uncle." ("Un cura es un tipo que todos llaman padre, sino sus propios hijos, que le llaman tio.") Last evening I was reading Spanish writer Ramon Sender's novel "Mosen Millan", about the lead-up to the Spanish civil war, written some time before 1960, and found this sentence coming from one of the characters: "Los curas son las unicas personas a quienes todo el mundo llama padre, menos sus hijos, que los llaman tios." ("Priests are the only persons whom everyone calls father, except their own children, who call them uncles.")
Spanish psychologist Pepe Rodriguez published a book in 1995 titled "The Sex Life of the Clergy" that explored this matter in detail. In 2002 he published another book on the clergy sexual abuse of minors, with a subtitle nailing that as a scandal covered up by the bishops. Unfortunately, the books are available only in Spanish. It was in 2002, you may recall, that the clerical abuse problem in the Boston area hit the papers.
The bishops, of course, are the guys who are largely behind the campaigns to divert public funds to religious private schools through vouchers and tax credits, to restrict or deny women the right to decide whether or not to continue problem pregnancies, and to tear down the constitutional wall of separation between church and state. On these matters, of course, they are out of sync with most Catholics and other Americans.