James, those were some rotten priests and they should've been horsewhipped. Do you know whatever happened to them?
As for you religious position on things, suffice to say, there's a lot in there that I'm working through in my own research and other things that I'll push back against. (However, given that we're a Heathen and a Christian, I reckon I should've expected that.) In the interest of keeping this conversation from spiraling out into a book of it's own, I will pass along something of note concerning the early Church and violence that I found the other day for the further exploration of this topic.
While apparently some of the Church Fathers like Tertulian and Origen (who from what it sounds like, leaned outside of the norm of Christian thought at the time, and lived in peaceful parts of the empire) were against violence in all cases and have become the basis for many to support the Pacifist narrative of the past hundred years or so, turns out this was far from unanimous. In addition to the aforementioned scripture, contemporary archaeology and research has found soldiers' gravestones and churches in forts from the 2nd Century, which are among the earliest from the era. The author closes with a line I like that seems to speak to my initial query:
There was no golden age of a pacifist church avoiding the worldly entanglements of politics, only to trade its soul to Constantine for earthly power. Instead, as Peter Leithart observes, “the story of the church and war is ambiguity before Constantine, ambiguity after, and ambiguity right to the present.” The pacifists are reaching back for a mythical past that never existed. There has always been disagreement on the issues of war and the legitimacy of the state, and there likely always will be so long as the world breeds overreaching governments and discontented citizens.
Are you doing any better up there, James?
Y'all take care out there,
The old priest from our parish passed on.
Our family left the church before that.
The younger priest from my friend’s parish, I just thought he was a sissy and assumed he was a queer and he may not have been. In fact, one of my family members who was my age gave me a very hard time verbally for making an off-hand accusation that he was gay. Honestly, I didn’t trust a non-masculine guy that was so interested in the welfare of boys, particularly without evidence that he was into women. Speaking to three friends older than I am who attended Catholic schools in the former catholic town of Baltimore, the abusers were the nuns, not the priests, and additionally the nuns who beat Big Ron’s mother’s left hand until she learned to write right-handed.
I should note that a Catholic priest, a Navy Chaplain from the 1890s, whose name escapes me, was an ardent promoter of boxing in the U.S. Navy and I certainly think that an older celibate man in a mentoring position over young men should be of this robust type. What a way to lead sailors, right? I suspect that the priest character from the old MASH TV series was based on this man. It is my opinion, and only an opinion, for I have known three exceptionally kind celibate Catholic leaders, that the reason why the church has ended up with so many of these man-boy love scandals is because it has lost the crusading spirit and selects against rugged men mentoring church youth.
The idea of a widower taking a vow of celibacy and working with young men, is probably one of the most profound commitments that a religious community could make to the human condition. But the old medieval ideal of making the second son a celibate priest as a career choice led to the wickedness which required the Reformation and eventually turned into the secular landslide that has gotten us to the feedlot of souls where we are.
(c) 2019 James LaFond