What makes this a Get Religion story is the context of the European press environment. I am not defending or excusing the Catholic Church. I am however pointing out inconsistencies and double standards in media coverage.
The attack, of course, is the beliefs of one European politician don’t compare to the paedophilia epidemic in the Roman Catholic Church. But that rebuttal won’t wash either.
To start with, it isn’t just one politician; it’s a whole movement from the era, as I observed in this 2010 post re the French. Conger only adds grist to the mill by bringing up the German Green Party’s advocacy of man-boy love in the 1980’s. The left has been busy burying their past on this (and other issues) since, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.
Some would like to think that stuff from so long ago is irrelevant, but it’s not. Sexual freedom was the leitmotif of the 1960’s and 1970’s left and has remained this way ever since. That’s why abortion is so sacramental to the left, as we were recently reminded with the media’s attempt to ignore Kermit Gosnell’s trial. That’s why liberals are apoplectic over abstinence advocacy.
The result has been the ever-expanding sexualisation of our society. One of the effects of this is to push down the age at which sexual awareness is recognised, a process which both cultural and biological changes have facilitated. Leftists in the 1960’s were consistent enough to understand that across the board sexual liberation ultimately included paedophilia, but later developments shoved that, to use a phrase, back into the closet.
And that brings us to the Roman Catholic Church. It’s entirely correct to attack the Church both on the paedophilia scandal and the way they’ve attempted to cover it up and not to weed the offenders out. What has always bothered me is that the same left-wing people who have pushed this campaign so hard will eventually rediscover their intellectual antecedents, turn around and, once they’ve damaged the Church over this, argue for its sanction in society.
In a sense its like the business of marijuana legalisation: belief in that was the fashionable thing to do in the day, but there was a reaction. We turned around and filled our prisons to try to stop the habit we unleashed on the world, and only now are we getting around to legalising it by fits and starts. The biggest obstacle in this country to “finishing the job” is that the Occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, himself the leader of the “Choom Gang” in his own day, won’t let his inner pothead out.
Discounting the relevance of 1960’s and 1970’s radicalism, given the enormous effect it’s had on subsequent events and the fact that many of the players from the era are prominent in ours, is a mistake. As Andreas Killen sagely pointed out at the end of his book 1973 Nervous Breakdown:
Yet the crises of the 1970’s are not so easily buried; indeed they have reemerged with new intensity in our own time.
Indeed they have.