Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Church's Sex Abuse Scandal Revisited

Four years ago, the Seattle Times was kind enough to give me some space to comment on the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal of recent years:  "Danger Signs on the Early Path to Priesthood"
     Now, just the other day, the prestigious John Jay College of Criminal Justice released its five-year study of the scandal, largely blaming  the tenor of times for leading priests astray.  Stuff and nonsense, I say!
     As I wrote four years ago, I have to believe that the Church’s high-school seminary system played a major role in the scandal.  Having attended a Catholic grade-school myself, I can personally attest to how throughout the eighth-grade we were periodically made to meditate on the topic of whether we had vocations. Under that sort of pressure, many a thirteen-year-old boy may have misinterpreted his indifference to girls as the sign of a vocation, only to experience a different sexual awakening in a conveniently cloistered same-sex setting.  I would bet that the majority of the priests who preyed upon young boys were products of the high-school seminaries.
      No one seems to be looking into this angle.  Someone should.
     That high-school seminary system now is largely defunct.  But the Church has yet to admit that it was a mistake.  Perhaps when it does, it will be able to move on.
     A poet I otherwise loathe, Robert Browning, in his poem "Fra Lippo Lippi," put it best:  "You should not take a fellow eight years old/ And make his swear never to kiss the girls."   The age, of course, is different, but the principle remains the same.--EFP       

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