I try to avoid religious commentary, but — Good God! What is it about confession that the Catholic hierarchy can't seem to grasp?
The grotesque epidemic of priestly pedophilia that has roiled the church has been under assessment in a five-year, $2-million study commissioned by our country's Catholic bishops. At long last, the report is out, but not the truth. Instead, the panel concludes that this horror is not the fault of the church nor even of the abusive priests. Rather — cue the heavenly music — the '60s made them do it.
Yes, it's the Woodstock defense. The diabolical theory of this study is that "social chaos" created by the tie-dyed sexual revolution of the 1960s so discombobulated otherwise chaste and honorable men that they used their religious authority to rape 10-year-olds and teenagers.
Dios mio, Lord have mercy. That conclusion is as perverted as what the priests did and as inexcusable as the hierarchy's ongoing denials and cover-ups. Start with the obvious: First, rape isn't about sex; it's a gross abuse of power. Second, I was around in the 1960s, and while I couldn't seem to attract much free love for myself, I can testify that the sexual revolution of the time most definitely didn't even contemplate — much less advocate — old men in dark robes molesting children who'd been placed in their care.
The church's report is as silly as the right-wing's current fiction that all would be well in America if only the '60s had never happened. Excuse me, but enormous progress was made in those years by women, civil-rights champions, environmental advocates, and, yes, by American culture itself.
The pope should shelve the nonsense in this report and lead the world in a new liturgical chant: Pedophilia isn't a social habit that one adopts. It's a sickness. Deal with it. Honestly.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.