Why are so many priests pedophiles? The official Roman Catholic Church explanation seems to be that the cause is homosexuals in the clergy. That explanation is awfully convenient as it rests on common prejudices and shifts the blame away from Rome's own policies. But more to the point, it does nothing to explain why priests are raping girls.

We might then turn to abstinence as the problem. After all, humans are wired to reproduce. However, a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that [rape] offenses could be categorized as power rape (sexuality used primarily to express power) or anger rape (use of sexuality to express anger), [but] there were no rapes in which sex was the dominant issue; sexuality was always in the service of other, nonsexual needs. So apparently sex crimes have little to do with sex, and more to do with anger and power issues. So why are so many priests pedophiles?

I suspect the answer has a lot to do with the broken hierarchy of the Catholic Church. I haven't spent a lot of time in Catholic churches, but pretty much every one I know anything about is messed up, with people who want to do good being restricted by their position in an amoral or immoral bureaucracy. Case in point on Shelley's weblog. The inability to do good naturally makes people angry. The apparent discrepancy between God's will and the Catholic Church's will naturally creates power issues. And anger and power issues encourage sex crimes.

The attempt to mandate sexual orientation among abstinent priests is an ironic symptom of the problem here. It's not enough for Rome to control, to the point of elimination, the sex lives of priests; they also want to control the sex priests aren't even having. It's an unfortunate irony, a disease masquerading as a cure.

Ultimately, I think, priests are responsible for their own actions. But the Catholic Church is an apparent accomplice.