Pedophilia and Kulturkampf: The Consequences of Just Saying Yes to the Culture of Appetite

Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan

The recent pedophilia case in Boston is instructive for those who want to understand how Kulturkampf works in a culture where media orchestrated appetite followed by media orchestrated opinion is the main instrument of control. Every system of control needs a cadre of commissars, those who have internalized the commands of the regime to the extent that they want to impose them on others. Some people do this because their guilty consciences compel them to; others get paid to do it. The categories are not mutually exclusive, as the case of Andrew Sullivan, the establishment's designated Catholic, indicates. Sullivan is a homosexual Catholic, which makes him an expert on moral issues. He can therefore speak with authority on things like priestly celibacy. On the pages of Time magazine, Sullivan calls celibacy "an onerous burden that can easily distort a person's psyche."

Just how abolishing celibacy is going to quiet the urges of the homosexual priests who have been molesting children is anyone's guess. Sullivan ignores the fact that the ability to marry is not much of a consolation to a homosexual. Has Andrew Sullivan availed himself of the right to marry a woman and have children? If not, why does he think a homosexual priest would? The pronouncements of designated Catholics like Sullivan are always couched in terms that lead the reader to believe that they have only the good of the church in mind. Flens dico. Disinterested benevolence, etc. That pose is maintained long enough to lead up to the real message, which is that the Church will have to abandon its commitment to preserving the moral order in the sexual realm. "How," Sullivan wonders, "can a church that preaches the impermissibility of so many forms of consensual, adult sex simultaneously tolerate, ignore or cover up the sexual abuse of children by its own priests?" In other words, the political purpose of the current crisis is to break whatever hold the Catholic Church still has on morals because morals, especially sexual morals, are the only thing which stands between the nation's beleaguered individuals and families and the globalist culture of control through appetite which pays Mr. Sullivan to say what he has to say.

William F. Buckley, another designated Catholic, took much the same tack, calling for Cardinal Law's resignation. "To stand by the church," he wrote, "precisely means to cause the defective prince of the church to stand aside." Referring to the pedophile priest, Buckley opined that "one can feel with great sorrow and understanding the derangement of the arsonist, but one does not send him back into the forest." What Mr. Buckley fails to understand is that when it comes to the culture of control through appetite, the fire department is run by arsonists. In the case of the Boston pedophile priest, the Church is being blamed for doing what the dominant culture told it to do.

Bernard Cardinal Law

Bernard Cardinal Law

What was Cardinal Law's crime? His crime is that he listened to psychologists. His crime is that he did what the dominant culture told him to do. He was told, on the authority of psychologists, that that pedophilia was curable and so he reassigned the priest in question to another parish. The molestations happened 20 years ago, and the changes that created the atmosphere that allowed that disaster to happen in the Church, the culture of saying yes to appetite, happened 20 years before that, which is to say in the '60s, when the Catholic Church, fatally docile when it comes to the dominant culture of control through appetite, started running seminaries and religious orders according to the principles of Carl Rogers and Sigmund Freud. If the Catholic Church is at fault, it is at fault for listening to the dominant culture, specifically psychologists of this sort, in the first place. The vehicle for the demoralization of the Catholic Church was modern psychology.

No new evidence is necessary to make this case. I have documented instance after instance in these pages and in various books. To cite evidence from John Cardinal Krol and the Cultural Revolution, Tony Massamini was sent to Rome by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to study what eventually came to be known as "spirituality." What did he learn there? He learned, in his words, that "the Church is still trying to catch up with Sigmund Freud." The net result in his life is that he left the church and got married. He now resides in Paradise-Paradise, Pennsylvania, that is-in a suburban tract home in Amish country. His defection corresponds precisely to Wilhelm Reich's program for sexual revolution as articulated in his book The Mass Psychology of Fascism, a countercultural best seller in the late '60s. When the Paris police stormed the barricades of student revolutionaries in 1968, they were literally bombarded with copies of this book. Reich discovered early on that debating the existence of God got nowhere in terms of the revolution. However, if, to use his example, the "seminarian" became involved in sexual activity. then idea of God would evaporate from his mind.

That was the theory of sexual revolution, articulated by Reich during the 1930s and promoted by his American disciples during the '50s and '60s. The revolutionary praxis was also based on psychology, applied psychology of the Rogerian sort. We have already documented on these pages how Carl Rogers destroyed the Immaculate Heart nuns of Los Angeles by using psychology as the validator of appetite. The Catholic Church abandoned traditional sexual discipline in its religious orders because the dominant culture of control though appetite said that it would improve religious life. Instead, the release of moral control destroyed religious life, which has led some to think that the destruction was intentional. The Church was told that it would profit by making war on repression. After all, we're all sexual beings, so the cliché went at the time. Jeanne Cordova, an IHM nun in Los Angeles during the '60s, eventually left the order and became a lesbian, and then recounted her experiences under the tutelage of the culture of appetite in a collection of essays entitled Lesbian Nuns. He bitterness is still palpable 20 years after the fact.

"They promised me monastic robes, glorious Latin liturgy, the protection of the three sacred vows, the peace of saints in a quiet cell, the sisterhood of a holy family. But I entered religious life the year John XXIII [sic] was taking it apart: 1966. The fathers of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church were sitting at the Vatican Council destroying in the name of CHANGE, my dreams. Delete Latin ritual. Dump the habit. Damn holy obedience. Send nuns and priests out into the REAL world. If I had wanted the real world. I'd have stayed in it." i

As part of her entry into the real world, Cordova was enrolled at Immaculate Heart College, the flagship school of the order, where she was subjected to the Education Innovation Project first hand through sensitivity training and second hand through the teachers who had also taken the sensitivity training.


In their enthusiasm for Carl Rogers's encounter groups, the older sisters seem to have missed the fact that students like Jean Cordova found the whole experience more troubling than exhilarating. "A lot of times," wrote one of Cordova's fellow students, "I've heard that faculty felt they were being forced... to say things they didn't want to say; I myself feel very uncomfortable about being shut in with people who break down and say things I feel I shouldn't have heard. I think it creates a kind of embarrassment, which would seem to be a hindrance in relationships rather than a help. Still I do feel that I've gained a lot of insight into other peoples' behavior." Another student was even more troubled. "I felt at a loss today in that encounter group: very naked, as though everyone knows too much about me."

Before long, many of the nuns started to feel naked as well, mainly because as a result of the loosening of controls in the order in the name of California-style openness, they were taking off their clothes and having sex with other nuns. Instead of doing a close reading of Rogers's paper on groups, especially the passage about how encounter groups often led to "feelings which have a sexual component" and acting according to procedures consonant with the vow of chastity, the Immaculate Heart nuns, in the name of openness and innovation, decided that they had to learn the same lesson about human passion in the expensive school of experience. In the name of openness, religious asceticism vanished from convent life. Cordova stopped going to Mass at 6:30 in the morning because nuns weren't "required" to go to Mass anymore.

As religious practice evaporated from their lives, the nuns turned to each other for support. Particular friendships flourished, and in the atmosphere of the times, some of these friendships inevitably turned sexual. This, of course, meant that life in the convent became both mean-spirited and chaotic. During the spring of 1967, Cordova noticed that many of the nuns weren't going to Mass anymore. This meant the beginning of lots of particular friendships, a whole sub-culture of in-group and out-group, who they were and how they did it and how you could just lie your way out of anything. To a lonely postulant in a miserable friendless world, it was an absurd outrage.

"I fell out of love with Jesus and the IHMs, who betrayed and mocked my innocence. I was sinking in the quagmire of broken dreams... All I have ever wanted to be was a nun. Now I was, and it was hell." ii

Jeanne Cordova found that she couldn't talk to her parents about the changes, probably because her parents were as bewildered by the unprecedented sequence of events as she was. "Mom was a sheltered, upper class convent raised Irish Catholic from Queens, Long Island, who probably first read about birth control in the LA Times between her ninth and tenth kid." In the bewildering atmosphere of the up-dated chaotic convent, where the IHM nuns were told to be open to their feelings in the encounter groups they were attending, Cordova found solace in sexual contact, with one of the other nuns. Both embittered and sexualized by her experience in the convent, Cordova converted to lesbian activism with the same fervor which she offered to the pre-conciliar Church.

"I harnessed my anger into love for gays as an oppressed people. My bitterness demands the straight world to move over and accept our rights. I have learned that my anger takes me where others are afraid to go and that outrage is good in the eyes of whatever Higher Power gives us righteous, if misguided, anger to protect us." iii

Other IHM nuns had similar experiences. Sister Mary Benjamin, like Jean Cordova, was driven to the IHM novitiate by her large Catholic family, who piled out of the station wagon "like a baseball team" when they arrived there in 1962. Like Jean Cordova, Sister Mary Benjamin was enrolled as a student at Immaculate Heart College, where four years later, during the summer of 1966, she was "introduced to sensitivity training, the order's first venture in to the human potential movement." iv

In her encounter group, Sister Mary met Eva, "a heavy, dark-skinned women with deep brown eyes and black hair." Given the spirit of the times, the alchemy of this relationship was just as predictable as that which seduced Jean Cordova: "The order no longer prohibited particular friendships," Sister Mary recounted matter of factly, "so the contact turned sexual." v Sister Mary sought council from a priest, but apparently he had been infected by the spirit of the times as well and "refused to pass judgment on my actions. He said it was up to me to decide if they were right or wrong. He opened a door, and I walked through, realizing I was on my own." When Sister Mary told Eva that she was "worried that I had a terrible crush on her," Eva responded by saying, "Great! Enjoy it!" vi

The message of this culture is "Say yes to appetite." One of the problems with this statement is that some people have weird appetites. A man has no control over what he finds attractive. His only control over his attractions lies in his ability to say yes or no to those appetites. But since the dominant culture tells him that repression is bad, the dominant culture is responsible for the fact that people with weird appetites eventually act on those appetites. The fault lies with the culture that says "Say yes to appetite," not with the institution that strives to uphold moral standards.

Say yes to appetite is the gist of what Carl Rogers told the nuns, and the nuns who listened to him-some of them at least-became lesbians. They were simply doing what they were told. They were being obedient, first to the dominant culture, second to their religious superiors who allowed this experiment, and thirdly to their disordered passions. When all three indicators seemed in agreement, that was the green light to act on their appetites. The result in this instance was the destruction of the order. The only reason we don't hear about these people in criminal proceedings is because the dominant culture has turned lesbians into cultural heroes.

Lesbians have weird sexual appetites. The culture, however, condones these weird appetites as good and praiseworthy, just as it considers all homosexuality praiseworthy. This is because the culture of narcissism promotes homosexuality because it is an extreme form of narcissism, one which spreads the illusion that every aspect of nature is really a matter of the will or politically organized desire.

The law of this culture is say yes to appetite; however, the simple minded implementation of that directive is counterproductive. Because man is a rational animal the uninhibited cultivation of passion leads to self-destruction, which is the moral equivalent of nuclear melt-down. The culture of control through appetite wants that reaction to stop at an intermediate stage, just as the chain reaction in nuclear reactors do. That means providing increasingly draconian social controls on the one hand to prevent an explosion. But on the other hand, it also means eliminating guilt, which is nature's way of stopping the moral progression to psychological meltdown.

Pedophilia plays a crucial role in this system of control through appetite. It is the sexual sin which excuses all other sexual sins. "I may be bad," says the homosexual propagandist in his more candid secret moments, "but I'm not a pedophile." The woman who has had an abortion is urged on by the culture to say the same thing. Pedophilia's significance derives from the fact that it involves children. And its effect can be noted in the recent hysteria involving child molestation at daycare centers. Daycare is just the tip of the guilt iceberg which involves children and sex, it goes down through that to contraception and beyond that all the way to abortion. Those who feel guilt with regard to children because they have either neglected or killed them, and those who feel guilt because of their sexual sins can find consolation in the fact that they are, at least, not pedophiles. When the Catholic Church, the only institution in the world which maintains the complete set of sexual standards, can be implicated in this sin, those same people feel even better. The major reminder of sexual dereliction has been exposed as hypocritical. They, meaning priests, are all perverts, they are no better than we are, etc. etc. In other words, I feel better already.

Joaquin Navarro-Valls

Joaquin Navarro-Valls

That is the psychological basis of the Boston pedophile media assault, which is turning out to be a classic instance of Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church. Demonization is followed by calls for reform by "concerned Catholics" like Andrew Sullivan and William F. Buckley and Anna Quindlen, who all predictably call for measures that are tantamount to pouring gasoline on the fire, by, in other words, lowering the moral standards even further.  When the Vatican in response to the pedophile crisis said that homosexuals should not be ordained as priests, The Boston Globe criticized them for being homophobic and intolerant. "People with these inclinations just cannot be ordained," said Joaquin Navarro-Valls in an interview in The New York Times. The fact that a statement like this unleashed a storm of protests exposes the hidden agenda behind all of the indignation against homosexual pedophilia.

David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, called the Vatican reply, "a narrow, misguided statement." In other words, it's okay for priests to engage in homosexual behavior if the object of their affections is over the age a consent. If this were to occur with a young man the day before his 18th birthday, it would be a capital offense. Does anyone take this double standard seriously? The answer is yes, the people who do are orchestrating the campaign against the Catholic Church. The nature of this Kulturkampf becomes apparent by way of comparison. When Michael Jackson was accused of pedophilia, did anyone call for sweeping changes in the music industry? Did William F. Buckley write columns then calling for the president of Sony to resign?

The same campaign is still going on. The fire department is still rushing to the scene to pour gasoline on the fire. In early March, The Vagina Monologues got performed at Notre Dame University. The Vagina Monologues, as those of your who have read the article on it featured two years ago in these pages know, is agitprop for lesbianism and masturbation. It also features a graphic description of the lesbian seduction of a minor, which is excused precisely because a lesbian is doing the molesting. Did the moral fire department, the designated Catholics, Sullivan et al, object to the performance of The Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame or Holy Cross or Georgetown? No, they did not. In fact they defend the very incitation to passion that leads people with weird appetites to say yes to them by appealing to academic freedom and all of the other clichés that get used to break down moral standards. Then when someone acts out what he has seen, the media organize a lynch mob and demand more changes that will punish the victims, and more sexual liberation, more saying yes to appetite, to insure that new victims will appear in due time to legitimate their next campaign against the defenders of moral order. The fire department, Mr. Buckley, is run by arsonists.

Notre Dame University defended the performance of the play precisely on the grounds of academic freedom; the bishop does nothing to contradict this undermining of morals, and in fact, in a scenario which has by now become familiar, those who attempt to defend the moral standard get punished. When Joe Scheidler, the prolife activist and Notre Dame alumnus, came down from Chicago to protest the performance of The Vagina Monologues, the university called the police and threatened to arrest him.

The Boston pedophilia case is, in other words, a classic instance of media driven Kulturkampf. But that does not let the Church off the hook. The Church is culpable precisely because it has provided such feckless and ineffective resistance to the dominant culture of control through appetite. It is culpable because it has been positively avid to implement the directives of the arsonists on the fire department. The reason the editor of this magazine and the writer of this article is the editor of this magazine and writer of this article and not a college professor has some relevance to the media assault over the pedophilia and the priesthood in Boston. I was fired for being a whistleblower on sexual issues at a Catholic College. The term whistleblower is inaccurate because by the time I arrived on the Catholic educational scene in the late '70s, there was no one to listen to the whistle. Anyone who objected to the loosening of sexual mores was marginalized or, as in my case, fired. By the late '70s the takeover of Catholic education was complete. What do I mean by takeover?

At St. Mary's College, where I taught, that meant feminism. At Notre Dame it meant removing the university from the oversight of the Catholic Church and placing it under the direction of a lay board of trustees. That administrative move corresponded exactly in time with the attempts of Father Hesburgh, in collaboration with the Rockefellers, to change the Church's teaching on contraception and make it conform to the new sexual consensus the Rockefellers were forging at the time. The Land of Lakes meeting which ratified Hesburgh's alienation of church property followed by a matter of weeks the bishops' caving in on the case of Charles Curran at Catholic University, a case also involving sexual standards.

In general, this takeover meant that the Catholic Church was henceforth to adopt the sexual moral standards of the dominant culture. That meant condoning contraception and abortion. It also meant condoning homosexuality, especially at seminaries. In general, the message was quite simple. It was say yes to appetite. And that meant, sooner or later, pedophilia because there was no way to limit the chain reaction saying yes to appetite put in motion once it got started. So if Carl Rogers was ultimately responsible for the lesbianism which destroyed the Immaculate Heart order, he, as the symbol for the new permissive psychology, was responsible for homosexual behavior with children as well. The essence of Kulturkampf is to obscure this fact by blaming the victim, which is to say the Catholic Church which was so avid to implement the commands of the culture of control through appetite.

It is in this avidity for assimilation that the real culpability of the Church lies, not in their feckless and half-hearted and timid attempts to maintain moral standards. The simple law of life since the '60s is that anyone who raises the moral standard at a Catholic institution will be punished. Since this is the law, it should not be surprising that sexual scandals will proliferate in the Church. Nor should it be surprising that the culture of appetite should want to exploit them for its own ends.

Punishing those who uphold moral standards is a form of assimilation. It is the natural consequence of getting ensnared in the dominant culture's system of control through appetite. It's also not just derelict bishops who are to blame in this regard. The culture of control through appetite's main recruiting device is sexual license. Sexual license creates millions of little commissars out there who enforce the party line in their own way, largely by peer pressure.

Joe Smith (not his real name), who was recently appointed principal at a Catholic high school, found this out the hard wary. Two months after arriving at the school a female student was caught in flagrante dilectu performing oral sex on a male student in one of the school's men's rooms. Smith as a result expelled the students, both of whom came from broken homes, causing their guardians, in the girl's case a grandmother, to go over the principal's head and appeal to the archdiocese to readmit her.

What began at this point was a concerted campaign on the part of the archdiocese to pressure the principal to conform his actions to the sexual norms of the dominant culture. In a meeting on the incident chaired by the auxiliary bishop, the principal was put on the defensive. "They second guessed me," the principal explained. The chancery officials at the meeting kept pressing him by asking, "How do you know it was oral sex?" The principal for his part felt the line of questioning was "kind of Clintonian." His response was "what do you think they were doing?" They chancery officials, who were nowhere near the building when the incident occurred said "they were not sure but it wasn't that. The girl who was on her knees was "just talking" talking to the boy with his pants undone in a darkened men's room with the door closed.

The parallels with Clinton's behavior in the White House are too obvious too ignore. Since the president sets the moral tone for the country, high school students now feel free to engage in oral sex on the job, and assmilationist Catholic administrators feel the need to justify their behavior by saying that it didn't really happen. It all depends on your definition of the word "is." "What was driving the bus," Smith continued, is that the students "were people of color. The girl was part Indian, the boy had a black father. The Archdiocese as a result was concerned about litigation. The minority status of the students would get us in trouble."

The issue, in other words, is timidity vis a vis the dominant culture. The bishop has a pathological fear of being sued. As a result, he becomes an agent of the dominant culture enforcing its norms rather than the norms of the Church and the moral law.

The same attitude toward sexual standards was exhibited shortly after the oral sex incident when the school held its first homecoming dance under the new principal's tenure. That meant that for the first time the school dress code, which the students themselves devised, was going to be enforced. This set up a confrontation with the students, who by watching MTV become agents for the sexualization of the culture through clothing and music. As her way of defying the dress code, one girl showed up wearing a dress that was open in the back to her tailbone, revealing there a tattoo. When the principal, who was standing at the door, saw her, he told here that she was not dressed appropriately and that she would have to wear a sweater. She responded by telling him to "f--k off." At that point he suspended her for four days, whereupon her mother wrote to the archbishop, and he responded by telling the principal to apologize to the girl.

Exhibiting timidity vis a vis the dominant culture's sexual agenda is part of the natural selection process which seminarians must undergo in order to become priests. The same principal remembers being on a panel on Natrural Family Planning in another diocese, and that during the course of the discussion the married couples urged the clergy to press the matter by pushing NFP during the diocesan program of marriage preparation. At that point, one of the priests stopped the conversation dead in its tracks by announcing, "As a priest by nature, I shy away from confrontation." That priest later became a monsignor and pastor of one of the largest parishes in the diocese.

The message which he had internalized from his seminary days was: don't confront the dominant culture on sexual issues. Internalizing that message of nonresistance to the culture of control through appetite has led to countless instances of sexual dereliction; it could also lead to criminal activity if the priest has the wrong set of inclinations. All of it flows from the Church's supine attitude toward the culture of domination through appetite. All of it comes down to the fatal decision made by the people of influence in the Church during the '60s to assimiliate to a set of sexual standards that were completely incompatible with the standards of the Catholic Church and the moral law. As part of that assimilation process run amok, priests have been told that they are sexual beings; that they should not repress their sexuality; and that repression is bad. We are all familiar with the clichés by now. That combined with the fact that some people have weird appetites is the cause of the current pedophilia scandal. This again is part of the reforms which the introduction of Rogerian and Freudian and (even if not under that name) Reichian psychology wrought in religious life during the cultural revolution of the '60s.

Given the program of assimilation which the Church has embarked on, it is not surprising that sexual scandals proliferate. They proliferate because the Church has said yes for too long to the culture of control through appetite. They proliferate because anyone who raises the standard of sexual morality gets punished. They proliferate because the fire department is run by arsonists, and the people who should know better are to stupid or too dulled by their own appetites, or too intimidated by those who are to stand up against them.

E. Michael Jones


i Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan, eds. Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence (Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press, 1985), p. 3.
ii Curb and Manahan, p. 13.
iii Curb and Manahan, p. 14.
iv Curb and Manahan, p. 183.
v Curb and Manahan, p. 187.
vi Ibid.

This article was originally featured in the April 2002 issue of Culture Wars Magazine. You may purchase a digital download of this magazine by clicking on the link on the right.