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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted at Crisis Magazine on September 11, 2018.
Miami police arrested two priests for “lewd and lascivious behavior.” One of them was also charged with “indecent exposure.” The two priests were in a parked car in a public place, performing a “sex act.” As the policeman noted, “there were no tints on the windows.” Let’s talk about these two men, and what this incident means for our (non-stop) public conversation about sex.
First off, let me state for the record: I will never say “all gay men are….” I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay.” I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.
However, this incident certainly casts doubt on what I will call the Grand Gay Narrative. The Gay Marketing Men and their allies who promote the Sexual Revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:
The incident of two priests having oral sex in public undermines the plausibility of the Grand Gay Narrative. Let us consider these points one by one:
The most logical conclusion is that these two men are not in command of themselves. They are either grossly immature or they have some kind of obsessive-compulsive “issues,” as the euphemism goes. In other words, this is not normal behavior—at all.
One might reply that these two men are not typical of gay men, and that their behavior is not an intrinsic part of being gay. OK. Let’s say these two guys are not necessarily typical. They are atypical, out-of-control whack jobs.
In fact, I will go one step further: I won’t refer to them as “gay” at all. If you notice, I have not yet referred to them as “gay.” I plan not to do so. Perhaps you did not know that distinguished psychologist and expert on gender, Dr. Lisa Diamond, has stated: “There is currently no scientific or popular consensus on the exact constellation of experiences that definitively ‘qualify’ a person as lesbian, gay or bisexual, rather than curious, confused or maladjusted.”
Instead of the scientifically ambiguous and contested term “gay,” let me use a more precise term. The community of public health and medical researchers generally use the term, “men who have sex with men,” or MSM. Is the behavior of 39-year-old Fr. Diego Berrio and 30-year-old Fr. Edwin Giraldo Cortez in any way typical of other men who have sex with men? Looking at the Centers for Disease Control’s reports on rates of sexually transmitted diseases gives us some insight into this question.
Syphilis: the CDC reports that “MSM continued to account for the majority of Primary & Secondary syphilis cases in 2016 (Figures 35 and 36). Of 27,814 reported P&S syphilis cases in 2016, 16,155 (58.1 percent) were among MSM, including 14,553 (52.3 percent) cases among men who had sex with men only and 1,602 (5.8 percent) cases among men who had sex with both men and women (Figure 36).”
HIV: This CDC report states:
Sexually transmitted diseases are the result of a combination of having sex with multiple partners, and not using condoms consistently. Some might argue that lots of people have the urge to have multiple sex partners. In that sense, we could say they are all “born that way.” But we expect people to control that urge. And most people successfully do.
What can we conclude from the much higher rates of STDs among men who have sex with men compared with everyone else? We can, I think, reasonably conclude that MSM are less likely to be in command of themselves than others, more likely to have multiple partners, and less likely to take steps that reduce risk.
These two particular men are certainly not in command of themselves. Do you really want Fr. Diego Berrio or Fr. Edwin Giraldo Cortez running the youth group at your parish, or deciding whether your marriage is null? Is there really a safe or appropriate placement for someone who can’t control himself?
Whatever your answer to those questions might be, I think we can agree on one thing: this incident seriously tarnishes the carefully crafted image created
by the Gay Marketing Men.