Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sex And The Sacrament

"'It's to dark down here, I can't see what I'm doing', as the bishop said to the actress." or "'It doesn't usually leak this much', as the actress said to the bishop."

Sound's familiar doesn't it? Well it probably should too. "...as the actress said to the bishop" and vice versa have been popular idioms in the English language for a long, long time and have provided us with much humour over the years (Benny Hill immediately springs to mind).

Then there's the one about the young priest who has to fill in for Father Brian one weekend. He has to take a confession from a prostitute, but having never been exposed to such things before is unsure of what atonement to assign for her sins. As he's pondering this he sees the head alter boy and thinks, "He'll know, he's been around a while" so he asks: "John, what does father Brian give for oral sex?" The boy answers: "A can of Coke and a Mars Bar usually, why?"

The old ones are always the best, aren't they? But I can sit here and type crass priest jokes all day. They'd all be old and I wouldn't run out any time soon. We tell jokes like these because they are things that simply shouldn't happen, shouldn't be allowed to happen and yet somehow seem to happen with monotonous regularity, so we laugh at the hypocrisy. It's pure sarcasm at its most sarcastic.

But how did we become so tolerant of and amused by the concept of sex within the pious ranks of the clergy? We all know that priests are not supposed to indulge in this sort of behaviour, yet at the time these jokes became popular, jokes about the priesthood's lasciviousness were all the rage.

Well it probably has a lot to do with Thomas Aquinas. Back in his day, prostitutes were referred to as "actresses" in the polite vernacular and he advocated prostitution, saying things like; "Suppress prostitution and capricious lusts will overthrow society" and "prostitution in the town is like the cesspool in the palace; remove the cesspool and the palace will become an unclean and evil-smelling place". I can only assume he said such things because the brothels of Southwark, which employed young men as well as young women and "serviced" the clergy free of charge, were owned and controlled by the Bishop of Winchester from as early as the 11th century, a post that Aquinas himself held for a short period. They were also a reasonable source of income too, naturally. Did someone say "MONEY"? Gee, now there's a surprise.

As to the second joke, well it's also a sad fact that sometimes the Bishop's male "employees" were forced to serve as alter boys to atone for their sins before they were sent back to sin again, probably at the behest of a priest. It's been modernised with the advent of "coke and a mars bar" I know, but "ale and a pork bun" used to work just as well back in the day.

As a consequence though, whenever I hear about a clergyman or deeply religious person, whether they be Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Fundamentalist or any of the myriad "denominations" that exist today, being involved in some sort of scandal with an alter boy or prostitute/s, whether they be male or female, it always surprises me that their fellow christians seem to get upset about it. These guys are not doing anything new as far as "church business" is concerned and let's face it, now that they're not the pimps anymore they are at least forced to pay for the services they receive, not like Aquinas and his cronies.

17 Comments:

Dikkii said...

I thought you were going to blog about tantric sex for a moment, there.

One of the "phwoar!" moments in The Da Vinci Code was when it became known that there was ritual nookie practised within this secret cult.

(For the record, even though everything was terribly wrong about this book - character development, plot holes, gaping unbelievability, coincidences stretched to the point of incredulity, stereotyping, poor writing, inaccuracies etc - I found it a rippingly good read which I couldn't put down)

Sex and religion go hand in hand. Why else would there be so much denial?

Incidentally, did you ever read about the Banquet of Chestnuts? Hilarious. Those Borgias knew how to party.

Plonka said...

Dikkii:

The formula for pulp fiction at its best...:)

Well, the Pope had to some measure of the man...;)

Gryphonn-see my 'other' blog said...

Or, as the priest once said to the alter boy, "I'm magic, can you feel my finger in your bum?" To which the alter boy replied, "yes, father".
The priest then placed both hands in front of his face and said, "See, magic!"

I think that making jokes of such a serious betrayal of trust is our way of preventing us from becoming over stressed about such things. It *is* hypocrisy in it's worst form. Religious mentors abusing the trust that young people place in them. It's no wonder that fewer people place their faith in religion nowadays.
For the record, I list my religion in the census as a 'Devoted Happy'. Our basic tenet is that we should live our lives the way we se fit, so long as it does no harm to others. Now, if I can only get another 500 or so people to join my religion, we can get a tax free plot of land to build a church and live off grants and donations!

phoenix said...

"These guys are not doing anything new as far as "church business" is concerned and let's face it, now that they're not the pimps anymore they are at least forced to pay for the services they receive, not like Aquinas and his cronies."

Or... they take the opportunity to take advantage of their 'flock' for the services they require... the very people that they are supposed to be helping. I often wonder if those who choose to serve the church these days do so more to use the unquestioned power of influence that comes with the position.

But then, I guess that's nothing new either, is it?

Donna said...

Ted-

I will go back & read your new posting in depth, later (and think, I hope...) Was just wondering how things are going- then saw you posted, so you're still "there". Sean is on vacation/holiday, I think, for a wk., I "miss" him. Well, I miss you, too when you're busy. But you ARE doing what you SHOULD be
doing....

Plonka said...

Gryph:

There's a million of 'em and they go back a long, long way and there's plenty worse than that too.

Gryph & Tina:

I know it was a flippant post, but you found the real issue. It's a betrayal of trust that destroys lives and what's worse (and my reason for beating on Aquinas) is that there are hundreds, if not thousands of child sex offenders out there that will never see the inside of a jail. Why? Because the church hides and protects them and makes excuses for them.

The victims never see any justice because the pope pays them to keep quiet, so they spend their lives suffering various post incident stress disorders which for some, can be quite debilitating.

Donna:

I have to admit to having an occasional peek at my regular haunts between job applications. I'm averaging at least one a day, but I still don't seem to be getting many interviews.

I may have to post a rant if it goes on much longer...;)

Donna said...

Oh, Oh, (my hand is up in the air like in school)"Pick me, pick me!!)

Copy and past your rant to BIO, too!! Or JUST put it there. It IS
a "rant" site, ya know. You'll feel better and we can all cheer you on by calling EDS AND the places you don't snag interviews with "buttheads", "boneheads", "morons", etc. You know, a few choice
salient terms...

The right job will be there when you hit on it. It may not be the right one for the rest of your career, it could be the "right" one for you to springboard into something else, or put that old addage into effect: "the best time to look for a job is when you have one", like you're doing now.

After you tender the applications to the co's you REALLY want to work for, are you initiating contact if you don't hear from 'em
AFTER they receive your app.? Give 'em a wk or so & then start naggin 'em-

Donna said...

Well, now that I'm somewhat prepared to comment, here goes-

I think alot of "people" do not notice/recognize/pay attention to
child abuse in the form we're talking about in this particular posting because they aren't "looking for it". But, of course, then there's "moi" whom has
ALWAYS looked for signs of it, EVERYWHERE- my child did NOT go to a dentist/optometrist that had "closed door" procedure rooms.
I showed up MANY times, unannounced, and walked thru daycare facilities, @ different times of day. Until he was 14, I went to the exam room with him @ the regular physician's office.

To this day, when he mentions a new
"friend", I want to know the age, whom they "hang out with", etc. Basically, I do everything short of driving by their house to see what it looks like before I allow
much more interaction.

And I would be the SAME way about
anything @ church. But that's ME, and "we" know why.

I think most people, from what I can glean, here in U.S., just don't think "IT" will ever happen to anyone right in their own household. And so they ignore the possibility that it could. And then when it starts, they don't realize the "signs". And that's only if the kid is still around for
signs to BE noticed. If the child has been kidnapped, murdered, it's REALLY too late. It shocks me every time I go to WalMart, etc., and see small children, wandering around, looking in the toy section, etc., and no "mommy" or any other adult right there with them. Um, that is EXACTLY how John Walsh's son, Adam, got kidnapped from a Sears store 20+ yrs ago in Hialeah, Florida- the mom went in to look @ lamps, Adam
wondered off. They found his decapitated head about 2 wks later.
And I would garner to guess that most church attendees do NOT ever think something like molestation would happen at: CHURCH. Well, my
PERSONAL opinion is, if YOU are not
there when you kid is alone with some adult that you don't have alot
of knowledge about (& even that isn't a guarantee), IT CAN HAPPEN!!

I don't know which is worse- knowing what to be on the "watch" for, like I am, or the reason I KNOW what to look for....

Donna said...

PS: Sorry, I think I had a minor
"rant", there!!

But I still think part of the problem, no matter what "religion"
molestation is happening under the
auspices of, people are not "watchful".

Plonka said...

Donna:

I think there's a big difference between watchful in a mall and watchful in a church.

Priests are also meant to be "watchful" and they certainly expect to be trusted (as do the "religious" in general), because they are "people of god". So I shouldn't need to be "watchful" at church, I should be able to trust in god and his priests. Obviously however, god doesn't care what happens to the children in his own house because his churches actively seek to protect those that are guilty.

Donna said...

You're right- there IS a difference about being watchful in a mall vs being watchful in a church. In a church, the "average" person doesn't normally expect to have to be "watchful". Note I said "normally"... however, I have
ALWAYS "watched", EVERYWHERE. And now we know why.

Of course the church hierarchy, whatever denomination, will go to great lengths to provide some kind of asylum for the perpetrators. But that doesn't always work. Plenty of diocesan funds & properties have been "given up", here, in the name of "Pay up". But
you can be paid all the money in the world and it won't change the anger, etc., nor the person you've
become BECAUSE of the symptoms of abuse that even YOU didn't "see"...

Indica Man said...

Hey Plonka, here's a little something I posted tonight on my alter-ego's blog:
Biblical Anointing

Cheers bloke,
Gryph

Plonka said...

Well Gryph, I went to all the trouble of trying to get my brain around your post (last day... to much beer and bourbon) and post an informed and altogether pissed idiot type response (longer than this one too...), only to discover that "disqus" needs me to create a profile and log in before I can post it...

Indica Man said...

Ah, you should be able to post without a profile by leaving the 'verify post' box unchecked. However, I'll check my settings at disqus to make sure.

Plonka said...

Oh... Well I did say I was drunk...:)

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I love hearing about the origins of sayings, thanks for that bit of info.

I am back but man people write a heap in three weeks. Still catching up.

Plonka said...

No worries Sean...:) Take your time.

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