Ross Douthat’s essay of March 16, 2013 titled What the Church Needs Now is, of course, rhetorically framed as a defense of Catholic authoritarianism. The primacy of justified male authority is the central concept of the precipitously declining patriarchy, here synonymous with Catholicism, unable to confront it’s own complicity, in the world wide child sexual abuse crisis, and the cover up by the actors and institutions of the Catholic church.
Mr. Douthat recently stated on Left, Right and Center that there was no ascertainable link between priestly celibacy and epidemic sexual molestation by priests. The moral dislocation, indeed the schizophrenia, of this Catholic/Conservative intellectual on the subject of justified male authority has produced this defense of the Church: submission to authority as key to salvation, ‘renunciation’, ‘chastity’,’solidarity’ as primary to religion and foundation to social stability. The key to which is the Family, exclusively represented by a man and a women and the centrality of procreation. I have chosen this particular paragraph of his essay because it so clearly states his Conservative Catholic defense of religion, his religion. Note too, his concern with the declining birth rate. Decadence, the subversive menace of the Hegemon.
“Religion without renunciation has obvious appeal. But its cultural consequences are not all self-evidently positive. Absent ideals of chastity, people are less likely to form families. Absent ideals of solidarity, more people live and age and die alone. The social landscape that we take for granted is one that many earlier generations would have regarded as dystopian: sex and reproduction have both been ruthlessly commodified, adult freedoms are enjoyed at the expense of children’s interests, fewer children grow up with both a mother and a father, and fewer and fewer children are even born at all.”