Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. (St. Matthew 18:7)
I'm going to tell you about my conversations with Brian.
It is Fall/Winter 2017. I am at Joyceville Minimum Security Federal Penitentiary in Joyceville, Ontario, about 60 minutes away from Ottawa. I am six months away from freedom. I have recently begun attending Holy Mass at the chapel on Saturday mornings.
I am spending all of my time reading everything related to the Catholic Church - Her morals, Her doctrine, Her history, Her Saints, Her liturgy. I am without internet so I am pouring through the materials available in the chapel area and the Encyclopedia Britannica in the libraries. I have all of the fire of a potential convert.
The pianist at the Mass is a fellow inmate named Brian. He is an older (60+) white man who is extremely overweight with a creepy countenance but open personality. He lives in a house (we lived in townhouses) with inmates of similar profiles - people who I know are sex criminals. I assume he is one too.
For some reason the penitentiary system in Canada sends most child rapists and child porn aficionados directly to minimum security prison. They consider being attracted to minors a "disease" and the people who suffer from it "not real criminals." They believe they can medicate them (by giving them drugs that make it impossible to get an erection for example, or drugs that make them extremely docile) away from being a threat to the community. They usually get parole at the first opportunity.
Brian spent a lot of time in the small library working on the music for each Mass and I was in the same space doing my research. Eventually we began speaking and Brian let me know why he was in jail.
These conversations occurred in dribs-and-drabs over a four-month time period.
Brian had sex with an underage male who was part of the choir of his parish. Brian was the choir lead. I never asked how old the boy was. Later when I asked if he felt remorse over his crime he told me that "the boy was old enough to know what he was doing." Gag. Clearly the police and victim felt otherwise.
Brian delighted in telling me the same story multiple times: about how a priest that he knew stole $1 million dollars from his parish and gambled it away in Las Vegas. I have no idea if the story was true or if charges were pressed or if it was dealt with internally. But he delighted in repeatedly telling me the story. The reason dawned on me later.
I began to wonder why an active, unrepentant homosexual would attend Mass or be active in the Church, so I asked him. He replied that in jail it "gave him something to do" but that's not the answer I was looking for. Why did you volunteer at your local parish? Why do you involve yourself in church affairs? Why do you think other homosexuals enter the seminary?
He said that he had been active in the Church as a little boy and that it felt familiar to him. He said he enjoyed the musical aspect of Mass and that the Church was full of corruption so he didn't believe his sins were any worse than priests stealing money or any of the other examples of malfeasance.
When I specifically inquired on why gay men flock to the seminary he said believed that the sheer volume of gay men in the priesthood made it like a club. Gay priests join because they want to be around other gay men and be around beautiful art and music and great spiritual drama. He once opined that the gay priests that he knew did not take the vows of celibacy too seriously.
When I asked if he was afraid of going to hell for being an unrepentant sodomite (in nicer words) he basically replied that as long as he confessed it before death that he would be OK and "who knows if all of this is even true in the first place."
While involving himself with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Brian was paying younger inmates for sex.
Now, after several years, this is what I remember most about our interactions: He thought his involvement in the Church while engaging in a mix of deeply sinful and criminal activities was a big lark. He used priestly corruption as a gloss for his own activities. His glee at all of this confounded me until I was released and I read Ann Barnhardt's writings on Diabolical Narcissists.
Older and spiritually stronger I recognize in the unexplainable drive to integrate himself into Church affairs the stench of hell. It is the presence of people like himself that have so tarnished the Church in the eyes of the laity that many have used these predators as a reason to cast themselves away from the Barque of Peter. His shoulder-shrugging "I'm not sure" reasons for wanting to be involved with the Church had a reason: the desire of some demon to create scandal. This horrible energy has been replicated in thousands of different places among different people who have flocked to the Church in order to tarnish Her.
The plan, from whatever pit of hell it was cast, has been incredibly successful.
I trust in Mary to crush the serpent's head and in Christ to guide the Church safely home.
I'm just not sure how that is going to be done.