Bizarro is brought to you today by Unconventional Clerics.
I probably should have predicted that this cartoon would receive some complaints but I didn't. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic Schools, was even an altar boy, and even though I am atheist now, one thing I've always liked about Catholics – over some other Christian denominations I've been acquainted with – is that they tend to have a pretty good sense of humor about their beliefs. That doesn't include every Catholic, obviously, so objections and outrage were expressed.
My suspicion is that the outrage wasn't as much about this cartoon as about public scrutiny of Catholics in general. Because some Catholic priests have been under attack in recent years for their improprieties with children, some Catholics are more sensitive than they might otherwise be.
Here's my amateur "expert" opinion on the pedophilia situation, and remember, it's worth what you're paying for it:
Nobody determines their sexual appetite, it just happens to us. Gay, straight, fat, thin, young, old, blonde, brunette, we like what we like and we can't change that. Many people with unpopular or even illegal sexual proclivities – homosexuals, pedophiles – are raised to feel guilty about their desires and some attempt to take refuge in the celibacy of the priesthood. I seriously doubt any of these priests joined the priesthood with the intention of molesting anyone. My guess is that they thought that their faith and lifestyle within the church would protect them from their desires. But sexual desire is among the strongest forces known in nature and most people cannot keep theirs at bay forever. So they give in and then go to great lengths to try to hide it.
I think it bears noting that there has never been a shortage of priests who break their vows of celibacy in legal ways, but they don't make headlines because they have not broken the law and the sex was consensual. Celibacy is a bitch, no matter who you are or what your reasons. (You may quote me.)
This is in no way meant to imply that homosexuals are pedophiles or that homosexuality is even in the same class of socially dangerous behavior. I only grouped them together here in the category of "sexual orientations likely to cause guilt." While sex with children is a devastating act that can never be condoned and guilt is therefore appropriate, we have only ourselves to blame for making homosexuals feel guilty about relations between consenting adults. The notion that homosexuality between consenting adults is "wrong" is archaic and, quite frankly, idiotic. Even more idiotic are people who think that anyone "chooses" their sexual orientation. If you are one of these people, ask yourself if you chose yours. Now ask yourself if you could completely change those desires if you put your mind to it – become gay if you're straight, or vice versa. Of course not.
Regarding this cartoon, just as the vast majority of priests have not molested children, I suspect that virtually none share what they hear in confession. The preposterous nature of the scenario is what makes it funny. If it's funny at all, of course.
That's my take on the predatory priest situation. For what it's worth, in all the years I was a kid in the church, no one ever said or did anything to me that was in the least inappropriate. Which, to be honest, made me feel ugly and undesirable.*
*Kidding. No more complaints, please.