‘Leaving Neverland’ and the new sexual morality

Mar 15, 2019 by

by Carolyn Moynihan, MercatorNet:

As the #MeToo movement continues to topple public figures, the new sexual morality that it represents demands something really sensational from time to time. Harvey Weinstein is the iconic example, although he was preceded by others: for example, television entertainers Bill Cosby, the late BBC hero Jimmy Saville, and the Australian legend Rolf Harris, all accused of child sexual abuse, among other things.

This month has seen the unmasking of the late pop music idol Michael Jackson and the jailing of Catholic eminence Cardinal George Pell for the same reason.

In the hierarchy of sexual outrages, the abuse of children is currently at the top, as it should be. As many are now testifying belatedly, it can do lasting harm to both body and soul. Such abuse has been going on for a long time, probably forever; some of the victims speaking up today cite experiences going back to the 1950s and 1960s. Society must do what it can to help and compensate these people and bring perpetrators to justice.

But the morality of the third millennium can be very confusing.

Its core belief comes from the sexual revolution of the late 1960s: we are, above all, sexual beings, so sexual repression is wrong and harmful. Celibacy is said by many to the cause of sexual abuse – of children and adults – by Catholic clergy. The Church’s “phobias” about homosexuality and sexual diversity in general allegedly arise from its fear of losing control of the sexual domain — in other words they are a manifestation of patriarchal power.

So, sexual expression is good and takes diverse forms. But there are limits: there must be no sex with children, and it must be, unlike much of what has been happening in recent times, consensual. Having sexual contact with 13-year-olds, as Cardinal Pell is alleged to have done, let alone 7- and 10-year-olds, as Michael Jackson evidently did, is completely wrong, and criminal.

Except when it isn’t.

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