NOTE: THE FOLLOWING COLUMN REFERS TO POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE MATERIAL.
Forgive me. Oral sex, pornography, child molestation and murder are the last things you want to read about during Easter and Passover. But we have a problem.
The problem is not confined to homosexual Catholic priest-predators and their institutional enablers who have so vilely betrayed children, parishioners and God. The problem is our sexual revolution run amok everywhere -- sex on parade, sex outside marriage, sex as a tool, sex for sale, sex without love, and sex without boundaries.
Amid the stomach-turning sea of front-page headlines about the "epidemic Catholic sex scandal" were these recent stories that deserve common billing under the banner of "America's sex scandal" (but don't wait for The New York Times to connect the dots):
-- In DeRidder, La., two high school football players were accused of having oral sex with a 14-year-old girl during biology class. The teacher and some 30 students were present.
-- In Louisville, Ky., serial deadbeat dad Luther Crawford was hauled into court for abandoning a dozen children he had fathered by 11 different women.
-- In Buffalo, N.Y., Jeremy Powell (who "comes from a good family") pleaded guilty to felony abortion and second-degree assault in an attack on his girlfriend. She was three months pregnant with his child and miscarried after the brutal beating.
-- In Harlem, N.Y., a teacher's aide was charged with statutory rape and sodomy involving two girls. Fanon White had been previously fired for having sex 50 times with a young female student -- but had been reinstated and given back pay before preying again.
-- In the Chicago area, child mentor Philip Kaszynski admitted he engaged in sexual conduct with three boys, aged 12 to 15, one of whom he met through his work. He was one of nearly 30 people arrested as part of the FBI's child pornography sting, Operation Candyman; ring participants have admitted to molesting nearly 40 youths.
-- In Anderson County, Texas, neighbors were shocked to learn that a "nice man" named Mark Bates was the founder and promoter of the Candyman Web site. As a teen-ager, he had been convicted of abusing five boys under the age of 11 and had admitted to abusing more than 100 other children. The heavily trafficked Web site featured photos and videos of children -- including toddlers, for God's sake -- in sexually explicit poses.
-- In Montgomery County, Md., a citizens advisory committee pushed for allowing school condom demonstrations so that health teachers can properly teach teen-agers "how to keep their fingernails from slicing a condom open." In nearby Prince George's County, teachers use phallic-shaped wood blocks to demonstrate proper contraceptive techniques.
-- And in Marble Falls, Texas, police are investigating allegations that five fourth-grade boys performed oral sex on one another during class on two separate occasions. The nine- and 10-year old students allegedly engaged in the acts during their free reading period. "Obviously, this is some kind of learned behavior, and it's our job to learn where it came from," a school official said.
The Left's cultural liberators blame "1950s" mores for these 21st century sexual pathologies. Chastity, monogamy and celibacy are repressive, antiquated and abnormal notions, they argue. Those who advocate sexual restraint need to get with the times.
Well, that is exactly what the Catholic Church did in the 1960s with its Vatican II "reforms." Harry Crocker, author of "Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, A 2,000-Year History," notes: "Pope John XXIII did indeed throw open the Church -- just when the Western World plunged itself into the sex-drugs-and rock 'n' roll era. The results were an immediate collapse in the seminaries, in religious orders, (and) in the priesthood." It is liberalism that got the Church in trouble, Crocker says, not the opposite. Homosexual predators in the clergy are "the spoiled fruit of the sexual revolution."
Add to this overflowing basket of rotten fruit the condom-wielders in the classroom; the child pornographers sitting at their computers, indulging the unrestrained appetites of "nice men"; and the successive generations of young people who have grown up in a culture that normalizes abortion, illegitimacy, adultery and public displays of sexual perversion from the Oval Office on down.
This is the true epidemic of modernity. Isn't it time, for the children's sake, to turn back the clock?