I was amused by the recent brouhaha in Malta about whether or not to remove the "Mediterranean Column" from its site near the route which the pope will take on his upcoming tour of the island city state. The column in question is undoubtedly phallic in shape, though weirdly blue-green in color, and good Maltese Catholics are apparently concerned that the pontiff will be offended--either by the nasty thing itself or by what it might seem to symbolize: the Church's perennial inability to control rogue priests with loose penises.
I assume, of course, that the pope has some genuine familiarity with penises--his own, at least. And I also assume that, despite any sincere vows he may have taken to avoid committing "adultery with himself," he also knows what this organ looks like when erect. Hence, I cannot believe that the euphemistically-named Mediterranean Column will afford Benedict XVI with any nauseating or earthshaking revelation about human anatomy. But, as I said before, he might not enjoy being reminded of all the trouble this annoying organ has given to the, ahem, Body of Christ, of which he is the 265th head (mas o menos).
Because, let's face it, the Catholic Church is run exclusively by individuals equipped with penises. And these penises are, to state it simply, "loose." It is fashionable, nowadays, to speak of "loose" nukes--nuclear weapons that are unattached, not tied down, just hanging around waiting for someone to create mischief with them.
And so it is with priestly penises. Yes, I know that vows of celibacy and promises to remain Pure do, indeed, keep most priests from going rogue (another popular term). But occasionally, and all too often, a priest suffers a brain aberration comparable to the madness that has afflicted Iran or North Korea: he becomes obsessed with using his loose weapon on whatever target is available.
Sometimes that's a little kid. Sometimes it's a teenager. Sometimes it's a married parishioner who has sought out his spiritual counsel. Rogue priests with loose penises are an ever-present threat in Catholic communities. (I know what I'm talking about: for six years I taught at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA. I suspect that a fair number of the ordained clergy who worked at this school were at least tempted by roguery. For example, I remember one young priest who chose, for his Halloween costume, to disguise himself as a flasher with a flapping phallus. And Father Michael Harris, the movie-star handsome principal--and a genuinely kind man in most matters--was ultimately defrocked for sexual improprieties with male students.)
My conclusion? Well, male sexuality is pretty imperious. I doubt that ANYTHING could ever COMPLETELY control priestly penises. But surely one very logical step presents itself: ATTACH those damned loose penises to SPOUSES. That's what regular society has been doing for millennia. Let priests (most of whom have legitimate vocations) marry and have kids--just like other men. I suspect that such a reform could go a long way toward correcting the problem.
Second: for goodness' sake, allow WOMEN to become priests. The current hierarchy is frankly phallocratic--and it suffers from what my friend Stephanie used to call "testosterone blindness." A few vaginas under cassocks would provide some healthy balance--and a few "mothers" might offer some very cathartic nagging and scolding of the "not always good" fathers. (Also, perhaps, some sound fashion advice: I think the red shoes are cool, but I'm not too sure about the beanie.)
And please: ditch all the lame, bad-faith arguments about how "Jesus was an unmarried man" and therefore priests must also be unmarried men. The first pope, St. Peter, was married and had children, a status which presumably kept his penis from becoming a loose cannon. C'mon Benny, give your fellow priests the same "peter protection" that Peter himself enjoyed. Tu es Petrus, after all.