15 July 2007

Pornista to Priest + Los Angeles Diocese's Potential Sex Settlement


Sex, sex, and more sex is the topic of discussion today.

Two pieces from the New York Times: Man of the Flesh to Man of the Cloth and $660 Million Deal Set in Abuse Cases in Los Angeles.

Porn piece excerpts:

After 30 years of sowing the wildest of oats, Mr. Boyer, 54, has searched his soul and chosen, to the surprise of family and colleagues, to seek a priesthood in the Episcopal Church.

...

The psychic distance, however, has been vast. In January, the lumbering 6-foot-3 performer was greeting fans on the red carpet of the Adult Video News Awards in Las Vegas, along with the superstars of pornography like Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy.

In June, he was carrying the Holy Bible and a text titled “Gospel Light” to a live Internet show where he preached on the relative evils of pornography. “Is pornography a sin?” he asked on the show, which is aimed at people in the sex industry. “Probably. Definitely,” he answered, a response that reflected his own ambivalence as much as a desire not to alienate his audience. “So is eating carrot cake until you’re sick to your stomach,” he continued. “And so is punching somebody in the face. That’s a sin.”

...

He has tired of performing in sex movies, but even now doesn’t condemn it. “Not one time did Jesus refer to pornography, or homosexuality,” he observed on the Internet show, which he began as a co-host in May. “Jesus could have commented. He didn’t.”

...

“When I got into porn,” Mr. Boyer said, “everyone in the business was kind to each other, loved each other, came together in crisis. It wasn’t some 1970s kumbaya, but people generally cared. Now you see devil signs, Satanism and horns everywhere.” He gestured at a passer-by with “Hail Satan” on his T-shirt. “That’s disturbing me a lot,” he said. “I see more of an evil influence in the business.”

He told anecdotes of being asked by directors to defile the flag or the Koran in sex scenes; he has resisted what he sees as a trend to choke or hit women during intercourse, or use what he considers degrading language.

Neil Malamuth, a psychology and communications professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies the effects of pornography, said a niche of the sex industry has become more extreme and even violent, though that was not true for the entire business.

...

The process to priesthood will take several years. Mr. Boyer began by being confirmed in the Episcopal Church this year. He is undergoing training to become a deacon, which will allow him to conduct most aspects of ministering short of the sacraments. To become a priest, he must study in a seminary for approximately two years and his candidacy must be approved by the diocesan bishop.

J. Jon Bruno, bishop for the Los Angeles Diocese, said Mr. Boyer’s path to the priesthood would not be precluded by who he was. “I wouldn’t put up an immediate impediment because of someone’s past life,” he said. “There’s no exclusion in the gospel for anybody.”


From the sexual abuse article:


Cardinal Roger M. Mahoney of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles apologized this afternoon to more than 500 people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic clergy members, as the archdiocese confirmed that it would pay $660 million to settle their lawsuits against it.

The settlement, if approved by a judge, would be by far the largest payout made by any single diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandals first became public in Boston in 2002. It would dwarf the $85 million paid for 552 claims by the Archdiocese of Boston.

...

Steven Sanchez, a 47-year old financial adviser who is one of the plaintiffs in the case was set to begin on Monday, said he had been girding himself to testify about the abuse he suffered when he was 9 or 10 years old, and he said he wanted to see church officials called to account in a courtroom.

Asked before the settlement was disclosed what he would do with any money he might receive, Mr. Sanchez said simply, “Where can you take that check and cash it that will make you 10 years old again?”

Cardinal Mahony announced in May that, to raise money for a settlement, the archdiocese would sell its administrative building on Wilshire Boulevard and might sell about 50 other church properties that were not being used by parishes or schools.

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