In a December 5, 2007, interview on KUCI radio in Southern California, attorney John Manly aired a substantial number of falsehoods and outrageous statements.
For starters, in claiming that priestly celibacy "does not work," Manly asserted that the discipline was a "development from the fourth century" and was "unheard of during Christ's life and during the 400 years after he died." He also falsely claimed that the "invention [was] largely economically motivated."
Yikes. Especially laughable is Manly's claim that celibacy was "unheard of during Christ's life." Manly might want to pick up a Bible (if he even has one) and take a look at Matthew 19:12, where Jesus himself states,
"Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."
Gee, it sure seems like Jesus heard of celibacy!
A few years later, Paul applied Jesus' wisdom and encouraged celibacy to his readers. This is illustrated, among other places, in 1 Corinthians 7:8,32-35,38:
Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do … I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction … So then, the one who marries his virgin does well; the one who does not marry her will do better.
The bottom line: Manly is flat-out wrong. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible provide evidence for the discipline of celibacy.
Mr. Manly and other interested readers may find these links particularly helpful:
"How To Argue For Priestly Celibacy" by Jason Evert
"What is the History of Priestly Celibacy?" Catholic Answers
Manly also wildly asserted, "[The clergy abuse crisis] is not a problem with gay priests. That is a myth. It has nothing to do with homosexuality. It is a problem with celibacy and the celibate system."
Well, numbers don't lie. According to the widely accepted 2004 John Jay College study of the clergy abuse crisis (emphasis mine):
- Unlike in the general population, more males than females were allegedly [abused]. In fact, there was a significant difference between genders, with four out of five alleged victims being male. (DFP: It was 81% male; 19% female)
- The majority of alleged victims were post-pubescent, with only a small percentage of priests receiving allegations of abusing young children.
- The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7. Overall, 81% of victims were male and 19% female. Male victims tended to be older than female victims. Over 40% of all victims were males between the ages of 11 and 14.
In other words, the numbers make a very strong case for the fact that the crisis had a lot to do with homosexuality.
In discussing the scandal, Manly also aired an interesting take on the horrible abuse that occurred by Jesuits several years ago in remote villages in Alaska. He made the wild claim that the Jesuits made Eskimo villages a "dumping ground" for known abusers.
MANLY: And one of the things that's really, that we're finding is in those populations – in immigrant populations, in Native American populations, those are the populations where you find the hierarchy had a policy and practice of dumping priests. In fact, in Alaska, we have almost 150 cases where all but one are Native Alaskan people who were abused by Jesuits. And what the Jesuits were doing was if a priest offended in the lower 48, they simply shipped him up to western Alaska, a village of 500 people, and they went on to abuse there.
HOST: Oh, gosh.
MANLY: But, um, that's what you find.
In all the news articles and items I have been able to find on the cases involving the Jesuits in Alaska, I have not encountered one instance where lawyers have provided even the slightest bit of evidence that such an unseemly practice took place. Manly's assertion has the make of being just another one of his falsehoods.
On November 19, 2005, the Los Angeles Times investigated some of the atrocious abuse that occurred in Alaska at the hands of Jesuits. The article, "Missionary's Dark Legacy" was written by William Lobdell, who is hardly sympathetic to the Church. In fact, he's downright adversarial. Yet look at what he wrote (emphasis mine):
Since , 85 Alaska natives from 13 villages have filed claims against the church for alleged abuse by six priests and two lay missionaries from 1956 to 1988.
The flood of allegations has led to speculation that the Eskimo settlements were a "dumping ground" for abusive priests and lay workers affiliated with the Jesuit order, which supplied priests and bishops to the Fairbanks diocese.
"It's like the French Foreign Legion — you join rather than go to prison," says Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk who is an authority on clergy sexual abuse and has served as an expert witness in hundreds of cases, including those in the Eskimo villages. "I was absolutely convinced this happened in Alaska."
Father John D. Whitney, chief of the Jesuits' Oregon Province, which includes Alaska, denied that known deviants were shipped there. To the contrary, Jesuit literature portrayed Alaska as "the world's most difficult mission," a prestigious assignment for the most courageous and faithful priests.
"They weren't in exile," Whitney said. "They were looked on as people who were blazing the trail for faith."
In other words, even Lobdell could not uncover anything that showed that Jesuits "dumped" known abusers up to Alaska. Lobdell could not label it anything worse than "speculation."
Judging from John Manly and Patrick Wall's wobbly history with the truth, this claim is likely just another one of their bogus tales.
On the show Manly repeated a bogus tale about Fr. Thomas Doyle.
Manly falsely claimed that because Fr. Doyle had publicly criticized the its handling of the abuse crisis, the Church "pulled his faculties," "made some lame excuse to get rid of him," and "denied him his pension."
Rather than repeat myself, you can read the truth about Fr. Doyle in a previous post.
Then there was this nugget:
MANLY: What you have in the priesthood is a massive non-compliance with this. Everybody's either masturbating compulsively, having sexual relationships – either committed or otherwise with adults, men, or women, or they're engaging in relationships with minors … Depending on who you believe, between 5 and 20 percent of priests at some point have actively engaged in sexual relationships with minors.
I'd love for Manly to explain how he knows who is and who is not masturbating. Did he conduct a poll of some kind?
C'mon … Can you see how full of it this guy is yet?
And as far as his "5 and 20 percent" figure of those who have "actively engaged in sexual relationships with minors," the John Jay report also answered this one. It concluded that a little over 4 percent of all priests between 1950 and 2002 had an accusation against them. And from my own research I've done using figures from Los Angeles, about 20 percent of priests were already deceased at the time of their accusation. Though undoubtedly there was awful abuse over the years, the vast majority of cases never saw a criminal trial.
(By the way, what does Manly mean by "actively engaged in sexual relationships"? Is there such a thing as being "inactively engaged"?)
Manly claimed he was no longer a Catholic "because what [the Catholic Church is] doing is evil."
"I was never going to expose my children to an environment that's not safe. And people can laugh and say what they like. It's not safe."
Again, Manly has never provided a shred of evidence that clergy abuse is still happening today in Southern California. He has provided no evidence that a Church environment is "not safe." The Los Angeles archdiocese, for one, has instituted numerous programs for adults and children about sex abuse awareness. (See my post about that.)
Here's a brutal truth: If John Manly has his daughters enrolled in public school, they are statistically in an environment that is much, much, more dangerous than a Catholic church. Professor Carol Shakeshaft of Hofstra University, the author of a 2002 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, has stated, "The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests." (For any math-challenged readers: That's rate, not raw numbers.)
In other words, if John Manly has his daughters enrolled in public schools, he is placing his daughters at tremendous risk for sexual abuse out of blind bigotry against the Catholic Church!
Near the end of the interview, Manly almost seemed to be pulling the chain of host Frank. Listen to this:
"I have a case in Orange County where there was a prostitute, a donkey, a priest, and a boy involved. I couldn't make this stuff up."
Manly "couldn't make this stuff up"? He's got to be kidding. He does it all the time!
As I write this, it is nearly two years after this wild claim by Manly. I've yet to come across the "prostitute-donkey-priest-boy" story. And, believe me, Manly would have let the media know about it – if it were true.
This one is not a falsehood. Just ridiculous. Many stated, "There shouldn't be a criminal statute of limitations at all" for sex abuse.
In other words, any person, with simply a credible-enough story – without any evidence whatsoever, no matter how many decades later – can come forward and do irreparable damage to a person's life and career.
Why? All so Manly can line his pockets and feel better about himself? C'mon …
Another memorable exchange:
MANLY: I think the figure is – and I wouldn't want to swear to this, but I think I'm right – the figure in 1983 is that over 20% – or close to 20% – of the priests in the Diocese of Orange were active molesters.
HOST: 20 percent.
MANLY: In some dioceses, it's well over that, but those are staggering numbers.
Well, let me just say that I'm glad that Manly didn't "swear to this" one.