Here We Go Again: Trailer For Upcoming Film Rehashes 2010 Smear by NY Times Against Pope Benedict

Mea Maxima Culpa Silence in the House of God anti-Catholic HBO film criticism

'Mea Maxima Culpa,' indeed! (l to r) HBO VP Sara Bernstein, Disgraced cleric Rembert Weakland,
NY Times' Laurie Goodstein, Dissident priest Thomas Doyle, and Filmmaker Alex Gibney

[Click here for the complete index of our criticism of Mea Maxima Culpa.]

The trailer for an upcoming film about an abusive Catholic priest in the 1970s appears to rehash the bogus attack on Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010 by the New York Times' Laurie Goodstein.

MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, produced by HBO Documentaries, is slated to make a big splash at the prominent Toronto Film Festival in early September, and the trailer for the film is now making the rounds on the Internet.

New York Times/Goodstein vs. the facts

The film is based upon the same story as the much-heralded, March 25, 2010, front-page article in the New York Times, in which the paper managed to reach a journalistic low in its obsession of smearing the Catholic Church.

The story essentially accused Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, of somehow refusing to promptly laicize an abusive Milwaukee priest who had already been removed from ministry. The criminal priest, Lawrence C. Murphy, had been accused of abusing scores of boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf through 1974, the year he was asked to resign from his position at the school. Murphy later retired in 1992 and died in 1998.

In truth, no one at the Vatican even heard about the abusive Fr. Murphy until 1996, over two decades since he last abused his students and at a point where the priest was in poor health and would die only two years later. By the time the Archdiocese of Milwaukee brought the Murphy case to the Vatican's attention, the guy was already out of full priestly ministry, as he had been given no official pastoral assignments since 1974 and was living with family.

No role by Pope Benedict

But in her article about the abusive Fr. Murphy, Goodstein tried to tie Pope Benedict to the case. At the end of May 1998, the Vatican was aware that Fr. Murphy was in frail health and that he would not live long enough for a lengthy and complicated canonical trial to laicize him. So it simply recommended that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee strengthen the restrictions it already had on the priest's ministry, instead of proceeding with a trial that would likely prove useless.

On August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland authored a reply letter to the Vatican indicating that he would follow its recommendations. However, Murphy died on August 21, just two days after the date on Weakland's letter, rendering the entire matter moot and showing the Vatican was correct in its judgment all along.

But Pope Benedict had no personal role in any of this. Had Goodstein taken the time to talk with Fr. Thomas Brundage, the former Judicial Vicar in Milwaukee, who supervised the Murphy case and probably knew more about the case than anybody on the planet, she would have learned:

"[W]ith regard to the role of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in this matter, I have no reason to believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information."

In other words, Goodstein's attack on Pope Benedict – which was uncritically relayed by hundreds of media outlets around the globe during Lent of 2010 – was bogus.

Also notably, Ms. Goodstein relied on information planted by the notorious Minnesota Church-suing contingency lawyer Jeff Anderson, who stood to make big money from the splashy New York Times coverage of the matter.

A revealing trailer: Twisted facts

The trailer for the upcoming film gives a good idea where the production is heading. Over a collage of Church imagery, a compilation of voices airs a blatant falsehood:

"We don't turn our priests in. That's the worldwide policy: to snuff out scandal."

In truth, there has never been any document or anything in the Code of Canon Law that has prohibited clerics from reporting criminal child abuse to law enforcement. Never. The statement that it has been a "policy" of the Catholic Church to not report child abuse to the police is simply false.

Questionable sources used

The trailer also reveals that the film portrays a number of personalities who have notable records of open dissent, misinformation, and/or animus against the Catholic Church. For example:

  • Rembert C. Weakland: The former Archbishop of Milwaukee has been described as "the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him." Weakland reportedly once characterized the reporting of abuse as "squealing," and he even admitted in a 1993 deposition that he shredded copies of reports of abuse by priests. He is hardly an authority to speak on the handling of clergy abuse cases.
  • Rev. Thomas P. Doyle: Doyle has a very long record of open dissent and profound animus against the Catholic Church. Most recently, while addressing his friends at the anti-Catholic group SNAP, he acknowledged that he has "nothing to do with the Catholic Church," has "nothing to do with the clerical life," is "not associated with the Church in any way," and his beliefs are "about as far away from the Vatican as you can get." Doyle is hardly an objective source.
  • Contingency lawyer Jeff Anderson: The notorious Anderson certainly has a problematic history with the facts and has happily proclaimed his pride of "suing the sh**" out of the Catholic Church. Like Doyle, Anderson is a close ally of SNAP. In fact, he was the enthusiastic leader of SNAP's fundraising effort at the group's annual conference last month, at which he also donated over $43,000.
  • [Addendum, January 2013: See also our post on the appearances in the film by angry ex-priest Richard Sipe.]

    'Deliver Us From Evil' redux?

    'Mea Maxima Culpa' appears to bear a striking resemblance to the 2006 Academy Award-nominated film, Deliver Us From Evil, which profiled the serial California pedophile priest Oliver O'Grady, who, like Wisconsin's atrocious Fr. Murphy, wreaked immeasurable harm on numerous innocent victims and disgraced the Church.

    However, the Amy Berg-directed film was rife with misleading and false information, and it ultimately served as little more than an anti-Catholic hit job.

    'Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God' appears to be heading in the same direction. The film will likely be a big hit with critics, even though it is likely problematic with its facts.

    [Click here for the complete index of our criticism of Mea Maxima Culpa.]

Comments

  1. Publion says:

    Well, of course, it’s ‘Hollywood’ and even a ‘documentary’ needs a good ‘hook’, a Script that will include Pure Evil running riot (think ‘Frankenstein’ and half a thousand vampire fliks). Nowadays the  ‘advocacy documentary’ genre of films has to be approached with all the same caution as you would approach ‘advocacy reporting’ and ‘advocacy science’, since the presumption is that Facts Don’t Matter As Long As Your Cause Is Good.
     
    And in the best interests of ‘revolutionary’ Truth and Good: if your material ‘serves the revolution’ then it’s True and Good. The Cause of the revolution can only be supported; it cannot be doubted and it cannot be questioned. Support it or be labeled ‘counter-revolutionary’. Either/or. As certain mindsets love to say: It’s that simple. And so it is, for a certain type of mindset.
     
    This documentary will surely serve the Cause: it will provide some extra oomph to all the various ‘bases’ that have their own interests in seeing the Church reduced in public stature (neatly leaving more room for their own substitute  illuminations and excitements).
     
    For those who have an interest in delving deeper into some of what I have been talking about, I can suggest a look at Joseph Schumpeter’s 1942 book “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy”. In that book he made an observation to the effect that when it comes to politics most folks don’t really think much about what they hear or say at all, but rather they merely respond to mental trigger phrases in ways that require only a minimum of mental effort.
     
    I quote him: “The typical citizen drops down to a lower level of mental performance as soon as he enters the political field. He argues and analyzes in a way that he would readily recognize as infantile with the sphere of his real interests. He becomes a primitive again. His thinking becomes associative and affective.”
     
    It has always struck me that it is this tendency to yield to such a gravitational force that has provided so much of an ‘opening’ for the manipulation of people in the internet age. Shrewdly manipulative groups can play to this tendency as it manifests itself in both general readers and in ‘supporters’ of this or that group’s message.
     
    There is an individual solution, I would say: a person participating in public discussion has to consciously work against that tendency to mental laziness and short-cutting; such a person has to actually approach reading and thinking and commenting as a task to be well-accomplished, rather than as a recreation or as an off-the-top-of-the-head venting session.
     
    And even 70 years ago It struck Schumpeter as amazing that accurate “information is plentiful and readily available … but this does not seem to make any difference”.
     
    This dynamic is widely-established among us nowadays in this country, I would say. And while political operatives such as Karl Rove erected it into a Plan and a formal ‘strategy’, clearly he and his ilk were only building upon a tendency latent in all of us.
     
    And I think that this has certainly helped fuel the ‘success’ – or at least the sustained presence – of such outfits as SNAP in this matter of the Catholic clerical abuse ‘crisis’. In fact, without the internet working to amplify this natural human tendency that Schumpeter identified, I wonder if there would be much sustaining substance to such organizations at all.
     
    And, of course, Schumpeter doesn’t even deal with persons who are perhaps rather infantile or primitive to begin with, which simply intensifies all of the foregoing.

  2. catholic donor says:

    http://brooklynrail.org/2008/how-we-torture-alex-gibney-with-williams-cole
    In this interesting piece, the author says:
    "What is interesting is that a lot of it is NOT a result of an order that came down from on high—-
    (paraphrase)–Some of it "evolved".  Some of it spread like a virus.
    Thank you, Mr. Gibney, for illustrating that it is virtually impossible for one human being to
    be aware of what thousands of men are doing at the same time.  Is this why this never materialized
    into a film?  

  3. Julie says:

    Goodstein has demonstrated many times her lack of ethics.

  4. jim robertson says:

    You keep going on as if the crimes never happened. Hello?
    You're Wishing bad things away by pretending they never happened .
    And these crimes happened on such a scale internationally, that the whole world's agahst.
    As is any one SANE.
    But here in cloud , I can hardly wait to die, land. Somehow it's the media attacking the Church unfairly.
    How by reporting what happened?
    Or just by reporting it period?
    There seems to be a tempest in a tea pot here.
    You're reving yourselves up or are being reved up for what purpose?

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Jim, nowhere do we say “the crimes never happened.”

      We take issue with Goodstein’s attempt to tie Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict to the Murphy case, when there is no such evidence.

    • catholic donor says:

      Hi Jim!!!
      I think what we are wondering is why liberals hyperfocus on men in the  church.  Can we expect
      the next ambitious film to be derived from this: http://wnd.com/2012/02/the-epidemic-of-she-animals ??
      We will supply all of the popcorn!!  And, maybe we can all sit together and watch on a big screen
      TV @  some parish hall.   Be sure to bring a non perishable item for the food pantry :)

    • jim robertson says:

      Dudes, your false battle with the fake SNAP leads to the Church being victimized? Really if you and Billie Donahue packed your tents and decamped. What would be left?
      SNAP anouncing new lawsuits and victims, that's happening with you or without you. That's all they do.  That's to be scared of? Really if you and yours weren't against SNAP how would SNAP effect anything important re Church.SNAP will  say what SNAP says about the hierarcy knowing about the pedophile  problem and that's true.  But SNAP does nothing serious about anything in this scandal. It tells the same truth about the hierarchy and moves on. The "Project" continues and That's it. So whats to be scared of? Really I don't get it?

    • jim robertson says:

      Media Report, Ratzy was part of it for 20 years he was a lynchpin. How many victims stories crossed his desk? Any fool could see paterns of recitivism.
      Actually I think they made Ratz Pope so he'd be some kind of scapegoat and when he passes the sins would go with him. The sins we call rape. Like some old regime whose time is up.
      In one of my favorite films Visconti's The Leopard there is this:" in order for things to remain the same everything must change."
      That's what saves the Church everytime. People on both "sides" die off and new people take their place completely changed yet completely the same.
      The Church will come through don't worry, you know that . But why not help the victims SNAP isn't You could.

    • rondre says:

      Amen!!!!!

    • Dan says:

      Jim Robertson…you are the only sain person commenting on this board of people who are all just hoping to "blog" all the problems of the church away. I have one word for that…SAD.

  5. Publion says:

    In addition to TMR”s comment that “nowhere do we say that ‘the crimes never happened’” – which indicates that the ‘JR’ comment created a non-existing implication upon which to base its assertions – I would  also add:
     
    First, that nobody on this site that I can see is “pretending” that no crimes ever happened.
     
    Second, that the “whole world” is not “aghast” at crimes that happened but rather – to the extent that there is actual public concern in the first place – that the public is “aghast” at what is actually the phantasmagoria of asserted crimes and cover-ups that have precisely not happened;  in other words, public opinion has been Stampeded (my term for it) by false and inaccurate claims as to the number of incidents and also as to the Church’s alleged ‘cover-up’ of such incidents as actually did occur.
     
    Third, I note the implication that anybody who does not see what ‘JR” sees is not “SANE” (capitals JR’s). I would reverse the dynamics of that implication 180 degrees.
     
    Fourth, what this site is concerned about – and very rightly I would say – is precisely that the media is not reporting “what happened” but rather is simply ‘reporting’ the assertions and claims and then further not-reporting the numerous and substantial difficulties with establishing any reliable evidence of those claims and then further not-reporting the indications by such research as has been done that the actual formally-filed claims and allegations do not support the asserted Picture (or Phantasm) of a ‘culture of rape’ in the Church whereby legions of utterly corrupt priests have perpetrated and continue to perpetrate astronomical amounts of sex-abuse (however defined) with the deliberate, full, and complicit assistance of most bishops and the Vatican itself.
     
    Thus the ‘JR’ comment simply presumes the existence of precisely that Picture/Phantasm that this site claims (and hardly without evidence) does not exist at all.
     
    This natter is not a “tempest in a teapot”, no matter from what point-of-view it is considered. If – per impossibile , I would say – this Picture/Phantasm is accurate, then there is a vast problem with the Church.
     
    If on the other hand this Picture/Phantasm is profoundly inaccurate, then the Church is being grossly defamed, its clerics and hierarchs ditto, and the public is being hugely (and perhaps deliberately) manipulated through such pervasive misinformation, and the legal system is being deranged by efforts to somehow twist legal first-principles to stamp out the Picture/Phantasm that – as this site holds – doesn’t exist to begin with.
     
    I can certainly agree that some elements of the public are being ‘revved up’ and that it is very useful to ask: For what purpose and to what end? I might only differ by adding the Question: By whom?

  6. Julie says:

    I am stunned that reporters don't call David Clohessy out on the ridiculous lies that he feeds them. Journalism has gone so downhill. (I work in the field). To incompetent and lazy reporters like Goodstein, "investigative reporting" is repeating assertions by plaintiff lawyers with a stake in influencing public opinion.
     

  7. drwho13 says:

    Yea, B16 and and his cronies are just a bunch of  "good old boys," right?
    Why is it that so many people want to see them in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague?  Does anyone on this blog believe that they may have done some bad things?

  8. jim robertson says:

    The entire country of Ireland, once the bastion of Catholicism, has changed.because of the scandal there. No new priest vocations is the extraordinary change
    The same coverups as here in the U.S. The same coverups as Austria, Germany, Holland ,Belgium, Britain, Canada and Australia. With more to come from Africa and Central and South America.
    How do you justify that the Church hierarchs have behaved ecxactly the same way world wide in regards to abusing priests? Hapinstance? Media collusion everywhere? What?
    The percentage of false claims against the Church are less than 3%.
    Again I say if you don't want false claims, don't have any claims. Eliminate the abuse and you eliminate the claims.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Jim -

      As someone who has studied the issue extensively, the number of false claims is much higher than 3%.

      My book: Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories.

    • jim robertson says:

      Media Report you want me to care about false claims when you and yours have done nought for the really abused?

    • TJW says:

      The problem I have with Doyle isn’t personal – I’m sure he’s a very nice person when you meet him and he does lots of good things.  The problem I have is that I don’t believe that he is a very reliable source of information.

      On the BBC documentary “Sex Crimes and the Vatican,” which first aired on the 29th of September 2006, he claimed, while holding a copy of what appears to be Crimen sollicitationis, that “[b]ut what you really have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen.”  So here he is clear that it is “an explicit written policy to cover up cases of sexual abuse by the clergy.”

      On the 13th October 2006 he is quoted by NCR as saying: “Although I was a consultant to the producers of the documentary I am afraid that some of the distinctions I have made about the 1962 document have been lost. I do not believe now nor have I ever believed it to be proof of an explicit conspiracy, in the conventional sense, engineered by top Vatican officials, to cover up cases of clergy sexual abuse.“  So here he is equally clear.  Doyle does not believe ”nor has (he) ever believed it to be proof of an explicit conspiracy… …to cover up cases of clergy sexual abuse.”

      This apparent contradiction is explained by Doyle as being the result of the producers failing to convey to the audience the “distinctions” he made in relation to the document.  But what “distinctions” could have preceded or followed the statement “[b]ut what you really have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy” that would change its meaning so greatly that it would come to mean the complete opposite?  I can’t think of any plausible combination of words, other than perhaps a statement that the claim he just made was false and they shouldn’t air it.

      Let’s assume that he was somehow misrepresented.  What has he done to correct the record?  Has he told the BBC to clarify the matter?  Because the website for the documentary is still up, six years later, showing and quoting him making that incorrect claim, a claim he himself acknowledges is incorrect, and it’s still being cited by people as evidence that Crimen sollicitationis was an explicit written policy designed to cover up evidence of sexual abuse by clergy, and by implication, that the Pope was involved in a cover up.

      It is one thing to be misrepresented, it’s another thing entirely to fail to attempt to undo the consequences caused by a misrepresentation.  And when that misrepresentation helps serve a persons ideological aims, it makes me less likely to rely upon their claims again in the future.

  9. adam fisher says:

    I have no doubt that there are missteps and misrepresentations within the criticisms of  Vatican-sanctioned priest sexual abuse arena. But I would be interested to see a laundry list of those missteps and misrepresentations cheek by jowl with the misrepresentations and stonewalling by the church and its minions. I wonder which might be longer.
    Centuries-old canon edicts make it clear that the men who molded the Roman Catholic institution were aware of sexual predeliction. Who wouldn't be? Human nature is human nature. But the church asserted throughout its history that such deviations from the one-true-faith or whatever it was would be kept in-house … that for some reason, allegations that might have sent lesser, not-clerically connected mortals to a civil or criminal court were best handled by the institution whose members might stand accused. This arrangement may have worked well for the church, but it left those who were victimized with no venue for even-handed redress. It was as if the church asserted, "We are trustworthy and good and moral and truthful because we say we are trustworthy and good and moral and truthful. Therefore an impartial civil mediation is not required." Unfortunately, the mounting evidence does not bear out this self-anointing view.
    Any hardship or vindictiveness the Vatican may now feel is being unfairly visited upon it has a single source and that source may be found in any mirror the Vatican may dare to look into. Had the institution made a more honest breast of things in the past, the vitriol of the present would not be so heated … and, on occasion, perhaps, unfounded. It is not the rabidly anti-Catholic devils who are biting the Vatican where it hurts, it is the institution itself. The Russians were not far off with their old adage, "the fish stinks from the head down." Denying this or bathing it in ecclesiastical perfume simply won't work any longer. The evidence is too strong. And if that evidence is not strong enough, then of course the institution is free to unlock the locked cabinets in which the hard evidence has been gathering dust.

    • American says:

      Dear Adam
       
      Do you think any adult (male or female) in this country, regardless of profession/vocations,should be
      held to the same exact legal standard, and/or media treatment if accussed of a crime?  Yes or No.  In fact,
      if one were assessing an individual accused (of anything) viewed through the lens of discrimination and
      hatred due to for crimes committed by others within their religious /cultural group; wouldn't that fit the
      definition of religious discrimination or a hate crime?  If the public is inundated (i.e. brainwashed)with
      aggressive information about a certain profession or group, how could this profession or group be
      treated fairly?  The litmus test is simple.  Ask yourself if you would pursue this vocation under
      these circumstances.  Ask yourself if you learned tomorrow that a certain priest was accused of
      something if your gut instinct would be to take a position.  If so, what was the basis for your assumption.
      Treat others the way you would want to be treated. 

  10. jim robertson says:

    Adam, Amen.

  11. Julie says:

    Adam, You make some very, very bold and outlandish claims. What proof do you have?

    • adam fisher says:

      Dear Julie — I am not entirely which of my claims you are referring to as "bold and outlandish," but I will hazard a guess. Actually, I thought I was being pretty prim and proper, but I guess "outlandish" is in the eye of the beholder.
      My guesses are:
      1. If you are seeking supporting evidence of the trickle-up of culpability and responsibility, I suggest that you begin with the conviction of Monsignior William Lynn in Philadelphia last month. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/24/us-usa-crime-church-idUSBRE86N12E20120724
      2. If you suspect that the Roman Catholic Church might never try to obscure its in-house difficulties as regards sexual deviation from the celibate norm, I offer Patrick Wall et al's collection of official church documents beginning in 309 and ending in 2001. This is not easy reading, but a person passionately persuaded to defend or even attack the church would do well to read them: http://www.richardsipe.com/patrick_wall/official_documents.htm
      3. In the interests of openness, I will also offer an opinion piece I wrote that was printed in the local paper: http://www.gazettenet.com/print/381640
      I don't know if these guesses cover the full reach of my bold outlandishness, but perhaps they are a start?

  12. Dan says:

    Julie – Investigative reporters… really report things. Unlike you who write what you wish was true….
    You want to debate Goodstein come up with real facts.

  13. adam fisher says:

    Dear American — Please forgive my porous mind, but I read your post three times and couldn't quite get your point. Are you suggesting that the Roman Catholic Church is somehow so maligned in current times that it couldn't expect to get a fair trial … and that therefore it is reasonable for them to keep alleged and actual depredations in-house and away from what you may see as a biased public which might sit on a jury? If this is the case — and as I say, I didn't quite get your argument — in what way can the victims, alleged or otherwise, be accorded the fair treatment of which you seem to think highly?
    You write, "If the public is inundated (i.e. brainwashed) with aggressive information about a certain profession or group, how could this profession or group be treated fairly?" If you are referring to the Roman Catholic Church as an object of overweaning vitriol (and both grand jury and open court testimony from victims suggests that at least some of that vitriol is more than warranted) then, in the interests of treating others as we might wish to be treated, we could ask the same of the Roman Catholic Church: If the public is inundated (i.e. brainwashed) with self-serving postures of grandeur and morality, how then could any victim expect to get a fair hearing within the confines of the church that creates and embellishes those postures?
    The enslavement of and sexual assaults on children in the care of the Roman Catholic Church is not a matter of bias or pure malevolence. It is a matter of fact and if you doubt this, I suggest you do even the littlest bit of research. The explosive reactions to such revelations may perhaps be forgiven because those enslavements and assaults were for so long kept lovingly hidden. Such activities are apostasy … heinous in even the most jaded eye. As you suggest, there may be instances of overreaching … too much generalization. Not all priests, monsignors, bishops, cardinals and popes may be guilty of such crimes or covering up such crimes, but until the matter is made open and  transparent, suspicions will naturally remain.
    The justice system in any country is not perfect. Its missteps and corruptions can be documented. But the justice system is the only current venue in which both accused and accusor are likely to get something approaching a fair and honest and transparent hearing. As I would not ask the Ku Klux Klan to render judgment in a case involving the lynching of a black man, so I would prefer that treatment be a little less biased in the case of a man or woman claiming to have been subjected to Roman Catholic deviants, predators and their protectors. The church deserves fair treatment … but so do the victims.
    Please forgive me if I have not understood your argument well. I just couldn't quite get a handle on it.
     

    • American says:

      Adam, I agree with you.  I could have been more clear.  Lets suppose you are accused of any frivolous,
      bizarre or serious crime in the next three months; is it okay with you if we dress you in the traditional
      black pants and shirt w/ roman collar?  Is is okay with you if the media treats your personal situation in
      the very same manner as  priests have been over the past decade?  May we change your name
      (for media bias research purposes) to Father Adam?  I rest my case.
       

  14. Julie says:

    Dan, It's the other way around, actually.

  15. adam fisher says:

    Dear American — Your argument seems to assume that because historical incidents of enslavement and sexual abuse had been brought to light and because the civil population was understandably outraged that therefore the Roman Catholic Church deserves a different and private venue in which to ejudicate injustice. I would suggest that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we may be forgiven for calling it a duck… and a duck with a demonstrable track record.
    Is there bias and public opinion? Of course there is. In the same way that religious organizations promote an image of themselves as helpful and altruistic and somehow on a good-hearted moral trajectory — and hopes the public will buy in — so, when less sterling facts come to light, a public bias may be aroused. Ask a black man if he thinks he can get a fair trial in this country and his answer may be understandably skeptical. Nevertheless, because we have some commitment to the fact that we are one society, no one would accede if the black community asserted its right to try its own. The human quotient of society trumps the beliefs or colors or sexes within that society.
    As the father of three, you are welcome to call me Father Adam, if you like. I plead guilty not just because the media or my neighbors might find me guilty, but because I am guilty. I expect no special dispensation for my guilt. Facts are facts and, however imperfect the justice system may be, still it is far more equitable and fair-minded (even with all its bias) than the imperious and dictatorial alternative.

  16. jim robertson says:

    Honestly, what are you imagining here? That Bishops and Cardinals haven't been covering up sex abuse and passing the perps on to new unsuspecting families?

  17. jim robertson says:

    Julie What ridiculous lies does D. Clohessy tell the press re hierarchy cover up?  You guys seem to be pinning your hopes on, that the vast majority of accusations are false?
    At the moment The right wing of the Church( most certainly including you) and the rest of the Religious Right, is under attack all over the place. and it's just not true.
    We have a secular state not a religious one.
    The Church is so used to playing the innocent. It is lost when it's called to the truth, that it  can also oppress as well.

  18. catholic donor says:

    JIm Robertson,
    I wanted to take a moment out of my afternoon and thank you for the comment you left @ 12:47.
    The indifference (at best) or joy some would derive from a false claim is concerning.
    I have had several disappointments with the catholic church throughout my life, and, that would
    not deter my pusuit of justice for priests.  Even if I am disappointed with regards to an unrelated
    matter, I have the ability to compartmentalize.  Shame on anyone with an anti-catholic bias
    or attitude willing to take it out on an innocent priest.  If I  learned of this happening to another
    group tomorrow, my position would be the same.  This is about justice.  
    I was so distrubed by the unfair media and misperceptions, I did not participate much at my church
    because I felt little hope for our church until this pervasive problem was addressed and corrected.
    Thank you, Mr. Pierre & staff @ The media report.  I will enjoy the rest of my summer knowing
    our good, dedicated and unselfish priests have a talented team bringing this injustice to the surface.

  19. Publion says:

    Several thoughts are prompted by the several comments posted by ‘adam fisher’ ('AF')
     
     While I respect his nicely even-handed admission that there have been “missteps and misrepresentations”, yet he quickly hoists truer colors (I would say) with the next bit: “in the Vatican-sanctioned priest sexual abuse arena”. Thus, if the uninformed but well-intentioned reader is attracted by the initial conceptual even-handedness, that reader is quickly corralled into buying the as-yet-undemonstrated Picture/Phantasm that the Vatican has been the fons et origo of a massive cover-up of sex-abuse (however defined) for (pick one, several or all: years, decades, centuries, millennia, or since a day or two after the (pick one: Crucifixion or Resurrection or Ascension or Pentecost). When sex-offenders do this sort of thing, there is a specific name for it.
     
    He wonders slyly which “list” (which he proposes but actually hasn’t taken upon himself to draw up) would be longer? As long as one is careful with definitions and avoids Cartoon-thinking, I would wonder too. Perhaps ‘AF’ might favor us with a list? But the advocacy Playbook in this whole Thing is rather clear on that point: do not engage serious questions and thereby validate  them with the benefit of your attention); do not reveal your thinking (and its weaknesses) by making extended conceptual commentary; do not offer explanations (which you might later have to further explain or – the horror! – defend in public in front of eyes that are not necessarily ‘friendly’ but rather are ‘defending the indefensible’ and so on and so forth).
     
    And now we proceed into that marvelous – and in certain comments on this site, amply demonstrated – Phantasm-land wherein persons with only a shallow and factoidal acquaintance with profoundly complex subjects yet introduce (their take on) material from those subject-areas, as if their (mimicry of a genuinely professional) presentation a) proves how ‘simple’ it all really is and b) proves beyond any doubt except by pedophile-defenders and lunatics that these mimic-mindsets are and have always been and will ultimately be irrefutably proven to be … Right All Along.
     
    Thus – no doubt from some second-or-third hand familiarity with the Wall filings (about which more below) – ‘AF’ mimics professional presentation with this bit: “Centuries-old canon edicts make it clear that …” Most impressive. Except that a Canon (as in Canon Law) and an Edict (however defined in whatever context and period of history) are two different things. That being said, one can only then wonder at the validity of whatever inferences ‘AF’ (or his/her source-material writer) has drawn from the already initially wrongly-conceived starting-point.
     
    “The men who molded the Roman Catholic institution were aware of sexual predeliction”. (Let me say this now: while ‘JR’ may more clearly be a candidate for substantial inadequacies of thought in both content and expression – yet ‘AF’ clearly wishes to be taken for an accomplished presenter of thoughts (he has – as he notes – ‘written an article’); so I suggest that he brush up on vocabulary and spelling and even typing: there is no word ‘predeliction’ in English; it is ‘predilection’ – from the Latin, etc etc.)
     
    Back to those mouldy-men: First, what is this thing called “the Roman Catholic institution”? Is ‘AF’ referring to what is usually known as the ‘Catholic Church’ here? Or is it the organizational apparatus known as the Curia? Or is it whatever is meant to whomever by ‘the Vatican’? If you haven’t clearly established the values for your terms and variables, your concepts and your equations aren’t going to be very useful (presuming you’re trying to achieve some conceptual accuracy and integrity).
     
    ‘AF’ quickly then goes on to observe – and rightly, I would say – that such predisposition to sexual activity is (somehow) part of human nature.
     
    But then his conceptual football takes an odd bounce, somehow connecting (in his mind, at least) “deviations from the one-true-faith or whatever it was” with an asserted (and “throughout its history”) practice of keeping such “deviations” “in-house” instead of to “civil or criminal court”.
     
    But what does ‘AF’ do with the rather significant chunk of earth-time when there were no civil or criminal courts? Or there were, but – as in the matter of drunk-driving – such legal organs did not in those days take as serious approach to Today’s Crisis as is done today? Indeed, for quite a while in the early history of the West the Church had as deep if not deeper a grasp on Law than the nascent polities of the various invading tribes swarming into what was once the Roman imperial territory.
     
    The Cartoon here is this: that a) there were always competent and efficient courts, and that b) those courts would take sex-abuse (however defined) as seriously as some would like it taken today. Having made those two grossly unsupported (and I would say insupportable) assumptions, then those so predilected  can continue stoking the Cartoon-Phantasm skein that goes like this: since  a) sex abuse (however defined) has always and forever been taken as urgently as it is taken nowadays; and since b) there have always and forever been sufficiently competent and sufficiently-interested courts and law-enforcement agencies; then therefore c) ‘the Church’ (however defined or envisioned for whatever purposes) has always and forever been an outlaw sex-abuse-engendering, culture-of-rape organization (and of “men’”, a base ‘AF’ also touches while heading – s/he hopes – toward home plate).
     
    Truly neato! As with any Disney or Pixar production, you really do have to appreciate the imagination and technique that went into fabricating this thing.
     
    And also about “impartial civil mediation”. In what universe does ‘AF’ practice law or envision its practice?
     
    If ‘AF’ is referring to actual ‘mediation’, you have opposing counsel, under the guidance of a mediator, using all their skills (and, not infrequently, wiles)  in trying to make the best deal and get the best outcome  they can for those whom they represent.
     
    If ‘AF’ is  - sloppily – referring to civil trial process, then I would say that given the grossly skewed and inaccurate media coverage accorded this Catholic abuse matter; and given the genuinely deforming changes made in the integrity of evidentiary first principles and other aspects of jurispraxis that function  to weaken the accused’s ability to defend himself; and given the wide media amplification that effectively prejudices a jury (i.e. the public that is the actual ultimate ‘jury pool’) before its members are even picked; and given the sum total of all this which is the prospect of amazing amounts of cash to be achieved without too much risk of being interrogated as to one’s ‘story’ and allegations, then ‘AF’, I would say, is presuming a universe that is not the same as the one we currently have.
     
    And if ‘AF’ is – sloppily – referring to criminal trial process, where all of the foregoing (except the cash bit) are operative, and where the first-principles deformed in order to weaken the accused’s ability to defend himself now involve the most profound and fundamental Constitutional guarantees and thus involve the integrity and health of the not only the country’s Law and legal system but also its very existence as a genuine embodiment of the Framing Vision … then I say that there is much much more at stake in these matters than merely ‘valorizing’ a victimization-story and script against some Phantasm-Cartoon version of the Catholic “institution” as the moustache-twirling Villain.
     
    And equally neatly, ‘AF’ will blame the Church for her current tribulations  because it’s the Church’s fault – through all the millennia of (presumed) cover-up  … get it? – that so many otherwise presumably intelligent, decent, truth-loving, law-abiding and mature and adult people were so profoundly moved to become something else altogether: they had to – don’t you see? – because the Church made them do it by doing all the things that (they presume) the Church did.  If a suspected wife-batterer or other type of abuser presented this type of excuse … well, there are special terms for it in the psychiatric and in the law-enforcement realms.
     
    So, no, I am not sufficiently consoled by ‘AF’s apparent even-handed admission that Yes, sometimes the opposition to the Church has been ‘vitriolic’ and the arguments and allegations “unfounded”. I am not sufficiently consoled because beneath all of that there is the Phantasm-Cartoon mentality and the Phantasm-Cartoons that such a mentality and mindset creates.
     
    And I note the clear indication that the Playbook has changed from the 1980s, when the target of outrage was the individual accused-priest. Now it’s not only the bishops (that’s soooooo 2002) but also ‘the Vatican’ or some Phantasm/Cartoon of it. Because – neatly – the Russians saw that “fish stinks worst at the head”. A fascinating insight: I will apply it to the Playbook and those who most publicly propound the Phantasms and Cartoons and see what comes up.
     
    And then, with a charming innocence, ‘AF’ seeks to have his stinking-fish and eat them too: “the evidence is too strong” to deny what ‘the Church’ has done – but even if “the evidence is not strong enough”, well – in that case “then of course the institution is free to unlock the locked cabinets in which the hard evidence has been gathering dust” … an assertion which is actually an insinuation which is cloaked as a presumption  with which the reader is seduced into buying the whole Cartoon/Phantasm: that all around the world there are locked cabinets with utter and total proof of everything that ‘AF’, among others, has been claiming.
     
    He will then claim that the outcome of the Lynn trial in Philadelphia is “evidence”; although the prosecution failed miserably, its “evidence” did not convince the jury except on one charge which will now be appealed on rather substantial ex-post-facto grounds, and that will result in a zero-for-seven outcome for the Philly trial recently concluded. ‘AF’ is rather easily impressed, I would say.
     
    He then references Patrick Wall’s various materials, and yet what will he make of the awesomely-comprehensive and careful analysis made by Dr. Edward Peters, against Wall (the link to it published  by TMR/DP in other comments to another article)? And thus what of Richard Sipe’s reliablility? Because some of the points made about Wall go directly to his honesty and credibility even as to his stated credentials and competence.
     
    And in that regard, let me take a moment to point out the huge value of Dr. Peters’s analysis. For anybody who thinks it’s ‘simple’ to wade into a complex matter of history (theological, religious, political, psychological, and sociological) and come up with a Hollywood-ready Script-Theme that governs and ‘explains’ and ‘proves’ everything, then I strongly recommend reading Dr. Peters’s analysis as Spiritual Reading, or at least as the intellectual-conceptual equivalent of Spiritual Reading.
     
    I’ll speak more to that on in a comment to that article.

    • catholic donor says:

      Thank you, Publion.
      Thank you, too, Adam.  I think I will cancel my cable (just as appx 400,000) did in the second quarter
      of this year.  I hope more and more tune out of the  "biased garbage"  in all forms of media.

  20. Publion says:

    In the matter of TMR having “done nought for the really abused”: first, the purpose of this site is to deal with the Phantasm/Cartoon Picture painted about the Church in this whole matter. There are sites and listservs specifically set up for the ‘abused’ – genuine and otherwise.
     
    Second, the key principle driving the matter of assessing the material on this site – it seems to me – should be whether the material on this site (articles and comments) is accurate and relevant and somehow sheds more light on the Matter and enables readers to acquire a larger and more comprehensive and perceptive grasp of everything related to this Matter.
     
    The fact that this site’s material ‘doesn’t do anything’ for one’s personal specific concerns isn’t really the core issue here. Persons looking for material more relevant to their specific concerns – and perhaps a more congenial reception – can easily work on other sites (the NCR and Philly trial sites are two that come quickly to mind) and good for them, I say.

  21. Publion says:

    A bit more on the ‘AF’ material above.
     
    In his own article – the link to which he nicely provides – ‘AF’ mentions an elderly retired Australian bishop who “stated publicly that he would support a public inquiry into his church’s handling of sexual assaults by priests”.  Good for the retired-bishop; I would support such an inquiry too, so long as it were a genuine “inquiry” and not simply a pretext for selectively and meretriciously ‘publicizing’ the Phantasm/Cartoon Script that is currently still all the rage. And perhaps that’s what the retired-bishop meant; rather than any implication, made presumably in the accents of the Guilty-Now-Caught,  that such an “inquiry” would instantly and irrefutably ‘prove’ that the Cartoon/Phantasm is True and Good and has been Totally Right All Along.
     
    The local paper then editorialized that maybe “There was a time, when the first shocking revelations of abuse began to emerge in the public eye, when many probably believed the matter could be satisfactorily dealt with by the churches and the police”.
     
    About which I would say: a) let’s not give too much away with the “shocking revelations” bit because those it is hardly impossible that those “revelations” were so “shocking” precisely because they were deliberately and creatively constructed to be so, using the old Manichean and Hollywood maxims about the purported reality and seductively simple plot-line of Utter Good Victimized By Utter Evil.
     
    And b) it appears that even in Australia the police were somehow complicit in the insufficient response to the “revelations”. First, might that reality participate in the MADD-phenomenon I have described in prior comments on this site – i.e. that before ‘Sex Abuse’ became the Issue that it has become these days, all of the cultural institutions and organs of public policy and opinion (the paper neatly excludes “the media”, thus itself) did not – for whatever reasons they had – take this all so seriously?
     
    Thus that i) what is so absolutely asserted to be a “cover-up” nowadays was actually merely a reflection of the overall assessments and policies of all of the large institutions of culture.
     
    And that ii) if there was indeed a cover-up, then was it most surely not simply a ‘Church’ cover-up but rather a cover-up – so to speak – in which all of the major organs of culture and society (and I would add politicians and legislators and judges and perhaps even juries here) were complicit?
     
    And that therefore iii) there should logically be a much broader incriminating focus on all of the aforementioned institutions and organs of culture? (Which would have to include ‘the public’ as well, if jurors did not find-for the plaintiff or ‘victim’ in whatever cases actually came to trial back in those days.)
     
    If a bishop in this country thus – as the ‘AF’ article continues – offers apologies for the way some particular priest’s case was handled, then the bishop in that matter is justified in saying so. I certainly don’t deny that he may have had a particularly whacky or deranged priest on his hands; the Philly trial material does seem to indicate that a priest such as Stanley Gana was to all appearances grossly unsuited for ministry (and was quite possibly grossly immature as well).
     
    But it is also then a huge and ungrounded leap to infer that every prelate for (pick the number of years, decades, centuries, millennia) quite some time indubitably harbored or harbors un-confessed admissions of massive and widespread indulgence or even willfully collusive and enabling support for such deranged individuals, or participated in a ‘massive cover-up’, or – intentionally or through omission – supported a general ‘culture of rape’ in the Church. Even accurate evidence must be assessed as to just what conclusions it can bear.
     
    Then in ‘AF’s article the theme changes suddenly in the next paragraph and now it’s a matter of the Vatican trying to “buttress its meaning and relevance in an increasingly skeptical world”.  It’s a valid concern in the Modern and Postmodern eras, but not quite to the point here. Unless ‘AF’ infers or presumes that if the Vatican failed in the matter of the abuse Matter, then its entire value and worth to human and especially Western civilization, culture and society is somehow instantly erased.
     
    But if that is what ‘AF’ might be driving at or presuming, then what happens to the legitimacy and credibility and value of the Framing Vision when the U.S. government that is responsible for sustaining that Vision engages in mistaken or overtly violent actions such as targeted assassinations, unjustified pre-emptive wars and invasions, and half a thousand other such transgressions? 
     
    Contrary to ‘AF’s article, has the Church not worked to “acknowledge with apparent [?] compassion the suffering of victims; point out the efforts made to reform procedures within the church; and call for ‘healing’ and ‘closure’”? Although ‘AF’ presumes that when such actions by the Church take place – and ‘AF’ admits they have – then it is merely a gambit “that will permit the church to maintain its power and stature and move forward without further ado”.  So then … the Church is no better than the U.S. government? And is ‘AF’ equally or even more incensed about the government? After all, human beings in their hundreds of thousands are dead now, and not merely ‘metaphorically’, as a result of its actions.
     
    In his article, ‘AF’ calls attention to the outcome of the Lynn trial in Philadelphia, which he characterizes as “a severe blow” to the Church. I have discussed the Lynn trial in a previous comment to this TMR article.
     
    ‘AF’ in his article then raises the Penn State-Sandusky matter, making reference to a Report compiled by former Director of the FBI Louis Freeh. I have not followed that case, although I haven’t had a great deal of confidence in that former-official since the performance of his agency and himself in the events surrounding 9/11. But at any rate, the relevance to the Church abuse Matter is tenuous at best.
     
    ‘AF’ then, in another comment, raises the issue of the Church receiving “a fair hearing”. First, he can’t seem to see how anything is biased against the Church in the public atmosphere these days. Second … well, since the public was “brainwashed” for the Church for so long, then what’s wrong, he figures, with the public being brainwashed against the Church now? Which curiously echoes SNAP CEO Clohessy’s public statement that it’s OK to be less than truthful if you are against the Church, but it’s not at all OK if the Church is allowed to be less than totally truthful (which in Mr. Clohessy’s dictionary means that the Church admits to every element of the Cartoon/Phantasm propounded by Mr. Clohessy and Company).
     
    How else, ‘AF’ plaintively intones, will victims receive “a fair hearing”?
     
    So the operative theory here is that lies are OK if they balance lies you presume were made by your targets.
     
    To which I would say: a) this is a rather lethal and toxic theory to introduce widely into any public’s general discourse – it accustoms the public and its opinion-making elites and cultural-guardians to lying … so long as they can convince themselves they are doing it in A Good Cause.
     
    And b) this is not only a matter of general public discourse, but also the integrity of the legal system – criminal and civil process, which then of course involves first-principles of evidentiary and jurisprudential standards that go to the heart of the American vision of justice and governance.
     
    And so such a theory as ‘AF’ appears to propound is fraught with lethal consequences, which must be taken into consideration as negatives to be weighed against the positives that ‘AF’ envisions. I don’t think that such an evaluation will yield the conclusion that the derangements necessary to provide – in the legal forum – a “fair hearing” (which is actually not a fair hearing at all, but rather a selectively skewed hearing) are worth the truly profound damage that will have to be done (and, alas, in too many cases and laws, has already been done).

  22. Fitasafiddle says:

    Father Murphy was buried in full vestments from the altar of the catholic church as a Catholic priest, even though Pope Benedict was fully aware of Murphy's molestation of hundreds of deaf boys in his care.
    "I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood", Father Murphy wrote to then Cardinal Ratzinger.  Ignoring the pleas of bishops and victims,  Pope Benedict granted Murphy's request.
    The dignity of the priesthood. And in full vestments. Childrens lives ruined and with full knowledge of the Vatican.
    Praise be to All that is Holy that this film is being made so the world can see just who is and who is not valued in Roman Catholic Hierarchy led by Pope Benedict and pedophile priest enabling Roman Catholic Hierarchy.  Those darned facts, again.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Fitiasafiddle – Pope Benedict did not “grant” any request of Fr. Murphy. That is 100% false. Facts are facts.

      As far as funeral arrangements go, when a priest dies, if a priest has family, it is often the family who makes the arrangements. And it is very well known that Murphy’s family ignored the diocesan request for a private, low-key funeral. The Church could not control that. Again, facts are facts.

       

  23. Publion says:

    Fr. Murphy died as a priest and was neither laicized (he died before such process could be initiated) nor excommunicated formally. By the time the Vatican got wind of all this (so much for the Cartoon-Phantasm that the Church is a military-type command-structure) Fr. Murphy was dying and – if he chose to exercise his canonical right to contest laicization – may well not have survived the process anyway.
     
    I don’t fault the Pope’s judgment call – and for all we know the Pope also took into consideration the very real possibility that to try such a pathetically-situated creature would not only reflect poorly on the Church but would also reflect very poorly on the victims who might well – in the never-consistent alchemy of manipulated public opinion – come across as vengeful.  
     
    And, I would add: what would happen if there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to convict/laicize? What then? Would the alleged victims then come across looking any better if they – or those who claim to speak for them – insisted To Hell With The Evidence, Just Convict/Laicize Him … ?
     
    What does the pious (but clearly theologically-uninformed) FAAF expect to happen in the matter of a funeral mass? Or perhaps at this point his corpse might be dug up, propped up in a courtroom chair in full vestments, and a trial conducted and Guilty verdict duly delivered – in order to send the right message? To some mentalities and agendas that would probably be taken as ‘progress’, although personally I would take it to be a rather definitive regression to the primitiveness of a far earlier era in Western and Church history.
     
    A few points here.
     
    First, I am continually impressed by so extraordinarily clear and broad an ignorance (deliberate or unrealized) of Catholic theology and ritual and practice by somebody who so continually invokes what appears to be some form of Catholic-type piety.
     
    Second, clearly FAAF would expect Church law to be ignored as easily as American law ignores its first principles through the assorted assaults on the ability of the accused to defend himself such as we have seen exemplified in the Catholic abuse matter. Apparently the need for due-process is as obstructive and insensitive in the one legal forum as in the other, the canonical or the Constitutional.
     
    Third, I have yet to come across any “facts” – “darned”, “stubborn” or otherwise – in FAAF’s assertions. I recall here that fine little exchange in the film “The Princess Bride”, where Inigo Montoya says to the villain, Vizzini: “You keep using that word … I do not think you know what it means”.

  24. Publion says:

    One more thing.
     
    Another element that is always active in the Church’s assessment: there is always and ineluctably an utterly Omniscient and Flawless Judge awaiting every human being, from Pope to priest, political leader to peasant, and – in short – every single human being.
     
    Nothing every goes un-Punished in the Large view of human existence, the one that acknowledges another Plane of Existence beyond this one. Humans, with their “poor power to add or detract”, and their courts that must judge as best they can according to “History, with its flickering lamp”, are not ultimately the Judge. God is.
     
    By pointing that out I do not mean to infer that I or anybody else can truly guarantee God’s assessment of any of His creatures when they inevitably have their Moment before that Bench.
     
    But I do point out that in an increasingly secularized culture, people will look to government to pretty much replace God. But any human government that would aspire to that status would have to possess God’s Omniscience as well as His Omnipotence.
     
    And to ascribe all of that to any government, especially an American government bounded by the Vision of the Framers and the Constitution they carefully constructed, is about as genuinely ‘anti-democratic’ and truly anti-American a presumption as anything the old Soviet Union ever came up with (and that monstrous government also tried to run the same play, as many here will recall).

  25. Fitasafiddle says:

    Not so, Mr. Pierre. Pope Benedict in his role as Cardinal Ratizinger certainly did ignore the pleas from the bishops and victims, and  allowed this perv pretend priest to be buried as a priest in good standing, even with hundreds of child rapes under his belt.
    Publion's description of Murphy as a poor creature deserving of sympathy is low comedy at best.
    I wonder what it feels like to always defend the pedophile protectors with the roman collars and the big hats.  Publion, pray tell.
     

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Fitasafiddle – Just saying something does not make it so. There are zero facts to support your assertion.

    • jim robertson says:

      Thanks Adam; Fit and Dan.
      Again you explain the fact that Murphy's Crimes were read by Ratzy>( and he wasn't layisized because of some Canon law fol-de-role) Basta.!
      How hard is it to tell the truth? Pierre may be absolutely correct re family  control of murphy's funeral. Fine.
      But there is physical evidence, a letter from Ratboy regarding Murphy.
      Your cabal here seems ready at all times to never leave the circled wagons, you've created for yourselves.
      When people reporting their rapes are not considered victims but attackers, what can be said? Your defending the indefensable.
      You and yours are why the world is looking at you in disbelief at your behavior here.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Jim wrote, “But there is physical evidence, a letter from Ratboy regarding Murphy.”

      No, there isn’t.

  26. adam fisher says:

    Dear Publion — I am just an old fart who hopes that he pays more than lip service to the principle that where the least of us is harmed, so are we all harmed. I cannot claim that my arguments and presentations on behalf of that principle are either conclusive or perfect. I am flattered that you might think to dissect them. Nevertheless, for all the flaws, I feel that those arguments are based not simply on some fly-by-night distaste for the Roman Catholic Church. It is simply my old-fart conclusion that people — flesh and blood people — rate a more caring attention than any institution, however beloved. I readily concede the flaws in my position, which is more than I can say for those who may disagree with me. So it goes.
    And what specific instances might I cite within the realm of the sexual abuse of children? The list is enormously long and, for those willing to investigate, pretty damned compelling. It does not strike me — as it might strike you — as less compelling simply because the institutions involved remained silent or obstructing in response.
    Here are some samples of the kind of examples I am talking about: 1. The grand jury testimony in the case of Penn State's former assistant football coach Gerald Sandusky: http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/11/07/sandusky_grand_jury_presentment.pdf 2. The careful documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil":  http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/deliver-us-from-evil/ 3. The individuals testifying to their treatment at Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey: http://www.bergencatholicabuse.com/
    This list is clearly not exhaustive, but is offered as a sample of why it is that I stand by my imperfect arguments. In each instance, institutions posing as arbitors of benevolence and caring turned their benevolent backs on what were frequently heart-felt petitions for correction or redress. In each instance, individuals — the least among us — were implicitly or explicitly hung out to dry for the 'good' of the institution… which as often as not meant the power and position of those running those institutions.
    Apologists for the Roman Catholic Church may complain today that the media or anti-Catholics or some other villainous group is out to get them in a vendetta that has no basis other than prejudice. And perhaps that has some basis in occasional fact. But what those apologists conveniently overlook as they try to rebut the vitriol they imagine to be unfairly targeting their beloved church is the countless times human beings — families, friends, devoted Catholics, etc. — came to the church, hat in hand, with all humility and with every hope that they might win support and succor … only to see the situation swept away, under the carpet, or into a locked file drawer. Is it any wonder that after humble petitions for redress were ignored or covered up or passed along to another parish that there should be some anger … and a justified anger? Is it any wonder that they might harden their hearts to the institution that demonstrably preyed on their open and willing hearts? As the saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." The skepticism and anger now directed at the Roman Catholic Church may be too far-reaching in some of its aspects, but however excessive it may be, still it is a skepticism and anger the church brought on itself. And until it makes more than diversionary feints at cleaning up its act — of freely admitting its centuries of transgression — it will continue on a downward spiral … losing parishioners, losing priests, and (on a never-ending practical note) losing money. For those who remain loyal and believing Catholics, this is an enormous pity. As the least among the Roman Catholic family is harmed, so are the most. I cannot help but think of the old movie title, "Dumb and Dumber."
    As I say, I am just an old fart with imperfect deductions and conclusions based on evidence that persuades me. The problems of the Roman Catholic Church are not the problems of a few bad-apple priests. They are structural problems that deserve to be addressed not just for the good of "the least among us" but for the good of the church itself. Such a suggestion may seem preposterous to the 'defenders of the faith,' but it is a suggestion that I think needs to be made as long as the church continues to demonstrate that the best it can do is pay off its victims as a means of maintaining a 'good name.'
    I do wish everyone the best in whatever faith they may profess. But I would say that without honest considerations of the flaws of that faith — flaws that are apparent in the principle of "the least among us" for example — such a faith will sustain and nourish only fools.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Adam -

      Thank you for your comment, but there is hardly anything “thoughtful” about the movie Deliver Us From Evil.

      The film had a golden opportunity to showcase an informative look at a serious topic. However, because of the factual errors, crafty editing, and dishonest interview ‘experts,’ the movie ended up serving as little more than an anti-Catholic hit job.

      The rebuttal >>>> Deliver Us From Evil (2006 film).

      -

       

  27. Smby says:

    See the movie. It’s about a hell of a lot more than the Murphy case, and it’s going to be pretty hard to deny that Ratzinger has an awful lot of rape on his hands, worldwide, once this movie is out there. It seems the Vatican archives are overflowing with cases of pedophile priests that the Vatican is hiding.

  28. adam fisher says:

    Dear TheMediaReport.com — At least the rebuttal was kind enough to note without demurrer that the aggrieved parties — the least among us — were egregiously aggrieved. How and why they were aggrieved may be open to discussion, but the fact THAT they were aggrieved is not mitigated or changed by such (rather wimpy, I thought) rebuttals.

  29. catholic donor says:

    And, after all of the eloquent writing by all of the liberals, we never got a simple answer to a simple question:  Why aren't other institutions / professions being pursued, reputations being destroyed, and………….. non-stop coverage?

  30. jim robertson says:

    You know between the talking bush and"the Church is the victim here" crowd. I believe verbosity has won the day
    First of all Dan thanks for your kind remarks. I truely appreciate it. and Adam thanks for your intelligence.
    Now,
    Dave Pierre do you ever go to Abuse Tracker and read the number of abuse reports in regard to the Church? To pretend this is some international conspiracy to "get" your religion is completely unsupportable.
    Nation after nation tells the same sad facts, That minors were raped and the higher ups hid the fact from the police; the victims' families; and transfered these abusers on to new unsuspecting children and families in new parishes.
    And that these cover-ups and transfers happened identically accross the planet up and untill NOW.
    Trot out your nonsensical notion of victimhood again please. The world's not having it. And your losing  everything you once held most dear. Power and respect.
    And there will have to be married priests and or women priests before this century ends or the Church will have no clergy at all.
    And this massively decent change will have been brought to you in large part due to us victims coming forward.
    Do you Catholics still have Holy cards? By 2080 you'll have some with our pictures on it.

  31. jim robertson says:

    Amy Berg lied about nothing in her film. O'Grady was filmed near children in a playground in a public park not a school. It is in this public park in Dublin O'Grady talks about his eroticism of children. If O'Grady is seen walking accross a school playground he is certainly not dressed as a priest. And since Mahoney wanted O'Grady out of U.S. jurisprudence. The Cardinal gave the O'Grady money to live. And the luxurient freedom to wander public parks, school grounds wherever at will.
    I know and am friends with 3 of O'Grady's victims. Believe me none of the un-raped here would exchange one moment of their lives for one moment of the lives of O'Grady's victims.

  32. adam fisher says:

    Dear TheMediaReport.com — The "rebuttal" as you put it did have the good grace to concede THAT horrific acts had been committed. How and why those acts were committed and what implications they might have in a wider discussion of a "serious topic" depends, I imagine on the lenses through which they are viewed. I, for example, found the rebuttal more wimpy than than either carefully critical or informative.
    THAT such things should have happened is a start, I suppose. The pesky evidence that may be adduced in that framework will, for some, have to wait.

  33. adam fisher says:

    Sorry once again … the double-post alluded to is the response the TheMediaReport.com

  34. catholic donor says:

    Publion–Any tips on where to send children to college?  Unless, of course this talent would be the
    result no matter where you were educated.  

  35. Publion says:

    I stand by my thought that FAAF either doesn’t know what ‘fact’ means or wants to make sure that nobody else knows. Or both.
     
    Fact: I said that Fr. Murphy was a “pathetically-situated creature”, in the context of considering a canonical process against him.
     
    FAAF ‘fact’: I described Fr. Murphy as “a poor creature deserving of sympathy”.
     
    Further FAAF inference from the false FAAF ‘fact’: “I wonder what it feels like to always defend pedophile protectors with the Roman collars and the big hats. Publion, pray tell.”
     
    In what way did I ‘defend’ him? In what way did I defend ‘pedophile protectors’ in my comments? In what way did then-Cardinal Ratizinger ‘defend’ Murphy? Did The Vatican actually seek to protect victims from winding up sounding in public like … FAAF, and thereby doing themselves a great disservice?
     
    I think the really irritating result of the Vatican’s action in re Murphy was that it deprived the FAAF-sters and the SNAP-sters of a chance to stage yet another episode of their favorite soap-opera.
     
    But then why does FAAF pray to (or at least invoke) the God Who ultimately removed Murphy from her and SNAP’s clutches?
     
    I think we have not yet reached the bottom of FAAF’s actual facts, in relation to which her ‘facts’ are mere distractions.

  36. kmc says:

    The moment I made a decision to try my hardest to seek justice for innocent priests was the
    day I saw the movie Righteous Kill.   There was an elderly priest in the movie who got attacked.
    I do not remember every detail (this was years ago). 
     TMR, and Mr. Pierre, and Publion:  You are needed, and, doing imperative work.
    Please inform readers of this site if donations are necessary.
     Enjoy the weekend.

  37. catholic donor says:

    Adam & Jim:
    Sorry you did not make the cut for med school:  Please do not take it out on priests.
    PLEASE PRAY FOR ADAM AND JIM

  38. catholic donor says:

    Summer School For : The New York Times, EX priest (Slappy), Adam & Jim:
    Meet  Mikhail Khodorkovsky–a man under enormous stress.   Wikpedia: Section: Final Words  
    Perhaps he is no angel, but would the same happen here?
    The notion that all of you sit in the security/luxury of the USA, and, pride yourselves on targeting the
    Catholic Church and Priests under the auspices or "caring for children" is a joke.  
    You are either too scared or too greedy to pursue the ruthless criminals and/or other institutions.  
    Leave our innocent priests alone.

    • jim robertson says:

      Would you prefer we lived in the security/luxury of the Vatican? Targeting the Catholic Church? Your hierarcy placed the "target" directly on themselves.
      And I believe that they are not your Church.
      You and the rest of you in the pews are your Church.
      And the fact that you have failed the victims is more important to me because you (but for luck) could have been us.

  39. Publion says:

    I am going to put up some thoughts here about ‘AF’s thoughts in his most recent comment, addressed to me. Let me say right off: when I take time on particular commenter’s material, it’s only because I find material in them that seems to me useful to a larger understanding of the whole Matter of Catholic abuse.
     
    As with another commenter on this site, I recommend caution whenever you get some variant of the ‘Aw Shucks’ lead-in; as in: ‘I’m nuthin’ but a simple country-folk’.
     
    So in this instance we get “I’m just an old fart”. Neat: if you don’t make sense, it’s just because you’re old and other commenters shouldn’t be so rude as to point that out, and if you do make any sense at all then you are Andy Griffith in ‘Matlock’. Wheeeeee!
     
    And that begins ‘AF’s presentation. Indeed, his entire first paragraph is marvelously (could this be an accident?) constructed to follow a rather twisty path. And it deserves a close look because any reader may encounter this rather slyly-effected gambit while reading about the Catholic abuse Matter.
     
    Anyone who doesn’t agree with him only “pays … lip service”, because ‘AF’ – if he does say so himself – “pays more than lip service”.
     
    He quickly goes for the high-ground by coming up with a “principle”. He’s a principled sorta guy.
     
    And a decent-sounding principle it is: “where the least of us is harmed, so are we are all harmed”. Which is a good principle, presuming that a) you define ‘harm’; b) conclusively demonstrate the harm and its source; c) demonstrate that the ‘harm’ you have thus defined and demonstrated is greater than the harm to each and all from whatever solutions you propose to redress that ‘harm’ that you have identified or – in the alternative – demonstrate conclusively and persuasively that no harmful consequences  whatsoever will flow from your proposed solution.
     
    He piously admits that his “arguments” cannot be shown to be ‘conclusive or perfect’ (thus excusing himself from rationality or judgment or assessment by anybody else, supporting his ‘old fart’ gambit).
     
    He is “flattered” that I might take the time to “dissect” his material. Which indicates not a professional but rather a personal disposition: he presumes I am more interested in him than in his ideas and material … which is not true at all. And of course, in being flattered by my imagined attention he slyly compliments himself – neat. Let’s continue and see how that plays out.
     
    He harbors no “fly-by-night distaste for the Roman Catholic Church” (he fooled me, then). No, rather he is “just an old fart” (here we go again) who believes (here it comes) “that people – flesh and blood people – rate a more caring attention than any institution, however beloved”. He has dressed his monster in a pretty little dress indeed.
     
    He has set up an Either-Or: it’s either “people” or “institutions” – flesh and blood or abstractions. Beware the Either/Or mentality; like FAAF’s ‘there are only two kinds of …’, this is a warning to mariners that there is a rocky and shoal-infested mentality ahead.
     
    But a) can people exist without institutions? And b) what to do with an (invariably) imperfect human institution that is vital yet – as aforesaid – imperfect? What, say for example, do we do with the national government?
     
    And then he concludes this element-perfect paragraph by taking a shot at me for something I have never said or implied: seeking to evoke indulgent sympathy by a repetition of his “old fart” bit, he then piously declaims that “I readily concede the flaws in my position, which is more than I can say for those who may disagree with me”. Shazaaam!
     
    Although a) if he readily concedes the flaws I had pointed out in his position, then what position does he have left? And b) note the universal nature of his indictment: anybody who disagrees with him is clearly not ready to concede the flaws in their own positions. And yet he hasn’t pointed out any flaws, but simply tried to justify his own assertions by re-asserting them, larded thickly with the rhetorical stratagems I have noted here.
     
    “So it goes.” A valediction delivered in the accents of a resigned and world-weary Philosopher who’s used to being unappreciated by the lumpen-masses (defined, as he indicated, as those who don’t agree with him).
     
    That paragraph – his opener – scores almost 100 percent for rhetorical stratagems. That’s pretty good shooting for a self-styled “old fart” who’s just sittin’ by the cracker-barrel dispensing his homely common-sense (so to speak) observations. Myself, I rather think there’s more than dumb luck to such a perfect score. This man has read – or has a natural mastery of – the Playbook.
     
    But having thus justified his own stuff while dismissed whatever objections have been or will further be lodged, he keeps on going.
     
    He offers no List. But he offers a few examples of “the sexual abuse of children”; the List – he assures by mere assertion – is “enormously long” and “for those willing to do the investigation, pretty compelling”.
     
    I would say: Not Quite. He has not “investigated” anything; he has merely read what sources seemed amenable to his preconceived Picture and thus finds “pretty compelling” those stories that he chose to read.
     
    And he immediately goes on to infer that those stories are somehow no less compelling “because the institutions involved remained silent or obstructing in response”. But a) those stories also would enjoy no more credibility simply because the “institutions” didn’t deal with them as openly as he would prefer. This is a nice example from the Playbook: since there was (he presumes) a cover-up, then of course there must have been something to cover-up in the first place, and probably a whole lot of stuff even worse.
     
    But – of course – that presumes a ‘cover-up’ in the first place; and that has not been established, nor has he (nor any other Playbook-player) addressed the Question: was there indeed a ‘cover-up’ as opposed to simply a different, and perhaps even more lax, general approach to ‘sexual abuse’ (however defined) in Western or world civilization and culture in the years-decades-centuries-millennia before about 1985 or 1992?
     
    And as for his examples: he quotes the U/Penn-Sandusky material, which in essence is not relevant to the Church matter, since almost all of the Church allegations deal with the long-ago (back when no institutions of culture and society handled ‘sex abuse’ as it is handled nowadays), while the Sandusky material took place, in part, rather recently. But surely the U/Penn-Sandusky material indicates that the Church is hardly “unique” among society’s institutions (enter ‘military sex abuse’ or some similar phrase into your search-engine and see what comes up).
     
    The Correct Playbook response to that, of course, is that no other institution claims to ‘represent God’ or some such, but the Church has never claimed the perfection of the divine realm in its earthly operations. (Assertions to the contrary would best include a supporting reference.)  
     
    The “careful documentary” entitled “Deliver Us From Evil” was no such thing, and TMR/DP addresses that in a response to ‘AF’s assertion.
     
    The “individuals testifying to their treatment” in the matter of the Bergen Catholic High School is simply a memoir written by a former-student about events in 1964, buttressed by letters from other students, many of which are dated within the past couple of years. In addition to which, the memoir was dated January of 2002, precisely the month that the new Sue-the-Bishops Phase of the Catholic abuse Matter was launched (by the ‘Boston Globe’ on January 2, 2002), although it is claimed in text on the site that it was posted in 2004.
     
    But I do recommend a look at the Bergen Catholic site. The initiating and guiding document is, as noted, a memoir of a former-student’s 1964-5 experiences, written in January 2002 (and posted on the internet, apparently, in 2004), about events at that all-male high-school, run by the Christian Brothers. The former-student, named Malone, reports one unkempt and disheveled Brother who had a habit of reaching down behind students’ pants while they were seated and rubbing their bare buttocks. Not a behavior that would indicate maturity or psychic health by any means.
     
    Further material is provided (there is some technological skill in the construction of the site). Yearbook bits, a list of faculty from that era, and some mostly-recent letters from former students, about this or other Christian Brothers schools, where the term “childhood sexual abuse” is used, but the only specifics I could find were of the “boundary violation” type (as they would be classified today) and on that end of the highly-elastic and broad (‘comprehensive’, if you like) “sexual abuse” spectrum.
     
    The primary offending priest died in October of 1997. The former student sent an email outlining the abuse to the local Police Department, apparently in Spring of 2012, and was duly informed by regular mail on Department letterhead on May 7th of that year that the Statute of Limitations had run out.
     
    There is documentation about the Christian Brothers filing for bankruptcy; obituaries of various Brothers; and a list of accused or allegated-against Christian Brothers (a total of 9), some SNAP material, and reference to a noted sue-the-Church civil attorney from the Boston area whose services were at some point enlisted. There is a photo of some sort of short night-stick that the Christian Brothers are said to have used to discipline students physically.
     
    There is a How-To-Sign-Up sheet for allegators.
     
    There are letters received by the former student, Malone, from the general-counsel of the Christian Brothers requesting any corroborating evidence he may have. There are letters sent to Alumni by Bergen’s head Christian Brother reporting “no credible allegations of abuse”.
     
    There are letters of recent vintage sent by the former-student to various authorities – including a judge – repeating his claims and further claiming that (whether on the basis of the buttock-grabbing or other experiences is unclear) there is “no closure” for him.
     
    In terms of official Church documents, there are no Vatican documents little if anything from outside the Christian Brothers organization.
     
    What is to be made of this material? I don’t pretend to have the definitive answer, but I would venture that the following can be said: In the timeframe of 1964-5 at Bergen Catholic High School there was a Christian Brother of particularly unpleasant temperament who also evinced a habit of getting his hands on his male high-school students’ bare buttocks; he may not have been the only unpleasantly-tempered or boundary-violating teacher on that faculty or in the ranks of that Order here in the States; at some point immediately after the initiation of the January 2002 Phase of the Catholic Abuse Crisis – so called – one student composed a memoir of several pages describing the buttock-feeling and wondering how many other students over the years had been subjected to the same treatment; and at some point in 2004 the former-student put it on the internet, and at some point included other materials of a general nature; where it elicited some responses by other former-students who either discussed experiences vaguely and generally or in specific terms of the buttock-fondling (I do not recall the term ‘rape’ anywhere on the site); the primary offender at Bergen had died five years prior to the composition of the memoir; requests for corroborating evidence were made but I could find no responsive material from the former-student; the local police were hampered by the Statute of Limitations (but would also have been hampered by the relatively low-grade nature of the alleged assaults and ex-post-facto issues); the site as it exists at this time also provides invitation and ease-of-access to litigation representatives; there is nothing from ‘the Vatican’.
     
    There is no documentation on the site of any legal testimony or indication of further examination of the allegations.
     
    If we were to credit the stories fully we have at least one – and perhaps several (9 are listed as formally allegated-against) – Christian Brothers, the primary one of whom reached down behind boys’ pants and placed his hands on their bare buttocks. Repellent, in my opinion, and clearly indicative of pathology that today would be addressed. But is this evidence of a Church-wide, top-to-bottom fundamental rottenness that justifies what we have seen over the past two decades or so?
     
    And I note that ‘AF’ has provided no recent (post-2002) material, reflecting the effects of major American Catholic efforts to reform the system. This was, I note, precisely the problem that still-Father Doyle had to face at the very recent SNAP conference, where he simply asserted – following an admission that things had gotten better – that there was still a Ball to be Kept Rolling.
     
    Thus, following along with the text of ‘AF’s comment, the core issue here is not that the Church incited all this by not responding sufficiently, but that the “redress” demanded has somehow mutated into the florid campaign such as is seen on sites such as SNAP and NCR, claiming the utter bankruptcy (moral and spiritual) of the Church – now and always – and an apparently un-boundaried demand for change in the Church. And yet by all extant indications (buttressed by ‘AF’s and still-Father Doyle’s own comments as I noted above) the corrections required have been implemented and taken effect.
     
    Which means that what SNAP has left to work with is a past that has been corrected.
     
    Yes, the Correct Playbook response to that is that the ‘horror’ of their ‘sexual abuse’ still ruins the lives of those who suffered it. In the matter of overt rape, that claim may indeed have substance. But if we are to imagine that buttock-fondling – as grossly repellent as it is, especially by a cleric – is capable of utterly deranging a life, then how has the species survived until now? And I am very very pleased that the Church has taken steps.
     
    But where does that leave the continuation of this ‘crisis’ mentality as if today were 2002? Or 1962?
     
    What, exactly, is ‘AF’ going-for here? And what, in relation to what has happened since 2002?
     
    And does ‘AF’ seriously assert that the post-2002 developments of the past full decade have been nothing more than “diversionary feints”?
     
    To what extent, then, is the “Roman Catholic family” harmed by what I say is a now-largely corrected ‘crisis’ that certain elements wish to keep stoked, as if nothing had been addressed or resolved and efforts are continually made by those same elements to make it look like it is still 2001 or 1964? Does such a non-credible sustaining of the campaign against the Church now not reach the point where it is itself immoral, unnecessarily endangering the beliefs of Catholics who should be proud of how well the matter has been addressed?
     
    And once again, the “centuries of oppression” charge and assertion is a give-away to the dynamics and agenda that are actually continuing to drive this campaign.
     
    As is his concluding assertion that “The problems of the Roman Catholic Church are not the problems of a few bad-apple priests. They are structural problems that deserve to be addressed …” And there it is. He has been working toward and on this bit all along.
     
    But – trying to keep his footing on the high-ground – all this must be done “not just for the good of ‘the least of us’ but for the good of the church itself”. Lovely. Inspiring, even, as rhetoric goes.
     
    But just what “structural changes”? Can he at least give us a List of what he includes in that suitcase-phrase? What – beyond the post-2002 American reforms – does he still see as required? And whatever those objectives are, they are going to have to a) outweigh the damage and harm done by this apparently sempiternal campaign against the Church and b) thereby demonstrate a ‘solution’ proportional to the ‘problem’ as it stands today (and not in 2001 or 1964) and c) demonstrate a reasonable chance of success (thus not overselling itself with glowing promises of a best-case outcome that can never reasonably be achieved – the country went down that road with the Iraq War, as many may recall).
     
    And – marvelously – the Church’s own submission to the 2002 sue-the-bishops Phase, whereby hundreds of millions were paid to allegants without any examination of their claims, is now in ‘AF’s Cartoon, evidence about the Church “that the best it can do is pay off its victims as a means of maintaining ‘a good name’”. And if the Church had refused to go down the 2002 Path?
     
    And – even more marvelously – ‘AF’ manages to combine, in his concluding paragraph, both a pious “best wishes for everyone” and the overt assertion that any faith that doesn’t buy his Cartoon is merely a faith for “fools”.
     
    Well, it took some time but that’s my reading of this remarkable presentation by ‘AF’.

  40. Publion says:

    I would be remiss if I did not point out that in the matter of 'AF's extended comments, with which 'JR' agrees, 'AF' has contributed "intelligence", whereas my extended comments – most uncongenial to 'JR' – are merely verbiage and shrubbery and yadda-yadda.
     
    This is the type of mentality that fuels this whole SNAP-ish thing.
     
     

  41. Publion says:

    To 'catholic donor':
     
    I couldn't say what the best college is nowadays. A desire to inquire and learn accuracy and the discipline required to achieve it are vital; parental help and example in this are tremendously important.
     
    A good book on the Scientific Method – it needn't be a longish one – might be a good preparation for whatever college is chosen. And perhaps a potential student reading Dr. Peters's court filing, and then working up his/her own assessment of a serious Matter.Some reading in the Lincoln-Douglas debates would also help here.
     
    Above all, I would say that Skepticism and Humility are vital: Humility so that we do not too-easily accept our own quickest and most impulsive reactions; Skepticism so that we realize that in this broken world things are not always as they seem, although that works both ways: sometimes not as positive, sometimes not as negative.
     
    Above that or serving as the foundation for it, a commitment to Truth as best we can reason it out, and beyond all else a Faith in the Holy Spirit that Reason – guided by a prayerful loyalty to the Spirit's promptings and a conforming of ourselves to the disciplining of mind and heart for the service of all - provides  the vital path to the Ground and Goal of all our exertions.
     
     

  42. jim robertson says:

    I've run out of cheeks to turn.

  43. jim robertson says:

    There is deep silly here. Chatty Cathy above pretends that the Church just gave away money. In L.A. half the 650 million was paid by insurance companies.
    Do you really think insurance companies rolled over to the tune of 350 million dollars for a hand on an ass?

  44. adam fisher says:

    Catholic Donor wrote: "And, after all of the eloquent writing by all of the liberals, we never got a simple answer to a simple question:  Why aren't other institutions / professions being pursued, reputations being destroyed, and………….. non-stop coverage?"
    I had promised myself to bow out of this discussion, but, well, the best-laid plans of mice and men, etc.
    I am one of those comsymp, liberal, left-wing idjits Catholic Donor seems to feel is partly responsible for picking — like the liberal, 'left wing' media — on the Roman Catholic Church. Why aren't we out waving our panties in distress at other distress points?! How terribly, terribly unfair!!!!!! If we were in any way fair-minded, we would be picking on the Jews and Protestants and Zen Buddhists who have likewise had their problems with child abuse and a sense of overweaning power.
    The first response that comes to mind may not be the best, but it is this: Just imagine how things might have turned out if no one said anything about the heinous situations that were revealed within the Roman Catholic Church. If no one said anything, why then the church might simply have kept on shipping offenders out of one diocese and into another when complaints grew too loud. Behind-closed-doors hearings might have continued unabated and no one the wiser. The church could flourish as ever before and victims … well, they don't count, right? Just give 'em a pseudo-solicitous apology and a promise that it would never happen again… just as in decades and decades past.
    But that response is probably not especially reassuring from Catholic Donor's point of view. S/he feels that the church is being picked on by ravening and unreasoning forces. If all those liberals can pick on the Vatican, why can they not take on all the similar depredations elsewhere?
    The Roman Catholic Church claims something like 1.2 billion members worldwide. Its wealth and power are almost impossible to quantify. It is a big target. Simultaneously, the news media, which once counted themselves as the defenders of those unable to defend themselves against the centers of misused power, have been reduced financially to covering only the 'easy' news, the 'obvious' news, the news that doesn't require too much money to uncover. Opinion and entertainment have found a champion in the likes of Fox News. But Fox News is far from alone. If getting the news costs too much money, you can be sure it will be left to wither on the vine. The pushback against Roman Catholic Church depredations became comparatively easy pickings after the Boston Globe ran some expensive reporting 10 years ago. Since then, the topic has become easier and easier to cover … and it sold well … sex and religion, who could ask for more?
    But just because it has entered the national (and even international) consciousness and just because it is scandalous and entertaining does not mean it is not worth pursuing. The victims of these crimes live with their pain and shame every day of the week… and it has been this way for years and years … unheard, ignored, soft-soaped. Are they not worth the price of admission — worth enough to seek rectification of a long-time grievance? And if the church was the purveyor of that grievance, does it not deserve scrutiny and perhaps even calumny?
    All this does not answer the direct question, "What about all the other scum bags?" The answer, I imagine, is that the news media, like the people who consume their product, have only so much mental capacity to ingest and digest. They can only do one thing at a time, so to speak.
    Is it fair? Is it even-handed? Is it reasonable, given the stories of Penn State or the ultra-orthodox Jewish community or the Zen Studies Society and other organizations that might depict themselves as doers of good and promoters of moral uprightness? The Roman Catholic Church has done a great deal of good in its time … how come we don't focus on that? My answer to all those questions is, "How fair is any institution that lays claim to power?" How fair, for example, was the Roman Catholic Church to the children and families whose lives their employees upended? How honest and forthright have they been about the issue? How much of what they have done to address the issue relates to caring for the least among us and how much is directed at sustaining a position of power and glory? Are they being picked on unfairly? Perhaps, but fairness lies in the eye of the beholder. Has the church been treated unjustly? How just was the church when it came to those so badly injured?
    The Roman Catholic Church is a big target partly because it succeeded in becoming big. As Albert Camus once observed, "Some people climb onto the cross in order to be seen from a greater distance." And the RC church could be seen for miles and miles by its own request. Now, when the view is not quite so delightful …. well, them's the breaks.
    My own feeling is that as this particular aspect of power abuse seeps into the public consciousness, the fairness that Catholic Donor seeks will become more apparent … and we'll have the Roman Catholic Church to thank for that. Child abuse is ugly, heinous … and, to use a bit of church verbiage, apostasy. It is all those things no matter what the environment of power. To brand that understanding on our personal and social consciousness is probably worth the price of a painful and exhaustive investigation. Like alcohol on a cut, it stings, but it prevents further infection.

  45. Publion says:

    Given the prospects of winning a case against a sex-abuse allegation in the atmosphere of what I have termed a Stampede, then I would say that not only Insurers but any competent counsel would have advised settlement-out-of-court, and even more so since the lawsuits were slyly 'bundled', meaning that there were numerous plaintiffs to a single lawsuit, with numerous allegations against numerous different priests – going back decades or even with deceased accused. The costs for trying each allegation separately would have been substantial and the prospects for winning cases dim.
     
    I would also make the following observation, which may have already occurred to some readers: you notice that in the back-and-forth with certain commenters, there is no continuity of argument or concept. Each comment from them is almost 'de novo'; this is the result of the general approach that they take. It is the mayh-myah approach of 'debates' around the school cafeteria table: you just want to 'win' this particular exchange by whatever put-down or gambit you can, and then next time around the game starts over anew, as if the prior exchange(s) never took place.
     
    Contrast that with the exchanges among thinkers who seek to pursue a line of thought or inquiry, taking into account what has gone before and taking into consideration the points already made, all for the purpose of gaining a better and more comprehensive grasp of the Matter under consideration.
     
    And this – I would say – is the governing dynamic in the SNAP-type approach. The zingy one-liners, tossed out a second time if they don't 'work' the first time, and all the other rhetorical dreck, precisely are not intended to expand knowledge but simply to serve as 'proof-text' assertions to support the Cartoon.
     
    And this serves both tort-attorneys and the media, who can refer to – say – the SNAP or Bergen or Philly trial sites, mine them for such sound-bitey (although whacky) one-liners, and then use them as 'justifying quotes' in whatever 'story' will be written as if it were 'reporting'.
     
    This is the synergy – I would say – between the vaporous SNAP and the attorneys and the media. It has worked for quite a while, but you can quickly see what happens when such mindset-types are challenged: muttered imprecations of 'pedophile defending', epthets such as "fools", queasily pious invocations of God, and even the mention of the offending party in the same sentence as "death".   
     
    This is how the thing works and has worked for so long.

  46. adam fisher says:

    Dear Publion — In an effort to conform and not fall victim to a "de novo" charge, may I ask on what foundation you think the "Stampede" is based? Is it simple blood lust or lynch mob mentality? Is it a latent anti-Catholic distaste that was finally given leave to express itself after a few 'bad apples' were uncovered? What prompted the "Stampede?" Was it fact or fancy?
    And to the extent you think the "Stampede" was/is based on fact, how do you imagine those facts to be limited? I mean, for example, if a "bad apple" is revealed, would it be fair in your estimation to suggest that actions taken to protect or obscure that bad apple might also be brought to the attention of a court … as they might, for example, in a Mafia or corporate trial? Would you consider it unreasonable to request any and all documentation related to the "bad apple" case? And when publicly-available grand jury testimony from not just one, but two or three or four "bundled" accusers is so strikingly similar, would you write that off as an unwarranted and nefarious conspiracy of some sort?
    I am trying to understand the basis on which you might think the "Stampede" began; to what extent you might think it worthy of social attention, if not horror; to what extent you might feel that if no exposure had ever been made, the problem would have somehow solved itself. To what extent do you feel that the "stampede" is the fault of the cows and to what extent do you feel it is a consequence of actions taken by the cowboys who tried to head it off?
    You suggest that any defense attorney or insurance company in its right mind might seek to head off or conclude a case whose costs and damages might be huge. Ergo, if I understand you correctly, the various settlements we have seen to date. But don't you think that another reason — perhaps just a facet — for reaching a quick agreement might be that if it were not reached, the prospects of involving those further up the line would increase.
    Either of us might indulge in sassy remarks about the position espoused by the other. What I am interested in is hearing YOUR parameters of assumption and argument. Who or what started the "stampede" from YOUR point of view? And based on what YOU think the causes are, what ramifications do YOU imagine those causes having?
    I hope you consider these fair questions.
     

  47. jim robertson says:

    I always think s/he who points shame at you has three other fingers pointing back at him.
    Here's the scoop from cartoonsville. Adam talks about people and how people have been treated by the Church and he is so right on. The other side disects thought thereby killing all meaning.
    I hear that you believe a large percentage of victims' claims are false, exagerated.
    What percent of claims are false? Give me , please a number and then please explain to me how you reached it

  48. jim robertson says:

    I am amazed how little respect is granted by you religious types to the rest of humanity.
    We have to put up with 80 year olds talking to the air and then presenting some message from their imaginary friend that (because they call their imaginings God) that message is more important than Adam or me or any other living human being…….not so neat. And kindness was left behind,maybe it's down cellar behind the ax.

  49. jim robertson says:

    I don't see people running to defend the Church. maybe because people know the Church deserves the attention it's getting because it was nose deep in everyone elses' secular business.
    Hypocrites are a choice target. It truely is wonderful to have these superior types who've judged the rest of the world for 2 eons caught in their perversion. What is wonderful is that they were caught and you don't like it. Again hypocracy.

  50. jim robertson says:

    Did someone ask verboss,(deliberately misspelled) to explain life and thought to us?
    I'm a grown up now; and blather is still that, even if it's dressed up in morterboards and titles.
    Hey mom, the Emperor's nude. The whole fecacta show is fake.
    And have you noticed our side is right about nothing with this guy. Nothing, they just can't give up one tiny iota of credit or respect.
    Only bad teachers used to behave like that to their captive audiences. ( hint. hint.)
    But we are all adults here and you wouldn't know that from how our side is treated.
    I'm not your student. I'm a human being. I'm 65 years old. And no one speaks to me the way I've been spoken to here.
    It must irk some that the Church no longer controls humanity.
    As your side has said through your behaviour to victims:
    "Get over it."

  51. adam fisher says:

    This morning, in email, I received what I thought was a very quiet, very tempered, and quite sane depictions of a woman Catholic who chose to involve herself in the church sexual abuse vortex. Virginia Jones has a point of view (she sides with those abused), but she does not assert the defensive outrage that can color either side of the church/abused debate.
    I highly recommend her piece to those Roman Catholics of good will who may feel that the church is being unfairly demeaned or targeted. For my money, Jones speaks to the human being in any of us, regardless of belief or allegiance. If nothing else, Jones may offer Catholics of good will a clearer idea of what the church is up against.
    http://compassionategathering.blogspot.com/2012/08/clergy-abuse-wont-end-until.html

  52. jim robertson says:

    The idea that the reporting of rape can be shluffed off as mere money raising for the media is pathetic. Can we say the same thing then about murder?
    I agree (believe it or not) about how little the media CAN look into things. Hense SNAP.
    SNAP's creation is bought hook line and stinkers by the media. No press ,as of yet, have published how  activist victims feel about the "oldest and largest" "survivors" group.
    So here's the deal: SNAP's the Church behaving crudely and rudely at times against the Church. Again how does that help victims?
    SNAP/Church behaves like Clevon Little in Blazing Saddles. He holds his own gun to his head and says: "I'm gonna kill the n-word" And you guys are like the little old lady who says: " He'll do it."
    Lunacy!

  53. Julie says:

    I think that Dave is right to ask, Is something going on with the media coverage of this issue? Something IS going on. I have read about cases of horrific sex abuse of children within other denominations in local newspapers posted on the internet. And then I looked to see if the Associated Press picked up the stories. NOPE. I have seen several one-sided stories on the AP about Pius XII, where only his detractors are quoted. I have seen several gushing stories on the AP wire about pentecostal churches attracting Catholics here and in Latin America. Do you think Catholic missionaries get any coverage in the AP? I've never seen it. You would think with all of the "positive" AP stories about churches sheep stealing from the Catholic Church, that Pope Benedict would not be accused by AP writers of sheep stealing when he finally agreed to a long-standing request and established Anglicanorum Coetibus. But there AP was, quoting a complainer accusing the pope of stealing sheep. Something IS going on. My local newspaper played it up big when a local Catholic priest was ACCUSED of having sex with two young ADULT men years ago. But buried it when a local Lutheran pastor was CONVICTED, involving children.

  54. Publion says:

    Alas. 'JR' had promised that he would have nothing more to do with me, and – as I feared and said in comments on the Church-legal-victory – his promises have proven to have no more credibility than his assertions.
     
    And here he is today again.
     
    You insist you are nobody's student but that's precisely it:  I don't think you ever were, which is part of the problem. You haven't ever been spoken to the way you've been spoken-to on this site (to great extent, I infer, by me)? Well, to borrow a trope from Harry Truman: Act and think like a grown-up and you won't be spoken to that way. And develop some grown-up respect for the process of deliberation and seriousness.
     
    We "religious types" are here on a site trying to work on a religious-related issue, and you can't understand how you and some others (apparently not-religious types) don't get any respect even when you try to lick each other like ice cream cones to prime the adulation pump for everybody else.
     
    If people weren't defending the Church (and not illegitimately, in this Stampede) then obviously you wouldn't be getting all the non-respect you are complaining about, would you?
     
    I put up my ideas about life and thought. You put up yours. I pointed out the problems with some of your conceptualizations and in response you call me names and create Cartoons because – unless you've been perversely hiding your sanity and competence from everybody for whatever reason all this time – that's all you've got. And that, I would say, should be your major focus of concern. That's just my advice and you're free to ignore it – and I imagine very strongly that you've heard it all before and ignored it all before, for 65 years and counting. 
     
     
    I claim and have claimed that victim-claims have in almost all cases never been examined as to whether they are true or false - which to anybody who can read English is not the same as saying that all the claims are false – but then again, I am dealing with 'JR' and that has to be taken into consideration, apparently. But I do think that upon examination, there would be many many fewer claims demonstated to be accurate than SNAP and its ilk would like everybody to believe.
     
     

  55. Publion says:

    Responding to ‘Catholic Donor’ ‘AF’ says he had “promised myself to bow out of this discussion” – which would be an unhappy development, since I had been hoping for some further responses and explanations. But this is a neat rhetorical way to keep commenting without having to address the issues I had raised about material in his earlier comments: he’ll reluctantly shoulder the ‘discussion’ pack and aim his material at somebody else, in this case ‘Catholic Donor’ (‘CD’).  It’s always gratifying to see a sly play well run.
     
    ‘AF’quickly  overpaints himself – a neat rhetorical play and apparently instinctive with him – as being some sort of boogeyman ‘liberal’ whom ‘CD’ can then be over-painted as blaming for “picking on” the Church. So from the get-go, the Cartoonist’s brush is on the table and on the job – we are not going to be getting direct and accurate discussion of the matter as actually presented by ‘CD’ nor of the dynamics actually driving ‘AF’.
     
    Leaving aside various rhetorical ploys and references to women’s underwear (what is it with these weird tics: FAAF’s “wee children”, ‘JR’s “darlin”, and ‘AF’ with women’s underwear?), ‘AF’ is setting himself to the task of explaining the sustained, selective and intense focus on the Church while – in the matter of sex-abuse (let alone worse) – other religions and organizations have pretty much gotten a free pass in comparison.
     
    His first justification is that if “no one had said anything about” the problem, nothing would have been done to break the cycle of “closed door hearings” and “pseudo-solicitous apology”, and all “just as in decades and decades past”.
     
    I note first of all that ‘AF’s “centuries of oppression” has now become “decades and decades past” (although perhaps nobody was supposed to notice the change).
     
    I note second that what has been going on for the past couple of decades is not adequately characterized as somebody ‘saying something about’ a problem. Not hardly. What has been going on for the past few decades has been a sustained and highly selective agenda and program: untested stories, global inferences drawn without justification from specific cases which were themselves based on un-tested ‘stories’; assertions based without grounds that were continuously negative toward the Church and not simply in this matter of clerical sex abuse’ but then leaping beyond the parameters of that issue to attack with selective, tendentious, and sustained intensity and focus  the fundamental integrity or value or legitimacy of the Church (and/or God, religion, Christianity, ‘men’, among other possible targets).
     
    I note third that while a very few  such “situations” as have been seen might accurately be characterizable as “heinous”, yet on the scale that descends from Rape to Abuse at the lower end of that term’s definitional range, “heinous” is an extreme term and thus inaccurately applied to most of the cases. I have used “repellent”, for example. If the actions described in a majority of the formal allegations listed in – say – the John Jay Reports – are to be characterized as “heinous” then what is humanity to do with genocide and mass-murder? (Nor will I accept the SNAP-py claim that even the merest instance of boundary-violation or sex-abuse in even its lower ranges ‘metaphorically equals’ murder or mass-murder.)
     
    So if ‘CD’ has a feeling that somehow the Church is being unfairly singled out and “picked on” (to use ‘AF’s term), I would say that the Question ‘CD’ poses is certainly justifiable. Surely in the matter of sex-abuse there are other organizations of great power on the planet or in the country that are themselves eligible for public concern.
     
    ‘AF’ disposes of that thus: The Church is a big target and the media just couldn’t pass up the opportunities for such a show; and the Church in this matter ‘abused its power’ (presuming ‘AF’s assumptions that the whole thing was a Churchy plan and objective all along); but it was all worth “pursuing” because “the victims of these crimes live with their pain and shame every day of the week … and it has been this way for years and years”. (Note the huge dial-back in ‘AF’s timeframe again.)
     
    Well, my answer to his (perhaps rhetorical) question is: a) the creation of the Stampede – in all its inaccuracies of assertion and insufficiencies of fact – was and will increasingly prove to be far too costly in its consequences; especially b)  when considered in proportion to the proven experiences of those claiming such abuse.
     
    Because look what ‘AF’ is saying here: that the entire Stampede of the past two decades – in all of its queasy and insidious untruthfulness – is justified because the (easily presumed) victims “live with pain and shame every day of the week” and have been doing so “for years and years”.
     
    What human beings – for whatever reasons – do not live with a certain amount of “pain” and maybe even “shame” every day of the week? Is it harder to have admitted publicly you are an alcoholic or drug-addict or to have admitted you were (however defined or allegated) ‘abused’? At least as a self-proclaimed abuse victim you aren’t responsible like an alcoholic or addict is responsible. Yet alcoholics and addicts have been working with this burden – and with some real success – for quite a long time. So – compared to alcoholics and drug-addicts – just how much ‘pain and shame’ do claimed victims of ‘sex abuse’ (and very few, recall, on the more extreme end of that definition’s spectrum) suffer, such that the costs and consequences of this decades-long Stampede are justified?
     
    Marvelously, ‘AF’ then gives part of his conceptual background away: “Are they [i.e. the ‘victims’] not worth the price of admission … ?” That’s a showbiz term, and I have been saying for quite some time that there is a profound and queasy synergy between soap-opera Scripts and the Catholic clerical abuse ‘crisis’. And that the whole bit also resembled a Cartoon for which, back in the day, payment was required for admission to the fun and pleasure of the viewing experience.
     
    Hasn’t it all been worth it to “seek rectification of a long-time grievance?” To which (rhetorical) question I would respond: a) what has been sought in that “rectification” has largely been both disproportionate to the ‘harm’ alleged to have been caused and unproven as to its actual existence in the first place; hence it is already inaccurate to call the whole Thing a “rectification”, let alone then presume slyly that the harms claimed (but unproven) were also sufficiently grievous to justify the costs and consequences.
     
    So I would say: No, it has not been worth it. The damage claimed by those making allegations has not been proven; nor proven to be proportional to the damage caused to both the Church and to the belief her faithful; nor proven to outweigh the tremendous damage to integrity caused to the media, the government, the justice system  and even the public itself as the price of Keeping this queasily under-justified Ball Rolling for two full decades at least (with, if you  think about it, no prospect whatsoever envisioned by its proponents of its ever stopping).
     
    For that matter – although this self-declared “idjit” would clearly like to get himself off the field since he now has realized this site isn’t the two-bit rube pick-up game he clearly prefers – I would ask yet another Question: under what conditions and judged by what verifiable parameters does ‘AF’ see this whole Thing stopping?
     
    This Question is in addition to the one I posed in my prior comment (at which point he then promised himself to get out of town): In ‘AF’s view, just what more steps have to be taken that the Church has not already taken? A short List would suffice, at least for openers.
     
    ‘AF’ then gets into deeper and murkier water: it’s never a matter of fairness when you are dealing with “any institution that lays claim to power”.  This of itself exemplifies the issue I had mentioned in a prior comment: given that imperfect human beings cannot live without institutions which are themselves comprised of imperfect human beings, then how is humanity to handle that complicated balance?
     
    ‘AF’ would try to cut the Gordian knot simply by reducing it (as Marx and Co. did) to “power”: if you have it then you may reliably be cast as Evil and Guilty, and if you don’t have it then you can reliably be cast as Good and Innocent. It will work neatly enough for a Hollywood script-session (which, as I have said, is part of the reason this Stampede has succeeded for so long).  But it is still more of a Cartoon than a working and accurate Conceptual Map for grasping the fundamentals of the problem.
     
    He uses the term “employees” to describe priests and clerics, although that is the fruit of a legal theory that has not met with much success when applied to the Vatican’s relationship to priests  (diocesan and religious) and Ordinaries and religious Orders and their members.
     
    He tries to make (or perhaps honestly sees)  the core of the problem as being merely one of the Church not liking the now negatively-valenced high-visibility that in palmier and positive-valenced  times it so eagerly sought.
     
    I don’t think that’s adequate as a diagnostic conception. It fails utterly to take into account the fact that what the Church and not a few Catholics are objecting-to is the highly unusual special-opprobrium heaped on the Church, out of all proportion to what has been proven against it, what harm has been caused, and what consequences have ensued for the integrity of some major structural elements of American culture, society and governance. As I said in response to a comment somewhere on this site, what we see in courthouses all over the country every day is ‘a normal response to crime’ but what we see in the Catholic abuse ‘crisis’ as it has mutated and engorged over the past decades is something else indeed.
     
    ‘AF’s effort to see (or spin) this sustained Stampede as ‘just’ a normal dynamic of public concern is akin to his spinning himself as ‘just an old fart’ – which, if that status includes the refusal-to deploy sly rhetorical devices in the service of largely inaccurate assertions, he has most demonstrably shown himself not to be.
     
    And he himself slyly dials-back his own description of the ‘harm’ caused to all the ‘victims’: the Church and/or its “employees” have “upended” those lives. A rather original term as deployed in this context, yet very useful: vague enough to carry proponents’ more extreme imaginings, while technically mild enough to prevent objective analysis from concluding he is unjustifiably exaggerating. Rather a neat bit, this. 
     
    He then gets into some thickets working up to his summation: “Child abuse is ugly, heinous … and, to use a bit of church verbiage, apostasy”. Marvelous sound-bite but clearly he knows nothing about what “apostasy” actually involves. But then again, I think ‘AF’s approach is more a sound-bitey than a conceptual-analytic one; there’s no need to understand what a) you already are sure you understand anyway and what b) you have already defined as evil. One wonders what so sensitive a soul would do about current genocides and industrial-scale civilian deaths due to assorted military or paramilitary actions around the planet, but the “upending” of lives through “pain and shame” seems to keep his attentions quite happily engaged.
     
    And he brings it all home with the homely thought that the Stampede is just like some astringent applied to an injury so that it “prevents further infection”. The Stampede is actually “painful and exhaustive investigation” and so that high quality of Product – and in such a Good Cause – is of course worth it.
     
    I would say that this Stampede has demonstrated almost nothing of the qualities of a “painful and exhaustive investigation” – and surely ‘AF’s own characterization of the Bergen website mentioned in a prior comment above, and his own assertion that he found its ungrounded allegations “compelling”, indicates that he is not really interested in getting up to speed on “painful and exhaustive investigation” himself.
     
    And consequently, his own very ungrounded and loosey-goosey spinning of the Catholic abuse Stampede as “painful and exhaustive investigation” will actually have the consequence of further reducing the public’s ability to distinguish between grand-standing inaccuracy in the service of seducing and manipulating public opinion and serious, careful examination and assessment of  matters of major public import.
     
    And as I said he appears to harbor neither a working knowledge of Church theological terms nor any deep respect for the Church. And that’s his business. But, I submit, let’s not ourselves harbor any illusions about this “idjit” either. We won’t get our own business done here if we do.

  56. jim robertson says:

    And where did Jesus say to respect a child abusing corporation?

  57. TheMediaReport.com says:

    Guys, thank you for your contributions to the site!

    But I would like to shut down this topic for now.

    Thank you.