NY Times Loses It: Two Front-Page Stories and an Editorial For a Suspended Misdemeanor Sentence

NYT: Laurie Goodstein, Andrew Rosenthal, John Eligon

New York Times vs. The Catholic Church: Religion Editor Laurie Goodstein,
Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal, Reporter John Eligon

If anyone needed another example of the New York Times' obsession with blasting the Catholic Church, one does not need to look further than the paper's coverage following the guilty verdict of Kansas City–St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn.

One cannot help but wonder when a misdemeanor conviction (with a suspended sentence) has ever resulted in two front-page stories (1, 2) and a breathless editorial in the Grey Lady before.
[UPDATE: And if that were not enough, the Times also added an op-ed from Frank Bruni on September 11!]

Indeed, the guilty verdict in the Bishop Finn trial was historic, but a sense of perspective is in order. The diocese delayed in reporting that a priest had lewd photographs of children on his computer. But there is plenty of evidence, either ignored or downplayed by the Times, that Finn took the hit for the failures of the people who worked under him.

Criminal failures

Many in the public are unaware that two computer technicians, a diocesan lawyer, a monsignor, a vice-chancellor, a psychiatric doctor, and a deacon all allegedly saw the disturbing images from Fr. Ratigan's computer, but none of them officially alerted law enforcement.

According to an independent report of the entire Ratigan episode, known as the Graves Report, Bishop Finn stated that he "never saw the images" from the priest's laptop. Indeed, as the Graves Report concluded:

"As soon as the photographs were discovered on Fr. Ratigan's laptop, police should have been formally notified. Although various individuals undoubtedly believed that someone else would make the call, the fact remains that a phone call could have been made by anyone and everyone with knowledge of the pictures."

The failures of Bishop Finn and the diocese are obvious. Under no circumstances can any wrongdoing be defended whatsoever. As the bishop himself stated following his trial, "The protection of children is paramount, and sexual abuse of any kind will not be tolerated." Amen.

Some sex abuse more newsworthy than others

However, while the Times hyperventilates over this misdemeanor conviction, the paper continues to turn a blind eye to massive sex abuse and cover-ups occurring today in our nation's public schools – much of it in its own backyard.

As we have relayed several times before, it has been reported that just in the first three months of 2012 alone in New York City public schools, there were "248 complaints of sexual misconduct involving school employees."

Where's the outrage?

The glaring double standard only shows that the Times' coverage of sex abuse in the Catholic Church has nothing to do with sex abuse and everything to do with plastering the Church for not adhering to the paper's "progressive" secular agenda.


  1. jim robertson says:

    Pointing out other abuse is fine: but pretending the Church has been singled out seems untrue to me.
    With the" if it bleeds it leads" philosophy of todays news-ertainment. Sex abuse done by priest and covered by Bishops is hot news. Why? the recognition of the hypocracy of the Church telling the world what to do about sex, when it can't keep it's own home clean.
    The hypocracy is what's selling these stories.
    If reporting the truth of abuse is a problem for you then clean your own house first.
    The public school system makes no demands re sex for the nation and the world but the Catholic Church most certainly does

    • Fabiole says:

      The  media and types like you have always had bias against  not only the Catholic church but of Christianity itself. I've known that the Schools were the worst. Followed by the Police, Military and large Corporations. The problem with the media, particularly, the New York Times and the LA Times, they are definately blind to any other sexual abuses except the Church. In Orange County alone, we've had 500 coaches or  people associated with the schools and other outside sports charged with sexual improper behavior. There are also 85000 registered sex offenders in LA alone. Where is the Press to sound the alarm? The press has done such a snow job on the people that no one including you believe, anyone else can be a sex offender. WRONG. Use your common sense and don't believe what you read..

  2. Vince Morton says:

    why do you people constantly deflect abuse to other groups….I believe that this has been happening and still happening…along with the coverup is totally horrendous.  The monies donated by the faithful and insurance increases at the rate of 11% is a burdem to the faithful and most definately a moral issue that can no longer be ignored.
    The silence of the USCCB and especially that of Cardinal Dolan is to me without a doubt an atroscitiy of justice and compassion for the abused girls and their parents.
    You name several individuals that knew of this issue and did nothing….it shows all of them need to resign along with Bishop Finn.
    True the bishop was found guilty of a misdemeanor  after all "boys will be boys."  Misdemeanor or felony he was founf guilty and therefore has lost his authority to direct the diocese and to teach on moral issues.
    Wake up Church and stop supporting a church that denys Americans their rights to love who they choose and the rights of women to make their own choices.

    • joann says:

      Read  Double Standard by David Pierre and get your facts straight.  Wake up, yourself,  it is God not the Church making the laws.

  3. Ken W. says:

    One point of correction that is very important to point out: 
    The bishop was found guilty of -1- of 2 charges. The first charge was dismissed. That charge was the charge that involves the infamous laptop. The instant that charge was moot, the laptop became moot. It was the failure to report Ratigan's suspicious activity while under the bishop's restrictions, that was the charge of "failure to report suspected child abuse" that the bishop was found guilty of. 
    In my not so humble opinion, the milk toast suspended sentence that Judge Torrence gave to the bishop was the judge's way of acknowledging just how trivial and stupid the DA's indictment was, judges in fact do this sort of thing all of the time. It's the equivalent of handing down a settlement for $1 in a civil case. Make no bones about it, this was a plea bargain in the appearance of a bench trial, plain and simple. My not so humble opinion is that the DA would have had her derriere handed to her if a jury trial had proceeded as originally planned. I also believe that the bishop WILLINGLY took the conviction upon himself to avoid dragging the diocese through the mud. For this last year, I angrily wondered WHY the bishop's attornies were not pounding this point home hard and heavy; that there were AT LEAST 6 people who supected Ratigan's activities that qualified as mandated reporters long before the bishop had heard one word of it. David, you can add 2 police officers to your list of people that qualify as mandated reporters. Now, I understand why the bishop's attornies did not hammer that point home.
    My argument all along is that the failures first happened on the parish level and worked their way up to the very top. The bishop acknowledged his errors from the get go, and then aggresively corrected the errors starting from the top and working back down to the parish level. Ironically, it is at the parish level where the bishop's detractors are squealing the loudest. As long as that mindset is in place, it will not matter WHO the bishop is. 

  4. Fitasafiddle says:

    Bishop Finn kept a suicidal admitted pedophile priest in business. That's what he did.  If Monsignor Murphy had not belatedly notified the cops, the pedophile priest would still be in business. Save your outrage, Mr. Pierre,  for something more worthy than a bishop who, only when caught, apologizes for his negligence which kept wee children in danger around his pedophile priest..

  5. Publion says:

    And again, it seems that there is rarely a normally-framed and normally-conducted trial in clerical-abuse matters.
    As best I can make things out, this is my take on the thing.
    I think these criminal-trials of bishops indicate an entirely new Phase in the almost 30-year old Catholic clerical abuse matter. By my count, there was an initial Phase, publicizing offending priests, in the mid-80s; that came and went and then there was a second similar Phase in the early-90s; both of these Phases focused on the individual accused priests and involved some criminal trials.
    Then on January 2, 2002 the ‘Boston Globe’ kicked off a Phase in which bundled civil lawsuits were assembled and filed against the Diocese or Archdiocese, naming that entity and (often) the Ordinary involved as Party-Defendant; as I have said in prior comments, this strategy bypassed the various individual priests against whom allegations were made in the lawsuit, forcing the Ordinary and the Insurers to consider whether it was best to defend each allegation or simply settle out of court; the general practice became to settle with allegators’ counsel out of court. The civil suits were based on applying the legal concept of Respondeat Superior (i.e. that under certain circumstances, an employer is responsible for the tortuous actions of its employees, sometimes even though the employee had violated the employing entity’s own regulations and policies).  This was a bit of a stretch conceptually in the context of Church affairs, but under the circumstances won a wide but not complete judicial acceptance.
    Now we are seeing what I would call another new Phase: with the Church piñata somewhat tapped out the fresh efforts are aimed at bringing Ordinaries or at least ranking diocesan officials to criminal trial. This was the play in the Philadelphia case earlier this year and seems to me to be the play in the Bishop Finn case.
    The Philly case was pocked with oddities, capped by the fact that the one conviction – based on a Charge that may appears wrongly brought and allowed – may well not survive appeal.  
    This Bishop Finn case seems to have been based on a delay of a few months during which various procedural steps were in motion, investigating material that did not rise to actual sexual abuse, although for a period of several months did not include the Bishop’s formally reporting it to the police.  Yet a police captain had at one point opined that certain photographs did not rise to the level of pornography and there were no identifiable victims (which is an element necessary to trigger the state’s reporting-law requirements).
    Nor did any of a sizable chain of assorted professionals involved make a report to the police. Nor any parents. (Nor were any of them Charged for that.)
    The case is brought by a prosecutor rather in need of some oomph in a re-election campaign. I am going to imagine that – just like in Philly and in Santa Clara – there is political hay to be made by any prosecutor willing to stretch the law in order to get the case into court and before the cameras by whatever means necessary.
    The strategy for bringing the case to closure is – I think – something along these lines: The prosecutor’s case isn’t very strong, but the Diocese really doesn’t want to put its own people and employees through a trial. Arrangements are made to sweeten the deal: a misdemeanor charge (which might well not have succeeded in front of a jury – the prosecution might have worried – or in a Stampede atmosphere just might have succeeded in front of a jury – the Diocese might have worried). It takes place before a judge-only which lessens the number of variables that might go wild and screw up the deal.
    The prosecutor gets at least some kind of a conviction that will cover assorted political bases. The Bishop spares the Diocese and the people all around and agrees to some regular meetings with officials that probably aren’t going to burden anybody unduly since the Diocesan abuse-investigation procedures are already in operation. The taxpayers are spared the expense of a trial such as Philadelphia’s taxpayers got saddled with – and that’s no small matter these days.
    The usual groups get ‘a conviction’ to trumpet, using their usual tire-inflation techniques to sweeten their own pot and reassure themselves  and their belief-bots that The Ball will indeed Keep Rolling.
    The priest SR, who seems rather substantially in need of some time on the hangar deck or back at an advanced-level repair facility (to say the very least), has already been out of active ministry through the working of the Diocese’s own strictures and now quite possibly faces further criminal process.
    It’s not the clean Perry-Mason type of legal outcome, but such outcomes are hardly to be expected in this type of case nowadays. But there is a little something for everyone.
    And yet – as an observing attorney opined – in so queasily stretching the law in order to get at Bishop Finn, the prosecutor opened the door to prosecution of other service-provider organizations, such as – the hot ironies! – Planned Parenthood.  This possibility could hardly have been overlooked by the prosecutor (or the political elements involved) but apparently the risk was considered acceptable.

  6. jim robertson says:

    Maybe you don't see taking pictures of a child's genetalia as abuse but I sure do.

  7. Publion says:

    If I recall the reports correctly, the subjects of the photos were clothed – which is probably why the police captain did not consider them pornographic.

  8. jim robertson says:

    Sorry  not true,a child was photographed with her diaper aside. Another girl was being photographed under the table at a dinner Ratigan was attending at the childs house. The father busted him.

  9. Publion says:

    In the second reference, presumably the child was not allowed to sit naked at the dinner table.
    In the first reference, to which photographs are you referring? A reference to a report would be helpful.
    In any event, SR was removed from ministry though the diocese's own processes. The Charge under discussion here is that Bishop Finn didn't report it to police quickly enough; not that SR wasn't a problem.
    The photographs I was discussing were the ones shown to the police captain, which were not in his opinion pornographic and which were relevant to the matter under Charge about the delay in reporting to the police.

    • Ken W. says:

      I see that my initial point is still being overlooked. The intitial charge was later split into two charges, seperated by time frames. As it concerns the the bishop, any of Ratigan's activities (and photographs, including the infamous laptop) are moot points, as the bishop was found "not guilty" for the first charge of failure to report suspicion of child abuse. That first charge specifically dealt with all of Ratigan's activities prior to February 2011. The second charge of failure to report suspicion of child abuse, for which the bishop was found "guilty", dealt with Ratigan's activities between February and May of 2011, the time frame in which Ratigan was supposed to be under the bishop's restrictions.  I never looked at it like this during the last year, but in the end I agreed with the judge on this one. 

  10. Aileen says:

    Jim, you are incorrect in asserting that the Church tells the nation and the world what to do about sex, but that the public schools do not.   The Church certainly instructs the faithful on what their duties and obligations are in regard to sexuality but to no one else. It's just that the Church's stand on these issues annoys many who disagree.  As for public schools, they do have a Planned Parenthood agenda in the schools that many find coercive and abusive.  Do a little searching and you may be shocked to discover the pornographic nature of these programs forced upon kindergarteners and up.

    • jim robertson says:

      How dare we offer birth control to those who want it? Really how dare we? We know that the Catholic Church has sex correct for Catholics who follow it; and yet 99% of Catholics do use birth control. Mind your own beeswax you don't want birth control fine don't have it . You paid huge sums of money through your Church to defeat Gay marriage  and birth control everything the majority of Americans support. The public school's don't spend taxpayer cash to force you to use birth control or to perform gay marrige. you don't want those things but I and the majority do so butt out. You conservatives want less government except in my bedroom. And you know, why not take financial responsability for your own crimes and felonies that were committed against children. Acts the Church was responsable for.

  11. Publion says:

    The best reference I have found for this matter is the Graves Report. It is available at this link:


    I would especially recommend a reading of the section on SR. (Note: when you open this document, the Adobe browser will assign a page number, but that number will be 3 ahead of the actual page number printed on the page of the document. Thus, for example what Adobe will call page 74 is actually numbered page 71 on the document page.)

    The section on SR begins on page 74/71 and continues for about 30 pages. It is this section that is of relevance, of course, to the Bishop Finn case under discussion here.

    Several items emerge, I think.

    SR was clearly immature as well as obsessed with collecting and viewing pornography involving prepubescent girls.  The vast majority of those photographs are of the clothed chest and genital areas of what appear to be such persons, although there is at least one that does indicate a naked young female genital area.

    The vast majority of the photos on his computer have no face and it is impossible (except possibly by rather advanced technology) to identify these subjects. It is also of some question whether it can be determined if SR downloaded these photos from the internet or took them himself.

    At this point no photos that he took as part of his own extensive collection can be identified as being of unclothed subjects. This is a very relevant question yet to be answered since if he actually took photos of an unclothed genital area, then the possibility arises of actual sexual-abuse: if he took one such photo then might he not have taken others, and with other victims? If on the other hand the unclothed-subject photos are downloads, then the potential for legal and law enforcement’s immediate concern for other actual in-person victims is reduced.

    Further complicating the matter, none of the photos actually portrays a sexual act in any way. This is legally very relevant since laws had to be amended to prevent the liability for prosecution of doting parents who kept photos of their naked infants. Without a sexual act portrayed there is some question as to whether the photos rise to the level of child-pornography. This was mentioned by both a knowledgeable Counsel and by a police captain, after consultation with another officer with actual field experience in child-sex-abuse crimes.

    All of that being said, there are also gaps in the diocesan handling of the case. The police captain was apprised over the phone by the Monsignor who handled these matters about the first photo discovered (when SR brought his computer to a diocesan IT tech because it wasn’t working properly) and (apparently rightly) opined that the picture did not legally constitute pornography. This was confirmed after Counsel examined the photo and the others photos on the computer for relevance to the state statutes.

    But when further examination revealed a cache of many other photos, no immediate steps were taken. And when after a period of several months the police captain serving on the Diocesan review board was informed about the number of photos, he quickly demanded that the matter be reported formally to the police.

    At no time did anyone else within a lengthy list of adults with knowledge of the photos call the police on their own initiative.

    Prior to the photo(s) being discovered on his computer, the principal at one school wrote a report to the Diocese outlining a lengthy list of ‘boundary violations’ and situations where SR intrusively disrupted the classroom routine by visiting unannounced. But while this was addressed by a confrontative formal conference with SR, the Monsignor did not ultimately choose to judge the cumulative weight of the indications that something was not right with SR; instead, he appeared to finally rely merely on the analysis of the single original photo (not considered to be legally pornography).

    The Bishop relied on a psychiatric opinion that declared SR was not a pedophile but rather was depressed and thus obsessed with pornography, but not with actually engaging in sexual activity. The Graves Report considers – and I would agree – that second opinions are always prudent in such matters. And that any emotional or psychological derangement that involves sex in any way must be handled with robust and immediate and competent examination and any subsequently-required intervention (nor am I here suggesting an immediate and public lynch-mob mentality, but simply that competent and responsible authority must deploy itself without delay to ascertain the nature of the situation in all its aspects).

    Having placed significant restrictions on SR, the Bishop did not take strong measures when it became clear that SR was violating those restrictions and was rather continuing to inveigle ways to be around young females. There is and always has been a question of when an Ordinary deals with a priest in the personal and spiritual manner, and when the Ordinary must resort to dealing with a priest in the so-called juridical manner. In this aspect of things, the Bishop demonstrated more patience, I think, than is appropriate in this type of sexual-matter situation.

    At some point, as my grandfather used to say, it becomes time to ‘read the Riot Act’ to somebody. Back in the days of yore, ‘Reading the Riot Act’ was a formal police procedure during an incident of civil unrest: when a ranking officer stepped before a crowd and literally ‘read the Riot Act’ to them, that was fair and immediate warning that in official opinion the ‘gathering’ had now mutated into a ‘riot’ and the police were going to respond with the famous Riot Squad and all the force necessary to restore order if everybody didn’t clear out forthwith. Bishops aren’t particularly well-trained in this approach, but clearly this has to be part of their training (though again, I am not recommending that Bishops rely on such an approach as a first approach or a primary approach – but these are serious matters and immediate but still competent intervention must be accomplished).

    Given that the vast majority of photos did not include a face, the Diocese was not confident about discovering the identity of the subjects (to determine if they had been abused).

    In the event, once the police captain was informed in May of 2011 about the large cache of photos discovered in December 2010 and he demanded police intervention, the Diocese complied within a matter of 24 hours (although the captain had wanted the computer files turned over to the police that very day).

    SR is still under investigation and whatever potential Charges may arise from that investigation are yet to be seen and that may well be matter for a future article on this site.

    From a legal point of view, it seems clear that the prosecution had appropriate concerns about the strength of its case against Bishop Finn. But it is also clear that the Diocese had valid reasons to be concerned about the tempo of its handling of the SR case.

    The Graves Report generally does not fault the overall diocesan protection-plan procedures or their implementation – but rather the tempo of their implementation. The Report also recommends lowering the bar of concern such that patterns of behavior – even if they do not rise to statutorily-sufficient crimes – are promptly and competently examined and that steps, if required, be taken forthwith.

    The crux of the Charge is that, despite assorted legal and psychological uncertainties, the Diocese waited too long to contact the police and created the possibility that during that time SR might have involved more victims. In that sense, it seems to me this case is more about Sending A Message and perhaps establishing one more precedential instance of a Bishop being brought up on Charges, rather than a legal punishment of a clear and overt and deliberate violation of applicable law.

    • Ken W. says:

      One more point, and then I will bow out:
      In the state's case that is yet to be prosecuted, none of the images on the infamous laptop were used as charges or indictments. All of their evidence came from sources that was on Ratigan property and  no one at the diocese were ever privy to those sources. 
      In the federal case, to which Ratigan has already plead "guilty" to 5 counts, of the 13 counts, only 1 involved the infamous laptop, and I am unsure as to whether or not that 1 count was involved in the 5 that Ratigan plead guilty to, or if they were in the other 8 counts that were dismissed. Even if it was, Judge Torrence still opted to treat it as a non-issue as far as the bishop goes. 

  12. Publion says:

    May I say to Ken W. that I recognize his points comment of 4:21 PM and his point about the charge dropped and the charge retained makes very good sense to me. In my comment of 6:09 PM today I was trying to set a larger picture of the whole matter but it's true that the Charge upon which Bishop Finn was convicted was only the reporting-delay and not about SR's photos and so forth.(I didn't see Ken W's comment before making my own; if I had I would have included some acknowledgment of his point.)
    I have to say that after I went through the Graves Report  I too felt like they Diocese really opened itself up to trouble on this one. And I hope that other Ordinaries realize that there cannot be any delay in checking out this type of matter.

  13. Yvonne says:

    Seriously, the Catholic church has had a sexual abuse crisis problem for 60+ years, countless victims and they are still in business, these writers get cut off for telling a story and speaking the truth…
    This is outrageous and the wrong people have to pay consequences.  If this were another organization, they would be completely disbanned, I mean look at what Penn State has been fined and the they will pay for years to come…as they should.  The NCAA made an example out of that school, yet no one has given the Catholic church even a penalty other than the law and victims. 
    Sing it from the roof tops, tell everyone you know…our children are not safe in the Catholic church, they haven't been for damn near a century. 

  14. Fitasafiddle says:

    The diocese did not "open itself up to trouble on this one" Publion. The diocese, with Finn as its head, allowed  "trouble" to be visited on children in order to save the so-called "priesthood" of its pedophile.
    Those facts just get you every time, don't they?

  15. lucas penna says:

    i fully agree with the fact that freedom of press has always existed in america, at least in modern days, but when it comes to the welathy life style in those vatican walls and its perversion that goes on inside, people tend to go back in time trying to hide themselves from true reality which is vatican pope poe is not a woman because he does not have a vagina and males are not his irresponsible little children like his father was to him. pope forget it i am not going to snap meetings so you can ask me to make your million dollar movies with my high IQ movie making brain.

  16. Publion says:

    I have been under the strong impression that the party-line of belief-bots is that the Catholic Church has been a sex-abusing criminal enterprise (and perhaps not much more than that) since just about the beginning two millennia ago. So to read that this is a problem that dates back only 60 years is interesting indeed. Seriously, somebody could lose their union-card for such an assertion.
    I have no idea what ‘disbanned’ means and my 2200-plus page Webster’s Encylopedic Unabridged is no help. For the sake of time, let me go out on a limb and presume the comment meant to say ‘disbanded’. If so, then a) Penn State has not been disbanded and b) why hasn’t the Church been disbanded after – just to toss out a number – the past quarter-century-plus of the Catholic abuse ‘crisis’?
    The whole Thing has cost the Church hundreds of millions, if not more (meaning over a billion). Which is rather more than Penn State was fined.  Who else would give the Church a “penalty” beside the law? (Victims – genuine and otherwise – do not, to the best of my knowledge – have the authority to “give” a penalty.)
    If FAAF can point out in the Graves Report or anywhere else where her assertion is justified I’d like to see that reference. Or perhaps the prosecution was grossly and witlessly incompetent and missed something that is so clearly a ‘fact’ for FAAF.  Rattigan’s priesthood was not “saved” – or perhaps FAAF can explain how it was (references required; I’m still not confident about any FAAF-y ‘facts’ without clear references in support).

  17. Julie says:

    Yvonne, Exaggerate much?

  18. Fitasafiddle says:

    It's that homework again, Pub.  Important to read a bit before you wax on so eloquently.
    Once again, http://www.bishopaccountability.org   Read about the children Bishop Finn put at risk in order to "save" Father Ratigan's priesthood. You will learn this is a direct quote from Bishop Finn.  You will also learn that Bishop Finn wrote an entire treatise on the evils of pornography in 2007. No stranger to the subject.   Bishop Finn did not even bother to protect the children Ratigan was "ministering" to while he was praying with the nuns who, of course, were kept in the dark about his danger to children, families, the church, etc. etc. etc.  He is a busy man, Bishop Finn.
    A man with any semblance of conscience would have kept Father Ratigan away from kids and altars, cameras and computers…in other words, away from society at large.  It is a conscience ( not a penis) that one must possess to be a priest, and this includes bishops, cardinals and popes.
    A man with a big hat and a roman collar operating without a conscience ( read putting children knowingly at risk with a sexual predator priest) is simply an empty suit.  And a criminal.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      What about the computer technician, a woman, who saw the computer images but did not call the police?

      What about the school principal, a woman, who had suspicions about Ratigan’s behavior, but did not call police?

  19. Publion says:

    It’s clear that FAAF is not only unclear on the concept of ‘fact’, and on the process of connecting facts into valid or supportable assertions, but also on the concept of ‘homework’.
    I had mentioned the Graves Report  but FAAF trolls the swamps of Bishop-Accountability (so recently forced to acknowledge that its fabulous list of pedophile priests is not and never was any such thing).
    And then – rather than respond to any of the points I made – simply tosses a fresh pile at the screen.
    Thus: once again, somehow FAAF presumes that the delay in reporting to the police was designed to “save” SR’s priesthood; there is no evidence whatsoever to support this and all the evidence that the Report’s investigators and even the prosecution’s investigation could discover was to the effect that it took too much time to go through the proper steps. The proper steps were the ones set up in the diocesan plan and they were followed, but the tempo – as I said – was the key.
    That Finn was hoping to somehow salvage a priesthood that had not actually engaged in legally-defined sex-abuse is certainly acceptable and was quite probably the case; the Navy doesn’t like its captains abandoning damaged vessels unless they are really beyond any reasonable hope of salvage and repair. But as I said in prior comments, Finn didn’t seem to appreciate – and did not sufficient steps to inform himself – as to the extent of SR’s issues quickly enough.
    To assert that the Bishop had no “semblance of any conscience” is an assertion that is not supported by any facts whatsoever. The Bishop quickly imposed strictures which were designed to remove the ‘fuel’ from the ‘fire triangle’ of SR’s specific problem; SR’s condition proved in the event to be too far advanced – as far as I can discern  - for that. And as I said, the Bishop then passed a point where SR should have been Read the Riot Act and more robust strictures and other steps should have been taken.
    The Bishop was trying to walk a fine line between being constructive and being punitive. There is a third base that nowadays must also be covered – to wit: a concern for the potential victims. But there was at that point no evidence that SR had not simply downloaded all of his most repugnant photos from the internet. (If I recall correctly, his federal charge relates to internet material.)
    The cutesy – and as with FAAF’s usual trademark “wee children”, queasy – rhetorical reach with the ‘penis’ comment is up there for everybody to see and consider. SR’s issues did not have to do with genital activity and overt sexual-assault; thus ‘penis’ is not only rhetorical but also tendentious: he had a mental-emotional obsession with pornography (which is certainly an issue that has to be addressed and if sufficiently deeply rooted would seem to me a disqualification for pastoral ministry at the very least) but that did not involve the actual deployment of – I have to repeat it – his ‘penis’.
    But FAAF’s careful stitching-together of her various bits of material then create such scaffolding as can be mustered to support her conclusion – and the final stylistic bit, the free-standing final flourish of “A criminal”, belies a stylistic competence not seen before with FAAF’s comments, in my experience.
    Which leads me to my final point: FAAF’s style is improving, and is much more attuned to the mimicry of a more careful effort at analysis. But FAAF remains hobbled by one and possibly two things: a) the entire SNAP-like approach to ‘research and analysis’ is corrupted from the get-go because the ‘result’ is already fixed before the research and analysis begins. Thus it is presumed from the get-go that the Church and the hierarchy and priests are all collusively involved in conducting and continuing sex-abuse. And this leads to the type of grossly insufficient research and analysis seen in FAAF’s comments and elsewhere in that demi-universe of special-interest chicanery.
    And b) judging by all of FAAF’s prior comments that I have seen, FAAF is not well-versed in research and analysis – especially open-ended research and analysis – to begin with.
    I expect to see more such submissions. Masquerading as ‘facts’.

  20. jim robertson says:

    Dear Fit how you feeling? Ever feel like you've been insulted; demeaned just plain bad?
    Since so many Bishops seemed to have past so many priests around in order to protect the priests" careers all those children were just foder for careers? All those families just foder? All that pain and horror because victims were just there to save some priest's job?

  21. Julie says:

    Jim, So why do the insurance companies report that pedophile clergymen are more common in protestant churches? What do the protestant churches do with them? What were they doing with them 30 and 40 years ago when professionals were saying these men could be cured?

    • jim robertson says:

      My Protestant cousin"s church had a sex abuse problem with a minister . They immediately called the police and this was 30 years ago. I not saying all Protestant denominations behave better than Catholic ones. I see them in the papers as much as i do Catholic abusers. Pretending your persecuted is not the same thing as being persecuted. You bought the cured nonsense. At the time people were being cured of child abuse other people who were caught were being killed. Quite the different attitude if you were a Catholic priest whose career was more important than Catholic children and our families.

  22. 123yes-sir-ee says:

    Somebody Find Me…………………………Somewhere to Shop!!!
    I will buy Christmas & Hannuka presents when I read this beautiful article on the site:
    Why are you here?  Dorchester Reporter
    By Greg O' Brien

  23. Julie says:

    You would have thought if the media and other "concerned persons" were truly "concerned" about victims, they would be asking, what is going on? Where else is this happening? And what can be done to stop it? I think the fact that most "concerned people" are using this as a stick to bash the Catholic Church, and SNAP is corraling as many as they can for lawsuits, they are not REALLY concerned about the children in our society. They want to take down the church. How can these people live with themselves when we daily read about children victimized by public school coaches and teachers. When we read about children murdrered and abducted FREQUENTLY? Where are their "concerned" voices for these children? And why aren't they asking what is the Catholic Church doing now to protect children, rather than asking what did church clergy do 50, or 500 years ago so I can insult the church and call for its demise? I can tell the difference between bigotry and concern for children. Marci Hamilton, David Clohessy, FitasaFiddle, Yvonne and other "concerned" commenters that pop up anonymously are not children advocates. They are bigots out to do damage.

  24. Fitasafiddle says:

    Feeling particularly fitasafiddle to be placed among such great names as Clohessy and Hamilton and Yvonne. Thank you, Julie.
    My Roman Catholic education taught me many things, among them is the responsibility we have as Catholics to tackle religious arrogance wherever we find it.  Men, who at this late date, are still blaming survivors for their abuse by catholic clergy while defending Roman Catholic hierarchy, they get to my funny bone somehow. 
    Once again, thank you, Julie, for honoring me with such fine company.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      I would like to see an example “at this late date,” of a Catholic clergyman “blaming survivors for their abuse.”

      I imagine you might come up with one – maybe two – examples, which is too many indeed, but I think that your charge is, for the most part, very unfair and untrue.

  25. Publion says:

    A marvelous little gem on ‘process’ here, in FAAF’s comment of yesterday at 9:55 PM. It’s built not around facts but around the adolescent cafeteria lunch-table Game of ‘comeback’: anything you can do to win this little go-around at the table is all you need to do.
    Was FAAF connected with Clohessy (who admitted under oath that he doesn’t consider himself bound by traditional concerns for truth even as he claims the Church never tells him the truth and didn’t report child-abuse in his own family circle) and the axe-grinding ‘reporter’ Marci Hamilton? Somehow to be mentioned in an online comment with such persons is a big plus for her. Was she mentioned with the name of another otherwise unknown online commenter? They’re all “great names” – and thus so is she. The rhetorical ploy trumps all. Wheeee! (Not to be confused with her signature queasy “wee”.)
    She has a “Roman Catholic education”, she says, and this has taught her to go after “religious arrogance”. How, pray, did that education provided by a putatively sex-abusing Church and its clergy prepare her for going after “religious arrogance”?  Could she cite some of the points in that education that got her primed to “tackle religious arrogance”?
    TMR already raised the “at this late date” question. I would add: just who “at this late date” is “blaming survivors”? (And this also connects to the profound problem of determining the genuine-ness of any self-declared victim. And also brings back for everyone to see the queasy and sleazy filching of “survivor” from those who lived-through the Holocaust perpetrated by the Third Reich for experiences far less lethal and intentional.)
    Who is “defending Roman Catholic hierarchy” and how? Examples?
    For that matter, I recall that she rather nastily but also slyly used “penis” in connection with SR a few comments back up the page, when it was precisely not his “penis” that was engaged. If you wanted to intensify SR’s offense to better fit into your Cartoon, and thus distract people from the fact that it was not a matter of overt physical sexual assault, you couldn’t come up with a better scam.
    But in the rhetorical adolescent need to continue this ‘trump’ response, FAAF will disdainfully insist that – lah de dah – it all ‘gets to her funny bone’. So this is all ‘funny’? Humorous? FAAF clearly painted herself into a corner here: no doubt all she meant to do was a quickie myah-myah, in-your-face ‘all your comment does is make me laugh’ bit. But in her tactical focus on rhetorical comeback, she neglected – who can be surprised? – the actual logical and conceptual content of what she has said: that any of this whole Matter is ‘funny’ at all.
    And the last trump: thank you for putting me in such great company. Or for “honoring me with such fine company”. Perfect adolescent come-back, best delivered as you scoop up your paper plates and head for the door. And she clearly has a rather thin view of “honor” to over-use it in this context.  
    If you’ve ever sat through lunches in high-school cafeterias, then you have the experience-base for viewing and understanding such comments. Stay tuned. Lunch isn’t over.

  26. jim robertson says:

    Everybody who disagrees with pub is an adolescent? No I know Pub not everybody just a few of us adolescent "types". Is everyone who looks at this scandal differently than you wrong or did we all get pimple creme in our collective eyes?
    I believe Fit was refering To Ratigans' penis not as the weapon used in rape but that his pictures of little girls were used to please his penis.

  27. Julie says:

    Jim, you have totally missed the point here.

  28. Publion says:

    No, not everyone who disagrees with me is an adolescent. I only label as adolescent those approaches that give every indication of adolescent approaches to processing information, and I explained and pointed out my grounds for labeling those approaches as such. And once again, JR swings not at the ball that was pitched  – which perhaps he knew he couldn’t hit – but at a ball of his own sly fantasizing. But what’s new?
    JR then tries to ‘save’ FAAF by offering thoughts about what FAAF might have meant. That’s his right. And it’s more clarity than FAAF put into her original comment. But JR”s own “to please his own penis” isn’t a model of clear thinking either: the male sexual organ is not of itself a conscious entity that can be ‘pleased’. That may seem a minor point, but it goes to demonstrate once again the mindset that thinks in images rather than facts; which is one giant step toward Cartoon thinking.
    And then there’s the rest of the imagery about “pimple cream”. I’d answer Yes to that question. Anybody is welcome to entertain a different take on the matter: but if the quality of their vision or the quality (or lack of quality) of their justifications and explanations is adolescent in my opinion, then I’ll say so. If this is going to be a grown-up exchange, then those making such comments are welcome to demonstrate where my own view of their explanations is inaccurate.
    I’m waiting.

  29. jim robertson says:

    Ever hear of poetic license? That's what Fit was going for.
    If the whole world is full of adolescents and cartoon thinking who do you connect with Pub besides your imaginary friends? Is it a narrow or wide group of people? And who or what type are they? Do they ever wax poetical and when they do do you understand their allusions?
    Look I am in shock that such crap could happen re Lynn. It's so easy to destroy victims reputations. Make sure we appear to be liars and that D.A.'s are liars too. I find it impossible to change my thinking when the facts are obscured by either "side" in this nightmare.

    • jim robertson says:

      P.S. Are you Pub, the adjudecator of what is "grown-up" and what is not for anyone other than you?

  30. Fitasafiddle says:

    Excuse me, folks.   I did  not know that the use of the word penis as a prerequisite for priesthood would be so misunderstood.  So, once again.  Bishop Finn needs a conscience to be a priest, as do all clerics.  The only prerequisite for catholic clergy is to be a catholic in  possession of a penis, according to Canon Law.  Without a conscience, even with the a possession of a penis, a man is not a priest, no matter who ordains him, or how many big hats and expensive vestments he wears.
    So, maybe some one can answer this for me: What are men without consciences doing on altars pretending to be priests?  Come on, Pub, you'll think of something.

  31. Publion says:

    In regard to JR’s comments: Neat. If you can’t think straight and you’re called on it, you can claim ‘poetic license’. Although you have to be a poet to do that, as the term indicates. No room for it in serious analysis. Which is still what I’m going for.
    Nobody made me ‘adjudicator’ of anything; I call them the way I see them and people can agree or disagree.
    I don’t know what phantasm JR is swinging at with the “liars” bit but what’s new?
    In regard to FAAF’s comments: Being a male is not the only prerequisite for priesthood; it’s the first one, but there’s rather a bit more to it. Kindly quote the Canon that states that being a male “is the only prerequisite”.  You should have it written down right there in front of you, having checked your facts.
    I can’t answer FAAF’s sophomoric question because it describes a situation that doesn’t exist. That is the province of Cartoon and Fantasy types, and as I’ve always said – that’s a realm I don’t traffic in. ‘Thinking’ doesn’t enter into it when you’re in Cartoon territory. As we are so often reminded.

  32. jim robertson says:

    Pub if by any remote chance you are correct that my thinking is adolescent maybe it's because I was sexually used and abused at the ages of 13 and 16 by Catholic religious. And since I have suffered PTSD as a result perhaps my thinking is stuck at those years.
    But maybe you too have your thinking stuck due  to some traumatic event in your life. You seem stuck in an analysis that repeats again and again the words: " cartoon thinking" and "adolesense". And since you believe in an imaginary diety and I don't. Possibly it's you that adult thought has left behind.
    Also I never even suggested it was you calling victims liars. or even attempting to make us appear as such. Contrary to what you may believe I do not hold you responsable for anything.

  33. jim robertson says:

    P.S. let me correct myself. I do hold you responsible for your analysis or lack there of.

  34. Publion says:

    In the first place, of what relevance is victimization to adolescent thinking? Are you inferring that the former causes the latter?
    As I have often said, there is absolutely no way on the internet to know who is and isn’t being truthful when it comes to stories people type up.
    The reason I keep mentioning Cartoon-thinking and adolescent thought-process is that I keep encountering those phenomena in comments.
    Lastly, I make it a practice to accept responsibility for all of the analysis I submit in comments. That’s why I put so much time and effort into them before I submit them.

  35. jim robertson says:

    We are what we "see" the world to be. We see the world and it is what we see. Roshomon is a b—- (removed by moderator).
    Post traumatic stress disorder is a psycological diagnosis. On some level the body through the mind freezes if you will, like land scars after a brush fire The body is in a constant state of shock, hyper vigilant. etc.
    What part of what I write don't you believe? I'm afraid to ask. I know I'm telling the truth as much of it as I know. You know I feel u maybe a survivor of similar abuse. I can ,undoubtedly, be wrong but something's up.