Rich Irony: Child Sex Abuse Issue Reaches the Top Echelon of the New York Times

Mark Thompson and Jimmy Savile and the New York Times

Did the NY Times' new CEO Mark Thompson (l) come from a pedophile protection racket?

As we have noted many times before, the media's obsession with decades-old sex abuse in the Catholic Church is more about its hatred for the Church than it is about sex abuse itself.

Not surprisingly, the New York Times has obsessed over the issue. In literally hundreds (if not thousands) of news articles, editorials, and op-eds in recent years, the paper has been pummeling the Catholic Church for its handling of decades-old cases of sex abuse.

Now the Times has hired a new CEO, Mark Thompson, the former chief of the British broadcasting giant BBC, and people are asking what knowledge he had of sickening child sex abuse committed by one of the network's most popular personalities in its history, the late entertainer Jimmy Savile.

Police in England are now reportedly investigating as many as 300 child abuse allegations against the BBC's Savile, with one story claiming that his youngest victim may have been as young as eight years old. In addition, one of Savile's acts of molestation apparently was captured on live television (on "Top of the Pops") in 1976.

Deny, minimize, and blame

Thompson has denied that during his tenure at the BBC that he ever "heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile." However, there are serious doubts about this.

Shortly after Savile's death in 2011, a BBC "investigative" program looking into rampant sex abuse by the entertainer was mysteriously shelved, leading some to conclude that Thompson was part of a cover-up of the sick Savile. More recently, a letter written by Thompson's own attorneys suggests that Thompson did indeed know about the abuse allegations. (Here is an excellent timeline of alleged events.)

Even a Times op-ed writer and the paper's public editor are raising doubts about Thompson's suitability for the job amid the questions that are being raised about his knowledge of Savile.

A map for the future

While the New York Times has never once given the Catholic Church even a small benefit of doubt about its handling of sex abuse cases decades ago, the paper now appears to be giving its new CEO a pass about episodes that occurred much more recently. As Thompson quietly settles in to his new cushy gig at the Grey Lady, the paper appears to be "running out the clock" until the story becomes tired and fades away.

Hypocrisy? Absolutely.

More notably, the Times will have serious credibility issues in the future plastering Catholic leaders for decades-old sex abuse when the paper's own CEO has pleaded ignorance to abuse that allegedly occurred in the very building in which Thompson was working.

In light of these events, we will be keeping an eye on how the Times covers the issue of Catholic Church sex abuse in the future.

(By the way … While the ever-hysterical and hyperbolic anti-Catholic group SNAP has never been shy to comment about high-profile abuse cases in the media, this is one story on which it has remained notably silent. The likely reason: The New York Times has been very favorable to the bigoted SNAP over the years, as the paper has often acted as a willing mouthpiece for the group to publicize many of its kooky claims. (For example, see this, this, and this.))


  1. jim robertson says:

    Rich Irony? Rich Irony? You are not the victims here. Quit trying to pretend you are. It's not even your money It's our ancestors wealth. Our ancestors who would want their victimized great grand children compensated.

  2. Stu says:

    Unreal so the Times is now protecting a protector of pedophiles.

    • Mark says:

      Indeed, a wonderful irony. Despite child sexual abuse being a societal problem the New York Times has been obsessively regurgitating every last detail of every alleged accusation against anybody connected with the Catholic Church. Unfortunately for the NYT and anti-Catholic groups like SNAP, serious fault lines are beginning to appear in the decade-long smear campaign against the Church. Starved of new cases and confronted by the truth, the witch-hunt is starting to run out of steam. A retired FBI agent who worked on numerous clergy cases in Los Angeles stated recently that about ONE HALF of claims made in the clergy cases were either entirely false or greatly exaggerated. There are hundreds of similar claims from well-placed individuals in the legal and law-enforcement fields who are clearly starting to be plagued by their consciences. As recent reports have detailed, the incidence of child abuse among Catholic priests has been slightly lower than in other denominations, and way below the national average. Interestingly, last time I checked the NYT had still not reported on the arrest of Peter Ball, thought to be the most senior Church of England figure to be arrested in connection with a child sex abuse inquiry.

      Meanwhile every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). 9.2% of those cases are sexual abuse cases. The US has the worst record in the industrialized world – losing 5 children every day to abuse-related deaths. Perhaps Mr. Thompson will turn the newspaper’s attention to the bigger picture – if he survives his questionable past actions.”

  3. jim robertson says:

    Well we all know unidentified FBI agents are the Soul of honesty. My cousin was an FBI agent. He never lied in his life.
    Prove your cracker a$% theory or shut up. You've got nothing . The FBI story is hear say.
    How senior is senior. in the Anglican Church? Archibishop perhaps? How completely not like the Catholics.
    These men u mention in legal and the law enforcement field. Who are they please?Lets have the names of these higherups, Mark. You know the guys with the bad consciences. I want their names. put up or shut up kiddo.

    • jim robertson says:

      If you don't want a witch hunt.  (How ironic since it was Catholics who invented witch hunts in the first place. ) Then by all means don't have a witch hunt.  We are seeking the  truth as much as you are. But innuendo and what some unidentified schmuck supposedly said. is all you've got? That is your ticket out of responsability here?

  4. jim robertson says:

    How strange you Catholics identify with the clergy and the hierarchs so much. As though they are Catholicism. You are Catholicism. You grant these people power over you to the point you identify with the perps more than the victims. Pretending people are lying when you've no proof that they are. Is a one way ticket to palookaville.

    • Ned says:

      Jim, once agin you are off topic. 
      This is about the NYT hiring a pedophile protector. Not about your hatred for religion.
      Any questions?

  5. Mark says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my Catholic friends. Love the faith, live the faith! And God bless our brothers in black for all the wonderful work they do. On this special day our thoughts and prayers are with the many priests falsely accused and wrongly convicted. 

  6. Publion says:

    Far be it from me to go into the dayroom and rattle the addled. But there are some useful points in regard to some of the foregoing comments, by which we can get an even clearer picture of what fuels so much of the Catholic Abuse Matter.
    First – and this is a new one to me – is the idea that the (self-declared) victimry now claim the same general position as some strains of American black thinking: they are owed and entitled-to compensation because (the logic gets a little mushy here) of all they have suffered and that entitlement is claimed on the authority of their “ancestors” who – everyone may rest assured – most certainly want “their victimized great grand-children compensated”.  How the aforementioned “ancestors” have communicated their collective desires is left unexplained, and no doubt wisely so. But – again the thinking is not explained – all the “wealth” to which the (self-declared) victimry are entitled is their ancestors’ wealth anyway.
    And we are apparently meant to refrain from attempting to establish the factual accuracy of that victimization – and not only because it is insensitive and re-victimizing, but because such analysis disrespects the ancestors’ wishes from … beyond.  
    In regard to the “unidentified” FBI agent, I point out that that gentleman has been discussed on this site (January 12, 2011, TMR article “Where’s the Media?” ) and an accredited  attorney filed the results of that former agent’s analysis and assessment in a formal legal filing with the relevant Court. Further, that as a former FBI agent who has made specific investigation into numerous cases, he is legally characterizable as a subject-matter expert, on matters to which he has applied his expertise in a direct and focused analytic process; he is not a “hearsay” source.
    It is also interesting that while SNAP issued a press release about that filing, the release was mostly epithet and did not undertake to refute any of the findings included in the filing. Which once again demonstrates a classic SNAP-like strategy that we have often seen in certain comments on this site: use epithets and express feelings, but under no circumstances actually engage the substance of the material you are deploring.  I will go so far as to suggest here that one of the reasons there aren’t more SNAP-like comments on this site is that the usual game-plan deployment of epithets, feelings, and no-substantive-engagement do not receive either a free-press or the usual worshipful acceptance.
    Which brings up the point that with some commenters, every day is a fresh blank page and one has to start each comment as if from the very beginning all over again.
    And further, I note the attempt to mimic rational and competent analysis: you get the appearance, but not the substance, of it. Thus in recent comments above, the demand for certification sounds so very competent and professional, but actually the demand is not far from the equivalent of demanding citations and certification that the sun rises every day in the East and sets in the West. The agent and the filing in question have been discussed in prior articles on this site.
    In regard to “witch-hunts” – and we are lectured here in Catholic history by somebody who also refers to Catholic readers as “you Catholics” – John XXII issued a Bull in the 1320s declaring that anyone accused of magic or witchcraft was eligible for trial by courts of the Inquisition, which had been primarily set up to deal with heretical matters (of which there were many in medieval European religious life). However, the Protestant Reformation expanded that to include trial by civil court (there were no Protestant religious courts) and persecution and execution for anybody “thought to be” witches (based so often on ‘spectral evidence’ that was available only to the accuser-victim and could not by definition be seen or perceived – let alone assessed – by anybody else who wasn’t a victim of the accused witch … sound familiar?). The vast majority of executed ‘witches’ dates from 1560 or so, after the Reformation got going. Readers may wish to consult Anglican scholar Diarmaid MacCulloch’s recent history of Christianity entitled “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years” (which is well-done but not written from anything like a ‘pro-Roman Catholic’ viewpoint).  One might also want to read up on the Salem Witch Trials, where the combination of carefully-stoked public panic and the legal use of the even-then outmoded ‘spectral evidence’ gambit ran a lethal course until the colonial Governor consulted London and quashed the whole thing.  
    Catholic readers are then lectured – having been addressed as “you Catholics” – in Catholic ecclesiology: specifically, that Catholics – and it is so “strange” to the lecturer – “are Catholicism”, and should not so strangely “identify with the clergy and hierarchs so much”. Readers who are Catholic can take that lecture for what it is worth. It is a thought that appeared in the past year or so on the NCR site, and is currently a mainstay of NCR ecclesiology articles and comments.
    I would also say that defending due-process as a matter of good Citizenship and having a robust mistrust of publicity stampedes does not constitute an ‘identification’ “with the clergy and hierarchs”. There are a lot of matters I – for one – would like to see improved in Church governance and spirituality, and I can neither imagine many Catholics who wouldn’t agree with that concern nor many members of any large organization that wouldn’t also have such a genuine and generic concern. How many members of the organization called the “United States” (also characterizable as ‘Citizens’) – for example – don’t want to see some improvements made in governance and policy? And yet – continuing that thought – how many such members/Citizens simply and simplistically wish to see the whole organization erased from the face of the earth?
    Pointing out that no way has yet been presented to establish the veracity of various claims, allegations and assertions is not in any way characterizable as accusing such claimants, allegators, and asserters as “liars”. It is simply to point out that up to this point (some 30 or so years into the Matter) no way of establishing the credibility of the claims, allegations, and assertions has yet been presented by those who make them. And, indeed, the request for such a way of establishing general credibility has been rather dogmatically defined as out-of-bounds on the grounds of insensitivity or re-victimization or just plain whacky dumbness and stupidity. I cannot agree at all.
    I will leave it to any interested readers to tally up the number of requests for explanation or verification of claims and assertions that I have made to ‘JR’ over the course of many many comments which have not only gone unanswered but have been avoided by such rhetorical scams as ‘I’m not- you are’ and assorted other bits already in the record on this site.
    Finally, in regard to the article itself here, it seems to me that the same dynamic that was latent in all the witch-trials has now caught up with those media outlets who have been enjoying a free ride for so long: their own organizations have been demonstrated to be liable to what had been claimed to be a “unique” Catholic problem; and since they have already been trumpeting the unique Evilness of this type of abuse, then they now find that they too are – by their own sleazy demonology – ‘Evil’. This was the problem with the deployment of poison-gas on the Western Front in World War 1: once you’ve let the stuff loose, you can’t guarantee where it’s going to go and thus if the wind changes it could all blow right back in your face.

  7. IllinoisMan says:

    If I remember correctly, Laurie Goodstein is close to Archbishop Weakland.  The NY Times isn't "anti-Catholic"; it's anti-traditional Catholic.  Just like the more "conservative" Catholic writers cover up for the misdeeds of "conservative" Catholic groups such as the Legionaries and Opus Dei. 

    • Ted says:

      Sorry there is only one Catholic church.

    • jim robertson says:

      Oh Pubs crawled back. Thanks for the ad hominem attacks. "Rattling the addled in the day room."? Nice!
      You are like a Star Chamber inquisitor that never bothers to ask the "criminal" any questions. You don't ask questions because you  already have the answers you need.
      Let's remind readers of who you are.(What little we know of who you are since you refuse to identify yourself). Hell you could be Dolan or Donahue or Mitzi Gaynor for all we know.  How about dropping the veil, Salome?
      So let's  go to the adhominem attacks from an "unidentified source" you.:Three times you've been wrong about my veracity. Three times at least. You were so cocksure you'd caught me out as a liar. You were wrong. What does that say about you?
      1, I was not new to computers. I am still new. Luddites like myself don't like machines.
      2, Your incredible responses to my having seen a movie, the Nazi Titanic. That you said wasn't shown on Turner movies.When it was.
      3, That I'd never been to the hospital in Galway where the young Indian women died. And that if I had been It was as an "inpatient".Again questioning my sanity.
      You were wrong on all three. All wrong.
      And worse than being wrong you couldn't even appologize for being wrong.
      You've still given me no name of any FBI agent. The only source for the percentage of "false" claims by victims is in Donny Stiers' book. And he's made millions from the Church representing for the Church perpetrating priests. Priests found guilty by real juries in real courts and who are now really in jail. Fr. Baker is an example.
      The FBI agents were all hired by the Church not the victims. And with out any proof of fraud. We are supposed to buy what? That a  large percentage of the claims of victimization against the Church are false? Was that FBI agent ever  put on the stand anywhere in any trial and sworn to tell the truth about such a claim? No not ever.
      "You Catholics" was not said as an aspersion by me. It was a simple statement of address to the people who read and worse believe the Media Report. You remind me of the Republicans who registered two dogs to vote in order to prove voter fraud. Both were caught. But how were two fake votes going to affect the out come of the election? It's just silly.
      Yes, it is possible a minor percent of claims are false. Anything can happen.Sexual abuse between adults and minors as with other rapes are rarely done with witnesses (other than the victims) present. That's the truth of it.  There is nothing to be done about that. Fakes can get through but when I offer victims to panel commitees to judge who's true and who isn't? What is your response? Nothing
      You don't want to solve any of the problems you mention here. You want problems here.  It makes you feel victimized and therefore righteous. The very thing you critize in real victims coming forward. Wonderful!

  8. jim robertson says:

    I'm sorry there's only one Catholic church too.

  9. jim robertson says:

    P.S. You Pub, still haven't apologized for the L.A. settlement story either. The one about the Church's release of records that they contracted for that still hasn't happened.

  10. Publion says:

    I mostly agree with ‘IllinoisMan’ about his thought that ‘anti-Catholic’ should actually be ‘anti-traditional-Catholic’. Rather than look at it from that direction, though, I might suggest looking at it from the opposite point of view: the campaign is against ‘other-than-Correct-liberal’ Catholicism.
    There are still, of course, the congeries of anti-religion types who will take a shot at whatever target is on offer, and the anti-Christianity types, and probably some of the Gore Vidal ‘anti-Monotheism’ types as well. And, last but hardly least, the secularist types who believe that either there is no Higher Plane or Beyond or else insist that even if there is, it should have no role in public or cultural discourse and deliberation. As one of the bad guys asserts in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: “The immaterial has become immaterial” in the brave new order. Or he and his kind would very much wish it to be so.
    Lastly, a further thought on that recent trope that the victimry are owed and entitled because it was their ancestors’ money to begin with. For those who take an interest in the remarkably self-serving capabilities of the human self (however damaged it may be) this trope shows an elegant economy: since the money was ours (through “our ancestors”) to begin with, then it makes no real difference whether we told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth to get it since – waitttt forrrr ittttt – it was ours anyway all along and the Church has been keeping it illicitly.
    I submit again the image of material like this making the rounds of the mal-tuned tuning forks in the rooms of SNAP-type gatherings, creating a self-justifying hum and buzz even as the phone numbers of enterprising  and ‘friendly’ tort attorneys are exchanged like baseball cards, for evaluation and selection.

  11. Publion says:

    I had not read JR’s most recent comment when I put up my most recent comment.
    On the off chance that his material is passed around the faithful (so to speak), a few points.
    Yes, after reading the complete works of JR on this site’s comments, I have come to a few personal conclusions as to his mental status – but that’s my personal assessment and is not asserted to the readership as something they should agree with. Readers are welcome to form their own conclusions after similar review.
    The Star Chamber courts didn’t question “criminals”? Also the Star Chamber courts and the courts of the Inquisition were two separate historical entities.
    Whatever “answers” I have – and what would they be? – I clearly have not gotten from the assorted evasions and distractions deployed consistently by JR.
    Who cares who I “am”? Who knows who JR is? So the ideas put forward are the key. And in that regard, anyone can consult the record on this site. My ideas are surely not ‘veiled’ in any way.
    JR has been commenting on various sites via computer for at least a year if not more – so he is not ‘new’ to them. The problems with his material have nothing to do with his being unable to use a keyboard to put his material up; the problems – I have been saying – are with the quality of his material.
    The bit over the Nazi Titanic has been dealt with in prior comments. I don’t take anything for granted, especially when initial assertions are demonstrably inaccurate.
    JR will need to quote whatever passage in my comments demonstrates that he had never been to the hospital at Galway. Then he will have to demonstrate online (which is the only forum we work with here) that he was at that hospital. It’s too much of a coincidence, taken together with his prior assertions and also with his later and more recent one that, in reference to the FBI agent discussion, he too just happens to have “a cousin who was an FBI agent”. To which the only answer I would make is a polite clinical “ovvvvv coursssssse”.
    I do – personally – have some reservations about his sanity. His only response is to insist that he is quite sane, thank you very much. Which is pretty much what one expects to hear in therapy with patients in denial. And yet again he offers no proof except his assertions, and no explanation as to how else his material has assumed the forms that he has given it.
    So I can’t very well apologize for what has not been demonstrated to be wrong and for which explanatory material – all of JR’s submissions on this site – has been provided.
    There are very few priests found guilty by real juries in real courts, and at this point the most recent one – in the Philly case – may well be reversed on appeal. For such a vast problem, there have been very few cases, and fewer still that were open-and-shut slam-dunks. For that matter, I note this past summer’s Philadelphia case was supposed to have resulted, according to the DA, in more charges being brought and yet here it is late November and … nothing.
    The FBI agent and his material were included in a court filing referenced in the book. If a book by an accredited attorney that references actual court filings is not reliable, then how much further down the evidentiary ladder are JR’s assertions in the material he publishes here? The relevant pages of the Court submission are reproduced for anybody’s inspection in the link provided at the end of this comment.
    Since JR does not include himself among Catholics when addressing “you Catholics” then that has to be taken into account when assessing the validity of his lecture material on church history and ecclesiology. Over and above the clearly factual errors in his church history and his ecclesiology.
    As far as those who “believe The Media Report”, I will say that TMR has not put up any assertions that have not been adequately referenced and linked-to, such that any reader can follow the supporting material in order to make his/her own assessment and draw conclusions. One doesn’t have to really do much ‘believing’, since the supportive material and evidence is always provided. I could recommend this approach to JR, whose own material is nothing but assertion and whose veracity and reliability (for whatever reasons) do not inspire confidence, in my opinion.
    Again with the assertion that there is only a “minor” percentage of possible false claims. With no supporting reasoning or material whatsoever.
    I have no idea how I am supposed to make “response” to whatever it is about these victims whom JR “offers to panel committees”; the subject has never come up in comments and is not connected to any comment material here. Perhaps he has suddenly started a comment-conversation with other entities.
    However he has perhaps unintentionally raised a very relevant issue: what is to be done with cases of alleged sexual assault which – almost by definition – do not include witnesses? That is precisely the point I have been making in regard to the baleful and lethal influence of victimism. Because the victimist answer to that question has been: if this type of allegation cannot often provide evidentiary support for itself, then the evidentiary laws and due process requirements must be weakened so that the mere ‘story’ will count as dispositive evidence and even – out of sensitivity and a desire not to ‘re-victimize’ – the only evidence necessary and also even that the allegator must be presumed to be a ‘victim’ merely on the basis of the allegation and also even that the allegator cannot be further questioned (unless it be to provide even more telegenic (though non-corroborable) bits of the ‘story’.  And thus so many changes in American law – criminal and civil – over the past few decades have been precisely to water-down evidentiary and due-process standards so as to make room for ‘evidence’ that is not evidence at all.
    In regard to the accusation that I “do not want to solve any of the problems here”, I point out that I precisely asked him that question in prior comments to a recent article: just what is JR’s vision as to how this Abuse Matter can be resolved and how he sees it being successfully concluded? What can the Church or any organization do (beyond, of course, simply caving to every apparently endless demand for … what? To which his response was that he would make no response. And thus The Ball will be Kept Rolling ad infinitum.
    How solve the utterly vital and profound evidentiary problem? How solve this problem in the court venue or in the online modality? What are the “problems here” that I do not want to solve? I will add this question to the list of questions I have asked of JR (and any other readers of similar mindset) in comments on this site. None of which have been answered except by the usual gambits of mere assertion, distraction, inaccurate or irrelevant sidetracks, incoherent ramblings, and so on and so forth.
    If JR can point to any material of mine that demonstrates his assertion that what I “criticize is real victims coming forward” then he can quote it from any of my material on this site. I’ll add that to the list too.  And it will have to take into account my numerous comments about “genuine victims” and what can and should be done for them.
    As is always the case now, I submit these comments on the presumption that there are others who read JR’s comments and might consider them sufficient to the discussion at hand … they most surely are not.

  12. jim robertson says:

    My cousin John Coleman , a former L.APolice Detective was an assistant To the guy who replaced  J. Edgar Hoover, Clarence Kelly.
    If you don't believe I am who I say I am. google me. you'll find me in the L.A. Times in 2005 at least.
    If all you talk about is the lack of proof the victims coming forward have (according to you) . That tends to color the entire nature of the dialog. Your evidentiary nonsense is still that nonsense. How many rapes have witnesses? How many murders have witnesses for all of that? Does that make rapes and murders untrue? The reason there arn't trials is because the Church does not want trials for their sake.; not to protect victims.
    Does one have to be a follower of National Socialism in order to analyze and critique it? The same question is applicable then to Catholicism. You don't need a degree in ecclesiology or Church history to know that your "faith" like all other "faiths" is based on your "beliefs" and not on empirical fact.
    Thanks at the very least for giving me the credit that some poor benighted soul here might believe an honest person.

  13. jim robertson says:

    I told you how to solve the problem. Have victim review boards approved by victims. Have a truth telling commission like Desmond Tutu. Bring as much truth to light as you can find. But I'm  afraid that's just what the Church doesn't want. If you want to work hard for priests you claim to be falsely accused. Great idea. But tsk tsking at victims will, as the Republicans in the last election found out, get you and your Church, nowhere. Sorry.

  14. jim robertson says:

    If the" demand appears endless", Pub it's because that's how many victims there are.

  15. Publion says:

    I will simply repeat here material that has already been dealt with in comments on this site, on the assumption that there are readers who haven’t been following commentary all along and who may be new to the site.
    First, there is absolutely no way of knowing if anybody on the internet is who they claim to be. As I said quite a while back, a person can claim to be the King of Roumania online and then proffer numerous links to publications and documents referring to the King of Roumania. But the key step is left out: how know if the person known to the world as the King of Roumania is the same person using the ‘King of Roumania’ screen-name? We have seen this with an infrequent commenter on this site using the screen-name ‘tomdoyle’ , sometimes in comments actually about still-Father Thomas Doyle: is this commenter using that screen-name actually the real Father Thomas Doyle or merely somebody using – for whatever purposes – that screen name? This is one of the vital problems of verifiability on the internet and also one of the major contributors to the subsequent problem of determining veracity on the internet.
    Thus to whether JR indeed has a relative who is/was in the FBI (and was an LAPD detective and was an assistant to the Director himself and not a recent Director but the one who succeeded Hoover – who died and was replaced a convenient  40 years ago now). Although, this gentleman was not apparently a career FBI agent – or had an odd dual-career, in which he either left the LAPD to be rather quickly elevated to assistant to the Director or else left the assistant’s job to be rather quickly elevated to LAPD detective … that’s curious no matter how you slice it; or perhaps, did JR slyly write “assistant” and not “Assistant” since the capital would indicate a formal job position and rank, while the small-‘a’ could be anybody, perhaps – like so many majors in the Pentagon back in the day – a chart-bunny or a door-opener or a donut-getter.
    And once a researcher or verifier gets to the bottom of all that, there remains the question as to whether having even Einstein as a distant relative means that JR is going to be a reliable source of scientific thinking and information. From all extant relevant material my own opinion would be … not.
    If JR could specify with a quotation what among my evidentiary material is “nonsense”, I could address it. Otherwise, the comment is merely an epithet, which is a standard internet and SNAP-ish rhetorical ploy, but nothing more than that.
    JR asserts that the reason there aren’t more trials is that “the Church doesn’t want them”. But if the Church can prevent so very many of them, then how are there trials at all – especially such trials as the recent fizzle of a trial in Philadelphia?
    One doesn’t need to be a follower of National Socialism in order to critique it – but one does have to know enough about it so as to have accurate information from which one can draw clearly-reasoned conclusions and make usefully informative hypotheses and assertions and claims.
    And following from that and following along with JR’s comments immediately above: while one cannot ultimately disprove a ‘belief’, yet the Church’s theological doctrines and positions constitute actual facts in and of themselves and have to be dealt with as such – meaning that one still has to have accurate knowledge of them if one is going to deliver assertions about them that one expects to be taken as credible. Thus while one cannot be expected to rationally and definitively ‘prove’ that God as envisioned by the Church does or does not exist, yet one is expected to rationally explain and ground assertions one makes about Church doctrinal positions and history, let alone about Church motivations and objectives and so forth.
    A truth commission run by victims precisely leads everything back into the ultimate problem of credibility and veracity. If the core problem is how to establish those elements in victim stories, then a solution calling for truth-commissions run by or under the control of the very victims whose stories have to be verified in the first place is hardly removed from appointing a commission of foxes to develop hen-house security. And if that sounds cartoonish … there’s a reason for that. And this is especially so in light of the numerous possibilities for difficulty. And among those I have mentioned: the dilution of evidentiary standards; the outright embrace of a double-standard of truth; and the most recent presumption that the money belongs to the victims (through their “ancestors”) anyway. It is no rational solution at all.
    The “endlessness” of the demands was not quantitative, based on the number of victims. Rather, the “endlessness” refers to the fact that since there is no way of establishing veracity and there is no way of establishing the causal links between the claimed damage and the alleged action, then there cannot be any sufficient and definitive addressing of the problem and the demands can continue to be made ad infinitum. But even if we presume that the “endlessness” is quantitative, we are right back to square one: there is no way of knowing how many genuine victims there are unless each case is objectively analyzed.
    And in this regard I say again that JR’s own claimed history – if it is to be believed – belies everything he claims to want: if he was abused (especially if on the higher end of the spectrum, i.e. rape) then rather than force that alleged rapacious act and perp into the light of court, JR took a settlement instead. Which would, from one point of view, cast his current positions into a light bordering on hypocrisy. Or, from a clinical point of view, we would all be placed in the position of being subjected to his playing-out of some sort of compensatory personal psycho-drama of atonement for what he did not do when he had it within his power to do it. Which is a perfectly legitimate type of issue for a human being to have, although – as I believe is amply demonstrated in his comments on this site – it doesn’t really help move discussion of the Abuse Matter itself toward any constructive resolution.  
    All of which I have discussed at length in prior comments; but once again, as with a broken record, we find ourselves not being moved forward by JR’s comments but rather drawn endlessly back into a bottomless regression to mere repetition of claims whose credibility and veracity has not been established in the first place. In Pentagon terms, this is a classic example of the “self-licking ice cream cone”, i.e. you create a program that generates a systemic locked feedback loop that guarantees that the ‘problem’ it was ostensibly meant to fix can never be resolved (and thus the cash can continue to flow into the program and it rolls on and on and The Ball can be Kept Rolling).

  16. Julie says:

    I am all for fairness in posting comments. But I wonder why Dave keeps posting Jim Robertson's comments. They are getting us nowhere, are red herrings, and are simply insults disguised as serious commentary by someone who clearly doesn't read the posts and other comments.

  17. Publion says:

    There is another aspect of what I have discussed above.
    The common thread linking (South African) truth-commissions and National Socialism (I am thinking of the Nuremberg trials specifically) is this: in both those historical instances, the actuality and reality of the charged crimes was already clearly and indubitably established: there was no doubt possible that the Third Reich had engaged in crimes against humanity and that the South African regime had widely and formally publicized its statutory deployment of apartheid.
    That JR (and he is hardly alone, from what I can glean from reading comments on other sites) has deployed these two examples reveals a vital element that has driven the victimist approach to the entire Abuse Matter: the indubitable and deeply-seated guilt of the organization (in this case, the Church) is presumed. Thus the purpose of such proposed Abuse truth-commissions would not be to investigate and determine through rational analysis, but rather such a truth-commission would merely serve to publicize and demonstrate a presumed guilt.
    Which – ominously – follows almost exactly the Leninist idea of ‘revolutionary justice’: the purpose of ‘revolutionary courts’ and ‘revolutionary justice’ is not to carefully assess and adjudge guilt or innocence – because ‘enemies of the revolution’ are already proven to be so merely by the fact that they have been Correctly accused by the Party; rather, the purpose of the courts and justice in this scheme is simply to strike the presumed and declared ‘enemies’ with the formal power of the state. Thus the purpose of the Cheka (the forerunner of the KGB) is not to investigate but “to strike”, and – in Lenin’s frighteningly succinct orders – “our revolutionary courts must shoot!”
    This, I am saying, reflects the mind-set of the various victimist organizations and their adherents: ‘everybody knows’ the Church is guilty in root and branch, and the only job that has to be done is to expose the Church for what it is and always has been all along.
    Now, consider what type of mindset is best suited to this task. You don’t have to really do – or be able to do – any rational and objective analysis; indeed conducting such analysis merely obstructs the ‘justice’ that has already been declared necessary because the accused (person or organization) is already presumed to be guilty. Rather, all you need to do – and be able to do – is to use all the manipulative rhetorical powers at your disposal to draw public attention to the outrages that you have already presumed to exist.
    And – for those who feel so inclined – to precisely avoid and prevent any rational analysis and discussion, by whatever rhetorical means necessary. Thus the well-established SNAP-like strategy: do not engage in open debate or deliberation or analysis, but merely keep repeating whatever horror-stories you can develop or inflate. And attempt to derail or intimidate any efforts already underway to examine or analyze the Matter (since you have already presumed your own position is accurate and your targets are guilty anyway).
    Toss in a soap-opera-happy media that is also looking to please special-interests (political and cultural) that would like to see the Church erased unless it allows itself to be ‘reformed’ according to the wishes of those special-interests.
    Toss in the internet, where anybody can claim to be anybody and claim or assert anything they want (secure in the knowledge that what they toss out and spew out won’t be further investigated or analyzed). And where – as I said – you don’t really have to know how to think clearly and won’t be required to learn how to do so; but rather you just have to know how to use a keyboard and toss out your feelings and fevered illuminations like poisonous confetti.
    Toss in politicians of left (secularist) or right (law and order) who see a nifty chance to keep a whole bunch of ‘demographics’ and special-interests happy all at once.
    Toss in a government that whether from left (‘sensitivity’ must trump any fuddy-duddy  ‘traditional justice’) or right (the police and coercive  power of the state only seeks to protect and prevent and must therefore be given unlimited authority).
    And with all of those elements in the beaker, you can create the Abuse ‘Crisis’ right there in the lab.
    Lastly, there are no doubt legitimate and genuine victims of sexual-abuse (however defined) by priests. Just as there are no doubt legitimate and genuine victims of sexual-abuse by agents of any other large private or public organization in this country (for example, punch ‘military sex-abuse’ into your search engine and see what comes back).
    But there is no way of knowing who is genuine and who is not. And if my above thoughts are accurate, then I don’t think there is a desire on the part of victimist organizations or the special-interests behind them to really find out. Precisely the opposite.
    There are also no doubt large numbers of keyboard punchers out there who actually and honestly believe that they have found a real and absolutely good ‘Cause’ upon which to lavish their attentions. And in the process find a happy shortcut to a sense of authoritatively and accurately participating in some Great Thing. Thus the sustained sense of befuddlement and then outrage when their little equation is exposed as being utterly inadequate to the realities involved and the full spectrum of consequences at stake.

  18. jim robertson says:

    Whose wealth is it's if not all our ancestors? Did someone beside our ancestors create that wealth? You are so silly. What would Jesus, God need money for? Alpha Omeagas don't have bank accounts.
    And it isn't a Great Thing" to seek truth and justice? Or are you here to what? Hit your keyboard not for truth not for justice?

  19. Publion says:

    I have just come across a brief JR comment (Nov.23, 1154 AM) that I had not noticed before. He is awaiting an apology from me for “the L.A. settlement story” which is “the one about the Church’s release of records that they contracted-for that still hasn’t happened”.
    If I recall correctly, the only place this bit came up was in a prior effort of JR in comments to justify why he had taken a settlement when he could have insisted upon a court trial. Thus, he claims, he didn’t cut and run for the cash but only accepted the cash after some sort of formal agreement was reached whereby the Church would at some point in the future publish records of some sort. And all of this is asserted to have happened, if memory serves, five or more years ago.
    I responded that from a legal standpoint it is a very odd situation: if the Church was under Order by a Court to produce the documents, then no Court is going to allow five years to elapse – even a period of one year would be excessive for a Court Order. If it was a legally-binding contractual agreement, reached as part of a court case, then whoever was representing the non-Church side would be obligated to pursue this matter of non-performance in the courts; unless the time-period stipulated in the contract itself was either open-ended or allowed a period of a number of years for the Church to perform its obligations.
    So by this point – some five or more years later – there should be a verifiable record of some sort of legal action, either by a Court enforcing its Order upon the Church or by a civil attorney petitioning a Court to force the Church to perform its contractual obligations.
    I’d very much like to know the title or case number or other identifying case information that would enable us all to see this rather curious agreement and trace the legal history of this rather remarkably-extended non-performance and how it has been pursued. Surely JR must have the case-heading or Court and docket number of his own case at hand; it would be on any of the legal documents, or the case information should be found at the top of any recent letters from his attorneys updating him on the progress of this case. And – but of course – I am not seeking any other information except the case-identification material: case title, docket number, and the cognizant Court in which the action was brought. A simple one-line answer should do.
    As regards his most recent comment about “whose wealth is it if not our ancestors’?”, I’ll leave the implications of that novel approach to property law for his own counsel to explain at length. The short form would be: if they contributed money to the Church then they relinquished claim to it. The same as goes for contributions made to any organization one chooses.

  20. jim robertson says:

    Do you actually think that if our ancestors knew that we would be abused and that the wealth that they had contributed to which had grown over the ions like a snowball rolling downhill. Would not be there for the injured. Why would Churches carry insurance if not to benefit the harmed.?
    I 'm going to take a break from your show for a bit. It's exhausting for me to try and reach you. I'm afraid I may be contributing to the delinquency of an octogenarian: Pub.  You have my name go look it up. It's public record.  My case is settled. I haven't heard from my attornies since the settlements. I know one lawer Anthony De Marco addresses the records disclosure. It was in the Times here a few months ago. More records would soon be released. It's always been a personnel fight the Church is afraid it will be sued by the living perps for disclosing their records. I guess… It is as the good nuns said in my youth, a "mystery".
    You can't have a fight with out 2 people. I'm honestly whipped here.This kind of constant badgering one upsmanship is bull. You win. I lose.

  21. Mark says:

    Publion, you are a very well informed person. Your knowledge of so many different areas is impressive. I just wanted to compliment you and tell you how much I enjoy reading your posts. I do hope you are posting on other sites and helping to expose and counter the lies, deceit and misinformation that anti-Catholic and plain ignorant people have been spreading for the last decade. For that has been the real abuse scandal: the abuse of truth. 

  22. Publion says:

    Mark, thank you. I don't post on too many other sites, and certainly not with the regularity I post on TMR.
    This is because: first, it takes time to compose comments and there's only so much time available to do it. Second, because I believe this site – especially since Dave Pierre activated the post-comments capablity – is as far as I can see the premier – perhaps the only – site of its kind; thus there is a better chance of ideas reaching a larger number of interested and involved readers, and persons concerned for the Catholic Abuse Matter.
    And third, because on another site – of which, say, NCR would be the most tame – my type of comments tend to get lost in the rather extensive number of assertive and non-analytic type of comments.
    And lastly, to share a personal bit, it's emotionally something of a task to take on some of the material that flows from that other type of comments. On the web evreybody has a right to put up what they wish (and the site moderators will allow) – but the reverse is also true: everybody has a right to choose the most useful and worthwhile sites on which to post their comments. And for me, as I said, that’s TMR for the Catholic Abuse Matter.

  23. Publion says:

    Ted's comment wasn't up when I posted my comment to Mark and I thank him as well.

  24. anonymous says:

    We love you, Publion!!
    You deserve a break.
    Guess what?  The Boston Globe re-ran the same exact story from 3 days ago today.
    I guess they were disturbed to read the Herald this morning.  I suppose the vision of a
    God loving couple in a beautiful church was too much for them to handle!!

  25. Publion says:

    In regard to the Globe, let me mention here what would actually be a follow-up bit to the piece TMR published a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of making a movie out of the Globe's 2002 'investigative reporting' of the Catholic Abuse 'Crisis' (that kicked off the sue-the-bishops-with-bundled-lawsuits phase).
    It was just announced in the past few days that Martin Baron, Globe boss at that time and since, is moving to a similar position at the Washington Post. So possibly the bit about the movie was just a bit of 'generated' buzz to enhance his resume and attractiveness to the WaPo. Just a thought.

  26. Publion says:

    I would like to share these thoughts, in response to recent comments.
    I’m happy just to be able to put some ideas out there that might be of use to concerned persons – Catholic and otherwise – who are trying to deal constructively with the Abuse Matter.
    A few days ago I came across the 1960 film “Spartacus” on TV. Some may recall Charles Laughton’s character, the marvelous crusty old Roman Senator Gracchus. And his nemesis, the sleek and shiny, knife-smooth patrician Marcus Licinius Crassus, equally marvelously portrayed by Laurence Olivier. The events in the film took place in the 1st century B.C., just as the Republic was beginning to bend to the imperial pretensions of Julius Caesar and the Republic’s mutation (or fall) into the Empire.
    In one scene that took place on the floor of the Roman Senate, Gracchus forthrightly exclaimed that he’d take a little traditional Republican corruption and liberty to the purifying imperial improvements of Crassus and no liberty at all. Gracchus observed to a young Caesar – then his protégé – that while he Gracchus loved the Republic as a revered mother, Crassus “wants to marry the old girl, to put it politely”.
    I think of the Church as Gracchus thought of the Republic: old, established, indubitably an ‘old girl’ and not without ‘a history’, but still the best hope of the ancient ideals. Crassus considered himself an elite master who knew far better than the Senate and Senators of the old Republic how to bring her to the fullness of her glory, and would ‘take her’ by any means necessary in order to establish his own vision of her possibilities. (In the film, he later lured the young Julius Caesar into his way of thinking.)
    The Church, to me, remains the best hope not only for Christianity but for whatever ideals (and they are neither few nor small) that Western civilization (which the Church was instrumental in creating) can offer to humanity.
    The modern equivalents of Crassus want to purify her … according to their own lights. There is a proclaimed yearning for the purity and simplicity of the “primitive Church” before Constantine tolerated Christianity in 313 A.D. But this is a chimera. With the exception of the very first few generations of Christians following the Gospel events, Christianity was beset not only by Roman Imperial persecutions but by profound and rackety disputes as to doctrine , most notably between the ‘Eastern’ patriarchates of the old Biblical lands at that end of the Mediterranean and the ‘Western’ Bishops of Rome – who had their hands full trying to deal with Emperors as well as intra-Christian doctrinal divisions that fractalized whatever might be rather fatuously termed the Christian ‘community’.
    For his own purposes – mostly having to do not with his love of Christians or Christianity but rather with the power of its God of Battles who, he believed, helped him win his crucial battle with rival Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge – Constantine lavished honor and gifts upon that Battle-God’s Church. And then, when the Empire fell, the Bishop of Rome became about the only public source of order and administration left in the West, even as that Bishop sought to impose some characteristically Roman order upon a doctrinally tortured and even violently conflicted Christianity that many modern folk never learn about.
    But somehow it was that Western Church that became a foundational element in giving shape to Western civilization. Without that ordering – so often enmeshed with way too much of the trappings of power and wealth – Christianity would have split itself into fractals to the point of incoherence and never become anything more than a collection of cults or sects loosely and bumptiously following their erratic orbits around (their own conception of) essential Gospel illuminations.
    So I think ‘the old girl’ has indeed quite a freighted ‘history’. But to try to pull things back to some cheeribly-imagined perfectly Gospel-pure little Christian community of love and sweetness and light is to chase a will-o’-the-wisp, and that chase is itself dangerous, because it requires – as Crassus required – a shearing away of long traditions and ideals (however imperfectly realized) in the service of a vision that might charitably be characterized as ‘utopian’ – much like the 19th-century American efforts to create perfect little communities according to this or that influential religious person’s illuminations. In this country, 19th-century phenomena like Oneida, Amana, and the Shakers come to mind, incorporating more or less of Christianity while trying to impose order-unto-perfection upon whomever was willing to submit themselves to the excitations and strictures of the founder’s personality.
    I can’t see any of it as a sufficient improvement upon ‘the old girl’.
    Certainly, the Church can use some reforms. I would like to see more robust spiritual grounding for clergy and less administrative chores for bishops – the idea of lay Chancellors of dioceses and lay administrators for parishes would free up the clergy and bishops for the vital spiritual ministry of the Gospel.
    And I also firmly believe that we in the West and surely in this country stand at the cusp of a watershed (not to say an abyss): materialism and secularism and relativism have pretty much reduced so many to a mono-plane vision of human existence and of the human-self, where there is nothing higher or nothing Beyond the palpable material aspects of human existence. But as the fabled American and Western material Abundance fades, then ‘material existence’ is going to show its teeth; the placid eternal weekend lake-surface suitable for existential pleasure-boating is suddenly going to become the roaring ocean of vast and demanding forces that so many are so deeply unprepared to face. Like the boaters of Gilligan’s Island, the short pleasure cruise is going to become a tempestuous voyage with a lot of dark and stormy existential nights, with not even a little island paradise where you can at least barbecue coconuts and ferment their milk for halfway decent cocktails.
    Human beings are going to face the dark valley of the shadow of material challenge and privation. There are many who are not prepared for it. Who would be, if they believed that there is no God and they are in this valley of shadow with only the (increasingly impotent)Temporal Power of an earthly government upon which to rely? And if they believed that their only purpose – if there is any purpose at all – is to ‘shop’ and to exist as nicely as they can on the material mono-plane of existence?
    The Church offers a far more comprehensive and enlivening and – I would say – accurate Vision of what it means to be human and of the ‘divine milieu’ in which we live and move and have our being.  You could almost say that the true and profound value of the Church begins where the reach of the Temporal Power ends.
    The Church – embodied in laity, clergy and Sisterhood, and hierarchy – is a Vessel we have always needed, even though the brief dazzle of Western and American material abundance made it seem for a while as if the Temporal Power had neatly turned the vasty, powerful mystery of the Life Ocean into a pleasant weekend vacation lake.
    With that perspective, I earnestly hope that the Abuse Matter has awakened the Church  in the West to the need to clear away a certain spiritual torpor and overconfidence that created so many of the conditions that resulted in such abuse as took place. The first phase – enacting specific and robust measures directly addressing abuse – is well-launched. But I think it is only a first-phase, and a more vital and profound spiritual regeneration (accompanied by some significant administrative re-aligning) are equally necessary.
    But to seek to dismantle the Church as she has evolved, in the (utopian) expectation that we will quickly and without much trouble uncover a more precious pristine “primitive Church” beneath it (sort of like scraping the paint off the Maltese Falcon, of hallowed movie memory) is not the way to go, in my opinion. Just as you don’t burn down your ship in the middle of the ocean just to get rid of such rats as may be aboard, you don’t pull her apart plank by plank in the middle of the ocean in order to reconstruct her more to your liking.
    I can recommend to any Catholic a holiday reading of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s “Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years”, not because I agree with everything he says but because he gives you a readable sweep of the vast and intricate history of Christianity and of the daunting challenges it has faced (and that the Church has faced and – after 2000 years – is still making her way). I will also recommend a look at some of Bishop Sheen’s material from 60 years ago: not because of some sentimental and smarmy desire to look back on any ‘good old days’ but because Bishop Sheen had a remarkable gift for tackling fundamental issues in Catholic and human life and making some sense of them in a way you can understand while you’re reading on the train or in the middle of the daily round. He didn’t write for scholars or ‘true believers’ but for everyday Catholics trying to get a better grasp of what being Catholic means in the human realm.
    There are many other books and authors that might be recommended, but these are just two that stand out in my mind as I write this.

  27. Mark says:

    Excellent advice, Publion. Both the macro and the micro. Yes, it is all about perspective and context. Short term, the Church's challenge, and that of its faithful, is to apply perspective to the Abuse Matter. Now that the smear campaign is running out of steam and the credulous masses are slowly awakening to their folly (Kathy's Story is but one example), it is only a matter of time before the dam of secular abuse bursts forth and submerges those who have sought in vain to use decades-old abuse cases to bring down the Church while foolishly ignoring the rising flood waters. Having put its house in order, reframing the Abuse Matter in the context of the type of regeneration you prescribe, and the restructuring you encourage, is the crucial, longer term goal for the Church. I'll be following up on your recommended reading. 
    Anonymous is right. You deserve a break. Please don't make it a long one. 

  28. Publion says:

    And while I’m on this roll a bit more, if I may.
    Once you’ve started reading about that complex history of Christianity and Catholicism, you might give some thought to some game-playing.
    By which I mean this: there is a show on one of the military history satellite channels called “Commanders At War” which has a large long table, at either end of which are two opposing commanders (in period uniform) who fought a particular battle; thus, for example, the Battle of Midway pits Admiral Fletcher against his Japanese opposite, and between them on the table – with the aid of assorted animated graphics – is a map of the battlespace where the battle was fought; in addition to which two military history commentators – often retired high-ranking military officers themselves – discuss the various problems facing the commanders and the factors that influenced their decisions. By the time you’ve watched one of these episodes you have a much richer and vibrant appreciation of just what each commander had to go through. It’s quite a worthwhile show.
    Once you’ve gotten that concept, and once you’ve started reading that history of Christianity, then  I could recommend imagining how this or that historical figure  (often a Pope but it could be an Abbot or an Abbess, a Patriarch or a Bishop) in Christianity had to face a particular historical situation (not completely of his/her own making either).
    Readers may recall the evangelical Christian character of Ned Flanders on The Simpsons TV show: he plays a form of Bible Trivial Pursuit with his kids and often asks himself ‘What Would Jesus Do?’. I’m thinking of something more dynamic: a form of war-gaming a past historical decision in order to get a clearer and more vital grasp of the problems that the historical personage actually faced.
    So, for example, pick one of the Bishops of Rome in the period just after Constantine suddenly reverses the policy of several centuries of sometimes-ruthless official imperial persecution and insists upon not only tolerating the Faith but showering various bits of wealth and authority on it (in order to ensure that he has placated your powerful God who – he is certain – has helped him in battle). How do you deal with that? It will be good not to be persecuted, better even that the Faith will be tolerated, but what effect will that have on a Christianity that has developed since its inception around the (enlivening) sense of being a tight-knit, persecuted sect or cult? Will it ‘go to people’s heads’? Will it weaken the bonds of unity among Christians furtively but richly communing in their catacomb hidey-holes? So do you tell the Emperor Thanks But No Thanks?
    Meanwhile, Patriarchs of the original Eastern Mediterranean lands and cities aren’t even willing to acknowledge you as anything more than an upstart, and there is a strong Eastern establishment of desert-monasticism that seems worthwhile but you can’t expect every Christian to head out into the desert (which aren’t handy in Europe anyway). And there are lethal doctrinal challenges from Arius and his followers, and the emperor considers the Christian Church to be a vital support for the increasingly difficult-to-manage Empire and insists on having a Council to impose uniformity and squelch dissent and how do you handle that?
    And what happens if the next Emperor changes it all back again? Or wants to take over the Church completely and declare himself the Head of the Church in the Empire? Or decides to drag you – as Pope – into the imperial Court as some sort of court-chaplain to the Empire and leave it at that?
    I defy anybody to claim that the answer to any of those incredibly complex questions was simply to Do What Jesus Did. Or rather, To Do Whatever Jesus Would Have Done (however you determine that). How do you a) determine the core of the Faith whose integrity you must preserve and then b) preserve that integrity without running roughshod over regional variances and then c) preserve that balance over time while also d) keeping the Temporal Power sufficiently well-disposed that you don’t wind up getting all Christians persecuted and massacred all over again?
    It is this type of war-gaming approach that I think would be a valuable exercise not only for clergy but for laity, just to understand what vital issues and problems are and were always at stake, and how excruciatingly hard it is – and must have been all along – for religious figures to forge a path through the minefields. In contrast to which the Cartoonish view of recent decades among self-styled elites in the West (inside even more than outside the Church) – that the Popes and bishops were just power-mongers and oppressors looking to feather their nest and oppress everybody or (more to the point of this site) were simply boy-raping or nun-raping monstrosities holding a millennia-long orgy under cover of religion – reveals itself, in my firm opinion, as not only grossly inaccurate and inadequate but as treacherously and lethally so.
    Nor do I mean “treacherous” in some sort of sense of ‘disloyal to the organization’ or of ‘my church right or wrong’ but rather in the sense of betraying-through-gross-misrepresentation and gross-misunderstanding the vital historical (and religious and spiritual) realities which real human beings had to face in actual and stunningly difficult historical situations.
    Or ‘game’ yourself as Clement VII: Henry VIII of England needs a male heir (and perhaps a spare) and wants an annulment, from the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor (whose armies are not far away and Rome and the Vatican have been invaded before by  the troops of Catholic monarchs); he may threaten to make himself Head of the Church because it’s been done before in the realms of the Eastern Church; and you’ve already stretched a vital doctrinal point in granting him a dispensation to marry that imperial relative in the first place and what will it do to the integrity of sacramental and pastoral doctrine and practice if you now grant him the divorce he demands? And yet if you don’t, is he violent and ruthless enough to start persecuting Catholics in England and do you want to help create a frightening repetition of that sort of thing? And Luther has already gotten the Protestant Reformation going in central Europe, and a number of sovereigns of greater or lesser degree (Germany is crawling with them) have taken sides for the political purpose of establishing their own authority within their domains – so do you want to make it easier for Protestant division to take root in England? And meanwhile you have the current incarnation of Islam still threatening the life of the Faith and of Christians not only on the Eastern borders of Europe but well within the borders of Europe itself. And – yes – Luther has made some good points and you really should incorporate some of them into a major policy of reform within the Church.
    Or – if we skip over Pius VII whom Napoleon simply took by military force from the Vatican and dragged to Paris to be window-dressing and witness (but not actually perform) the Emperor’s coronation (Bonaparte crowned himself at the ceremony) – what do you do if you are Pius XI: you are in a 109 acre sovereign compound surrounded completely by Mussolini’s Italy and nothing but the paper of the 1929 Concordat with that bombastic character to protect you from being simply overrun; now Hitler wants a Concordat in order to subordinate the Church to the Third Reich and that monster makes Mussolini look like a boy-scout; and Mussolini is now getting cozy with Hitler and Hitler will probably make Henry VIII look like a boy-scout if he decides to carry out his threat to start persecuting Catholics in Germany if he doesn’t get what he wants; the Americans (it is 1933) aren’t at all interested in Europe any longer and neither the British nor the French are going to want to risk re-igniting the Great War’s awful exertions just over a point of religion. And the Soviets have taken over in Russia and are persecuting religion generally and killing their own people all over the vast expanse of their realm and have said they want to spread their revolutionary visions to Europe and the world, and they have an army of millions. What do you do?  (Hint: just for the exercise, try asking What Would Jesus Do and see how far it gets you.)
    The purpose of this type of ‘gaming’ is to get a sense of just what stunning complexities the Church has faced. And you can expand this ‘gaming’ in any number of ways: the profound theological and doctrinal problems, the level of responsibility (even parish pastors have their own complex challenges) … and so on.
    The benefit I see for everybody here is that we a) get beyond Cartoons of the Church and the Faith and their history and that b) we come to grasp more palpably the vital importance and profoundly serious challenges that the Church and the Faith faces. Which, I pray, will enliven our awareness of how important the role of religion and of Catholicism is in the world. And the modern world. And thus we might come to “take increased devotion” to that cause of the Faith and the Church, as laity or clergy.
    I don’t want to distract from the primary purpose of the site here, but I think that ultimately the most effective way to address the Abuse issue – such as it has been – is to reinvigorate the dedication of all Catholics, whatever their role or station, to the Church and the Faith as history now barrels toward some increasingly clouded future.
    Lastly, just to correct a possible mis-impression I may have given: I won’t be taking a ‘break’ from TMR. Commenting  here is a fulfilling contribution for me and the work of the site is vital.
    Thus into the Christmas season and what further adventures await us all.

    • jim robertson says:

      Vital to what? Obfuscation? You know your pose as a person only intrested in accuracy  is a great posture.,but that's all it is a posture.
      I used to take your attacks personally but you've attacked everyone who  posts here as victims. Always questioning their veracity
      You seem sent here as if on some miission. To protect what?The Church? From who it's own membership? Or from "liars" about whom you have no proof as to their truthfullness or lack there of.
      Your like Cebres at the gates of hell. Barking away and barking mad.

  29. Mark says:


  30. jim robertson says:

    P.S. What ever Jesus would do he wouldn't be attacking women, especially 80 year old victims.

  31. Delphin says:

    Our Pope has already accrued 450K follower on Twitter- in just 5 days. It is projected that he will land in the top 5 on Twitters follower list.  I guess our much-maligned and debauched Catholic  faith (if you BELIEVE some of your most "passionate", if not totally honest/accurate, bloggers)  will survive the assaults and attacks of this generation, after all.
    To the Catholic Faithful and also to our Church's most ardent critics - keep up the good work, your efforts are truly paying off. It is the constant and escalating drone of unrelenting and unsubstantiated attacks and criticisms that called me back. The "counterrevolution" has begun. Expect the assaults to ramp up.
    Bring it-

    • jim robertson says:

      Del maybe those 450,000 just  want to know where the Pope is so they can safely send their kids out to play or pray.

  32. Delphin says:

    Up to over a million now papal tweeters, I guess all those poor little (in their sick and tortured minds, at least) victims like the abuse? Or, maybe their eternally stained egos need the never-ending media attention… and a few more bucks to shore up the dwindling/stagnant retirment accounts.
    Nah, nothing even remotely biased in the ever-waffling, yet always overwhelmingly antiCatholic (and tedious), rhetoric of the resident "post-master".
    Beware, this abherrent behavior, if left untreated, has been known to lead to autoerotica asphyxiation, and eternal death.

  33. jim robertson says:

    Oh dear!