David Horsey’s L.A. Times Cartoon Revives Ugly Anti-Catholicism

David Horsey anti-Catholic Los Angeles Times

It does not get much uglier than this. A 'political cartoon' from David Horsey at the Los Angeles Times

In an episode that recalls something out of the 19th-century, anti-Catholic Know Nothing movement, a political cartoon in the Los Angeles Times by David Horsey portrays a Catholic priest as Satan.

Horsey's bigoted work is sure to put smiles on the faces of those at the New York Times, SNAP, and other anti-Catholics.

Disinformation and a double standard

Horsey's attack plays into the oft-heard falsehood that somehow there is still an abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. In truth, there is not. Almost all of the stories we have read in recent years about cases in Los Angeles and elsewhere are about episodes from many decades ago.

Meanwhile, around the same time that Horsey's cartoon aired, readers of London's Sunday Times charged that another cartoon, a brutal assessment of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was "grotesque," "offensive," and "anti-Semitic." The criticism was enough that News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, the owner of the paper, immediately issued an apology.

Yet when it comes to Horsey's bigoted work, an apology to Catholics is not even on the radar.

Yet again: Double … standard.


  1. Mark says:

    What a sick individual. Incidentally, what chances would there be of suing him or the gutter rag he works for? I find his puerile cartoon "grotesque," "offensive," and "anti-Catholic."

    • smtoth says:

      Speaking from the Dioceses of Bridgeport in Connecticut, I believe the cartoon is right on the mark.

    • Bill says:

      My father was the Dean of St. Paul's Catherdral in Boston for 35 years, so I am no stranger to organized religion of many faiths. One might suspect that this upbringing would lead me in the direction of the faithful, but it has only reinforced my belief that all organized religion is simply man's attempt at giving life meaning. Look at the history of mankind. All societies have developped faiths of one kind or another to suit their needs for understanding and forgiveness. Does it not occur to you how close to our lifetime the birth of Christ is situated? Homo Sapien has existed for millions of years and yet Jesus was here only 2,000 years ago? He picked our window of civilization out of millions of other possibilites to choose to visit? As the "Church Lady" would say, "How convenient" for us all. To attack David Horsey's brilliance and talent in defense of the Catholic Church with all its faults and falacies only reflects a blindness to reality that can only be perpetuated by centuries of brain washing and demagoguery. Isn't it ashamed he won't be able to wear those adorable red shoes any longer.

  2. Mark says:

    On the theme of anti-Catholicism, there's a good article by Hugh Hewitt absolutely skewering the NYT:

    "And Now, The Season of Anti-Catholic Agenda Journalism"


    National Catholic Register is a better choice than the Reporter, but otherwise he's spot on.

    • RoodAwakening says:

      But we need to thank God for John Allen's presence at the NCReporter.  He's the most reasonable and fair-minded reporter they have!

  3. JFC says:

    Lent starts tomorrow!  How our Lord Jesus Christ loves us! How He suffered for us while still in sin! let us pray for those who persecute us.  Let us unite our prayers with our Holy Father Pope Benedict VI for the Church and the world.

  4. Mark says:

    More evidence of the New York Times' desperate obsession with attacking the Church, and continuing decline as a media outlet ("Farewell to an uninspiring Pope", op-ed by John Patrick Shanley, published February 11, 2013). The following excerpts from Shanley’s invective can only be described as comical:

    “Priests cannot marry. Why? I will tell you why. Priests cannot marry because they would have to marry women. Women cannot be priests….Why? Women cannot become priests because of a bunch of old men. These old men justify their beliefs with a brace of ridiculous arguments that Jesus would have overturned in a minute.”  

    He can hardly contain his hysteria. The money put in collection plates in the east Bronx where people “worked hard and made little” was “stolen.” According to Shanley the Church is financing “wrongdoing” and a “continuing campaign against women’s rights and homosexuality.” But Shanley saves his most foreboding prophecy for the end: “without women, the Catholic Church is doomed.”


    As often, an agenda journalism rag apparently believes an anti-Catholic diatribe from a fallen away Catholic will carry more credibility. The exact opposite is the case. The fact that Shanley claims to have been raised in the Church and educated by nuns, yet clearly knows nothing of Catholic doctrine undermines his rant and would diminish the Rag’s integrity, if it had any.

    This op-ed surely reaches rock bottom in editorial writing. The New York Rag has clearly renounced any intention to provide professional reporting or editorial.

    You might be forgiven for thinking I am making this up. I am not:


    • smtoth says:

      Educated by nuns meant rote memorization of a Catechism without even a simple explanation of its vocabulary.

  5. Mark says:

    "The New York Times's weird coverage of the president and the pope"


    James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal also exposes the now ridiculous New York Times and its "weird" coverage of matters Catholic. As a(n Oxford-educated) Brit, I'm glad to see there's at least one newspaper that has maintained some sort of professional standard in this country. Not that ours are much to boast about, but I am amazed at how low the NYT and LA Times have sunk.


  6. Delphin says:

    I think Mark is on to something (as usual). Catholics, comprising only 22% of the US population, should consider seriously pursuing litigation against these attacks against us as a minority protected and now persecuted class.

    We suffer from being too meek, peaceful and loving under these hostile conditions. We can still fight honorably, but we'll use their own weapons aganst them.

  7. Publion says:

    On a related matter, the Kansas City Star published an editorial about the Pope's upcoming resignation, in which that paper opined about how a new Pope should be elected who will "embrace" progressive "changes" (not to say "improvements", I note) and more or less bring the Church into what progressives are very sure is the permanent advanced condition of "the modern world".

    The link is here:   http://www.kansascity.com/2013/02/11/4060697/choose-a-new-pope-for-modern-times.html

    I can’t see it. Is this Star saying that because the Pope hasn’t agreed with so many trendy American excitements then he hasn’t addressed them or responded to them? That since he hasn’t “embraced” them then he hasn’t entered “the modern world”?


    It’s equally plausible that the Papacy – with the perspective of an institution that has survived 2 millennia of emperors and empires, wayward feudal warlords, self-aggrandizing monarchs, cocksure revolutionaries, and other assorted monsters – has simply watched how America’s most recent decades’-worth of hyper-excited illuminations and dampdreams have (not) worked out and has decided that to get on the hardly-robust American ideological bandwagon would be something akin to rowing oneself out from solid-ground Newfoundland to board the ‘Titanic’ for what that vessel’s bosses still imagine will be a triumphant arrival in New York once the slight ‘problems’ are tweaked-out.


    It is quite possible that the Papacy and Church will still be robustly pursuing their lawful occasions when the US government – having printed itself into the condition of Weimar’s currency in the early 1920s – will be either a) threatening nuclear war in order to keep its share of the world-pie or b) trying to figure out how to deliver the mails at least one day a week.


    Still, the Star has, I think, rather shrewdly hit upon a position that will appeal to both fundamentalist and liberal-secularist elements among its Kansas-Missouri ‘consumers’, perhaps even with the approval of the local, ostensibly Catholic university that has already taken the paper’s advice. Whether that advice leads to the cutting-edge of History or to the leading-edge of an abyss is open for a discussion that I’m sure the Star would rather not have, let alone conduct. Better to take a few potshots at the Pope for the amusement of the peanut gallery while the deck is still sufficiently un-tilted so as to aim the remaining guns.


    I propose the Star dig out of its archives the text to “Nearer, My God, To Thee” – perhaps to be accompanied by any of the staff still proficient on the kazoo. In the absence of a fantail at the Star’s headquarters, the roof might do nicely.

  8. Elisa says:

    Had he drawn about a figure from Judaism or Islam, there would be have an immediate and vocal backlash.

  9. Delphin says:

    Another "teacher" deviant homosexual scandal (…nary a priest in sight?)-

    Personally, I don't see how he pulled it off, even in a blonde wig.


  10. Delphin says:

    A tad retro, but, warrants a revisit (for those that may have missed this piece)-



  11. Howard says:


    This was probably motivated by anti-Catholicism, but it is not anti-Catholic in its essence. This is clearly a reference to the recent revelations about Cardinal Mahoney's deliberate attempts to hide abusive priests from the law by shuffling them around.  Priests were involved and a cardinal was involved, but they were not by any means following the teaching of the Church; they were acting only as sinful men.  The Church firmly condemns what they did.  At other times Catholics have not flinched from admitting that priests and cardinals can make themselves monsters, and like the devils can choose Hell over Heaven; just read the Divine Comedy, for crying out loud.

    There are plenty of examples of real anti-Catholicism in which the cartoonist calls evil what is really good, mocking the Church for not going along with the surrounding culture on abortion or contraception or "women priests".  A cartoon which calls evil what really is evil is not anti-Catholic.

  12. Jen says:

    Another display of adolescent petulance, under the guise of journalism. One would think that the readers of such rags that degrade the Catholic Church would have become bored by now.

    • smtoth says:


      The men in funny hats and gowns have kept the truth about this abuse under their skirts for far too long.  If it weren't for the few brave investigative journalists these crimes would have been buried by this self serving organization.

  13. jim l. sekerak says:

    Horsey is posibly more clever than many surmise. He knows that there is no satan and thus his cartoon has no real 'message' i.e. satire or comment re. L.A. priests becuase he is comparing a real clergyman to a non-existent character (for him and like-minded secularuists). Secondly he is actually  poking fun at the anti-Catholics and their ilkwho are unable or unwilling to address real-life issues -using this same technique- by criticising  their use of a straw-man illustration. It's possible that he is also subtley mocking them for being so uninformed, juvenile and so easily duped. At least this is my understanding of the cartoon.

  14. Rocco Vicenti says:

    The Los Angeles Times. What a misnomer! To take the word Angeles and associate it with this rag of what this newspaper has become is a trajedy. Let's hear from all you bloggers suggest a new name for this newspaper. Make 'em fitting thier philosophy.

  15. Publion says:

    I think I can understand what ‘Joe DeCarlo’ means about Vatican 2.


    The problem, I think, was that John XXIII had a good idea – but it was always risky: trying to update some of the Church’s methods and practices always held the possibility that some folks would go off on some wild tangents.


    I imagine that he figured that the hierarchy and the theologians could guide the ‘responses’ to the Council and keep things on an even keel even as forward motion increased; thus ‘change’ could be limited to ‘progress’ and not simply devolve into assorted whackery and excitements.


    But nobody could have imagined that Vatican-2 would have landed in a US frothy with the Boomers, JFK’s careful play for ‘youth’ and ‘experimentation’ (designed in the 1960 election to counter Ike-Nixon’s experience, maturity and age), the first-phase (Martin Luther King) of the civil rights movement (soon to mutate into a darker second urban-revolutionary phase), the rackety attractions of Marxist-based liberation-theology, and – so very quickly – the wholesale infatuation of far too many ‘progressive’ Catholics and academics with Marxist-based analysis and ‘solutions’, topped off by a government that decided to opt for a secularist ‘liberalism’ that had to make ‘cultural space’ for so many demands and agendas that any concept of ‘balance’ and any limitations imposed by natural-law or any Beyond had to be dismissed from the public sphere.


    The radicalizing of American politics and culture – on top of the secularizing – quickly cast the Church as an ‘obstruction’ in so many ways (just as the working and middle-class ‘bourgeois’ life-shape so vividly ridiculed in the TV show ‘All in the Family’ also suddenly became oppressive, dominant, patriarchal, hegemonic and so on and so forth). The government – like so many earthly governments – could no longer accept that it lived under the judgment or guidance of any Beyond.


    The Church’s classic concepts of Balance and Shape and a genuine Essence to human-being were all kicked to the curb, in favor of almost-infinite mutability and ‘change’ (conflating it with actual ‘progress’) and in so many ways what had been a virtue before the 1960s became an ‘evil’ afterwards.


    The Abuse Matter, to the extent that is grounded in reality (and we’re still not sure how much of a reality that is or is-not), eventually became a useful stick to whack down the public credibility and influence of the Church, enhanced after 2002 when that same stick could be used to hit the Church-as-pinata and open up the financial ‘treasure’ of the Church to enterprising individuals and their tort-attorneys.


    But as I have said before on this site, I think that Providence had and has a Purpose in all of this Abuse , and thus the Church is now in some real ways reformed for the great task to come: bringing the Message of Christ and the Gospels to a radicalized, secularized, and fractalized country and people now bereft of substantive Meaning and increasingly adrift, and dangerously so.

  16. Old Dominion Catholic says:

    sure, the media is going to beat this into the ground, but I don't think the cartoon, which is obviously referencing the scandal in LA, is anti-Catholic on its face.  I'd argue that anyone who abuses children or covers it up is an operative of Satan.  Period.

  17. While I object to malicious humor, it is clearly an example of meanness, the L.A. Times is about selling advertising and this sort of thing attracts attention.  Further, the Church in L.A. set itself up for criticism by hiding the truth.  Kudos to Archbishop Gomez for his courage in dealing with the cover-ups.  It might be helpful to many people to read Fr. Rolheiser's article about suffering scandal in a biblical context.  Please pray for Cardinal Mahony and Archbishop Gomez.

  18. Delphin says:

    I wonder what level of outrage (red hot?) would be expressed if the cartoon "priest" were replaced with the "flagrant" variety (for the necessary visual effect) of homosexual? I have to think that there would be boycotts, flaming (pardon that pun) OpEds, Presidential declarations, and media outcry, galore. I also wonder if it so much easier for these media-hypocrites to racially stereotype their victims? The evil-priest characatures are always Caucasian, aren't they? Let's make that target a black or hispanic flagrant homosexual priest (sheesh, better watch out for the jack-booted PC Police).

    If all priests are deviants, then so are all homosexuals. If all men are evil, then, so be it for all races of them. If all Catholics are wicked hypocrites, then so be it for all religions, including atheism and new age. There is no distinction per "ology's" and "isms" in nature.  You are an animal that is either predator or prey, of any gender, color, size, "social class" or particular grouping. This is how the natural (beautiful, simple, ordered, logical) and balanced world works.

    Only the most deviant of Men (and not their vocations, occupations or institutions – as "things") can so distort nature and God's laws.

    Liberal in thought and belief (theology, ideology); liberal in interpretation, understanding and acceptance of the Truth.

  19. Mark says:

    Partly in response to Delphin and Jen: I do indeed think we should be more vociferous and assertive (aggressive even) in the face of the overt anti-Catholicism which drips from gutter-press rags like the New Yuck Times and LAT.

    In fact the NYT did itself some real damage this week with its anti-Catholic hysteria. See my post on the delirious and shameful op-ed by Shanley on Monday (“Farewell to an uninspiring Pope”); and the bizarre article on Papal matters by “reporters” Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo (“Successor to Benedict Will Lead a Church at a Crossroads”), an article which was decimated by James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal. Then on Tuesday another anti-Catholic op-ed by G Wills: “New Pope – I’ve given up hope.” The infantile rhyme in this latter did make me wonder if the NYT is trying to get its brainwashed readers to repeat the heading as some kind of fundamentalist anti-Pope mantra.                             Yet I have no doubt that, as Jen suggests, even the sheep-like followers of the Yuck Times must be getting weary – and just a little embarrassed – by such unmitigated bigotry.        So keep the pressure on, my friends, and stay in their faces, because it works. They know eventually they will be forced to provide perspective and, Heaven forbid, truth. Interestingly, this article on another case of sex abuse appeared in yesterday’s LA Times. It involves not a priest, but a Buddhist teacher. I look forward to the corresponding cartoon. http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-74402608/


  20. Mark says:

    In case it interests you, here is a Facebook post I did about the New Yuck Times and its bigoted reporting /editorial:

    "I reported in an earlier post on a ridiculous, bigoted op-ed in the New York Times from John Patrick Shanley, published on 2/11/13. Here's today's op-ed, published just a day later. That a national newspaper should devote 2 op-eds in as many days attacking the leader of the Catholic Church in such a manner is despicable. It is the vilest form of hate-filled agenda journalism.

    The distorted and tendentious reporting of the New York Times has been called out in these last few days by more respectable and professional media outlets.

    With Lent upon us, there is one thing that all Catholics should be giving up, for good – the New York Times, if indeed they are misguided enough to be reading it.

    If you are Catholic, please share this post with others.

    If you are not Catholic but value impartial, ethical news reporting and editorial content, you might consider doing the same."

  21. Mark says:

    I've mentioned it before and I will do so again. Nowhere, anywhere on the internet do I copy-paste (for my own reference and instruction) as much material as I do from Publion. Thank you, Publion, I'd say you're performing a public service!

  22. Publion says:

    Somebody sent me a link to this Boston Herald editorial about the Pope’s resignation and the Church today in general.



  23. Delphin says:

    In response to the NYLA Slimes idea of humor: let's replace the deviant priest cartoon with the deviant "no-baby-too-young-to-kill" Katherine Sebelius (with one of those obnoxious Obama-Biden stickers slapped on her forehead) and a depiction of human-trafficked (sex, labor slave) children cowering fearfully upon the doomsday arrival of the Obammy-Care HHS mandate; per the article here:


    Will the radical ideaology of the left, which left these kids exposed to further unspeakable harm, and worse, be caricatured in their lefty manifesto-rags? When hell freezes over.

    "We care" so much more for post-pubescent and deviant adult male homosexuals "acting out" in the Catholic Church than we do for the real victims of the "tolerant" lefts inhumanity; the unborn and the horrifically exploited trafficked/undocumented. Where are the professional mourners and weepers, now?

    Even so, I can't help but feel the less financially invested our Church is in this present government for anything, the better for Her, and mankind.


  24. Publion says:

    I just came across Mark's comment from 3:55 PM. Thank you, Mark, I do what I can. I am grateful to DP for giving us all a place not only to share but to provide some needed counterpoint to so much stuff out there.

  25. Mark says:

    Interestingly, in view of my comments above, an editorial piece from the Washington Post critical of Shanley's rant. "Playwright’s op-ed attack on Pope Benedict XVI is off the mark"


  26. josie says:

    P.S. We may have a Benedict XVII!

  27. Delphin says:

    To be found at Mark's latest link is another WaPo article about bias by the same author (Henneberger) about how our environment (cultural, social) either intentionally or unintentionally biases us.

    It will be quite familiar to those of us tracking the paralells between the intentional Church bashing and conservative ideaology demonization.

    No doubt the corrupt media is using their version of the Implicit Association Test to push their Saul Alinsky agenda-

  28. Delphin says:

    Well, whad'ya know? Playwright Shanley likes to "play" hard with the ladies. Now, if he was ever a Catholic priest (he was an apparently greatly failed Catholic school student- does that count?), he'd be in jail for life, no evidence, no SOL; and the media would be basking in the "afterglow" of, yet, another political conquest.

    It must not be in the "best interest" of the religiously biased to "out" one of their own mysogynists. Where is NOW when you need them. OK, I won't belabor it, we all get the point (sorry).


    • Mark says:

      Thanks for the link on the Shanley skeleton-in-the-closet, Delphin. Very useful and usable.

      I think his op-ed has backfired big time on him and the New Yuck Times.

  29. Publion says:

    Thinking back, and to add some historical perspective, I can recall that back in 1971 Fred Dutton – an LBJ and Pat Brown political aide and a Regent of the CA university system – published a book entitled Changing Sources of Power.


    He was excited about the prospect of a youth-vote and calculated that the Democrats should embrace the reduction of the voting age to 18 (despite objections that under the Xth Amendment voting-age requirements were properly a power reserved to the States and not the federal government). He envisioned that the 1970s would see an increasing percentage of (Boomer) voters in the 18-34 age range. Their excitability and idealism would help lubricate (my term, not his) the already-burgeoning Democratic agenda that was trying to please and fill as many demands for ‘change’ as it could.


    He also spent some time characterizing the general thrust of this demographic’s attitudes: not for security, but for fulfillment; not for law and order and predictability and reliability but simply for a humane society; not for a preoccupation with national purpose but rather for a personal preoccupation with one’s individual purpose; and then not even for purpose but rather for merely being.


    I emphasize this last bit because it clearly demonstrates (and demonstrated back then) the crucial divergence between the Democratic-‘liberal’ approach as it was developing and the approach of Catholics and the Church: Catholic thought has always held that a vital and indivisible element of being human is precisely its purpose – which purpose might be said to be seeking to fulfill oneself according to the Image of God in which all humans are made … and, we can also add, that, in the Catholic schema, fulfillment can never be properly envisioned as a purely individual adventure or project, but must be seen as a part-of and a contribution-to the common human journey toward and struggle-for fulfillment along the lines implicit in our common human identity in the Image of God.


    In the Catholic vision purpose and being are not two separate (let alone contradictory) options; nor is purpose inherently oppressive (as postmodern secularist thought likes to insist)because it pressures the individual to conform to some standard or ideal.


    Rather, purpose is woven into the fabric of our being, and a human without purpose (and without the prime purpose of conforming oneself, according to one’s gifts, to the Image of God within oneself) is not and cannot ever otherwise manage to be a fully human or fulfilled human being.


    We can see here how even back then, now 42 years ago, the general thrust of Boomery politics (called, back then, the “New Politics”) was going to require the Church either to submit-to (and thus ‘embrace’ the ‘modernity’ of the coming oh-so-modern age of the 1970s) or else to oppose this urgent, politics-driven illumination on the part of the political elites.


    I think that we can see here in this book from 1971 a substantial contributing factor to the Meaningless that – according to the author Morris Berman, to whose article I linked in a prior comment – now envelops so many Americans and corrodes the fundaments of American society.


     At this point, having passed through the fire of the Abuse Crisis and cooperated with the Holy Spirit in reforming what needed to be reformed, the Church is – I would say – especially well endowed to bring the light of the Gospel and of the Catholic Vision to the darkness that is quickly and profoundly enveloping American society, entangling Americans like the serpents entangle Laocoon and his family.


    The key Crisis in this country now is and will remain the actual and profound crisis of Meaning. That will only get worse as the nation’s economic situation declines and few will be able to fill that abyssal void in Meaning with an endless shopping-and-travel spree and must instead fall back on the resources of their own individual and communal lives in order to confront the strenuous shadows that, during the now-gone days of American Abundance, could simply be ignored.


    I think that – rather than face that void (let alone admit their own role in helping to create it) – many special interests inside and outside the Church will try to ‘double-down’ and pull attention back to decades now past, as we have seen so often now. Catholics and the Church need not allow themselves to be over-awed by such calculated and hardly unpredictable distractions. (As genuine victims are identified they can be provided-for as seems best; clergy and hierarchy and laity can implement the lessons of the past dozen years or more.)


    I will go so far as to suggest this historical comparison: imagine in 1941 that a substantial element of special-interests were still seeking to draw the nation’s attention back to the arguments of 1900 (whether we should have a large, non-wooden, steel-and-steam Navy at all) – whereas the real challenge of 1941 was to face forward and prepare-for and engage the profound challenges of the immediate future in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

  30. Delphin says:

    I'll let the TMR observers, contributors draw their own paralells to the Catholic Church [and society's] dilemma. If I attempted to offer commentary on this revelation (to me, at least), I might actually lose my mind…I know my weaknesses-


  31. Publion says:

    Two articles on the papal resignation have come to my attention.


    The first (link at the end of this comment) is on the Huffington Post site.  The second is by Rachel Donadio in the New York Times for Monday the 18th (page A7 in the print edition) but I’ll wait to see if DP is going to say something about that one.


    HuffPo reports that after his resignation/retirement, Benedict will be living in the Vatican. The article gives 4 general reasons: a) neither his native Germany nor the Vatican has sufficient resources to mount a full-time and adequate security detail for him; b) persons unhappy with decisions of his successor might seek to come to his own private residence in Germany to ‘demonstrate’ somehow; c) many might simply come en masse in pilgrimage to his private place of retirement; d) the Pope dare not leave the Vatican for fear of losing his sovereign Vatican immunity and thus become liable to the vagaries of lawsuits brought by whatever enterprising parties choose to do so.


    Reason (a) is self-evident.


    Reason (b) is a possibility built into this long-unexperienced phenomenon of a well-retired Pontiff; while nobody expects Benedict in retirement to set himself up as a counter-Pope or ‘anti-Pope’, yet there are possibly those who might wish to somehow enlist his presence – or the backdrop of his residence, if nothing else – in order to pursue their agendas. It’s also, I think, quite possible that this would be true of ‘liberals’ as well as ‘conservatives’ since Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals clearly sets forth the value of piggy-backing one’s way to publicity by dragooning some authority figure of whatever ‘Establishment’ you’ve chosen as the target of your agenda; or, if you can’t dragoon him, at least get photographed in front of his house with your placards … that sort of thing.


    Reason (c) is also a strong possibility: there is still a robust religious sensibility among Europeans, especially away from the more Americanized and secularized urban settings, and pilgrimages are an ancient tradition there.


    Reason (d) is more interesting. HuffPo puts more space into it than any of the prior three (much to the delight of numerous commenters, as you will notice if you check the link). There’s nothing new with any of that and nothing of fresh note. However the article does contain a very interesting by-the-by, dropped matter-of-factly: the possibility of “lawsuits” was raised by that lawsuit filed with the International Criminal Court in the Hague two or so years ago and which is still bandied about as a totem whacking-stick by certain types although nobody knows what ever happened to the submission of the lawsuit to that Court.


    Now we know: “The ICC has never taken up the case and never said why” … that lawsuit (alleging, readers may recall, torture (in the form of sex abuse) and war crimes (priests and bishops waged literal “war” on children and other alleged victims) and crimes against humanity (any type of sex abuse, however defined, apparently being presumed by the lawsuit to be the equivalent of the Holocaust or a warlord’s deliberate decision to have his military forces eliminate entire classes or tribes or ethnicities or to humiliate them specifically by rape for the purpose of intimidating them into political subjugation).


    The article quickly goes on to say that the ICC is under no obligation to explain why it chose not to accept a lawsuit for adjudication. Which is as may be. But there we have it: the lawsuit did indeed wind up in the circular file after being politely and duly received and stamped at the Clerk’s window two years ago.


    Those readers who reviewed the actual text of the Complaint would have been in no way be surprised by its contents, except at the thought that anybody would have rationally expected to stretch a law designed to deal with rampaging military officers and warlords and apply it to priests, bishops, cardinals and – as Chief Warlord and the sort of Genghis Khan of the raping hordes – the Pope.  (I still recall the trumpety claim that since the Vatican signed onto a major international convention against torture along with many of the world’s governments, and yet the Vatican had not for several years submitted the required annual certification that it did not formally endorse, enable, or permit torture, then this omission was yet another logical proof and ‘evidence’ that the Vatican was engaging in torture (i.e. the sex-abuse) but didn’t want to be caught in a lie by submitting reports that its military and security forces had not engaged in torture in the prior year.  One can let one’s mind roam for quite a while over the type of mind that could work out such ‘logic’.)


    HuffPo then quotes a Vatican official as stating that “the Pope is not a CEO” and that priests work for their bishops.


    This is spun as a way of making it sound like the Vatican is coming up with technical legal dodges to avoid its ‘responsibility’ for sex abuse by priests.


    But it’s actually something of the opposite: it is the lawsuits – especially the nifty bundled one we have seen in this country for a decade and more now – that are theorizing their cases as if the Catholic Church were primarily just a large business corporation like any other in this country. It is necessary for the tort attorneys to theorize the case like that, because they are trying to justify suing persons other than the (poor as church-mice) individual priests in order to maximize potential financial gains (which lure will also, nicely, attract fresh clients and their allegations).


    Under the civil-law principle of respondeat superior (let the superior respond) it is possible to bring a lawsuit against an organization if one of its agents commits a tortious act. In fact, the way the principle’s application has mutated here in recent decades, it is possible to sue an organization even if its agent, in committing the tortious act, violated the organization’s own express policies, rules, regulations, prohibitions and instructions.


    American tort attorneys have famously achieved some notable and remunerative successes in applying this strategy to bishops. The gambit to then take it to the next level and sue the Vatican was a sure-fire publicity-grabber (and imagine the size of the pie to be sliced if the Vatican had to sell off a bunch of ancient churches or statues or paintings or other works of art – maybe by DaVinci or somebody else like that!), but it was deeply flawed as an accurate theorization of any such lawsuit. Because diocesan priests are not given orders by the Vatican or the Pope but rather are ordained by their local Bishop or Ordinary for service in that Ordinary’s jurisdiction. (Only certain levels of some religious Order priests take a special vow of obedience to the Pope, and even then they rarely if ever have gotten a telegram from Mr. Big with marching orders.)


    Priests are presbyters working for their local Bishop. The Pope’s authority is not that of an absolute monarch with a generally-exercised and universal authority over all priests.


    Lastly, the article refers to the 2006 settlement in LA as “a settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation”. But of course, that characterization is not demonstrably accurate. We do not know how many of those 500 allegations were genuine (and how many were … otherwise). But at least the term “child molestation” is used – arguably accurate if the allegation were genuine – rather than some more publicity-grabbing term like ‘rape’.


    There were 2800 comments on HuffPo 20 hours of posting and readers can have a look to see what HuffPo commenters are saying.




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