Journalist or Spokesperson for SNAP? St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Fowler Promotes Claim That Church Should Stalk Its Ex-Priests

Lilly Fowler

Fuzzy thinking: Lilly Fowler from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a recent article sparse on reason and logic, Lilly Fowler of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch promotes the novel idea that the Catholic Church is now somehow responsible for hunting down and shadowing every past employee accused of abuse, and then constantly publicizing their whereabouts, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

There is no doubt that former priest Gary P. Wolken committed disgraceful crimes and was a shame to the priesthood. Yet it was Church officials who first discovered the abuse and immediately reported it to the police. Police arrested and charged Wolken, and after Wolken pleaded guilty to his crime and went to jail, the Church expelled him from the priesthood.

No good deed goes unpunished

David Clohessy

Perpetually angry:
SNAP's David Clohessy

Yet Fowler completely fails to report that it was Church officials who put a quick stop to Wolken's crimes.

Instead, Fowler trumpets the claim that the Church should still somehow "do more" to "protect the public."

And Fowler completely ignores several obvious questions we have asked before: Exactly what other organization tracks down and then publicizes the current addresses and phone numbers of its former employees accused of abuse? St. Louis Public Schools? The Boy Scouts? Some Hollywood studio? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch? Fowler doesn't say.

Fowler could have easily found someone who could have raised these questions. But she didn't.

Instead, Fowler sought out a parade of predictable malcontents and cranks who think the Catholic Church should risk criminal and civil liability and track the exact whereabouts of its former employees and then hold regular press conferences to announce the results of its monitoring.

Fowler turns to former disgruntled Church employee Jennifer Haselberger, angry ex-priest Patrick Wall, and the perpetually angry National Director of the anti-Catholic group SNAP, David Clohessy (whom we suspect to be the source of Fowler's wobbly piece).

Irony of ironies: The log in Clohessy's own eye

Ironically, the hysterical Clohessy never reported to police back in the 1990s that his own brother Kevin, a Catholic priest, was sexually molesting innocent young boys.

And to this day, neither Clohessy nor SNAP has ever once publicly reported the current whereabouts of Kevin. Yet that does not not stop David from boldly claiming to Fowler that Catholic officials "do nothing" to protect children and the public.

SNAP lists its headquarters in Chicago, but Clohessy and SNAP do the bulk of its operations out of St. Louis. And even though SNAP functions right in her own backyard, Fowler has never even bothered to examine the background of SNAP and the leaders who run it before providing them with unlimited, free, and un-fact-checked quotes.

Make no mistake about it, folks. Fowler's article has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called "protection of children" and enlightening the public about institutional failures. Fowler's article is simply another bow to the professional hysterics at SNAP in their everlasting crusade to bludgeon the Catholic Church.


  1. Lauren says:

    Wasnt Fowler up to this before?

  2. Publion says:

    Kudos to TMR for its analysis of Fowler’s piece. It’s clearly a put-up job.

    To what purpose? I would say: to Keep The Ball Rolling.

    How? By distracting from the abyssal lack of fresh allegations (which lack not only a) deprives the front-organizations of their long-established bread and butter but also b) creates the risk that when The Ball Stops Rolling, public attention might shift to looking more closely at the Stampede itself and everybody who profited from it).

    Priests and now-former priests – as per operation of law (such, perhaps, as the law in a time of sex-offense mania has become) – have served sentences and are being released. What hay can still remain to be made off them? Answer: even as husks they can be used as fuel to re-ignite the old fires.

    The Wolken prosecutors tried to get the already hugely-plastic ‘dangerousness’ and ‘post-sentence civil commitment’ mechanisms deployed and yet even those grossly pliable mechanisms failed to perform for them (meaning that Wolken was no longer considered ‘dangerous’ by the usually sympathetic officials who judge such matters). And perhaps many other priests coming up for release will also fail to meet the parameters for ‘dangerousness’ that trigger that so ominously Soviet post-sentence ‘civil commitment’.

    And what sort of men will these priests be, exposed to the crucible of prison? Wrecked and babbling hulks? Or men who have been subjected to the crucible and become somehow better for it?

    And what if the ever-slippery media, always hungry for fresh ‘angles’, start up some query into them as they return? What if the media come upon strength even among the ostensibly wrecked? (What then – the horror! – if the valence of the Narrative Script changes … or even reverses? Such too are the nightmares are the Stampede-niks, who know better than most just how mutable such tides can be, escaping the manipulation of their erstwhile creators.)

    Nor are we talking here about the metaphorical ‘wrecked’ and ‘soul-murdered’ as those bits are deployed so breezily and copiously by Abuseniks. We are talking about men who have been through the very real and demonstrable crucible of imprisonment in the hell-holes that American prisons (the most engorged on the planet) have become in this very same era that is supposed to be the showcase of secularist and ‘autonomous’ progressive enlightenment. (Thus does the Nanny State reveal her blood-relationship to the tyrannies of her siblings among the totalitarian monstrosities born at the dawn of the last century – see my comment on the immediately prior thread from the 9th at 418PM).

    What hay to be made from this as the Stampede’s tide begins to run out?

    What hay can be stuffed into the stream to keep that tide from running out and revealing – hidden under its surfaces all this time – the rot and wrack that has always been the foundation of the Stampede? A rot and wrack whose presence was always there to be sensed, simply by observing the type of life-forms lured up from the depths to swim in its polluted waters and break the surface of those waters with great gobs of the stuff they brought up from below.

    What of these former or returned priests? Such revenants cannot be allowed to return to bear – however mutely but perhaps even impressively  – witness against the regime that sent them into the abyss.

    Some – perhaps most – of them may be required to register as sex-offenders (in that other revealing totalitarian mechanism bestowed upon us by secular-progressivism: a ‘registry’ – not a clunky card-file kept in shoe-boxes in the basement of Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse or the Lubyanka but rather a paperless yet omnipresent electronic internet file).

    But that isn’t enough for the Abuseniks and the Stampede-niks. Why not? Because they get nothing from that to Keep The Ball Rolling and their bread-and-butter coming. Unless they can think of something.

    But if not even the law can now reliably perform as their trained monkey, what then will the Stampede-niks do?

    They will try to make a “moral” argument: as the article parrots it, even if the Church is not legally bound to these revenants, it has (some sort of) a “moral” responsibility to track them and tag them.

    A legally-inclined mind might immediately point out that there is no legal authority for any former employer to do any such thing. Only the Sovereign Coercive Authority of the State (in this instance, the secular progressive Nanny State) can do that. And it does that with its Registry (at least until the day the Supreme Court may reverse itself and decide that such post-sentence registering is not a fruit of the Constitutional vision but rather the poisoned-fruit of some other, darker regime’s vision).

    Nor can you convincingly stitch together some Frankensteinian argument along the lines of a “moral” responsibility to do something for which you have no “legal” authority and from which you are quite probably prohibited.

    What then can the Stampede-niks do? The article recommends parishes being visited by bishops and staffs to keep everyone advised on priests who have finished their sentences successfully. And parish bulletins could be used “to urge victims to come forward” (which only serves to remind us of the dogs that haven’t barked: in so many cases – where priests where sent away on the presumption that they had many or many-many or many-many-many more ‘victims’ – yet in all the intervening years of their imprisonment nobody else has come forward against them).

    The Stampede-nik justification-logic runs like this: such priests may try to get jobs (The horror! But good luck to them if they are on a sex-offender registry) and – worse – may still “consider themselves Catholic” and join a parish, so it’s not a matter of “inflicting suffering on the guilty” but rather it’s just “about avoiding suffering for the innocent”.

    There is going to be a reckoning in this country some day for the amount of totalitarian machinery eagerly lugged in over the front doorsill to – in the best accents of Victimism – “avoid suffering”. That pretext – even if it is a good intention – is this era’s equivalent of a prior place and time’s Protection of Reich und Volk. And like all such other well-intentioned urges, it will undermine the very things it was eagerly lugged in to preserve.

    And in that regard readers may consult the text of this article to see Frau Haselberger’s handy suggestions in regard to how such men might be tagged or escorted “in and out of the parish” and how “parishes have an obligation” to “set some real limits for him”. (You may recall her very dodgy role in the Twin-Cities (professional home of Jeff Anderson) shenanigans of a year or so ago involving computer hard drives, sudden memory recall, now-it’s-on and now-it’s-off police investigations, and her quick route to MPR celebrity.)

    On what grounds can such persons be tagged or singled-out? A man comes into the parish and … what? In this day and age are we seriously to believe that such an individual could somehow strike up a relationship with parish youth? And if such an individual can’t do that, then what exactly is the basis of the Yellow-Star treatment in Haselberger’s suggestion? I have never heard of any priest accused of the classic and stereotypical stranger-danger abuse of decades ago, but this is apparently the slyly manipulative if unstated nightmare upon which Haselberger bases her repellent proposals.  

    And why all this now? For what, actually, is this reporter a mule? I would say (again): for the current Stampede-nik effort to remain a ‘player’ and to have ‘a seat at the table’ (to use Mussolini’s pithy image) at whatever confabs will take place in connection with the Vatican sexual-abuse commission and the upcoming Papal visit. (Perhaps, for example, Bishop-Accountability can find fresh sustenance by making itself the ‘registry’ for any priests and former-priests whatsoever whose names appear in any files or anywhere else. Perhaps SNAP (and the torties for whom it fronts) will be ‘blessed’ – as it were – with shoals of fresh allegants from those invisible myriads we are so breezily assured really do exist.)

    If the Stampede-niks and Abuseniks cannot keep a seat at the table then they will i) lose a lot of bread-and-butter and ii) may find themselves downrange of a vacuum opened up by their loss of influence, which vacuum may reverse its valence and start sucking them into the spotlight of forensic and public examination.

  3. malcolm harris says:

    In response to Lauren's comment on the 9th March, I would say that Lilly Fowler has probably found a good source for her material.

    That source would be SNAP, which is virtually a feeder agency for the hungry lawyers who are attacking the Church. It's almost become a specialized industry amongst some torties. 

    I sometimes imagine these particular lawyers as a group of brigands who have disguised themselves as  'Knights in shining armour'. They will mount their respective white chargers and charge off into battle against some embattled archdiocese. My own vision of the  impressive 'Knights' includes them possessing bulging saddlebags. Filled to bursting point with loads of lovely greenbacks. The greenbacks are to grease the wheels of the industry. By obtaining co-operation from various other parties. Those parties who might be in a key position to help keep the witch-hunt alive and effective. If I am right it would explain many things. Particulary the inexplicable derangements that have paved the way for the witch-hunt to begin in the first place.


  4. Jim Robertson says:

    Suing any organization, religion or no, for damages done by said intitution isn't an "attack". War monger!

  5. Jim Robertson says:

    This, contrary to the Great Pumpkin, P, isn't about keeping any "ball rolling"; other than the church's ball called SNAP as it goes about it's mission to fool the universe.

    Why would a victims', excuse me "Survivors", group want to go into the vigilante business?

    Fraud; fraud; and more fraud.

    Victims don't want to spend time chasing after perps. We hate them. We can, with no compensation or therapy, barely keep ourselves together; let alone police perps who've served their time and who are no longer priests.

    The idea of playing cops when there are no new crimies evident is insane. There is no need to. Particularly if said perps have been convicted and have served their sentences. (So unlike David's brother and the vast majority of abusors.) There are readily available lists of child perps that their names would appear on. Sex criminals' lists.

    I want the church to vet all it's employees. If the church is still passing predators on as priests to new parishes (as they have so often done in the past) that's one thing; but why does SNAP bring this boring position into public view; meanwhile never bringing "Help the Victims"  into public view?

    How long will it take before you get that SNAP's working for the church? How have any of SNAP's "positions" ever even "helped" one victim? How could any of SNAP's positions have even been thought of as a real aid to real victims? Show me please one good thing SNAP's done for victims? None of SNAP's behaviors do anything good for victims. They never have and they never will. That isn't what SNAP was built for.



  6. Publion says:

    On the 10th at 405PM JR once again and as usual tries to start the play at 1st or 2nd rather than with an at-bat at the plate: his assertion presumes that a) one has actually suffered damages and that b) the fact of such damages has been objectively established by third-party observers (i.e.  the legal system). Which are precisely the points that the Anderson Strategies (certainly including the 500-Plaintiff case in LA almost a decade ago) were specifically designed to sidestep and avoid.

    Then (the 10th, 432PM) JR merely gives us assertions.

    In the first paragraph, we merely get his assertion that this “isn’t about keeping any ball rolling”. He proffers no explication. Readers may judge as they will.

    Also, that – yet again – SNAP is “the church’s ball”, an assertion for which JR has not proffered any credible material establishing such a probability.

    And that SNAP is on “its mission to fool the universe”. Which – brought to us through the wonders of projection – may well describe the Abuseniks themselves.

    In the second paragraph JR asks a question based on nothing I wrote: I didn’t mention the “victims” or (once again in that queasy filch from the Holocaust) “survivors” as wanting “to go into the vigilante business” (although that’s a nice phrase). It is the various Stampede-nik fronts who are pushing this.

    But if we presume for a moment JR’s cartoon about the Church controlling all of those front-organizations and persons, then why would the Church now want to re-ignite the Stampede at this point?

    Then – and again through the wonders of projection – we get the descriptor “fraud” simply repeated.

    The fourth paragraph is based on the inaccurate ascription of this effort at re-ignition to “victims” rather than to the Stampede-nik front-organizations. As for the self-dramatizing assertions that constitute the rest of the paragraph, readers can judge as they will. And perhaps in the process can suss out the meaning of the phrase “police perps”.

    I don’t disagree with the fifth paragraph’s point that there is no need to ‘play cops’ “when there are no new crimes evident”. But the gambit discussed on this thread is not best characterized as “insane” because, I would say, there is a very real method in the madness: the Stampede-niks need to Keep Their Ball Rolling.

    As for the sixth paragraph, JR will be happy to know that ‘vetting’ of new Church employees is part of the protocols begun a dozen years ago. And – again – SNAP brings “this boring position into public view” in order to Keep Their Ball Rolling.

    Nor is the position “boring”: it is an instance of an ominous trend set in train over the past few decades by the Nanny State and its ever-expanding effort to engorge its authority on the pretexts of ‘protecting’ and ‘preventing’.

    In the seventh paragraph, we are merely treated to the plaint that we cannot seem to accept (his cartoon) that “SNAP’s working for the Church”, for which nothing is proffered here either a) in explication or b) to counter the rather much-discussed theory that SNAP is one of the fronts for the torties and thus works neither for the Church nor for “victims” (genuine or otherwise).

    Also in that regard, I fully agree that SNAP’s positions probably do little for the aforesaid “victims”, but then SNAP was not designed to do so; it is a front for the Stampede and the interests behind the Stampede.

    Thus the rest of the paragraph fails since nobody here ever wrote that SNAP does anything for the aforesaid “victims”. SNAP was “built for” being a front for the Stampede and on that score it has performed rather well.

  7. Jim Robertson says:

    Nanny state my ass! Murdering thieving state is more like it. Rob the poor to give the rich more. What is wrong with the majority of humans working for their benefit first? not for the rich woman/man's benefit first; last and always.  Why are we spending our childrens futures by invading country after country to protect who? Israel; Saudi Arabia and the Koch Brothers?

    Nanny state my ass! the American state seems quite willing to nanny the rich and the military industrial complex. Why do we have to work ourselves and our children to death in order to pay for unneccessary weapons and wars. You worry about the redistribution of wealth when it's from the rich to the poor and ignore the robbery of us all by the banks and Wall street. You are as dead between the ears as Maggie Thatcher and about as relevent to the benefit of the majority.

  8. St. Stephen says:

    this is very simple. in california (and i would think most states?)  anyone convicted of a sex crime with a minor is placed on a list that the penal system monitors.  they are required by law to report where they live etc. to the state.  and if they don't, they are hunted down.  they break the law when they don't report their living location.  i think it's called Meghan's Law after a little girl was kidnapped and molested.  we can go to the website and put in our address and zipcode and find out the name and address of every pederast in our area.  don't most states have laws like these?  i wouldn't be surprised if Missouri has one, which would make the "journalist' that much more writing without the facts.

  9. St. Stephen says:

    if she has any problems let her take it up with the Federal Government.  ~~"The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the Wetterling Act) is a United States law that requires states to implement a sex offender and crimes against children registry. It was enacted as part of the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994."  if she feels the Feds aren't doing their job making her state adhere to the law, she can let beat on them.  Google the 'Wetterling Act".  in fact the press should be accountable for liable when the state of Missouri has it's own monitoring system but somehow she thinks she should sound off with mis-informed drivel that impunes the Church by beating the drums on something her state government is already tasked with with the full force of the law.

  10. Publion says:

    On the 10th at 1156PM we are simply given for all practical purposes a distraction from the issues on the table in this thread. Apparently we are merely getting whatever was on the 3×5 card labeled ‘State’, regardless of its relevance to anything under discussion here.

    If I may repeat my take on these things: The National Security State (the phrase is one used often by Gore Vidal) is the postwar development of the government as being focused relentlessly on “security” of the nation. That development made some arguable sense in light of the Soviet and then Maoist regimes and their efforts to infiltrate Western and American governments (and we recall Gramsci’s 1920s strategy for infiltrating and subverting Western democratic governments, although his name did not often come up in the postwar period … up until the later 1960s and 1970s). The NSS was considered to be a creature of the Right and of ‘conservatives’ (as the term is loosely used).

    But then in the later 1960s and 1970s the Left in the USA , seeking ‘revolution’ in so many things, took up both a) Euro-communism (the late 1960s and 1970s European Left’s interest in somehow adapting Marx to Western polities while – piously and fatuously  – hoping to filter out the Leninist, Stalinist, and Maoist elements) and b) Gramsci’s strategy itself (from which we soon had ‘marginalized’ and other Gramscian terms entering into general political discourse).

    The Democrats, having i) watched as their old political demographics of the prior 60 years consistently  became more ‘conservative’ throughout the early postwar era as their economic position improved and ii) having fractured the old New Deal political alignments (the coalition of Jim Crow South and northeast urban industrial workers) through the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 … realized they were going to have to literally create fresh new demographic groups for themselves or else face political irrelevance if not extinction. It was for the Democrats truly an ‘existential’ crisis and threat that they faced in the mid-1960s.

    And while many groups (the newly-constructed ‘Identities’ of Identity-politics) sought such ‘revolutionary’ change in their affairs, it was feminism that provided the most comprehensive and sustained ideological arguments for their own and everybody else’s ‘revolutions’. (Again, you can get a solid introduction to this in feminist legal philosopher Catharine MacKinnon’s 1989 book Toward a Feminist Theory of the State.)

    They went about it thus: they a) adopted Marxist and Gramscian political content and method in order to a) undermine everything in American and Western political thought that was ‘traditional’, seeking to undermine and discredit it as – take your pick – oppressive, patriarchal, marginalizing, and/or dominating in order to b) make ‘space’ for their own ideological visions and agendas. In the process they also drew on Maoist cultural-revolution praxis and Alinskyite agitprop (Alinsky having adapted the content and/or methods of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao and Gramsci for the purposes of ‘consciousness-raising’ and ‘organizing’ in the Western democracies).

    Thus, for example, the entire Western heritage of the centrality of Reason and logic and even scientific-method was attacked as ‘patriarchal’, to be replaced by a feminist ‘intuition’ and emotionalism.

    The immediate-postwar development of a focus on the Victim (originally meaning all of the persons made pawns of the totalitarian rampage of Nazism and of all non-democratic governments of the early 20th century) was adopted and expanded by domestic feminists in the USA to include the plaints (and agendas) of women and then that expanded to any other of the new ‘Identities’ and their plaints and demands.

    It was from this move that we saw the sudden emergence of a government and politically-driven concern for sex-crimes (originally rape and then domestic-violence against women, primarily, perpetrated by men, but then we saw how that movement could be expanded and put to other uses as well).

    In all of this – i) undermining all ‘traditional’ Western and American culture and ii) seeking out the oppressive criminal actions along a broad and ever-increasing swath of actions and iii) preventing all of that – that we saw a new but perfectly logical totalitarian politics and political form arise: the National Nanny State. (Readers may wish to read Jonah Goldberg’s 2007 book Liberal Fascism to increase their knowledge here.)

    And that’s why I consider the National Nanny State (a creature of the Left and of the ‘progressives’) to be so serious and vital and ominous a development, of which the Stampede is in great part its useful creature. “Useful” because it is an excellent, tried and tested (the Soviets and Nazis used it) path toward reducing the credibility and public standing of the (Monoplanar-based) Nanny State’s greatest rival, the (Metaplanar-based) Catholic Church.

    And my points here are further elucidated by commenter ‘St. Stephen’ who refers to what is often called the Sex Offender Registry. This concept – old-school totalitarian in its provenance, although reinforced by thoroughly modern reliance on the internet – arose in the mid-1990s, pretexted by a New Jersey child-abduction and sexual abuse and murder case (involving one Megan Kanka). I believe Washington State had actually been the first to implement such a concept in 1990 or so, but the 1995 instance in New Jersey led to federal involvement as Congress sought to nationalize the thing.

    There was much controversy among legal professionals as to the validity of such a Registry – since it smacked so clearly of Ex Post Facto punishment, contravening the Bill of Rights and thus raising significant Constitutional issues (on top of the various derangements to evidentiary and due-process principles that were also a key element in this Victimist gambit.) The US Supreme Court finally had to put itself on record (the 2003 case Smith v Doe comes to mind), declaring that the post-sentence difficulties any such ‘Registered’ person faced were merely “civil” and “administrative” inconveniences and did not reach the Ex Post Facto status of further “criminal” sequelae (although individual State Supreme Courts still had, and exercised, authority within their jurisdictions if they found that specific elements of the law violated their own State constitutions).

    That vital point about Constitutionality was not fully accepted by all Justices on the national Supreme Court and Justice Thomas recently put himself on record that he considers that such “civil” consequences, although not formally “criminal” punishments, still constitute a violation of Constitutional principles and rights – and perhaps at some point the Court will reconsider and reverse-itself.

    The federal government could not Constitutionally force Registries upon the States and used the ‘stick’ approach: States that didn’t create their own Registries and/or link them to the federally-compiled Registry would lose a percentage of their federal law-enforcement funding.

    That worked until the meltdown of 2008 when States realized it cost them more to operate the Registry than they would lose in federal funding.

    The most recent (of the many) post-1995 engorgements of the Sex Offender Registry was the 2006 Adam Walsh Act which in addition to rather tenuously relying on the Congressional authority under the Commerce Clause was also projected by many States to cost far more than they would lose if they didn’t go along with it, and that Act fell into limbo, with many States demurring.

    (Which is another reason why Bishop-Accountability might well see its way clear to making some hay by making itself the go-to site as a ‘registry’ for accused priests.)

  11. Curious says:


    If any professional and or his/her organization deliberately reported a good, law abiding  US citizen as being bad, and or spreading malicious lies and deliberately misleading   US Senators to protect his (the organizations) reputation from their own horrendous and shameful words and actions.  Are there any consequences?  Our nations Patriot Act, implemented after our nations tragedy on 9/11, was put in place for the reporting of serious tips.  IF, anyone were to be so despicable as to exploit the circumstances of this incident, and, the shortcomings of the Patriot Act–because it was passed hastilly–would there be legal consequences?  And, if a person and/or organization "knowingly" sat passively for it's own perceived gain while an innocent person was reported–would there be legal and or civil consequences?

    Perhaps Fox News can research this???




  12. Jim Robertson says:

    "Fox News can research"!  That'll be the day. LMFAO!

  13. Jim Robertson says:

    Look there's the majority of the people on this planet slaving themselves and offering their children up to live or die for the benefit of a hyper-rich minority. All done under the pretext of capitalism being the "best of all possible worlds".

    Your own pope questions this pretext deeply.  Rightfully so given the vast vast majority of catholics are impoverished thanks , in part, to faith in a system that only honors and cares for the rich.

    Your own pope Francis speaks out against capitalism's evils. Your pope Francis, who evidently, you P, refuse to follow.

    Who; what are you P? There isn't a human bone in your body.

  14. Publion says:

    With all the material on the table here, what do we get on the 11th at 407PM?

    A further excursus on the state of the planet vis-à-vis capitalism and the rich and the poor, which is relevant to nothing under discussion here.

    Then in the second paragraph we are lectured on the Pope’s position on all that – which, it is also declaimed – is done “rightfully so”.

    Then in the third paragraph, I personally am advised – to the best of JR’s ‘knowledge’ – of the Pope’s position on capitalism – a matter, we recall, which is not under discussion on this thread or on this site.

    But then – but of course – the whackness suddenly resolves itself into the epithetical: I “evidently refuse to follow” the Pope, who is – I am reminded by the Wig of Reminding – my Pope. In what way, precisely and with accurate quotations and explanation, do I “refuse to follow the Pope”? And has the Pope spoken ex cathedra on the subject? Or is it only the Abuseniks and their papal-tiara Wigs that do a lot of that?

    What is it that is ‘evident’ here, at least to JR’s (or his muse’s) mind? Since neither the subject of capitalism nor my views on capitalism are by any stretch under discussion here and since I have not given any indication that could support that “evidently” … then what sense at all does this bit make?

    And the whole bit of whackness is then tied up with bow of yet another epithet, or series of them, in the final paragraph.

    And – have you been waitttttting for ittttttt? – not a shred of material of any relevance to the matter at hand on this thread.

    How could this be? I would say: the only thing on the 3×5 cards connected to Marx and Lenin and Mao was some stuff about ‘capitalism’ so that’s what we get. Whereas my actual point was not about Marxist or Leninist or Maoist theories of capitalism, but rather about the Marxist and Leninist and Stalinist and Maoist and Gramscian and generally totalitarian elements that have been imported into the USA and have played a role in the Stampede.

    Do we get anything about that? We get nothing about that. Who can be surprised?

  15. Kathy says:

    Hi Publion,

    If I may sidetrack?  According to a new book about Crystal City and the internment of

    INNOCENT catholics that were of Germasn and Italian descent, why was it only the

    QUAKERS who routinely protested the injustice of the internments?

    What activities were the Catholic Church involved in during WWI and WWI and the

    Vietnam War in America.  Why did the leadership let their parishoners reputations

    get destroyed ?  If Catholic Leadership was/is armed with the intelligence of the horrific

    goings on in Communist Regimes why not share the gory details?????

    In other words, why did the catholic leadership just keep quiet and let naive poor boys be

    drafted and/or placed in internment camps or prisons?

  16. Jim Robertson says:

    What is more totalitarian than the catholic church? If you don't belong to it or follow it you won't get into heaven. Your rules not mine. The fact your church invented heaven does not seem a bit odd to you?

    You're a bad joke. We've ben "waitttttting for ittttt" what ever "ittttt" is for years from you but you never deliver the goods. You're a one note; well spelled, samba.

  17. Jim Robertson says:

    You mock your pope as kotowing to the "Stampede". Really? Are victims being compensated by the pope somewhere? If so where? And for how much? You are a fraud.

    American exceptionalism is the bunk. We are exceptionaly dumber than other people and exceptionally trained, dog like, to vote against our own best intrerests as we ready once again to send are exceptionally well loved children out to kill and or be killed in the next absolutely  un exceptional needless war.

  18. Publion says:

    Let me deal with JR’s material first.

    On the 13th at 102PM we simply get innuendo and word-play: “What is more totalitarian than the catholic church?”. I would suggest the tyrannies of Lenin and Stalin and Mao and the rest of the totalitarian pandemonium. Just how does JR define “totalitarian” such that – to his mind – it applies primarily and most accurately to the Church? Unless, of course, this is merely JR’s use of hyperbole, in which case it is what it is and nothing more.

    The history of the Church is greatly underlain by the fact that for almost all of her history the Church has not been in a position to wield any such totalitarian power: not against monarchs, not against bishops and prelates whose nomination and sometimes even appointment  were for so long dependent on the cognizant monarch and who, once in office, had to pay careful heed to the secular power that surrounded and often threatened them.

    Slavery – so prevalent in the cultures and societies of classical Greece and Rome – was pretty much abolished in Europe before the end of the so-called ‘Dark Ages’. But when it re-ignited as the Genoese and Venetian merchant-republics began trading with the Islamic powers (where slavery was a significant element in culture and society) the Pope could only denounce the development. And when the Spanish re-ignited slavery in the freshly-discovered New World the Church could only condemn it. In neither case did the Church have the power to stop it (nor even, in many cases, to force the local prelates to speak out forcefully there ‘on the scene’, as it were).

    No actually totalitarian polity or entity would permit so gross a flauting of its authority.

    Then JR takes another stab at theological analysis: a) the Church invented heaven (this is delivered as an assertion of fact, which means that JR must have demonstrable proof that Heaven doesn’t exist and is merely a figment of the Church’s construction – and wouldn’t it be nice if he shared that bit of demonstrable proof with us?) and b) you can’t get into heaven if you don’t belong to the Church or follow the Church (which assertion is inaccurate).

    And having delivered himself of those bits, JR quickly reverts to larding on the epithetical, as we see in the last paragraph of the comment.

    Readers can do with it what they will.

    Then, a few minutes later at 110PM, JR asserts that I “mock [my] pope” (sic) by claiming that he is “kowtowing to the ‘Stampede’”. Really? Can JR provide the accurate quotation where I mocked the Pope or even definitively asserted that he is – rather than might – make missteps in regard to the Stampede? He cannot.

    But – yet again – the Playbook calls for avoiding actual substantive material and creating your own congenial and convenient material in order to have something distracting in regard to which you can make your noise.

    In regard to his second paragraph: yet again, we first have to ask how many genuine victims exist “somewhere”. And does JR have an answer as to how many genuine victims exist, either in the compensated or uncompensated form? He cannot demonstrably do so.

    And that sound you hear is the sound of his concluding epithet in the first paragraph recoiling rather nicely and accurately upon him.

    The second paragraph, about “American exceptionalism”, seems unconnected to anything under discussion here and can remain where it was put.

    Now in regard to the comment by ‘Kathy’ (the 13th, 1124AM): We are referred to “a new book” yet not given the author or title or any other identifying information. What or where is “Crystal City” and what is its relevance here? (And if this is the Crystal City near the Pentagon, what is its relevance here?)

    Apparently, this “new book” claims – or ‘Kathy’ thinks it claims – that it was “only the Quakers [shouty-caps omitted] who “routinely protested” the internment of “innocent catholics” [shouty caps omitted] “of German and Italian descent”. Who was doing the interning? How does ‘Kathy’ know that the Vatican didn’t undertake quiet diplomacy with the interning government?

    Does this refer to the American internment during WW2 of what the government called “enemy aliens”? Is she or the book confusing “descent” with the actual citizenship status of “alien” (i.e. the individual was not formally a US citizen but rather had retained  German or Italian citizenship?)

     Was – for that matter – the internment of citizens of a country with which the host country was at war not an accepted procedure in time of war?

    What precisely is the problem ‘Kathy’ or the “new book” is getting at here?

    Does she seriously expect in a blog comment a complete answer to the question as to “what activities [was] the Catholic Church involved in during WW1 and WW2 [I presume] and the Vietnam War in America” … ? This would take a very large book (and there are various histories that are available). And wasn’t the Vietnam War fought … in Vietnam? The question here is far too broadly posed to be answered.

    And does the next question refer to the Church’s activities in those wars or are we on to something else altogether here? Whose reputations were destroyed and how were they destroyed?

    To which Communist regime does she refer? And if the answer is the USSR, what “gory details” remain to be ‘shared’ after Solzhenitsyn and so many others have done so and so many of the files of the USSR came to light after December, 1991? Surely she need only enter some phrase like “Communist atrocities” into a search engine to start answering the question for herself.

    What is so important about this “gory details” question that ‘Kathy’ sees it necessary to follow it with 5 question-marks?

    In her final question is she implying that the Church had the authority to interfere with a government’s draft or internment policies?

    Is she suggesting that the Church – the Vatican certainly – did not speak out against those wars and even make proposals (as Benedict XV did) to end them?

    She is certainly correct that she planned to “sidetrack” here in her comment. But she has not formulated her questions well enough to be answered – to the extent that either a) full answers can be given or b) anything she is asking has any relevance for this site.

    But as I said: for almost all of her questions as posed in her comment, simple entry into a search-engine of any of her phrasings here should yield numerous results which she can then pursue.

  19. Jim Robertson says:

    You proposition a heaven. Your church's entire purpose is to get you there. I didn't invent the church. If the church didn't invent heaven who did? The god they also invented? There's religious logic for you.

    Jesus' sacrifice of his life was to give you access to heaven.  You propose, you say "heaven" exists. You need to prove said proposition. If you want all humanity to believe what you believe. I would say wanting that is pretty much a definition of totalitarian.

    Hitler based the SS on the jesuits. A good catholic boy goes very bad?. The church liked him better than us Commies though.:^)

    Then there was the catholic priest who headed the fascist Croatia. What a swell record you guys have. Sieg heil baby! 

    You go on and prove there's a heaven. When you can do that I'll believe.

  20. Jim Robertson says:

    What about American atrocities? Can I google that? I bet I can't. !,000,000 + dead in Iraq. Good work U.SA..

    Those were real men; women and children who are no more thanks to what we are willing to spend borrowed money on.  A system that is so dedicated to fear, horror and death is virtueous because….?

  21. Publion says:

    On the 15th at 1250AM:

    We get a dodge. It was not that I “proposition a heaven” that is at issue (for the purposes of the discussion here, I will accept the rather curious usage of “proposition” as a verb here as meaning that the Church makes the proposition that there is a heaven). Rather: what is at issue here is JR’s outright assertion that “your Church invented heaven”. Can he prove this assertion of his?

    As for his further question as to who invented heaven: one would have to go back to the religions of the ancient Near East as well as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Chinese religion, various Mesoamerican and Polynesian religions,  and Judaism going back to the Iron Age.

    There’s JR’s idea of “logic” for you.

    Thus too his following paragraph fails because it does not deal with the point I made, which had to do with his assertion that the Church invented heaven.

    But also in that paragraph: we are somehow supposed to accept that “wanting” “all humanity to believe what you believe” is “pretty much a definition of totalitarian”. Which assertion can hardly be credible because a) “wanting” is grossly insufficient to ground an actual totalitarianism and b) if JR’s definition were accurate, then anybody who wanted everybody to believe his/her claims, assertions, or allegations would be, by simple operation of that desire or ‘wanting’, “totalitarian” – which would thus include those who declare themselves to be victims, would it not?

    There’s JR’s idea of “logic” for you.

    Then a distracting and irrelevant riff on Hitler, the SS and the Jesuits, intensified – as best I can determine here – by the bit that since Hitler was a Catholic then … what? And readers are welcome to consult the archived comments here for the extensive discussions about the Church and the Third Reich.

    Then a distracting and irrelevant riff on “the catholic priest who headed the fascist Croatia”: that would be Msgr. Tiso, who headed up the nationalist Slovak People’s Party which had been founded in Franz-Joseph’s era seeking an autonomous Slovak polity within (after the war) newly-created Czechoslovakia; after WW1 and the erection of Czechoslovakia, he later headed up the First Slovak Republic, a Nazi puppet entity. (Slovakia and Croatia, of course, are different entities. There’s JR’s historical and geographical competence for you.)

    In his efforts to neutralize and weaken Czechoslovakia, Hitler had brought Tiso to Berlin and told Tiso that the Hungarians were planning to reclaim the Slovak territories lost to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in WW1 and Tiso could either acquiesce to that or else accept Germany’s ‘protection’ of an independent Slovak state. Tiso saw the handwriting on the wall and accepted this ‘offer’, although without first consulting the Slovak Assembly.

    The Vatican had a standing policy that clerics should not be involved in politics, but had no power to interfere with him in the highly-charged nationalist milieu of interwar central Europe, and this was especially true once Tiso began to fall under Hitler’s sway. It did refer to Tiso’s “heresies” and neither Pius XI nor Pius XII upon accession to the Papacy granted the required renewal of Tiso’s status as a “papal chamberlain”, which had been conferred upon Tiso back in the papacy of Benedict XV.

    So much then for JR’s Playbook-Cafeteria effort to toss some plop.

    And his concluding paragraph’s one-liner fails since the point at issue was and remains his own assertion that the Church “invented heaven”.

    And also: it apparently has to be pointed out to JR that if a proposition is proven, then it cannot be the subject of an act of belief. But the bit makes for a snappy one-liner, which appears to have been the intention.

    And a few minutes later, at 1258AM, an effort – as best I can determine – to distract from my pointing out assorted Communist/totalitarian examples by equating them with “American atrocities” (which – weirdly – JR thinks he cannot “google”) in Iraq. The point at issue had been to give examples of “totalitarian” and did not refer to “atrocities” in any way. But no doubt this was all there was in the 3×5 shoebox and so up it went.

    Also, the original point had been about the Church being “totalitarian”, and the US (“American”) did not enter into the matter at all. But again, the only bits on the 3x5s were about “American atrocities” so that’s what went up here.

    Nor had the ‘virtuousness’ of the American “system” been under discussion at all.

  22. malcolm harris says:

    On the 14 March at 1.52 p.m. Publion points out that for almost all of her history the Church has never been in a position to wield totalitarian power: Not over monarchs or over any other earthly authority

    Watched the latest version of the Robin Hood story just recently, starring Russell Crowe and made about 2010. A good movie and set against the historical backdrop of King John and his Barons, in the year 1215. The Magna Charta was primarily a  peace treaty between the King and his disgruntled Barons.

    What is relevant is that the movie omitted the crucial contribution of the Archbishop, Stephen Langton. This guy deserved more credit that anybody else  that the Magna Charta ever came into being. He contributed to it's original content, persuaded the parties to sign it, and then did his utmost to see that all parties stuck to it. Later he had amendments added that gave human rights to the common man. His objective was peace and human rights for all the people.

    You guessed it! The movie left him out entirely… and gave credit to some invented guy, a stonemason. The stonemason's son, (Russell Crowe) persuaded the King and the Barons to sign the Magna Charta. Really fantastic! Rip-roaring good adventure…. but it wasn't true. Yes….I have heard of 'artistic license'. However I am concerned that the media and the entertainment industry seem determined to erase from history any positive oontributions by Catholics.

    This can't be fair…. because people get most of their information from the media and entertainment industry. These days you could be forgiven for thinking that our Catholic faith has never managed to change anything for the better.

    Am I being too sensitive? Or just expressing the concerns of many.

  23. Publion says:

    Kudos and thanks to ‘Malcolm Harris’ for the valuable historical point he raises on the 16th at 438AM.

    My own thoughts in regard to his concluding questions:

    I think that for a very long time and especially in the USA (and the West generally) Catholics – even clerics – have not been sufficiently educated into the actual history of the Church and some of the remarkable human beings who contributed not only to the Church but – as we see in Archbishop Langton’s case – Western civilization and genuine democracy.

    And I think this has been going on for so long that not even ranking prelates are sufficiently educated in this regard.

    One of the great dangers of becoming as ‘successful’ as the Church became is that the Catholic ‘group’ (lay and clerical) will come to rely far too heavily on socialization into the group’s ways rather than depending upon the integrity and vitality of the group’s original founding insights and – not to put too fine a point on it – revelations. In such a situation – to use my own imagery – the ethos of the City Cohorts rather than of the Legions becomes the accepted benchmark of ‘faithfulness’ to the Faith.

    Rodney Stark – in his 2007 book Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief – raises this very point: Constantine, he says, did Christianity no favor when in 313 he made Christianity a favored religion of the Empire; nor, I would then add, did Theodosius when at the end of that century he made Christianity the established religion of the Empire. (But it is also intriguing to see Stark demonstrate how very many Christians there already were in the Empire by the 4th century.)

    Because, Stark says, a religion’s most vital and valuable ‘moment’ is when it is still only a “sect”, still ‘hungry’ and ‘fresh’ (we might say), struggling to express itself as an outsider phenomenon, motivated directly and acutely by the spiritual excitement and vitality of its founding insights. Once, Stark continues, a “sect” somehow advances to the phase of being a ‘church’ then it starts to atrophy.

    I agree with Stark’s insights about the vitality of a religion’s “sect” phase; his examination of a number of the world’s historical or still-active religious groups is solid and comprehensive .

    But I do not see it accurately applying to the Catholic Church for this reason: Of all the world’s religions (and the list is long) Roman Catholicism is the only one that ever developed a) a fixed-center that operated (and still operates) as a constant and shape-sustaining trellis or internal-structure or endo-skeleton while simultaneously b) leaving dogmatically-provided room for developments that can be formally incorporated without vitiating the founding revelations and energy.

    The Church – alone among the world’s religions past and present – has developed an equation that can handle both necessary constants and emerging variables, holding them in some dynamic if tensive balance, harnessing the power of both the constant and the emergent-variable.

    The Church, to use sailing-ship imagery, has a rigid and yet a flexible hull; has i) sails for motive-power and yet both ii) ballast to keep the sails from overturning the hull and iii) a rudder to steer the vessel along her course. No other world religion – historical or still-existing – has managed to keep all of these vital elements operative without sinking the vessel, and so very many of the world’s religions have not even seen the value of trying to do so.

    Getting back to the lack of historical education about the Church among Catholics lay and clerical:

    The natural consequences of this profound lack were hugely amplified as the late 1960s brought so broad a Gramscian campaign by various secularist elements and interests against the Church, surfing a wave of Boomer-y youthful (in the sense of unripe and not-yet-mature) exuberance-for and infatuation-with ‘change’. The Zeitgeist – to use one author’s phrase – was “somewhere to the left of Whooopeee!”. Or, to use a sparkling phrase put into the mouth of cartoondom’s Everyman, Homer Simpson: an infatuation with “the sacred act of Ah-Ooooooh-Gah”.

    At the very best – such as it was – so very many Catholic thinkers who were au courant with the excitements of the 1960s and yet remained well-disposed toward the Church, tried to make some case for the Church while having in their minds already implicitly accepted so much conventional wisdom that need not have been so easily presumed (e.g. the utter validity of Darwinism’s science as well as its philosophical and theological and cultural sequelae; the image of the Church as a monarchical and even ‘totalitarian’ (as well as ‘oppressive’, of course) temporal power; and even an insufficiently robust confidence in the reality of the Metaplanar in order to be ‘welcoming’ to the then-conventional wisdom in the West in the 1960s that the Monoplane was – as it were, if I may – the ‘Queen of the Planes’).

    And of course there were many even in the Church’s ostensible knowledge-elites who were not only au courant with the Zeitgeist but had pretty much ‘cast their (and the Church’s) fate to the wind’ of Change. I recall the notable American Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray having opined at the end of Vatican 2 something to the effect of:  Now that the Church has established freedom of conscience and expression against the temporal powers of the world, the next step is to establish within the Church the individual’s freedom of conscience and expression against the Vatican. That statement was surely a straw in the wind and a canary in the mine. Murray was pretty much ‘welcoming’ an essentially Protestant Reformation illumination – and the historical record demonstrates the consequences of that gambit – and he was doing so in clear ignorance or disregard, I would say, of the marvelous ‘sailing vessel’ that Catholicism had evolved to carry her Message and People through human history’s stormy seas. (Nor, as that formidable observer and student of things-Catholic, George Weigel has observed with dismay, was that illumination and gambit accepted only by Murray as in individual Jesuit but rather it took hold widely in that Order in the West.)

    Langton occupies a point midway (so far) between the remarkable founding generations of Catholic thinkers and churchmen and the most recent remarkable thinkers and churchmen such as John Paul II. And all along and in-between, there is a steady continuum of remarkable contributions by remarkable human beings.

    I doubt today that there is sufficient awareness of the Church’s remarkable contributions even among Vatican-level prelates, let alone priests and – alas – Catholic thinkers and academics as well as the vast body of the laity.

    And that is a lack that needs to be addressed quickly and effectively.

    Thanks again to ‘Malcolm Harris’ whose comment prompted my thoughts.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      The virtuocity of all believed systems including mine should always be in question. And screw off to you personally.

      Try to remember this little fact; all the Nazi deathcamps were still in catholic countries, explain that loss of morality. You are a piece of dung grasping at clouds; and that's on a good day.

  24. Publion says:

    On the 16th at 741PM what do we get?

    First we get “virtuosity” (correction supplied) which is either nonsensical here or else indicates that JR doesn’t know the difference between ‘virtuosity’ and ‘virtue’ (or – a stretch – ‘virtue-essness’). Aside from whether any belief-system is at all rightly characterizable as having or not-having ‘virtue’, I’d say that ‘virtuosity’ – rightly defined and deployed – is actually not a bad axis of assessment of ‘belief systems’.

    And while the Church has one of the most comprehensive and coherently worked-out belief systems in the history of the world’s religions, I’d say that what this site has managed to accomplish is a revealing assessment of the virtuosity of the Anderson Strategies (making use as they do of Alinskyite agitprop as well as Victimist law ‘reforms’) in achieving the purpose for which those Strategies were devised.

    And then we get an epithet – coming from JR who fancies himself speaking for all “victims”. Charming.

    And then we get – yet again – the factoid (or “little fact”) that “all the Nazi deathcamps were in catholic countries”. Although this is apropos of nothing under discussion here, it is a bit that has been discussed at great length on this site on prior threads: the Nazis situated their death camps mostly in the Government-General, that region formerly known as Poland, which the Nazis overran early in the war and which they governed directly as a conquered territory with no input from any local Polish authorities (since the Polish government did not exist in Poland during that period).

    This was a demonstration of ‘efficiency’ since the camps were centrally located in regard to the location of the targeted population (the Jewish population of Central and Eastern Europe).

    Needless to say, the Nazis did not seek any approval from the locals. If JR has any rational and coherent theory of the relevance of the factoid that the former Poland was a largely Catholic country during the era of the Government-General then he is welcome to put it up here. In all the time that this bit has been on the table here, and although he has tossed this factoid up on several occasions, he has never explained its significance in any rational and coherent way.

    Certainly, the imposition and location of the death-camps in the former-Poland cannot involve any “loss of morality” since the former-Poland was in no way able to have a say in the matter and its decisions were neither sought nor would they have been accepted by the Nazis.

    And so this factoid demonstrates rather vividly and once again that ‘facts’ are larger than ‘factoids’ and it requires a certain amount of competence to take factoids and reach an accurate comprehension of the actualities involved.

    And the whole shebang concludes with an epithet. That works so well.

  25. Jim Robertson says:


  26. Jim Robertson says:


  27. Publion says:

    On the 18th at 220PM we finally get JR’s explanation of his assertion as to how Catholicism “failed morally” in Poland: no Poles “sat on any tracks to stop any train to any death camp”. (shout-y scare-caps omitted)

    And “therefore” Catholicism and/or the Poles “failed morally”.

    In the first place: how is it so absolutely known that no Poles “sat on any tracks” at any time and so forth? We know JR wasn’t personally there so … what then? Does he have some records or some substantiating … anything?

    In the second place: how is it absolutely known that the Polish Resistance didn’t blow up some tracks? (And if they did blow up some tracks, had they “failed morally” by not blowing up all the tracks?)

    In the third place: I cannot think of any instances in World War 2 where Resistance members or civilians “sat on tracks”; this was an action that I recall first coming into vogue in the UK in the 1950s efforts to prevent US atomic/nuclear weapons from being deployed there. Such ‘demonstrations’ are most often seen against governments that are at least modestly bound by the rule of law (e.g. Gandhi against the Brits, UK citizens vs. their own police and military in the matter of bringing US atomic/nuclear weapons into the UK; Americans doing the same thing against weapons-trains and even troop-trains in the 1960s), but the Nazi regime cannot reasonably be said to bound by the rule of law and the German response to any such demonstrations is well-known and was no doubt known to the Poles at the time.

    Connecting to the fourth point: given what we know of what Germans (rather than, say, the UK government in the 1950s and 1960s) did to people who interfered with any government/military activities, then any such action as merely “sitting on the tracks” would have been dealt with instantaneously and lethally. And given the German Modus Operandi, may well have resulted in the destruction of any nearby village and a number – if not all – of its inhabitants. How would this very strong probability of lethal and wide-ranging retaliation affect the moral calculus or moral reasoning in favor of sitting on some tracks?

    Leading to the fifth point: what is the moral logic or reasoning upon which JR relies for his judgment that in failing to sit on tracks the Poles (let alone “Catholicism”) “failed morally” (and thus were under some moral obligation to sit on tracks)?

    Connecting to the sixth point: had then the Allies “failed morally” by not bombing the camps and/or the train tracks? If so, what is the moral reasoning behind judging the Allies to have “failed morally” by not doing so?

    And that sound we hear is JR’s concluding epithet here recoiling back on him. As so often.

    And then on the 18th at 223PM – again in all shout-y scare-caps – we get a further riff on the “failed morally” bit, trying to piggy-back the Church’s purported moral failings “regarding its own child victims” onto the Holocaust-era ‘moral failure’ of Poles who did not sit on any tracks.

    In the first place: we are still not sure that the Poles in the Holocaust “failed morally” by not sitting on any tracks (although perhaps JR’s further explication of his logic and moral reasoning in this matter may clarify things).

    In the second place: we are still not sure just how many genuine cases of ‘moral failure’ took place since we are not sure a) how many genuine victims there were nor b) in just what ways – in those genuine cases – the Church “failed morally”. Nor has JR ever elucidated his assertions in that regard.

    In the third place: even in cases where the Church was responsible for ‘moral failure’, in what ways has the Church not both i) provided compensation and ii) implemented policies and protocols to prevent such incidents happening in the future? And judged in light of all other organizations on the planet – present and past – has the Church not demonstrated to any reasonable mind that it has taken effective steps to correct such ‘moral failings’ as it might have made? If not, then in what ways has it failed to make necessary self-corrections?

    In the fourth place: is it even morally reasonable and valid to hold any human-run institution to a standard of perfect moral performance as opposed to the standard of self-correction?

    In the fifth place: in what way does a ‘moral failing’ demonstrate that “religion” is not “true”?

    These questions should move the discourse beyond the merely-assertive into some serious thinking.

  28. Jim Robertson says:

    Religion is not true in any empirical sense. None of them can pass scientific muster. Save Buddhism which is a philosophy more than a religion. It offers no life after death nonsense. And at least we know the Buddha really lived.

    "perfect moral performance"? How about  even a tiny bit of moral performance?

    Catholicism fails women; children; the Jews ; and Gays; and is pro nuclear weapons being made Those failures of morality affect the majority of human beings on this planet.

    If catholicism is THE moral fount; you might well wonder why the church's own morality continuously seem to be the very last thing on the churchs "mind".

    Meanwhile their nose is buried deep into everyone elses' "morality" to the tune of spending $20 million( that's million) to fight gay marriage in California. Something that's none of the church's business. The voters made it very clear it was none of the church's business.

    Why did we have to lawyer up to get the church to pay any compensation? Why has the church spent so much money fighting victims claims including fighting to several state supreme courts the rights of victims to sue civily.

    In Rhode Island the church went to their supreme court saying victims shouldn't be able to sue the church because of separation of church and state.

    If you think being at the bottom of moral Grand Canyon is holding the moral high ground; you are a bigger fool than ever I thought possible.

    When in fact you have no interest in morality at all. Not a jot of interest in it.

    "Morality" is the logo for a product your church sells, it's self.

    When in reality your church is so rarely moral that when it does do something moral the world gives the church extraordinary credit for it. Example: pope Frank's much heralded "humility". Maybe because morality finally coming from you guys is such a welcome surprise.



  29. Publion says:

    On the 21st at 119PM we get an extended excursus, courtesy of JR and/or his muse.

    Once again, I will go along paragraph by paragraph.

    In the first paragraph: It is a truism to say that “religion is not true in any empirical sense”, although I would point out that “empirical” is a term of the Monoplane, i.e. that ‘empiricism’ only works with known or demonstrable facts on the material Plane of Existence. Which is precisely not the Plane of Existence on which religion claims to be founded – resulting in any ‘empirical proof’ of religion’s sources being beyond the range of empiricism. Using ‘empiricism’ to definitively establish the reality of religion’s sources is like using sonar to locate aircraft: the system isn’t able to do it since it isn’t designed for it.

    Thus too it is a truism to say that no religion “can pass scientific muster”. (Although – again – Abusenik claims are very much subject to empirical assessment, which is something the Playbook seeks by any means available to avoid.)

    As for the insinuation that we perhaps do not even know that Jesus “really lived”, we have references to his existence and execution in Roman imperial documents, independent of any witness borne by the early Christian community.

    In the second paragraph: we get merely a bit of juvenile snark and it is what it is.

    In the third paragraph: we get merely assertions stemming from JR’s (and/or his muse’s) take on Catholicism and they are not relevant here. Readers can make of them what they wish.

    In the fourth paragraph: we merely get a further riff on the second paragraph’s already-noted material.

    In the fifth paragraph: we see here the essentially limited (if indeed not childish) point of view that the Church ‘interferes with’ “everyone elses’ morality” (sic). This is the Boomer-y plaint that whatever anybody wants to do in regard to ‘morality’ is his/her own business and nobody else’s.

    This bit stems from Lockean and Utilitarian efforts to work out a morality that does not require religion or even the Metaplane, and instead tries to base morality purely in the Monoplane: if something you want to do doesn’t harm anybody else then it’s OK to do it.

    Which fails here even on its own terms since sexual activity has numerous types of impact on other people, both sex-partners and the larger society. So sex is not purely an individual’s affair.

    And in a larger sense: if the Church is correct, as she believes she is, that humans are created in the Image of God, then there are ways to conduct a human life which support and enhance an individual’s burnishing that Image (which would be ‘moral’) and ways to conduct one’s activities that do not burnish and indeed dim or damage that Image (which would be immoral).

    I often use an aircraft image to elucidate this: a person flying his/her own private airplane still has to respect both i) FAA regulations that govern the operation of the aircraft in the air and ii) the fundamental principles of aerodynamics that govern any flying machine. Thus a person i) cannot merely fly his/her private plane wherever s/he wishes (there are restricted spaces and other operational protocols) nor ii) put the aircraft into certain maneuvers that will most likely result in a crash (injuring or killing not only the individual but also other individuals in the impact-zone). For that matter, a person who wishes to drive his/her private aircraft on a highway or roadway as if it were a motor vehicle is also prohibited from doing such a thing for the same sort of reasons.

    As for the bit about ‘the Church’ spending 20 million dollars in CA to “fight gay marriage” is not something I have seen in the news. And given the source here I would not find it credible without further evidence or a link (that establishes that it was indeed the Church and not a congeries of other groups that put up that amount of money).

    But the health of society and culture is certainly the Church’s “business” since if humans are not supported in their individual lives by the ethos of their society and culture, then it becomes that much harder for humans in such a society and culture to fulfill themselves (as being made in the Image of God).

    I would also point out that historically the Soviets initially de-instituted marriage and de-emphasized family life but soon had to reverse themselves as the consequences of those policies revealed themselves to be extremely deleterious to the conduct and functioning of Russian society and culture.

    In the sixth paragraph: we see the plaint that allegants had to “lawyer up to get the church to pay any compensation”. This is a manipulative question in the sense that it tries to move us quickly beyond a perfectly reasonable (if not also obvious) answer: their allegations and claims did not appear credible in many cases and Church monies (or Insurer monies) could not simply be dished-out to anybody who showed up at the door with an allegation.

    Further, this question is slyly designed to distract from the fact that the allegants did indeed choose to “lawyer up”, which – under the aegis of the Anderson Strategies and a host of willing torties – resulted in significantly enhanced pay-outs (in one case about which we were told on this site an initial offer of 17,000 dollars was turned into a pay-out of one million dollars).

    Further, it would certainly be within the legal rights of the Church (and the Insurers) and perhaps was also morally required, that such hugely dubious allegations and claims as we have seen were subjected to available judicial recourse in order to prevent the very Stampede which – alas – took place. (Readers may recall that somewhere around 12,000 allegants (and their tort attorneys) made almost 3 billion dollars).

    In the seventh paragraph: we merely get a factoid about a particular legal argument made by the Church in an effort to stem the Stampede. If JR wishes to assess the actual court case and give us further information as to the specifics of the legal arguments put forward and perhaps even the relevant Court’s decision and reasoning, then that would be nice.

    In the eighth paragraph: we get merely snarky bits about the “moral Grand Canyon”, demonstrating once again that so much of the Playbook is designed not to conduct substantial assessment but simply to toss up vivid characterizations that can derail such assessment.

    And an epithet that is based on JR’s prior dubious bits in his comment.

    In the ninth paragraph: we merely get an epithetical assertion in which JR doth presume to know whether I have any “interest in morality at all” (he thinks I don’t). But then of course, a) the ‘morality’ that the Abuseniks espouse is one that accepts their allegations and claims without further examination or doubt and b) JR’s own ‘morality’ chops are revealed in his comment’s bits about sexual matters, as seen above.

    And his shaky assertion is then characteristically reinforced by the repetitive bit about “Not a jot of interest in it”.

    In the tenth paragraph we are merely  given another ‘spin’ bit, to the effect that “Morality” is merely “the logo for a product your church sells” – and thus reveals the depth (as it were) of his grasp of what “Morality” actually encompasses.

    And in the eleventh paragraph we are given – we are told – the “reality” that “your church is so rarely moral” (which is a hugely dubious assertion all on its own) but then we are slyly given an attempt to sidestep the significant moral contributions the Church has made to Western society and culture: “when it does do something moral the world gives the church extraordinary credit for it”. Neato.

    And we are given an “example” as well: the Pope’s “much heralded humility”. And – but of course – no explanation as to just how the Pope’s “much heralded humility” constitutes an “example” of the point he was trying to make. Nor is his “example” so obvious and clear that it can succeed on its own with no explanation.

    But that failed bit does serve a more familiar Abusenik purpose here: it provides the launch-platform for a snarky concluding epithet.

    And that’s all we get this time, folks, from JR and/or  his muse.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      Really what bad repercussions in society does "sex", condemned by; yet highly practiced within your church on the down low ,have?

      Your hierarchy has been majorly gay for eons. Hypocrites they are but the world didn't end. Earthquakes and famines came and went; and we are all still here, gays and straights. Your church has been selling fear forever. Fear sells evidently and sells big.

      What if we amortized the 3000 dead from 9/11 and see how much the American people are willing to pay per individual of those 3000, so far. The wars in revenge of 9/11 have cost 4 to 6 TRILLION dollars. So 3000 goes into 4 trillion dollars. How many times. $133 million per victim. and millions of innocents dead. Quite the price to stem America's fears as fanned by Fox news and Rush Limbaugh. Don't you think?

      Gay partners are marrying all over the world; and, just as with the strum and drang in the U.S. over integration, the world hasn't ended. Nobody cares really.

      Gay marriage affects the majority, not at all.. And if gay marriage really did mean something important in a shift of power regarding the rule of the rich it would have never ever happened. It has happened so it means nothing important has occured really.

      Good people do good things and bad people don't.

  30. Jim Robertson says:

    "Roman Imperial documents" what documents might those be? Josephus, the traitor to the Macabees and to his people at Masada, is the only contemporary commentator on  J.C. I've ever heard of,; and there's much controversy regarding Josephus statement as to it's authenticity. There is a whole group of present day historians who credit Josephus with inventing Jesus to stop rebellion and to"placate" any further Jewish rebellions by offering, the Jews, one of their own as a/the god/messiah..

  31. Jim Robertson says:

    Let's see, your church passed known sex abusors from parish to parish never protecting the "supposedly" much loved catholic children; and then don't want to pay for the damages such behavior caused the victims of those decisions? And I and all the victims are supposed to empathize with you for that?

    I wouldn't be talking about "day rooms" if I were you. You might give people ideas. :^)

  32. Jim Robertson says:

    I don't grasp morality and what it encompasses? Oh really! I didn't know that.

    Could you give me an example of my non "grasp" of morality?( I can hardly wait to read this!)

  33. Julie says:

    Jim Robertson, So what do you say about the 3 million Catholics who died in the Holocaust? Including hundreds of Catholic priests and nuns. I know a Polish Catholic lady who was sent to Dachau, and her father died there. I don't think she would appreciate your manufactured, self-serving outrage aimed at spreading (yet more) lies about the Catholic Church and its role at the time. BTW, Pope Pius XII saved 600,000 Jews. What were any other agencies or churches doing to save them?

    • Jim Robertson says:

      I'm sorry! I forgot the real victims of the shoah were Polish catholics, Julie, not the Jews; or Gays; or Gypsies; or Communists; or Jehovah's Witnesses.  You must be Polish. Were you killed there too?

      One of JP2's brother saints created by him was a franciscan who died in the camps even though he was the publisher of a notoriously anti-semetic Polish news paper.

      Pius the impious XII also "saved" thousands of Nazi's fleeing justice after the war. He was an equal opportunity savior.

  34. Publion says:

    On the 25th at 412PM JR asks about Roman Imperial documentation of the historicity of Jesus.

    The first two references we have are indeed from Flavius Josephus. We went over all of that in comments here at one time and I will be brief here.

    In the ‘Antiquities’ Josephus makes two references to Jesus. While one of those references occurs in passages where some commentators think later (and Christian) material was later interpolated, there is no total consensus as to whether the actual reference to Jesus is additional interpolated material or whether the core fact of Jesus’ existence was part of the original.

    But the second reference is largely accepted by scholars as authentic. In Book 20, Chapter 9 of the ‘Antiquities’ Josephus refers to “the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ, whose name was James”. This reference is considered to be one of the most reliably authentic bits in all Josephus’s material dealing with Christianity.

    And material considered to be possibly later interpolations still do not conform to relevant Gospel narratives, which makes it unlikely that the interpolations (if indeed they are such) were made by Christians who could be presumed to want to make Josephus correspond more closely to the Gospels.

    He also makes reference to John the Baptist. It would be odd to do so if he didn’t find credible the existence of Jesus Himself.

    Then there is a reference made by Tacitus (who refers to one “Christus” who was executed by Pilate) in the ‘Annals’ (Book 15, Chapter 44).

    And there remains the question – put to JR back then in comments and never coherently answered – as to why Josephus would want or need to curry favor with his imperial sponsors, the Flavians (Vespasian, his sons Titus and Domitian), by making up anything about Jesus at all.

    One can only wonder at the identity of this “whole group of present day historians” who try to make the case that Josephus ‘invented Jesus’: in what way would the Roman admission that Jesus existed “stop rebellion”? If the Romans were to have insisted that Jesus existed as the Messiah and that they then crucified that Jewish Messiah, would that not have run the powerful risk of inciting Jews to even more “rebellion”? How in any rational universe would that “placate” Jewish feelings? And even if Jesus were put forward by the Romans as a false Messiah, then His historical existence is still demonstrated.

    And although there is a much wider range of opinion as to the historicity of this or that particular episode or instance in His life, few scholars today doubt the historical existence of Jesus.

    Nor is it rationally probable that the Church as it existed in the first two centuries was in any way capable of pulling-the-wool over so many eyes or that, in the midst of such persecutions as the early Christian community experienced, nobody took the opportunity at that time to squelch Christianity on the basis of the non-existence of Jesus. Surely the Roman Emperors had the capacity to conduct such a campaign of exposure if they thought it could succeed.

    In regard to the comment at 453PM on the 25th: Nobody has asked JR or anybody else to “empathize with” me or the Church or anybody else.

    I will, however, continue to mention “day rooms” since a) I don’t see much value in trying to adopt JR’s ‘logic’ and mentation and since b) I would imagine readers have already done their thinking about “day rooms” and have drawn such conclusions as they see fit.

    In regard to the 25th at 533Pm: by asking “what bad repercussions in society does ‘sex’” actually have, JR demonstrates his rather conveniently constricted vision of the dynamic interactions of ‘sex’ and society (which is also the conveniently constricted vision of conventional liberal-radical thinking).

    First point: human beings are like tuning-forks all bunched together in a single enclosed space: they tend to set each other off; they tend to give off ‘vibes’ (as the 60s liked to say) or torsion-waves of mental/emotional energy; we are all simultaneously radio transmitters and receivers; what is clear in the bonds between twins or between a mother-and-child are simply the most vivid and strongest examples of a dynamic connection which we each have with other human beings. The Star Wars films’ concept of ‘The Force’ was working toward this, although for script purposes the effects of this dynamic were exaggerated in several ways.

    Second point: therefore humans can influence each other and be influenced – and not only in simple one-to-one encounters but even in general and large societal ways.

    Third point: thus the culture of a society is vital in shaping the type of impact humans will have on each other. (John Paul II was very insistent on the urgent primacy of Culture as a fundamental necessity in maintaining civilization and especially a civilization based on human beings created in the Image of God.)

    Fourth point: therefore we as members of a society must consider whether a ‘Cabaret’ culture (as I have previously described it in that film) is really workable and sufficient and desirable as a primary element in a culture shaping each other and the common life we live together as members of a society. Nor, of course, can we be distracted from this profound responsibility in determining the nature of our culture by accepting the simplistic either/or construction of that film: either sexual anarchy and license or else Nazism.

    Fifth point: because the sexual urge is one of the strongest of human urges and one of the most simply pleasurable of human experiences, then it is one of the most responsive and indeed volatile aspects of the individual human being and of human beings living together in a society. Thus, again, we find ourselves faced with the question: do we wish a ‘Cabaret’ culture to be shaping us and our children into matured adults who can sustain a productive culture and civilization and society that can in turn nurture their best potentials?

    This is the vital and fundamental dynamic feedback loop between a culture and its people, and between those individuals as human beings whose actions and even whose energies – acted upon or not – influence each other.

    And sixth and final point: you cannot achieve a genuine and self-sustaining culture simply by some form of secular positivism, i.e. by passing laws and fatuously expecting that human beings who have no Grounding in any Beyond will be able to consistently (if not perfectly) shape and reach their best potentials simply out of fear of prosecution.

    You cannot sustain a civilization without a Beyond and therefore without religion which is an organized and coherent template for sustaining a relationship with the Beyond. T.S. Eliot saw this in ‘Notes on Culture’ and so did even Voltaire: you cannot sustain a civilization without a rational and passionate commitment to the Beyond (or, to use my term, the Meta). Voltaire, anti-clerical rather than atheist, worried about what could replace the Church once its role in French society and culture had been minimized.

    Then JR’s further – if not quite relevant – assertions about the Church’s “hierarchy” having been “majorly gay for eons”: if this assertion has any demonstrable evidence behind it then JR can share it here. Perhaps he has inherited a smoking-gun document from Grandpa Gregory X (although I can’t imagine, on the basis of what is in the record here, that his Latin is up to translating it).

    The assertion that the Church has been “selling fear forever” (aside from the gross inaccuracy of “forever”, and of “eons” for that matter) is so partial a factoid that it becomes a non-truth: the “fear” of human beings becoming mired in a primitive culture – or perhaps anti-culture – moved the Church to do as much as possible to prevent such a development.

    The “fear” was based on an acute and vivid and I would say very accurate perception of the stakes involved in human culture, which stakes are far more profound and vital than a culture “somewhere to the left of Whoopee” can even begin to handle.

    The bit about ‘amortizing’ the 9/11 dead appears here relevant to nothing.

    Then we are given the bit about gay marriage (“all over the world”, which is not accurate): apparently this is happening because “nobody cares really” whether they do or they don’t. Perhaps so: far too many people don’t realize the stakes involved. Nobody really grasped the significance of that gentle shudder as ‘Titanic’ scraped along the side of the berg either. And a lot of people were very happy to escape the threatening humdrum of life in Germany in the ‘30s by spending as much time as they could in a cabaret.

    But the Church has always realized the fragility of human culture, and how quickly it can be fatally damaged and deranged if mishandled. Not so the secularists, who happily and conveniently choose to think that human beings are infinitely plastic and culture can be re-shaped to taste like play-dough. And who thus push the great ship at ‘transformative’ speed through the dark ocean night because they have the idea that she is unsinkable (even if she might bang into this or that from time to time).

    And thus JR’s ‘logic’ in the next paragraph fails: he (and/or his sources) would have us believe that since i) X wouldn’t happen if “the rich” didn’t let it happen (because they didn’t think it was “important”, and that since ii) X is happening, then iii) “nothing important has occurred really” (correction supplied).

    Which presumes that “the rich” – or any other secularist illuminati – genuinely know what nurtures genuine culture and what doesn’t make a difference one way or the other. And that is a very big presumption. (Nor is the presumption in any way fortified by the wisps of Marxist-y doctrine about “the rich”.)

    And in the last paragraph of the comment, we get the cartoonish assertion that “good people do good things and bad people don’t” – which follows from nothing preceding it and which is itself grossly insufficient to deal with the stubborn and profound human reality that even the best humans do some evil and even the worst humans do some good, in their lives.

    And so, on the basis of all the foregoing, JR’s question on the 25th at 538PM is answered and his failure to “grasp morality” is demonstrated. And who could be surprised that he “didn’t know that”?

    He need “hardly wait” any longer.

  35. Jim Robertson says:

    So Tacitus called Jesus, Christ? I thought that was a Greek title "awarded" to the Naz centuries after "His visit" to this small planet?

    "Wisps"; "Gauzy" and "Wigs"; you sound like a hairdresser in heat. I'll do your hair, honey, for the funeral. Soon I hope.

    I'll gladly send Dave Pierre a copy of my family's direct lineage to the people I've claimed as my progenitors; and then I'll  happily slip a copy under your shroud when I'm sure you're dead..

  36. Jim Robertson says:
  37. Jim Robertson says:

    Isn't the catholic church's use of guilt really the flip side of the Roman use of human slaughter as entertainment? Don't catholics keep occupied by judging themselves and others? That's all I see them doing publicly. Only instead of killing others literally to entertain, catholics destroy themselves and others with their definition of "sin". Looks like the games in the Colosseum became partly internalized by the catholics. The old Roman judgements about who should live and who should die just became part of the church's control mechinism over the "new' christian faithful.

  38. Jim Robertson says:

    You know what's great about sex? It's fun. No guilt necessary. 

    Sex and Berlin cabarets didn't create Hitler. Your church and the Treaty of Versailles did.

    Your church has made quite a pile of dough from keeping people worried about sex and eternal fire. So far you can offer no proof of heaven or hell. So why should anyone believe you?

  39. Jim Robertson says:

    And still no discussion on SNAP's behavior in Australia. Of course not.

  40. Jim Robertson says:

    "Beyond"!!!!!! LMFAO! What traveler has returned with tales of that beyond?

    Your christ doesn't even mention heaven. Not once is that word used by him. And he supposedly owns the place.

  41. Jim Robertson says:

    "Presumes the rich know what is important to human society"? No! The rich know what is or isn't important in maintainiong their power and privilage. Obviously gay marriage threatens nothing important to that power and privilage and therefore doesn't really "matter' at all.

    The church has always known the fragility of IT'S control over human culture  and it fears the loss of it's power over people; and that's all it fears. If it really cared about the poor of this world; It would do something about them and for them. It only wants them to have more children, catholic children.  For many reasons it seems.

  42. Jim Robertson says:
  43. Jim Robertson says:

    This so far is the best. Mr Atwill is catholic educated:

  44. Publion says:

    With so much on the table, yet again from JR we get nothing much.

    On the 31st at 1109AM: whatever JR claims to have “thought” about Tacitus is no more credible than any of his other claims.

    Additionally: the Greek language was used in the West for quite a while after the Greeks of the Classical Age had passed from the scene and there weren’t any more “Greeks” making major inputs.

    Additionally: it was not Tacitus who “called Jesus [the] Christ”. Tacitus – as the quotation clearly indicated – was simply reporting what was known to him about Jesus. And thus too, given the dates of Tacitus’ works, then it wasn’t “centuries after”.

    Then just some distract-y bits about hairdressing and being “in heat”. Topics with which, like cartoons, JR might well be much better and more widely and deeply informed than myself. But nonetheless irrelevant.

    And the comment concludes with his assurances to all that he will “send Dave Pierre a copy of my family’s direct lineage to people I’ve claimed as progenitors”. He couldn’t have simply put up a link on the site already? But it is an uncharacteristically nicely-phrased bit, and even correctly spelled and punctuated.

    And as I’ve said: the provision of the lineage would only be as good as the information inputted to the Ancestry registry computers. But even if it were true, as I’ve said before, its significance for any issues this site deals with is zilch. Unless JR might want to make the case that either a) his comments therefore carry the weight and authority of a Pope of Rome and/or b) he claims to have inherited (over the course of almost a millennium of generations) some of that Pope’s skills and strengths.

    Thus then to the 31st at 1118AM: as always from so many Abuseniks, we get nothing but links and – in this case – are instructed to “think”. What ‘thinking’ has he done in regard to them? What is their significance, in JR’s opinion? What are his thoughts on them that he sees as relevant to his position and/or to the subjects under discussion on the thread? One might even wonder if he has read the links himself, or has simply trawled various precincts of the Web for them, or has simply gotten the links from others.

    Then at 1129AM we get a stab at theological and moral thinking.

    But he does not engage my thoughts (the 29th, 346AM), which certainly provided enough material about my position and the Church’s position. Instead he simply tosses up an insinuating question (that clearly indicates no awareness of what has already been put up here on the subject): is not the Church’s “use of guilt really the flip side of the Roman use of human slaughter as entertainment?”

    But this question would already be answered by my material (had he read it and grasped it): while the Romans sought to ‘entertain’ and thus to distract, the Church’s efforts were aimed at getting people to directly confront the serious and profound and powerful challenge that sexuality poses to the conduct of a mature and fulfilled human life.

    And thus “fear” was not the objective. “Fear” may have been an emotion reasonably accompanying an awareness of just how volatile sexuality and the sexual urges are, but that “fear” was not the ultimate objective. The ultimate objective was to catalyze the individual into so shaping his/her life that the sexual urges would not run amok, such that – in a human’s life – the clowns (so to speak) would be running the circus or the tail would be wagging the dog.

    It is “fear” of water running loose in the hull of a ship that moved naval architects to compartmentalize ships such that the hull is designed with a series of baffles (called watertight compartments, formed by the construction of watertight bulkheads) precisely to prevent a hull pierced in one place from being completely flooded. That sort of thing.

    And while we’re on the subject, the Stampede and its Playbook are far more akin to Roman ‘spectacles’ in the arena: the Playbook is indeed designed to ‘entertain’ with lurid stories and claims and allegations and to ‘distract’ people from any deeper considerations.

    The fact that JR doesn’t “see” any of that (“That’s all I see them doing publicly”) is not surprising.

    Thus then this theological riffing continues on into “sin”, which – we are to believe – is simply a method of getting Catholics to “destroy themselves and others”. Thus then: “sin” is nothing but a construct concocted by the Church to keep people from (fill in the blank: having fun, enjoying their rights, and/or making Whoopee in the endless Cabaret Saturday night that some people figure is all that there really is to conducting a human life).

    The riff then continues with more pop psychologizing (the Catholics “partly internalized” the “games in the Colosseum”).

    And then the riff leads JR (and/or his muse) into even deeper water: “sin” is merely a holdover and adaptation of “the old Roman judgments about who should live and who should die”.

    Did only the Romans, among the world’s civilizations, reserve to government power the authority over life and death?

    The Church explained the problem (the volatility of sexual urges), the stakes (losing one’s genuine humanity and returning to the trees and swamps), and the necessary actions required to address the problem (develop the capacity to master your urges so that you can proceed to a higher level of fulfillment).

    But what we see in JR’s bit here is simply the old Boomer-y and youth-y plaint that if they can’t have fun with sex then they are being oppressed (or – histrionically – ‘destroyed’) by fuddy-duddy Puritans who simply want to spoil everybody’s chance of having a good time.

    So much then for our foray into Catholic theology and sexual ethics as envisioned in certain precincts of the Web and in secularist doctrine.

    And at 1136AM we simply get a further riff on “sex” which any parent would recognize: it’s “fun” and “no guilt necessary”. And that’s been dealt with above.

    And then – for lack of anything else in the 3×5 file – a historical bit: Hitler wasn’t created by “sex and Berlin cabarets”. How very true. Hitler, however, was able to use the “sex and Berlin cabarets” to dupe the German people into figuring that if German society and culture was going the way of the “sex and Berlin cabarets” then something, anything, had to be done to prevent such a morass from overtaking them all.

    Thus Hitler actually ran in reverse the same play that the makers of the 1972 film ‘Cabaret’ did: it’s one or the other, sexual anarchy or a Nazi government. Except that for Hitler the Good was Nazism and the Evil was sexual-license while for the 1972 film the Good was sexual-license and the Evil was Nazism.

    But the Church’s position would be: if enough people, supported by their culture, mastered themselves so as to work toward genuine maturity and fulfillment, then neither a ‘Cabaret’ culture nor a Nazi culture would be needed or possible.

    And then we also get in that paragraph the already-discredited bit about “the church and the Treaty of Versailles” having created Hitler. The Treaty of Versailles surely helped him along, as did the Weimar-era financial ups-and-downs of the 1920s. But Hitler was already in power and constituted the legal government of Germany when the Church made her Concordat (not to be confused with a treaty of alliance or any other sort of treaty). The Concordat was made with what had to be accepted as the legitimate government of Germany at that time.

    Then it’s on to a riff about the Church making money by “keeping people worried about sex and eternal fire”. But “sex” and “eternal fire” (and behind that, eternal life and ultimate meaning) are among the most consistent concerns of human beings throughout human history. As well they should be.

    And the whole mess concludes with – yet again – the bit about “proof”. So, once again: it is precisely because religion is not ultimately a creature of this dimension that one cannot subject it to scientific proof (which is a creature of this dimension) and instead religion engenders ‘belief’.

    But the repetition may simply be here in order to provide the lead-in for the catchy – if rather worn – bit about: If religion cannot provide proof, why should it be believed. (A question that might so very very well be put to the Abuseniks, whose claims and stories and allegations – unlike the origins of religion – are also very much creatures of this dimension.)

    And, lastly and yet again: if something can be ‘proven’ then by definition it is no longer a matter of belief or non-belief. You cannot both know-by-proof and also know-by-belief. Belief involves a level of reality beyond this dimension, thus beyond scientific proof. Seeking to scientifically ‘prove’ the origins of religion is like trying to find aircraft with sonar: what you are seeking is utterly beyond the capability of the equipment and the system you are using to seek it.

    Then at 1137AM JR dons the Wig of Exasperated Competence: he sees that there is “still no discussion on SNAP’s behavior in Australia”. But we have yet to get from him any corroborating links that would enable us to discuss it. Whence did he get his information as to the existence of this Australia development? He surely has that information, at least. But has he proffered any such material? “Of course not.”  Maybe it just feels nice to have the Wig on.

    Then at 1141AM – if we ignore the juvenile hooting – we are informed that “your Christ doesn’t even mention heaven” (correction supplied). Perhaps JR doesn’t recall Christ’s assurance to the Good Thief.

    Then at 1151AM: We are apparently to accept this proposition:  gay marriage doesn’t threaten “the rich” in “maintaining their power and privilege and therefore [gay marriage] doesn’t really ‘matter’ at all” (corrections supplied).

    For those having difficulty following the bouncing ball in this bit: gay marriage isn’t a problem because the rich – who control society – don’t see it as being a threat to that control.

    What to do with this hash?

    First, we note that in this episode the Church and “the rich” are not part of some super-controlling consortium controlling things. That’s nice to know.

    Second, from the Church’s point of view it isn’t a Marx-y matter of “the rich” either maintaining their control or knowing what is best for society. The Church’s problem with gay marriage lies in far deeper waters, specifically in the concerns for the nature of marriage and its role not only in the human family but also in the overall schema of human development and fulfillment.

    Then, continuing the Marx-y analysis  JR (or his muse) tries to reduce the Church’s concern for the fragility of human culture to merely the fragility of the Church’s “control” over human culture and the Church’s fear of “the loss of its power over people”. For this to be accurate, it would have to be demonstrated that there is no fragility to human culture nor any tendency of humans to lose or misuse their capacity to manage their sexual urges.

    Readers at this point, then, must consider i) whether human culture is indeed fragile and ii) whether human beings tend to often lose mastery over their sexual urges. They might also consider the desirability of the Cabaret-approach as constituting a constructive or at least non-damaging approach to culture.

    And the bit concludes with a whack at the Population Problem facing the world: “if [the Church] really cared about the poor of this world” then it would “do something about them and for them”. (The Church doesn’t? JR does more?)

    The difficulty with the cafeteria-level suggestion proffered by JR is this: reducing the number of births simply by allowing the preclusion of births by any means necessary creates more problems than it solves, and those problems are both  profound and lethal: human sexual urges are unleashed and, more specifically, unmoored from any guiding principles beyond personal-pleasure (demonstrated here on this thread by JR) and convenience; thus the entire culture-supporting and culture-grounding web of guiding principles is itself weakened as humans lose their grasp on those principles.

    How many holes in the watertight bulkhead system can be drilled before the system itself becomes incapable of protecting the hull? How many rivets can the hull lose before you are faced not simply with the pop-popping of a whole lot of individual rivets but also with the more lethal sequelae of rivet-less hull-plates coming loose and falling-away?

    It often seems to me that in so many of these matters about religion and culture and the role of the Church being derided by assorted bits such as we so often see here, we are seeing a great ship (Western and even human culture) whose future is being tossed between a) those who have given a great deal of thought to the dynamics and principles that govern the buoyancy of ships and b) assorted party-goers whooping it up Cabaret-style on the saloon-deck whose booze-and-sex besotted assertions as to what needs to be done and what needs to be done-away-with are delivered unburdened by any serious thought.

    And at 1236M and 335PM we merely get some you-tube links with no explication. No surprises here either.

  45. Jim Robertson says:

    You are a base idiot!

    What can one man do compared to well a directed/lead 1.25 BILLION catholics? 

    I see we are back on the good ship cathoicism.

    What a silly analogy!

    No small tasks for the Leakin' Lena.  Oh no! The church is the very representation of Western culture and civilization itself!!!! Out there on the sea of ignorance and faithlessness; and weathering the storms, the strum and drang of existance.

    And it's sinking yet (or it soon might be)! Thanks to decent changes in Western culture and civilization?

    So let's pick an ice berg shall we? 

    Is it gay marriage? Oh horror! There goes the holy poop deck!

    Or maybe it's a married clergy?  Or a female clergy?

    Or maybe the iceberg's the church, oh so slightly,( 1$ a head, insurors paid half the settlements) being held responsable for enabling the absolutely unnecessary rapes by it's clergy of it's very own children. 

    Are there lifeboats on P's self created church as Titanic? 

    Only for the clergy it seems. Priests and priests first. The rest of catholic humanity are in steerage and just as on the real Titanic the church leaders will let them drown As the priests and perps step into the sacred lifeboats.

    It's save the priests first last and always. They, after all, are Western culture and civilization. Well they are!

    "Booze and sex besotted"? Wow wee wow wow! You know the world didn't blow up when orgies were held in the vatican, don't you?  Western civilization didn't crumble, did it? . If I remember correctly such behavior in the church happened during the Renaissance. Hardly the nadir of Western civilization, the Renaissance.

    So ice bergs that aren't. A civilization more sunk by constant warfare ( a fact which you right wingers never mention) than sex out of control. (What could be more out of control than priests raping children?) And all this  might somehow sink the catholic church? I don't think so. it didn't sink when the orgies were on in the vatican

    If I was "booze besotted" I'd sleep it off.( I don't drink but that's what I'd do).

    If I were sex besotted, I'd also go to sleep and wake up feeling great. That's just me.

    But then again; I'm not steering the good ship Lollypop into ice bergs of it's own making.

    Maybe next time P make your analagies on dry land where most of your 1.25 billion catholics and the rest of us live.

  46. Jim Robertson says:

    P.S. Hitler came to power only when the catholic party let him.  It folded for the fuhrer. FYI.

  47. Jim Robertson says:

    Who doesn't love to go "pop"? If you get my drift :^)

  48. Jim Robertson says:

    I got my info on Australia from Abuse Tracker. They just post news reports from the various Australian media.

    Want to talk about how SNAP and father Tom Doyle O.P. "helped" "survivors" (not victims, never "victims" ) aim for  $65,000 dollars for their rapes as children? When the average settlement costs in California was $!.2 million per victim. SNAP and Doyle are helping Australian "survivors to a $1.1 million  discount. They are working so hard for "survivors" who are worth far less than "victims", evidently.

  49. Publion says:

    I’ll go comment by comment, paragraph by paragraph.

    In regard to the 1st at 1151AM:

    The first paragraph is mere epithet, as so often.

    In the second paragraph, JR manages to make himself out to be victimized by my questions (the 31st, 830PM, toward the end of the comment) as to a) what the Church has or has not done for the world’s poor in JR’s opinion and b) has he done more? Avoiding any coming-to-grips with what the Church has done or hasn’t done, he has adroitly and characteristically glommed onto the plaint that he is only one person so how can he be expected to have done much at all? He has a point, although I would add that he is one man with a lot more money than the average “one man”.

    In the third paragraph we are launched into a multi-paragraph epithetical riff on my nautical analogy of the ship (it has watertight bulkheads to prevent general flooding of the hull, but they are only useful if they are not punctured by too many holes drilled into them for whatever purposes).

    But in the ensuing paragraphs (four through thirteen) readers can observe that there is no reasoning as to why and how my “analogy” is “silly”. Instead, we get just a plop-tossy epithetical bunch of riffs.

    Readers are welcome to wade through the stuff and consider as they will. They may notice that old familiar and sly deployment of “rape” although so very few of the formal allegations claimed rape.

    Also – and far more seriously – JR’s reading comprehension fails him since he missed the fact that in my analogy I was referring to Western culture as Titanic, not the Church as Titanic. I was speaking about how the Church saw and sees herself as trying to preserve a workable civic and societal culture in the West (as well as in the world).

    But once a plop-tosser is tossing, once the fit is on him, then noting can stand in the way of the zingy bits, even if they are groundless from the get-go.

    In the fourteenth paragraph, JR tries to avoid the Cabaret culture as being “booze and sex-besotted” by going back to the Renaissance Papacy of half a millennium ago. But the problem facing us today – and the one I am dealing with for that very reason – is that the Cabaret culture is precisely the one toward which American culture is being pushed today and has been pushed in that direction for more than four decades now.

    “Western civilization didn’t crumble” in the Renaissance because – as JR’s own text indicates – it was only the social elites and – to some extent – the Vatican court’s elites that engaged in such activity. But today it is the entire population that is being pushed toward Cabaret culture. And that is a profound and vital difference.

    Further, the entire population today – as opposed to in prior eras – is being pushed toward Cabaret culture as being a or even the Good way to go: Cabaret culture (as we saw in the movie in 1972) is presented as being more fulfilling, more exciting, more interesting, more ‘liberating’, more ‘heroic’, even more ‘human’, and totally harmless and without significant negative consequence.

    JR needs to know more in order to “remember” more.

    Thus to the fifteenth paragraph, the gist of which now fails since it is based on the flaws noted immediately-above.

    Nor is it “constant warfare” that has done this to society (if by this JR means military engagements); I hold no brief for the asymmetrical warfare for which the US is not well-suited, nor for the failed wars (because strategically misconceived) of the past decades.

    Rather, I agree with John Paul II that it is the culture of the West that is the key contested-ground; it is here that the most lethal damage has been done and is being done to the people dwelling under the aegis of that civilization and that culture.

    Thus the effort to distract from the “booze and sex-besotted” Cabaret culture being imposed-upon or insinuated-into the West by trying to focus attention on “constant [military] warfare” is seen for just what it is: an effort to distract from the most lethal site of the damage.

    And, of course, that “booze and sex-besotted” Cabaret culture is underlain by a flattened Monoplanar definition of the human being and the nature of genuine human-ness and thus of the ethos (i.e. general ethical stance) of Western and American civilization at this point.

    Then paragraphs sixteen and seventeen merely give us JR’s hypotheticals about himself, which are what they are and nothing more (“that’s just me”).

    The eighteenth paragraph goes back to the jokey but grossly mistaken riff on the “ship”, in the lead-in to the snappy exit line.

    And in the nineteenth paragraph we get that snappy exit line: JR (now misspelling a word his text had already spelled properly) riffs on his own prior mistaken riffs. Tee hee.

    Thus to the 1st at 1158AM: Hitler came to power when Hindenburg (as Reich President) appointed him Chancellor, at the urging of a coterie of German businessmen and industrialists, fronted by Franz von Papen (himself a former Chancellor) and Alfred Hugenberg, a media mogul and politician (and head of the German National Peoples’ Party). It was von Papen who left us the remark about Hitler – “we are hiring him” – that so quickly turned out to be utterly mistaken.

    Thus – and as so very very very often – an “FYI” from JR turns out to be nothing of the sort.

    Then on the 1st at 1200PM … well, any reader who can make sense of this one-liner comment is welcome to share his/her discovery. But “drift” certainly seems an apt characterization.

    And thence to the 1st at 1210PM: in regard to the Australia matter, this time JR tells us he “got [his] info from Abuse Tracker”. If he were going that far, then competent practice would have been to actually provide a link to which ever material on that site JR had used as his source.

    But there is the most curious and consistent aversion to ever providing a simple yet sufficient cite for his stuff.

    While Abuse Tracker – like similar sites – merely collects links from media sources, and isn’t necessarily any more careful with facts than some of the articles it collects, yet there must be one or several articles to which Abuse Tracker links, which formed the basis of JR’s Australia material here.

    But we get nothing of the sort. In prior difficulties of this sort, JR has simply gone the cafeteria route – he don’t hafta if he don’t wanna – and considered it a good day’s work.

    Why should we then take his uncorroborated assertions about Australia seriously and spend any time and effort on them?

    In the comment’s second paragraph he goes on about SNAP and the still-Father Doyle: a) they speak of “survivors” and “never victims” – and it is up to the reader to determine which of the two terms is the more dubious and misleading; b) he slyly slides in “rapes” as if all of the allegants were claiming they were raped (for which we would need to see the court documents; and so would JR).

    But then to his (c) point: he apparently has glommed onto the fact (if it is a fact) that in Australia SNAP seeks $65,000 for each allegant (and here he again slyly slides in “rapes”) when in LA the Anderson Strategies grabbed $1.2 million per allegant (who have never been formally demonstrated to be ‘victims’).

    From this he apparently wants to render ineluctable the conclusion that therefore SNAP is trying to cheat victims (and – but of course – is doing so in its role as tool of the Church).

    But several complications interfere with his cartoon here: i) we don’t know the actual gravamen of the individual allegations; they may be so modest (not actual “rape” but some act carrying a far lighter legal burden) that they cannot support a demand for even more money; ii)  the allegations may be so weakly evidenced that the 65K is the best that can be hoped-for; iii) Australian law in this type of case may be different from relevant US law; iv) Australian culture itself may not be so Stampeded and the far more lucrative possibilities open to an American allegant are not open to an Australian allegant.

    Surely JR does not congratulate himself (rather than his torties and the Anderson Strategies in that 500-plus Plaintiff LA lawsuit of almost a decade ago) for the admittedly huge mark-up in the take, from $17,000 to one million dollars (a hefty increase factor of about 59).

    And the whole thing here is apparently supposed to hinge on the semantic difference between “survivor” and “victim” – but just how that alchemy works, JR does not say.

  50. Jim Robertson says:

    $17,000 dollars? The church offered me $12,000. I got I.I million and deserved more.

    Why would I congratulate my lawyer or the team led by an Anderson appointee.

    Anderson who is so obviously the church's appointee as our major representative. Thanks to SNAP and Doyle.

    My lawyer took 40% of my settlement. I didn't see her in the room when I was being raped.

    And I certainly didn't see her deserving 40%.

    If she was "sheparded" by Anderson, the church chosen lawyer for the church's victims; what could and should have victims gotten?

    SNAP and Anderson and Doyle were "organizing" victims in Australia starting 10 years ago and $65,000 as a "hoped for" settlement is the outcome. SNAP accepted that figure the first day it was suggested. Proof enough, who SNAP works for.

    Where ever governments were/are also co-defendents with the church,Canada; Ireland; Australia victims got/get , if they got/get anything at all; it's under $100,000.

    L.A. victims got 1/3  or less of what juries were giving us. The California government didn't want to spend millions in court trials, itself, so it to wanted settlements. No separation of church and state after all.

    We just lucked out here, getting anything at all; but still our injuries were majorly discounted.

    Almost the same way P discounts. All very churchy. All very status quo.

    P, You are an epithet. How's the cancer coming?