**VOICE OF THE FAITHFUL CONFERENCE** At Aging, Left-Wing Lovefest, Writers From National Catholic Reporter Unleash Nastiness Against Church

Jamie Manson and Phyllis Zagano :: Voice of the Faithful Conference 2012

'Voices of the Disgraceful'?: National Catholic Reporter's Jamie L. Manson (l) and Phyllis Zagano (r)

The 10th anniversary conference of Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) in Boston this month proved to be anything but "faithful" to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.

Youthful rebellion

TheMediaReport.com was there when Jamie L. Manson, a writer for the dissident newspaper National Catholic Reporter, unleashed a vitriolic attack on Catholics who have the audacity to be faithful to the Magisterium.

The title of Manson's talk was "Church and young Catholics: Is there a future?" but Manson reserved her harshest venom for those young Catholics who have celebrated Church orthodoxy. After deriding those who would attend "World Youth Day," Manson unleashed a barrage that can only described as bigoted, condescending, and nasty.

According to Manson, orthodox Catholics:

  • "don't want to see women's equality in church or even in society" (!);
  • "do not want to see gays and lesbians and transgendered people treated with dignity";
  • "are in denial about the sex abuse crisis";
  • "are afraid of cultural flux and uncertainty"; and
  • "are afraid of the world."

Without providing a shred of proof to support her attack, Manson also went on to imply that young, orthodox Catholics are "not immersed in the world." She then accused the institutional Church, which she compared to a "burning building," of creating a Church of "exclusivity" and "orthodoxy tests."

It was truly mean stuff. But, then again, Manson is shilling a dissident, anti-Church agenda. Manson has served on the board of the "Women's Ordination Conference" and has been active with a gay, lesbian, and transgender advocacy group called "Dignity USA." (While studying at Yale Divinity School, she worked under the dissident theologian Sr. Margaret Farley (a fact that drew applause from the sea of white hair at the conference).)

But first there was Phyllis

The night before Manson's assault, VOTF presented the National Catholic Reporter's Phyllis Zagano with the group's "St. Catherine of Siena Award."

Fortunately, Zagano was not nearly as choleric as Manson. However, from the way Zagano spoke of St. Catherine, one would have thought that the 14th-century figure was an anti-hierarchical zealot who was forcefully muffled by an all-male clergy. Instead, Catherine was an admired advocate who fought for the unification of the Church in a time of schism and was a pioneer whom the Church declared a saint within a century of her death and later a Doctor of the Church.

As numerous biographies have noted (this, this, and this, for example), so deep was her thirst to serve Christ and the Church, Catherine once cut off her hair in her youth as an act of defiance to her family, who ardently opposed her wishes for a religious life and wanted her to get married. And within a few years after her brash move (which was suggested by a Dominican friar, by the way), Catherine convinced her family of her desires, and she was soon donning the habit of a Dominican tertiary. The rest is history.

However, when talking about the life of St. Catherine, Zagano implied that that Catherine believed that "the only way" for her to speak the Gospel in her era of a male-dominated Church was to cut off her hair, "abandon her femininity," and become like a man. "How like today!" Zagano exclaimed.

What gobbledegook.

The real agenda surfaces

Predictably, Zagano addressed a recurring theme from many at VOTF: women's ordination. Zagano has long argued that the Catholic Church can, and should, ordain women as deacons. She reiterated this point in her speech, and near the end of her speech, she added:

"Will any of the goals of Voice of the Faithful or the hopes of women for ordination be met? I would advise: don't quit. Don't quit, because if what you do is from the Lord, it cannot be stopped and it cannot be denied."

Although Zagano did not explicitly make any case at all for women in the priesthood, one could not help but wonder if the audience was inferring that she was. And if there were any doubt that the VOTF crowd of aging left-wingers want to see women in the priesthood, prominently displayed near the entrance of an exhibition room at the conference was the following can't-miss poster:

Roy Bourgeois poster :: Voice of the Faithful Conference, Boston, 2012

Yes, the same Roy Bourgeois: the staunch advocate for female "priests," whom VOTF nominated for its "Priest of Integrity Award" in 2009. Bourgeois is also a favorite fundraiser for the National Catholic Reporter.

Stay tuned for more about the 2012 VOTF Conference in the coming weeks.


  1. drwho13 says:

    The RC Catholic church is in a similar situation to the Republican party.  Society is moving on without them.  Demographics and ideas are changing, and if these organization don't make some major changes to keep up, both of them will become museums.
    The days where a group of old white men controlled policy is quickly passing.  Change or become irrelevant.

    • josie says:

      Have u ever been to a voice of the faithful meeting? I have seen pix-there are all old and white. I also  know 2 members who are left over from the vietnam war protests of the 60's. They have very immature discussions with anyone who will listen but noone does. One old guy seems to have hooked up with a dissident Philly group that has verbally attacked all the priests in the Archdiocese from day 1. Now they unfairly and stupidly attack our esteemed and gifted Archbishop. However, in spite of it all, the Church is doing prettry well. Where have you been living outside the US that you think the Republican party is dead??? You slept thru 2010???What does the RNC have to do wiyth this piece anyway?  I am smelling prior agenda.. 

    • Guitar Man says:

      DrWho, For the last two thousand years, other societies and cultures have thought the same thing, and look what has remained…..The Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church, which is a part of Christ (who is God), is, like God, unchanging, unmovable, and unending.  The Catholic Church will remain standing firm, for it is built upon solid rock. 

  2. 7of9 says:

    Resistance is Futile…. Prepare to be assimilated.
    I dont think so – the starship Magesterium will find its way home :) :):)

  3. Julie says:

    As a woman, I am p*ssed off that they think I need or want what they are selling.

  4. Publion says:

    Kudos for the report, TMR.
    I think the presentations demonstrate clearly that the Catholic (and Male) Clerical Abuse Crisis is driven not so much by the realities of sexual-abuse (however defined, and however well that problem has been addressed with the new reforms in place) but rather the Crisis (such as it is) serves as a bat to whack the Church piñata not for fiscal goodies but for changes that have been demanded since the end of Vatican 2, now almost half a century ago.
    The Manson points reveal so much of that agenda.
    Women’s “equality” (itself a code word for whatever the speaker wishes it to mean) “in church” slyly induces the misapprehension that Manson and her agenda speaks for all women, and certainly for all Catholic women. But of course – in best revolutionary style – only those women who ‘get it’ deserve to have a ‘voice’ ; the rest of them – like the sex-abusing males in the priesthood, the hierarchy, and the Church ‘just don’t get it’, so why listen to them in the first place? This is precisely the profoundly anti-democratic presumption (as all revolutionary presumptions must be) that over the past forty Biblical years has created so much wrack and ruin in the health of the American polity generally: if democracy allows people who ‘just don’t get it’ to continue things that the cadres don’t agree-with, then clearly “deliberative democratic politics” is not the way forward. (That phrase is a quotation from radical-feminist Eurocommunist political light Chantal Mouffe, whose “radical democracy” actually has no room whatsoever for democracy and democratic process and principles.)
    And so ditto Manson’s assertions that the Church doesn’t want to see (Manson’s version of) ‘equality’ “even in society”. First, I always want to know what a code-word like ‘equality’ really means before getting into a deliberation about it. Second, there are many Americans who aren’t so sure about all the ‘changes’ and ‘reforms’ that have been demanded over the past forty or more Biblical years. And I mean that primarily on the level of first-principles: you don’t just go changing vital and profound social and cultural and political arrangements in a polity without have given some serious thought as to validity and workability and possible or probable complications that will arise in consequence of such changes.
    The Church has always seen societies and cultures as Vessels: you don’t start pulling up the planks – especially the hull and keel planks – in a ship loaded with souls and far out at sea, especially if you haven’t given a lot of serious thought to the positives and negatives involved.
    For that matter, the Church has always seen the human being the same way: not as an animate lump of clay that can assume any shape it wishes, but rather as a Vessel with certain operating requirements and characteristics and – yes – parameters; and ignoring any of those constitutes a gross hazarding of the vessel.
    And for that matter, as was well-recognized in the era of wooden sailing ships: you don’t burn down the ship at sea to get at the rats. You wind up creating a much more lethal problem for yourself than whatever rats might be skittering around on board. This utterly primary ‘law of the sea’ is part of the Church’s seeming ‘patience’ – indulgence, even – for human weakness: as opposed to, say, the mostly  Northern European Protestant radical reformers (who even left Luther in the dust) who insisted on Purity – Now and Total, the Church – with a certain Mediterranean acceptance of the incompleteness of things-human – worked toward genuine reform without the ruthlessly impatient zealotry that marked so much of the Protestant Reformers (and, before them, many of the earlier Medieval movements for millennial change and reform). Nor can we forget that the frenzy of European witch-burnings took place under the aegis of the Reformation and subsequently; the Salem Witch trials were not conducted under Catholic auspices.
    In that sense, there has always been – I think – a certain millennialist tinge to what I have called the Victimist demand for revenge-and-reform: forget law and due process, forget evidence, forget all of the hard-won Western structures that were designed precisely to prevent the lynch-mob and witch-hunt mentality: JUST DO IT NOW. (I don’t usually use caps and I do it here carefully and for emphasis).  
    But fifty years ago, before Victimism, we saw this same millennialist tinge in the revolutionary (which is itself a variant of millennialism) demands for this and that change and reform in the Church, surfing the emotions raised by Vatican 2.
    So in a very real sense I would say – without evincing any personal support for ecclesiastical careerism and other irritating realities of any large human organization – that the Church has always been wary of the millennialist impulse and its demands: the Church’s wisdom has always been that you can’t treat the human reality as pure clay, to be molded, melted down and remolded, with careless abandon.
    This has always – I would say – put the Church’s Stance toward human existence and her Modus Operandi on a collision course with millennialism, with the revolutionary mindset and Stance that is a variant of millennialism, and – alas – with the characteristic American can-do and let’s-do-it-now Stance toward a world that for so much of its history America has seen as putty in its hands.
    Ditto the “dignity” to be accorded – and rightly so – to the human existence of sexual-orientation: that’s a code word and in has to be ‘unpacked’ and ‘decoded’ before any worthwhile discussion and deliberation can take place. Certainly, the Aquinian adoption of Aristotelian teleology creates some serious obstruction here: if the human being has been created by God to exist and live-toward a certain Purpose and ‘End’, then what to do with persons whose life-shape does not easily conform to that Purpose? This is no easy or small Question: the alternative to the Aquinian-Aristotelian Stance is a nominalist insistence that there are no essences, no built-in Purposes, and everything simply is what it is, and people are merely lumps of animate clay who can shape and re-shape themselves as they might wish through an act of personal whim and will. And that approach creates huge problems of its own.
    (Yes, I know: you don’t often run into discussions of basic philosophy in the current American brouhaha about the Church, but the Church has – unlike the country recently – been structured and guided by philosophical (and theological) first-principles for quite a long time; it is nothing short of rabble-rousing to insist that the Church’s hesitations to jump on this and that revolutionary bandwagon (including the several assorted post Vatican 2 bandwagons) is nothing more than ‘counter-revolutionary’ stubbornness and ‘backlashing’.)
    I would really have to hear from Manson just how she grounds her assertion that in the Year of Grace Two Thousand and Twelve the Church is “in denial” about the sex abuse crisis. But of course, to Keep The Ball Rolling (and there are actually a number of them in play) it still has to be 1982 or 1992 or 2002. In that sense, Manson is vividly regressive. But what choice does she and her ilk have? To admit that the Crisis has been profoundly addressed in terms of Church structure and practice, is to pull the rug out from under themselves.
    The Church has a very sober awareness of the dangers inherent in “cultural flux and uncertainty”. In that sense, the Church’s Stance is very much different from the classic American (and also the millennialist and revolutionary) Stance: change is always good. Who can forget the Boomers demanding that the ‘status quo’ be done away with and then everything will be good and great and groovy? And has that assertion and assurance been working for us in the past forty Biblical years? I would answer No – Not as well as had been promised and presumed. The country is fractalized, there is no sense of common-purpose or common-weal, and the political Parties are desperately trying to cobble together platforms that somehow play to all the various ‘bases’ while still a) making some overall sense as a coherent whole and b) offering some rational way out of the now-myriad profound problems that seriously threaten the very continuation of the polity itself. (Give some thought as to what happened in Germany in the 1920s when the currency collapsed and a loaf of bread cost 800 million marks at breakfast and a billion marks by dinnertime.)
    I would call it profoundly immoral and lethally so to take axe and fire to the ship without a hugely serious consideration of what the consequences might or probably-will be. The Boomery-revolutionary blitheness and cocksureness that you can just start chopping and burning and at worst you will get a cheeribly “creative destruction” and that then after that you will simply wind up with the Millennium in all its earthly glory is as childish a bit of whackness as one is to encounter in human history. And for it to be embraced by adults – and adults charged with the responsibility to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ and to prudently and carefully administer the heritage … that is treacherous imbecility indeed.
    Thus by the same token the Boomery whackness that if you don’t want to Just Say The Hell With It All then you are “afraid of the world”. Are you ‘afraid of the world’ when you drive defensively on the highway? Are you ‘afraid of the world’ when you decide it’s best to slow the Great Vessel down in the vicinity of icebergs at night? Are you ‘afraid of the world’ when you want the kids to wear bicycle helmets and not drive their bikes and trikes on the street? Is a contractor ‘afraid of the world’ when carefully considering the structural stresses and loads and blueprints before knocking down a wall? Or ascertaining beforehand if the wall is a decorative wall or a carrying-wall?
    So I would not agree with Manson, as she is quoted in this article. Not hardly.

  5. Publion says:

    By the way: nice work, 7of9, on the Borg reference! I think 'assimilation' into the millennialist and revolutionary and Boomery 'brave new world' is precisely what the Church has for quite some time been resisting.

    • jim robertson says:

      Pub your hostility to us boomers is palitable only to those older than 65. Good luck with that political line.

  6. Jerry Slevin says:

    Jamie Manson gave an authentic and hopeful VOTF speech. She is a wonderful example of a young Catholic scholar who actually practices what she preaches— so rare in a church whose leaders too often disregard the Gospels' clear message.
    Your use of the term "dissident" for anyone that doesn't robotically genuflect to the hierarchy's self-interested ideology is revealing. I hope, like your ideological soulmate, Bill Donohue, that you are also well compensated for your incessant and unquestioning support for a hierarchy that has done so much to destroy the true spirit of the church. If you are not so compensated, you are working too hard trying to bail  out a sinking ship.

    • gloria sullivan says:

      Jerry…..You said it perfectly and with panache.

    • Joanne says:

      It is not virtuous to "practice what you preach" if you're not "preaching" the truth.

    • Guitar Man says:

      Um, me wonders why  Ms. Manson and Ms. Zagano call themselves Catholic if they don't accept the Catholic Church's teachings?  Do they believe that Jesus Christ is God and Lord, and do they believe that it was HE who founded the Catholic Church, and not men?  Have they studied the Catholic Church since it's inception, how it was founded, etc?
      Last but not least, I wonder if they receive Holy Communion regularly, even though they don't subscribe to the Church's teachings?  When one receives Holy Communion, and replies "AMEN" when told "The body of Christ", one is basically saying they are ONE with the Church, in all that it believes.  If one receives Holy Communion, and yet does not believe what the Church believes, and does not try to follow the Church's teachings, one basically makes oneself a liar and hypocrite.

    • Therese Z says:

      I think you have not spent time with orthodox, faithful, joyful Catholics. Try the inner-city parishes they have revitalized (I am still awed by them at St. Thomas Cantius, Chicago). Try the bland suburban buildings they have lit with charismatic fervor and filled with their families.
      Us Boomers are aging out, greying out and becoming totally whiny and irrelevant with our knee-jerk reactionary "fairness" and "sensitivity." I can't wait to see us lose our grasp on the administration of so many parishes and the young and fervent pick up the slack.

  7. jim robertson says:

    Oh dear,hair color and ageism  and womens' equality are the real problems. Not child rape. I'm so glad to come to Media Report to learn what is truely important.
    First VOTF who's original statement of purpose was the support of victims' issues, was always meant to do nothing but obfuscate. It was one of the commitees refered to in the "manual" created by Dominican cannon lawyer Tommy Doyle.. Those commitees which also include SNAP were created as damage control for the Church.
    The hostility you've expressed towards Vatican II liberals speaks for itself in regards to love for your fellow Catholics. Doyle and crew knew full well that the old wounds and wars could be easily ignited, re: Liberals vs Reactionaries in the Church. Especially when so few victims were ever iincluded( thanks to SNAP) in any formative creation of the so called "victims movement" (maybe it should be called a "moovement" since victims and progressive  and conservative Catholics are treated like cattle.)
    It's accurate to see that the liberal  "Church reform "element in VOTF  has superceeded, support for victims. Tommy Doyle knew full well that the 50 year old plus struggle between Catholics would over whelm any support for victims. And his game plan's working perfectly. Perfectly for the status quo.
    If anything appears hopefull in all this mendacity. It's that the people who run the Church are dying off, literally. And that with time the ancient regime will fall. And that the monies spent in support of Billie Donahue, $400,000 a year, and the rest of these po faced claques will appear in Catholic History right up there with the trials of Gallileo and Joan of Arc. Proof that such decadence in the "True" Church belies any diety.

  8. IllinoisMan says:

    What a bunch of losers.  Vatican II was the most visible manifestation of the decline of the Church in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The Council was a disaster for the Church, just as it was meant to be.  Most Catholics live in a dream world, whether they're "conservative" or NCR-style progressive.  VOTF has zero insight into the problems of the Church; neither do their clerical enablers.  Gnostic nuns and priests have run the Church into the ground.  Good to see VOTF gradually eroding.  I don't subscribe to the starry-eyed views of most traditionalists, but I'd love to see these VOTF bluehairs at a Latin Mass. 

  9. Julie says:

    Well, Jerry, I have found a good quote:
    "To my mind, one of the better arguments for the divine origin of the Catholic
    Church is how she manages to survive her leadership."

    • Guitar Man says:

      The Catholic Church will remain, as it has since it's inception by Christ, when all other societies, governments, etc. fall.  Look at history.  Look at the 3 G's:  the guillotine (France), the gulag (Russia), and the gas chamber (Nazi Germany) were all the result of man's governments turning against God and His Church.  All have fallen, and yet, the Church remains. 
      The Church, like Christ, is both human (made up of human members) and divine (Christ).  Is there scandal within the Church?  Yes (that's the human part).  Heck, there was scandal within the Church the moment Christ founded it (witness Judas and Peter both betraying the Lord….witness the disciples abandoning the Lord on Calvary).  We should not be surprised that there will be scandal and betrayal, both from within and without.  And yet, the Church is divine, and will continue to live on.

  10. IllinoisMan says:

    You are correct that most of the "Church reform" movements are a joke.  This is the classic case of the Hegelian dialetic.  The synthesis of the mainstream conservative and progressive wings keeps moving in a direction away from God.  Groups such as Opus Dei and (formerly) the Legionaries of Christ have moved in to pick off ignorant conservatives who trust any priest who can put on a good show. 

    • jim robertson says:

      Man if there is a God and "he" is everywhere how can anyone move away from "him"?
      Also Pub why do you give the hierarchy respect ? Are you a member? Do you think you may become a member? Or is it just because you believe they are choosen by God? What? How about the non-dissidents genuflecting to the church? Or maybe they are simply doing a Catholic Shirley Temple impersonation ,curtseying to the Good Ship Lollipop.

  11. Publion says:

    My variations on Mr. Slevin's theme:

    “Ms. Manson gave some grossly underinformed and predictably irrational points in her VOTF speech. She is a clear example of an axe-grinding, selective, PR-driven cadre of whatever revolutionary changes she and her ilk espouses. Hardly rare in a complex and slyly hidden organized advocacy using the sex-abuse 'crisis' as nothing more than the wedge-issue to Keep The Ball Rolling for themselves.

    Your dissing of the word 'dissident' used by anyone who doesn't robotically genuflect to the revolutionary party-cadres' self-interested ideology is revealing. I hope like your ideological soulmates Lenin and Gramsci you are well-compensated for your incessant and unquestioning deconstructive efforts against the hierarchy under the illusion that you know what 'the true spirit of the church' is. If you are not so compensated, you are working too hard trying to bail out a sinking ship.”

    There. See how easy it is to say very little and yet make a nice snarky nasty splash? As readers will realize, this is not my style and to be honest it was personally distasteful just to mimic it. But my point is this exercise is to demonstrate what is n-o-t really useful or informative in the way of online commentary. To quote Abe Lincoln's line about the man caught out in the deep dark woods at night in a thunderstorm with lots of booms but few flashes of lightning: “Oh Lord, if it's all the same to you – a little more light and a little less noise!”

  12. Believe it or not, Dave, I am a member of VOTF. Five years ago I would have taken offense at this, but I have long since woken up and smelled the coffee. VOTF has become a dinosaur, so quickly fossilized from its original intent and purpose to become a disgruntled group of anti-clerical malcontents. On numerous occasions during my awakening of the last three or four years, I have challenged VOTF to take up the cause of Catholic priests falsely accused. They have ignored me. I remain a member in the hope that one day they too may wake up to the cause of integrity and fidelity to the Church that they most desperately seem to want to change. Today, I am convinced that VOTF has done nothing to help the Church heal from the sex abuse crisis, but, like SNAP, has sought only to exploit it for their own ends. It troubles me greatly that they continue to claim that they recognize priestly integrity, but I can only conclude that they would not know integrity if they tripped over it.  Thank you for writing this and for keeping us so very well informed.

  13. jim robertson says:

    Pub I re-read all your posts this morning. I think we differ ,mostly, at your belief that the Church is of Divine origin and my belief that it is not. That being said, since the Church has so rarely gone to trial with it's accusors can you imagine the uproar against it if they had? And been found guilty? You already believe this is a not so hidden campaign against the Church for political reasons.
    ( You believe your conspiracy theory yet completely ignore mine i.e. SNAP and VOTF etc. being created by the Church; to limit damage to the Church.)
    Why would the Church want to avoid trials?
    I believe it's because the Church would lose what little credability it has left if the majority of abuse claims were "proven" true. It's why the church has always settled out of court so that the words "alleged victim" would nevert be replaced by" proven victim". So that Catholics could say that the vast majority of claims were never proven. (This almost reminds me of Michael Jackson paying $20,000,000 dollars to an accuser so Michael could" get on with his life.".) But how does that explain insurers paying half of settlements?
    The insuror's pay because they were co-conspiritors in the "hide" the abuse game. They took the Church's insurance premiums with out ever looking deeper at the institution and it's history, re. cover up.( When insurors did look closer they cancelled policies; and the Church at times became it's own insuror.)
    So  The notion that there's a casino mentality at large re lying to gain money from the Church seems a tiny bit facile. What are the odds of those "gamblers" having time spent with the accused so that their claims could appear valid? And then being able to pass the barrage of tests accusors are submitted to by our own lawyers, the percentile of fake accusations are few indeed.
    Again like the Repubs  with their fake voting fraud nonsense, the hint of red herring is smelt.

  14. Publion says:

    As I have often said, the congeries of special interests crystallized around the Catholic Abuse Matter includes a number of people who don’t believe in God or who don’t believe in the Church. Of itself the matter of anybody’s personal belief is in principle a neutral fact; but on the ground that works out to a conceptual (and so often emotional) negative predisposition. Such predispositions often taint analysis, and I am always wary of them, whether they are negative or positive.
    As regard to the imagining that a) if the Church had gone to trial and b) if there had been a number of guilty findings, then c) that would have been quite the thing and proven a lot: well, that’s an interesting imagining, but as it actually turned out none of it ever happened. And in fact, as we most recently saw in the Philly trial, prosecution cases don’t work out quite so well when these cases do go to trial.
    The political background of dynamics that may be driving all of this is something I have gone into at length in other comments on this site. I would add that what we saw in the presentations to the VOTF conference described in this TMR article adds the welter of special-interests within the Church that are trying to Keep The Ball Rolling for their own purposes.
    I will say this once again: the Church – and its counsel and its Insurers – was faced in 2002 with the sly legal tactic of bundling numerous plaintiffs (and their stories) together. To defend at trial each of the elements of each lawsuit would have been a formidably expensive and extended legal process. The Church – and one would have to include its legal counsel and its Insurers – had little choice but to opt for settlement. I have explained this all before – commenters who wish to keep up a continuous presence on this site should have the courtesy and competence to keep track of the conversation as it proceeds through time, so that the same material doesn’t have to be explained over and over.
    To now include the Insurers as “co-conspirators in the ‘hide-the-abuse’ game” is a possibility that would require some convincing explanation as to why Insurers would do so. To suggest that a large Insurer took premiums without conducting any assessment of the liability-potential of the Insured is – it certainly seems to me – nothing more than a handy phantasm to cover a huge gap in an explanatory theory. An Insurer of a nation-wide bus or trucking company, for instance, is most surely going to want to keep an eye on the competence and reliability of the drivers and the equipment, since any failures in that regard are going to cost a great deal of money … and Insurers would rather not have to pay out money – it’s sort of a business principle with them.
    If some Insurers cancelled policies (and I have no verified knowledge that some did) then others remained – the Church is not at present completely self-Insured. And given the nature of the Stampede mentality, it is hardly inconceivable that some Insurers might come to the conclusion that no defense against such allegations could reasonably be expected to succeed, because of the PR manipulation that inflamed the public and because of the watering-down of evidentiary standards in sex-cases generally, and thus the most prudent business move – regardless of whether priests were innocent or guilty – would be to drop the policy. If a particular Insurer did drop a policy, it would be necessary to know why the Insurer actually chose that course of action, rather than to merely presume presumptions most convenient to one’s preferences and predispositions.
    To ignore the possible ‘moral hazard’ dynamics contained in a situation where there would be a payout with very little risk of examination of claims or legal sanction if one were caught presenting a false claim is on principle hardly good analytic procedure. To note the hundreds of millions that have been paid out to date is to realize that there exists a very strong possibility that those possibilities have been actualized. To examine such cases as have come to light and see that their ‘evidence’ is rarely clear-cut, open-and-shut material is to realize that there is thus an observable record of dubious testimony. There is nothing “facile” about it and if all the dynamics and structures and motivation for a ‘casino’ situation exist, it is hardly unrealistic to postulate that such a ‘casino’ situation does exist.
    To deny or minimize the potentials indicated by all of the foregoing would be rather facile analysis indeed.
    And again, I can see no evidence presented here of there being only a very  few ‘false accusations’. And again, this is a point that has already been addressed in prior comments and indeed, the next step is for you to provide the references and reasoning that justify that ‘few false accusations’ claim. Rather than simply making the same claim later on down the line all over again.
    I have no idea of the relevance of the red-herring remark.

    • jim robertson says:

      One of the reasons insurors never had to look deeper at the Church, Pub, is that the Church paid out privately to victims. Pre 2002 here in L.A. one victim was paid by the Cardinal. More than the average of what the rest of us got and sans lawyers' 40%. So if insurors didn't know of any claims……

  15. jim robertson says:

    Well at least your alive. Not having seen you post for a few days.
    The red herring is pretending there is( completely unproven) a conspiracy against the Church by again what percentile of fake "gamers" ready to roll the dice on the Church? And a "liberal" press out to sink the ship IHS.  Numbers and where's your proof? It seems you accuse others of what you are guilty of: no proof. So it's your speculation against mine.
    And if you feel that the entire priesthood has been held responsible for what Bishops ;Cardinals and Pope's allowed. Then shouldn't they make their own revolution in defense of their vocations and reputations and faith? It took multitudes of victims before the "Priest/ Altarboy " jokes became standard. And if 2/3rd's of victims claims are true, that is more than enough to have had the public mind colored critical of the clerical system.
    We victims didn't create this crisis. Your hierarchs did.

    • Publion says:

      ‘JR’ – please understand: I am very much alive; but as I have often said, I only comment when there is material that strikes me as useful for the readership. So I am not going to make comments that merely repeat what has been dealt with already in other comments I have made on the site. I presume that readers keep up with the Conversation as it extends over time and across numerous articles and the comments made on them. I don’t want to take up their time with constant repetition.

      I have commented at length about the various possibilities that strongly indicate a much deeper agenda by secularists outside the Church and assorted special-interests within the Church. In regard to the latter I have discussed various speakers and writers in detail; in regard to the former I have pointed out the many connections between political types and their interests, the overall nature and requirements of the secularist agenda, and the crystallization of all of those in the extended Church abuse crisis.

       I will again also say that the very duration of this ‘Crisis’ – now approaching 30 years – indicates that there is more to it than the mere concern for child-abuse within the Church; especially since the post-2002 reforms have had significant effect. And the duration is also thrown into vivid relief by comparing the organizational career of such groups as SNAP with the organizational career of a group like MADD, that saw a problem, took action that led to significant changes in how the problem was dealt with, and then let it go, with the country much the better for its efforts.

      Something is keeping this Matter going, and it’s not any ongoing pre-1982 levels of child-sex abuse in the Church. As in astronomy, when an astral body follows a trajectory that cannot be explained by the gravitational pull of all apparent planetary influences in its vicinity, then you have to start looking for unseen gravitational influences. And as detectives do, I look at motive and opportunity and who-profits in trying to figure out what unseen influences might be operative behind the PR appearances.

      The numbers of several hundred million dollars in pay-outs are available on a number of news sites or in search engines; they vary only as to whether they approach or exceed a billion. The number of plaintiffs is a matter of math; using your number of $20,000 per Plaintiff that would call for a rather large number of plaintiffs receiving settlement payouts, even if we presume 30 percent attorney cuts (plus fees). I would say that the average payout is more – the math won’t easily support the astronomical numbers otherwise.

      But where the ‘number’ of ‘false claims’ comes from is, as I have said, impossible to determine if only because of logical principles: you can’t prove a negative. You could only establish definitive numbers by actually investigating and corroborating or disproving each claim by each plaintiff, which is precisely what nobody has done. There is at this point absolutely no way to justify a number and certainly a low number; the ex-FBI investigator mentioned on this site a while back – who has actually looked into a number of allegation – estimates half are without merit. While I don’t take his assessment as dispositive, he at least has looked at a given number of cases with a professional competence, which is more than other postulators of numbers and percentages have done. I would certainly not credit a percentage of 2/3s of allegations being true without some evidence or at least some type of competent investigation and analysis.

      As I have said in prior comments on this site, this was the trade-off built into the bundled-lawsuit strategy of 2002: no investigations would be done. That would potentially but clearly serve the interests of illegitimate claimants (and quite possibly the attorneys that represented them) as easily as the putative interests of the Church (but which still then wound up paying out the aforesaid hundreds of millions). Indeed, it is interesting to me that no organization such as SNAP or Bishop-Accountability has actually commissioned a real and professional Study, published with all the necessary elements (review the John Jay Reports to see what all the necessary formal elements of a Study include).

      I never indicated anything to the effect that the priesthood is being held responsible for the hierarchy’s failures and I don’t know where that assertion is coming from – it didn’t come from me.

      Older-man/young-kid jokes have been around a long time. That was the reason for the extended gag in the first “Airplane” movie (1980 or so), where Peter Graves’s pilot kept asking the kid visiting the cockpit about naked men. In fact, it is indicative of some unseen gravitational pull that so universal a trope has remained so tightly focused on the Church for the past 30 years, when it’s pretty much of a standing gag or consistent trope in the wider culture.

      This being the internet I don’t know who is or isn’t anything, so I’ll simply say that it has never been my position that ‘victims’ (legitimate or otherwise) “created this crisis”. They were, in my assessment, pawns in a much larger game and strategy; a sizable number of official allegants received payoffs, and that was part of the deal for them. There may be other considerations and aspects to this, but they are not in my opinion primary elements if one is looking at the Catholic Abuse Matter as a historical and cultural and legal phenomenon. One could, of course, look at it from some other point of view if one wished.

      The hierarchy in this country certainly played their part in allowing the Church to develop such vulnerability as it did. And I am glad to see that the hierarchy took the actions it did in 2002 and since; the only actual studies that have been done – and the first and then second John Jay Reports are some of the few that serious and professional and competent ones that have been done – indicate that the reforms have largely taken effect. (Allegations about long-ago abuse still continue although at much reduced rates, and given the economic conditions in the country that is hardly surprising, but current allegations have fallen off very noticeably.)

      And again, I will not agree that the difference between your position and mine is merely a difference of opinion. Your position needs to explain with some reasonable demonstration a number of elements that have not been thus demonstrated. That’s not intended to be taken personally.

  16. Publion says:

    A bit more on the Matter.
    If, say, a confirmed anti-war pacifist activist, possibly belonging to a confirmed anti-war pacifist group, were to get involved in the military sex-abuse matters, and insist that it was a Crisis of semi-permanent and profound proportions, and that on the basis of the military bosses’ failure to curb it totally then the entire credibility of the military was clearly and completely undermined and the military clearly justified  in being abolished … one would hardly be imprudent to think a bit further before accepting that person’s claims and conclusions.
    In exercising such prudent skepticism one would not thereby be proven to be a war-monger or a defender of sex-abuse or a lackey of the brass or an imperialist or any such thing. One would  simply be demonstrating a certain amount of justifiable prudence in the face of a set of possibilities put forward as facts by somebody with connections to the subject who might be less than objective when making claims and conclusions.
    This is the type of thing that has happened and continues to happen far too often in the Catholic Abuse Matter.

  17. Jason says:

    Really Jamie?  Not immersed in the world?  Yeah, because you know all of us – everyone of us.  Our backgrounds, the hells we went through, all of it. 
    I came from an extremely anti-catholic background, was involved in anti-christianity heavily and black metal, went through hell and back and came to the Church as a convert, and this woman has the audacity to say such a thing as we don't live in the real world?  I beg to differ – so do all the other young and not so young Catholics I know. 
    But then again, with someone like Jamie Manson criticizing you, you know you're on the right track.

    • Jason says:

      Actually, on second thought, I retract what I just said…I'm going to instead employ the advice of Silouan the Athonite on this one:
      "When a man affronts you or brings dishonor on your head, or takes what is yours, or persecutes the Church, pray to the Lord, saying: 'O Lord, we are all Thy creatures. Have pity on Thy servants and turn their hearts to repentance,' and you will be aware of grace in your soul."

  18. jim robertson says:

    Who the hell is Jamie Manson? Me??? LOL. This sounds like Bob Swiderski after downing a few. Anyone who flips from extreme semi "darkness" too right wing Catholicism hasn't traveled very far.
    Goethe said: "Those who believes in the a devil are already firmly in his grasp." 
    If you think the "world" is defined by your former "taste" in music; you needs a little help, son..

    • jim robertson says:

      I'm sorry . I screwed up . Too many names to remember. I know now who J. Manson is.  again sorry.

  19. jim robertson says:

    Pub It isn't only this country where the hierarcy failed. The exact same cover up has occured in Austria Germany England Italy Canada Australia. The sun never sets on the Church's cover up of sex abuse. Canon law from the year 900 talks about priestly sex abuse of the young. What's that 1100 plus years? "Semi permanent" after 1100 years seems a bit understated. And 1100 years is quite a "profound proportion"in and of itself.
    I understand your position better now. I disagree with it; but I understand your defensive mode. If SNAP didn't exist (Please Jesus!) would you feel less attacked or is it the press? And or both? If answering these questions is redundant to you.sorry don't answer.

    • Ken W. says:

      Jim, forgive me for answering for Pub, but I believe that SNAP's relevance is dying a rapid death. There are at least 3 people who have pretty cushy jobs in the organization, and when their relevance dies, they will have to find something else to do. In my own biased opinion, I believe that SNAP and SNAP alone is furiously fanning what little flame remains when it comes to abuse within the Catholic Church. Their livelihoods depend on it. Their only other options may very well be as Walmart greeters. 
      All one has to do to see exactly how difficult it is, even near impossible, for a pedophile to move about unhindered in a Catholic setting is to visit any parish or parochial school. And when a very rare failure does happen, it is always the result of breakdowns at the parish level. For example, at least 6 lay people that legally qualify as mandated reporters in the Fr. Ratigan case suspected his behavior before the bishop had even heard one word about it. 

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Thank you, Ken. You are 100% correct that the failures in the Ratigan case took place below Bishop Finn. 

      As I said before, two computer technicians, a diocesan lawyer, a monsignor, a vice-chancellor, a psychiatric doctor, and a deacon all allegedly saw the disturbing images from Fr. Ratigan’s computer, but none of them officially alerted law enforcement! Good grief!

  20. jim robertson says:

    Ken W. I only wish SNAP was a couple of Reaganite entrapraneurs behaving horrificly to victims out of some greedy need for a well paying job. We thought that of them for years. But it's much more than Blaine's and Clohessy's greed. Who needs to control victims to such an extent that we don't even meet? No one but the Church. I won't go on. But I wish you'd believe me and my experience and my common sense that SNAP has never worked for victims.

  21. jim robertson says:

    P.S. Saying you work for victims and really working for victims re: SNAP are 2 very different things.

  22. Remarks on accepting the
    St. Catherine of Siena Distinguished Layperson Award
    10th Annual Conference of Voice of the Faithful
    September 14, 2012, Boston (Copley Marriott)
    Thank you Pat, and thank you officers and members of Voice of the Faithful for allowing me to stand before you as your representative. I do believe that you are all—each and every one of you—“distinguished laypersons.” So I most gratefully accept this award on behalf of myself and also on behalf of each of you who carries the spirit of Saint Catherine of Siena forth to the church and to the world so sorely in need of her—and your—direction, and healing, and consolation. I thank you for allowing me, in small part, to be your voice.
                I have a deep devotion to our sister, Catherine. I have visited Siena many times, and stood long hours in her simple sleeping room in the once busy home of her parents, where her stone pillow sits even now beneath the stairs. I have been to the Basilica San Domenico in Siena where she vowed herself. I have prayed at her grave in the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. I have attended mass there, in the room where she suffered death, at the age of 33. But, more than that, I have studied about and I have prayed both to and with Catherine about the church and the world in which we live today.
                How different is our world from hers? How different are we here this evening from the people of Catherine’s fourteenth-century Siena? She lived in times of constant wars among the principalities around her. She lived amidst the ravages of poverty and of plague. How did her church’s hierarchy respond?
                The cry of the people was for the Gospel, not for pomp, in their own circumstances. What did they get?
                Catherine lived in times when preaching was often so bad, so irrelevant, that she decided at one point to cut her hair and disguise herself in men’s clothing and move far from home and become a Dominican friar, so she could speak the Gospel message. How like today! The only way she could be heard was to abandon her femininity! And, how silly.
                Of course she did not do that. But, the peoples of her time and space would not, could not hear the Gospel explained by a mere woman. Preaching was strictly controlled by the bishops, who for well over a millennium were the only ones to speak. Only in the time of Saint Dominic, more than a century before the time of Catherine, did the Order of Preachers take up its work of preaching to argue against heretics and to spread the faith. Only gradually did others—all men—join them. Concurrently, the real “preaching” was being done by those who followed Brother Francis, the deacon, Saint Francis of Assisi. The real “preaching” was not only with words. It was with deeds.
                Catherine’s church was a Dominican church. So Catherine—already vowed to God by her own accord–became a Dominican tertiary, a third-order woman who lived at home and ministered to the sick, to the poor, to the lonely, and to the abandoned. With other women she picked up the diaconal works that fell by the wayside as the priesthood absorbed the deacon’s charge and duties—as well as the deacon’s job of minding the church’s treasure and its stores.
                There was no other way for her. Women in public vows were enclosed in cloisters, their solicitude silenced by convent walls. So Catherine went out into the streets not as a woman deacon of the bishop, but as a third order daughter of Saint Dominic, to heal and to help, to visit and to console.
                And soon she earned a following. You know the rest. Her three young noblemen followers took dictation and ensured that her letters traveled throughout Tuscany, that her writings went to Naples, and that her advice went to Avignon, until she moved to Rome. What work, what changes in our church and world would Catherine of Siena have worked with an iPad?
                Which brings us to today. Which brings us to the Voice of the Faithful.
                Like Catherine, you and I seek “To provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.” Like Catherine, you and I support the wounded, applaud the honorable, and seek to “shape structural change within the Catholic Church.” Like Catherine, you and I travel far and wide. We use what otherwise would be leisured late nights and weekends, we spend our earnings and our energies to challenge and to change what we see, that which only too clearly diverges from the Gospel message, that which only too clearly diverges from the Truth.
                Because I tend to parse Canon Law, I know that laypersons may “cooperate” but not “participate” in governance, and that “participation” in governance is legally—that is canonically–reserved to the clergy. I also know that deacons are members of the clerical caste and that women were and can again be deacons. And so the preaching and the judging and the administration of church goods can once again be formally given over—at least in part—to women for whom the diaconate is a genuine vocation.
                Can this happen? Will it happen? Will any of the goals of Voice of the Faithful or the hopes of women for ordination be met? I would advise: don’t quit. Don’t quit because if what you do is from the Lord it cannot be stopped and it cannot be denied. Don’t quit, because, like Catherine, your unique vocation is today right here in this grand ballroom to serve the church and all God’s people. Don’t quit, because what you are doing is right and it is just.
                Take heed of what Raymond of Capua, Catherine’s fourteenth-century confessor and Master of the Order of Preachers, wrote in his biography of the woman saint who kept the faith, and changed the church. Raymond reported:
                “And so the Lord commanded her ‘Remember that I have laid down two commandments of love: love of me and love of your neighbor. On these two commandments, as I myself bore witness, depend the Law and the Prophets. It is the justice of these two commandments that I want you now to fulfill. On two feet you must walk my way’….
                Heartened somewhat by this reply of our Lord, Catherine [answered in these words]: ‘How shall this be done?’
                And the Lord replied: ‘In the manner that my goodness shall plan and arrange.’
                And she…replied ‘Not my will be done, Lord, but yours….But may I ask you, Lord, if it not be presumptuous, how can what you say be done? How can one like me…do any good for souls. My very sex, as I need not tell you, puts many obstacles in the way. The world has no use for women in such work as that….’
                To this our Lord replied…’No thing shall be impossible with God… With me there is no longer male and female…Why then do you hesitate about the how?…At the present day human pride has passed beyond all bounds, especially the pride of those who regard themselves as wise and learned men. My justice can no longer refrain from putting them back in their place by a just judgment…I shall be your guide in everything it will be your lot to do.’” (The Life of Catherine of Siena by Raymond of Capua Tr. Conleth Kearns, 116-117)
                Ladies and gentlemen, pray with me, and with my predecessors who have accepted this award from you, that what the Lord promised Catherine will take place today. Let us pray that working together we may each and all create a church that Catherine would applaud, and that we can be proud of. And, most of all let us pray for justice in our church.
                Thank you and God bless you.
    Phyllis Zagano

    • jim robertson says:

      Ms. Zagano, I just attempted to post a comment at NCR regarding  your latest article and found myself banned from commenting on your thread.  I am amazed! I know that Catholicism and free speech have issues but gee. Can you explain? thanks.

    • TheMediaReport.com says:

      Jim – If it makes you feel any better, the Reporter won’t publish my comments, either.

  23. jim robertson says:

    I'm in shock really I wrote no obscenities. I guess saying SNAP and Votf are the Church is the problem.
    Also NCR is published in Missouri the source of SNAP. Ah well what can I do. I do find it funny that the left of the Church has bought and swallowed the SNAP VOTF Kool-Aid. I thank you for letting me post here.


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