Journalism Outside the Box: Wall St. Journal Bravely Profiles Stunning Case of Wrongfully Convicted Priest Fr. Gordon MacRae

Dorothy Rabinowitz : WSJ : Rev. Gordon MacRae

Afflicting the comfortable: The Wall St. Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz (l) shatters complacent journalism.
Eighteen years in prison and counting: Fr. Gordon MacRae (r) (shown in 2011).

In a stunning article that bravely veers from the media's usual, tired coverage of the Catholic Church abuse story, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dorothy Rabinowitz has taken up the case of Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, who has been serving a 33½-to-67 year sentence in a New Hampshire state prison since 1994 on abuse charges.

Rabinowitz's article in the Wall Street Journal reports that MacRae was wrongfully convicted in a grave miscarriage of justice.

Troubling details exposed

Art Brennan : Judge Arthur Brennan : New Hampshire

Former N.H. judge and "Occupy"
leader Arthur D. Brennan has thoroughly examined Fr. MacRae's case before, and this is the second time that Rabinowitz has profiled MacRae, as she first reported about the priest for the Journal back in 2005.

In a nutshell, Fr. MacRae was convicted by a jury and imprisoned based on the claims of a single accuser named Thomas Grover, whom Rabinowitz aptly notes had "a considerable history of forgery, assault, theft and drug use."

In 1994, the then-27-years-old Grover claimed that Fr. MacRae sexually assaulted him over five consecutive weekly counseling sessions years earlier in 1983 when he was 15 years old. Asked why he would repeatedly return to a place where he had been brutally attacked the week before, Grover amazingly testified that he "had experienced 'out of body' episodes that had blocked his recollection" of previous abuse.

But these are not the only troubling aspects of MacRae's case. Among the others:

  • there are multiple, independent attestations that Grover has said privately that he was never assaulted by MacRae, and he accused the priest in order to sue the Church for money;
  • there are multiple, independent sources who say that they were coerced by law enforcement into falsely implicating MacRae of abuse;
  • a signed statement from a courtroom witness claimed that a therapist hired by Grover's contingency lawyer used hand signals from the back of the courtroom during the trial in order to coach Grover on the witness stand; and
  • a veteran FBI agent conducted a three-year investigation and concluded, "I discovered no evidence of MacRae having committed the crimes charged, or any other crimes."

The New Hampshire judge who sentenced MacRae, Arthur D. Brennan, is now retired, but he was recently in the news for getting arrested in Washington D.C. as part of the "Occupy" movement.

Closer to justice?

Could Fr. MacRae finally be released from prison in the near future? It seems we may know the answer soon. According to Rabinowitz:

"A New Hampshire superior court will shortly deliver its decision on a habeas corpus petition seeking Father MacRae's immediate release on grounds of newly discovered evidence. The petition was submitted by Robert Rosenthal, an appellate attorney with long experience in cases of this kind. In the event that the petition is rejected, Father MacRae's attorneys say they will appeal.

"Those aware of the facts of this case find it hard to imagine that any court today would ignore the perversion of justice it represents."

Kudos to Ms. Rabinowitz for reporting the truth however unpopular the cause. Investigative journalism and digging for the truth take hard work. Few journalists are brave enough to publish stories such as this one, which challenges the mainstream media's conventional thinking that any accused priest is automatically presumed guilty.

Fr. MacRae's case is sponsored by the National Center for Reason and Justice. Stay tuned.

[See also: "Alarming New Evidence May Exonerate Imprisoned Priest" (Feb. 2012)]


  1. Paul says:

    Thank you Ms Rabinowitz for defending truth and justice–however unpopular.

  2. Gina Nakagawa says:

    God's justice may soon prevail.  I pray that Father McRae be freed exhonerated of all accusations and may return to active priesthood.  God bless and keep him!

  3. jim robertson says:

    I pray God should remove the biggotry in people's hearts against the Occupy movement, that they may stop siding with the 1% against the 99%., and be on Jesus' side with the poor and disenfranchized. Amen

    • Kirk says:

      To hear Jim R speak of "biggotry" against the Occupy movement is fascinating.  On one hand, members of the OM that actually took part is closer to the 1% and even that is a stretch.  AND, that 1% caused hundreds of thousands in damage to public properties in their quest to interrupt the activities of their targets, and those $$ to repair the damage fell on the 99% of law-abiding citizens going about their lives and paying the bills.


      So, JR, why do you think contempt for the "OM's" is a bad thing anyway?  I hope they stay away from my home town, after being forced out of their last foray.  Let NIMBY live!

  4. Publion says:

    Perhaps the time is coming when this whole Matter will be looked at as a historical event. And by that I mean that it will receive the competent historical inquiry and attention that it did not receive when it was a current legal-political rage.


    In that regard it will be interesting to see what happens with the upcoming lawsuit against the Irish Christian Brothers in Chicago, referenced in the Chicago Times article that is the subject of the immediately prior TMR article here.


    Not that I expect to see any path-breaking bits in the plaintiff-presentations, since the playbook has been well-established. Rather it will be interesting to see how the court handles it and – even more importantly – how the jurors handle it.


    Because – as was made clear in some astute comments to various of the BigTrial articles – much of the presentation in trials depends on the various counsels’ estimation of what the jurors will respond-to.


    This, of course, goes directly to the tremendous value of the Stampede, which shapes and indeed taints public opinion – and thus potential jurors – before they ever get the jury-summons.


    In this way, the current military-law issue I mentioned in prior comments is also relevant: eager to show that they are ‘on board with the program’ and that they are ‘team-players’, general officers including of those holding the highest command positions have made Service-wide public comments to the effect that sex-assaulters are “scumbags” and deserve the most severe possible punishment.  (McClatchy News has a series of informative recent articles on its site.)


    You can quickly see what can happen when a ‘community’ is told such things by its leadership: the distinction between ‘sex assaulter’ and ‘accused sex-assaulter’ dissolves very quickly, and any jurors (or judges) know exactly where they had better stand on the matter. (Indeed, it has always been a concern in military-justice cases that defense counsel also get that message; which may or may not be so active an issue nowadays, although the dynamic is built into the military system from the get-go.)


    It has been my position that in the civilian world, politicians and mainstream media function in a roughly analogous position to those generals and commanders: people cannot avoid being influenced by any sustained ‘vibes’ that those politicians and media give-off, especially when those ‘vibes’ take the form of laws and ‘reporting’ along a single and sustained line of thought.


    And yet that also brings us to the reality that ultimately it is the people, the Citizenry, themselves – who become the jurors and signal their receptivity by the verdicts they deliver – who are ultimately responsible. It is upon the people that tort-attorneys calculate their chances and possible positions when figuring the odds and the ins-and-outs in bringing a lawsuit. And it is upon the people – as jurors and as the public generally – that prosecutors give thought as to just how much latitude they can take with established law and legal procedures and still get by with their case.


    A dynamic which is also deranged further if the laws and legal procedures themselves have been deranged in the service of a particular outcome; hence in so-called victim-friendly law: that the outcome has a much greater probability of being in the service of and to the satisfaction of the (self-reported) victim.


    For readers who wish to get a wider and deeper view, I can highly recommend the section of Fr. MacRae’s These Stone Walls site where a large number of articles are conveniently gathered together.


    This is the link to that section:

    • jim robertson says:

      I reply to Kirk here, re Occupy first:

      How about all the money that's been spent murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqies? The 99% have been picking up only a partial tab of many trillions of $.

      I say partial tab because we've never compensated for the lives we 've destrpyed so willfully so callously.

      Keep identifying with the 1%, that'll get you far. You won't even get a pension out of it chump.

      [edited by moderator]

  5. Publion says:

    I have often discussed the political connections – such as we have seen so strongly suggested in the Philadelphia trials on the BigTrial site – that seem to underlie so much of the Catholic Abuse Matter.


    Judge Brennan – who presided over the (now deeply contested) MacRae trial back in the early 1990s – has in that regard a curious professional history. From getting his law degree in 1983, it took less than 10 years for him to be appointed to the Superior Court in NH; he had previously worked for three years for that State’s (Republican) Governor as a legal counsel  on policy matters.


    Before that, upon his return from military service in 1972, he worked with his father as a stone-mason and logger until deciding to go into law, graduating with his law degree from a local law school in 1983.


    He was appointed to the Superior Court in 1992, by a (Republican) Governor whose term ended (after one term) on January 7, 1993. That politician then went on to the US Senate.


    In 2007, halfway through the term of a Democratic Governor, Brennan retired from the bench and took a job with the US State Department (under a Republican President) in the Iraq Reconstruction bureaucracy.


    (I include at the bottom of this comment the link to the official NH announcement of his retirement and his bio included therewith.)


    He has since been seen – as this TMR article reports – speaking out against the current (Democratic) administration.


    I draw no absolute conclusions from the above information. And yes, there is almost always some amount of ‘politics’ in major judgeship appointments in this world of ours.


    But my thoughts and questions – based on the curiosities above – are these:


    First, Brennan and political-preference seem especially intermixed, given his unusual professional history and course-of-career.


    Second, to what extent was his handling of the MacRae case so brashly handled – similar to what we saw in the Lynn case in Philadelphia last year with Judge Sarmina – because of political connections and interests which he saw it in his best interests to serve?


    In the Perfect-Storm synergy of interests that coalesced in the Catholic Abuse Matter from the beginning, the ‘law-and-order’ element – from the Right, if we might say – was strong. (Indeed, it was Ronald Reagan as Governor of CA in the mid-60s who first hit upon the idea of using ‘victim-friendly’ laws as a way of increasing the Republican/Right ‘law and order’ appeal to voters, especially when substantial State and Federal monies were made available to self-reported victims back in that place and era.)


    New Hampshire – although stuck up there in the mostly-‘blue’ Northeast – was in the early 90s a Republican-leaning State that prided itself on having held itself aloof from the urban (and Democratic .. and historically Catholic) mess of the cities to their south. New Hampshire was Republican and independent and very much prided itself on its law-and-order.


    In such a setting, the opportunity to a) establish further creds for ‘law and order’ while b) taking a swipe at an organization (i.e. the Church) predominantly Democratic in the Northeast , while simultaneously c) opening up a possibility for some enterprising voters to garner victimist-inspired payouts while also d) opening up some interesting windows and fields of possibility for the (always politically-active) tort-attorneys, while also  e) making a play for by-then-influential victimist and feminist political elements that were usually presumed to be Democratic and also f) giving law-enforcement a shot at some juicy ‘investigations’ and ‘convictions’, and all the while g) providing great and grabby copy for the state’s premier newspaper, the Manchester Union-Leader … to a politician’s calculating eye, what was not to like?


    To consider all of the above possibilities, while also considering the depth and substance of the material submitted in the MacRae Appeal … is an eye-opening experience in historical-thinking. And, personally, I can’t see how a reviewing Court is going to be able to explain-away all that material.


    Third, if Brennan’s political connectedness and activity are still robust, then especially in an election cycle where Republicans will presumably seek to expand their possibilities in the run-up to the next national (and possibly even state) elections, will those connections have a bearing on how the NH Superior Court now considers the MacRae Appeal?


    And all this on top of the fact that it is always an iffy proposition to get a Superior Court to reverse a trial court; especially when ‘one of their own’ was the trial judge.


    But also that it is especially so when the weight of material ostensibly in favor of reversal (or in this case, Habeas relief) pretty much requires the Superior Court to recognize the failures and difficulties created by the trial judge (in this case, Brennan).


    So I am very interested in the fate of the MacRae Appeal.


    • Herb says:

      The "Republican" connection you try to create is pure fancy if not your political blame game.  Brennan was incompetent at best, unable to manage an ambitious prosecutor, allowed himself perhaps willingly to be swept up in the media driven hysteria and feeding frenzy on the Catholic Church, and likely motivated by some personal grievance against the Church.  Fr. MacRae became the victim in this madness.  Brennan's association with the OWS Love-In is a better indication of his underlying socialist anti-religion orientation.    

  6. Claire says:

    I eagerly await that judges decision on Father's case…and have been praying for him to be

    freed. Thanks to this site and Ms Rabinowitz for helping Fr MacRae.


  7. Ryan A. MacDonald says:

    Dave Pierre has once again distinguished himself as a journalist of courage and integrity by taking the road less traveled. While the rest of the news media grovels in scandal to sell itself, Dave Pierre gets at the hard truth.  This story gets truly ugly if you keep digging. I wrote of it recently, at the following link, and if you take the time to explore the links therein, you will agree that this story is egregiously unjust:


  8. LearnedCounsel says:

    Why make the note that the claim of abuse by a victim is"self-reported?" Is a claim less credible, if it is reported by the victim her/himself?

    Further, some claims are not self-reported because abuse was witnessed by another person or signs of abuse were detected by someone(s) who reported the abuse or their suspicion of abuse. Just because a victim subsequently tells of their abuse or testifies does not make the abuse necessarily "self-reported." As if there should be a problem with that.

    This reminds me of the settlement process with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB). A representative (lawyer) employed by the RCAB and two laywers for a big Boston firm hired by the RCAB interviewed me about my claim. This was one step in the process. The final three questions they asked me in that interview were: (1) Have you ever had a problem with alcohol? (2) Have you ever had a problem with drugs? and (3) Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? This part went quickly because my answer to each question was "No." That I can answer "No," I attribute to luck and not anything that I have thought or done. Right after being questioned, I could not help but think of the many people doing just what I was doing who had to answer "Yes" to one, two or three of those questions. It is, after all, very common that sexual abuse effects people such that victims have these types of problems in their lives. This is an issue for victims telling what happened and being believed. We are often very flawed characters and thus more easily impeachable.

    There will not be anything new in Chicago on either side. The targets of abuse are very consistent. Usually large, struggling (poor) families where the mother is very devout and the father is absent. Priest is super-involved with the family, friendly with mom and constantly helping the kids.

    When a sex abuse complaint comes up, the responses/defenses are pretty consistent too. The priest was just helping and this person turned on him. This person is lying to ruin the priest or to get some money or both. This abuse supposedly happened a long time ago, why just bring it up now? The supposed victim is such a mess and so she/he should not be believed. The priest has no other prior complaints in X many years. I could go on but they are all the same or nearly so. My point here is that the defenses are the same time and time again. Condemn the defenses for their consistency and persistence, if you would condemn the complaints for theirs. Nothing new, nothing new.

  9. Christopher Browne says:

    The historical event that comes closest in resemblance to this sad period is the Salem Witch Trials.

  10. Delphin says:

    The one recurring element of the whole molestation crisis, of juvenile males, in and out of the Church, is the common thread that the perpetrators are all deviant, militant male homosexuals.

    Let's define deviant and militants for the duller knives in the TMR contributors drawer: those are the very radicalized homosexuals that will commit crimes against minors. They are also usually leftist militants that defy Church and all other moral laws against the practice of such abherrant behavior. The church has loyal, ethical, moral and holy homosexual priests that adhere to/honor their celibacy vows. These are good men, and good priests.

    The Catholic Church welcomes all Gods children, especially homosexuals of whom she has been most protective through the ages, along with all her other sinners (all of us). It also expects all of us to repent of our sins, and sin no more. The deviant militants neither repent nor sin no more -hence the sins committed by these deviant, militant homosexuals within the Church being the sole cause and driver of the problem. Of course, the cowardice and/or complicity of some bishops (for reasons that span from empathy, sympathy, fear and collusion to poor judgement and total innocence) themselves imperfect, in shuffling offenders, and then seeking settlements on obviously bad claims/cases only served to worsen the problem for real victims (critical, however few in reality) and the church, as well as put innocent priests at risk, and worse.

    Bottom line- without deviant militant homosexuals, there is no abuse of minors crisis- anywhere, but, especially in our Church.

    This is more a psycho-social problem, which has been incredibly hyperpoliticized by the left, than an honest legal or philosophical debate/debacle. While morals/ethics and law have clearly been bastardized to accomodate the lefties in their persecution of the Church, it still comes back full-circle to just plain bad (deviant, militant) homosexual behavior in every affected segment of society.


    • jim robertson says:

      If you think burning at the stake is being "protective". Or being sent to concentration camps to die thanks to the corporate Church's connection to facist regimes. Germany, Uganda, Spain and most of Europe in the dark ages (yesterday) pick one. Or fighting for laws against gay people just for being gay, Then " protective" it is.

      What is" just a plain "bad deviant militant homosexual", exactly? I've never seen one But then you must think I am one. I looked in the mirror and I just saw a human being with all the usual flaws but no demon, sorry.

      What were you scared by Liberace at an early age?

      You had a crush on Rock Hudson or James Dean or George Michaels and your heart throbes let you down? Is that your trouble bucky?

      Oh and heterosexuals never abuse minors in "every affected segment of society" The hell they don't.

      [edited by moderator]

  11. Lynda says:

    The delay by the judicial system in dealing with this case – with it's well-documented insufficiency of evidence as well as evidence of a malicious prosecution – is unconscionable. Is there no one who will see that justice is belatedly done in this case??? Why are not lawyers, politicians and all who are aware of the case demanding the relevant court hold an emergency hearing to have Fr MacRae released immediately as the conviction was clearly unsafe??? What on earth is preventing this from happening?!! I could not see a man who's clearly been the victim of a miscarriage of justice, not being released by the courts in the UK or Ireland, as a matter of supreme urgency, were the evidence that is available, available in a similar miscarriage of justice in the courts of Ireland, England or Wales. 

  12. Jeannie says:

    "Blessed are those that have not seen but yet believe."

    These words apply to those like Dorothy, Ryan an David for their belief in an innocent man's rights.God bless!

  13. Jim Burke says:

    This development regarding Father Gordon doesn’t surprize me even a little bit .We all know that when the Sex scandal broke a large number of priests were accused of abusing children .In many cases there was a kneevjerk reaction and many men were suspended without any explanation .In addition Due process for these priests was nonexistent Christian Justice didn’t exist and many suffered because of this .It also in some cases became a polictical game .It also was game of trying to tell the general public that something was being done .In regard to the Review Boardsthat were established they wereca joke and a cover up .I wish someone could tell me how it s determined that something is creitable That all being said my final point s in some situations the abuse occurred many years ago how does one investigate and come to good conclusion on something in some cases that went back many years.In my view this is impossible .When reading this article about Father Gordon I didn’t see or read anything about where the Diocese stands on this situation .Perhaps it s the saying see no evil hear no evil

  14. Publion says:

    An – in my opinion – uncharacteristically coherent and focused comment by Learned-Counsel at 501PM. But let’s not look a gift-horse, and so forth. My compliments to the originator.


    I used “self-reported” as an alternative to something a bit clunkier, such as “self-proclaimed”. Thus that the victimization is proclaimed – or reported (as if it were a fact) – by the allegant; and, of course, in victimist praxis that would instantly become an allegation that is supposed to be presumed by one and all to be true and should not be questioned or – as they say in the academy pomo circles nowadays  – “interrogated”.


    In the now-corroded and undermined traditional ethos of law, the word of a victim should not be especially open to doubt or skepticism. But we are not discussing in a vacuum here, and after the past few decades of victimist influence such as I have described at length, then – as I said some time ago on this site – a certain amount of “strict scrutiny” should be applied by anybody looking at such claims and allegations. (And  Yes, that’s a formal legal term, and Yes I am using it here not simply as a standard of jurisprudential analysis but in an applied sense, thus as applying to any concerned Citizen looking at the allegations and claim.)


    I note again the appearance in comments of the idea of “signs of abuse”. I have previously and recently discussed this concept, especially as it has evolved in overall victimist presentations over the past few decades. I would especially mention, from as early as the late-1980s, the  book The Courage To Heal, a book purporting to deal with the self-diagnosis of females who had – the authors strongly suggested – undergone incestuous childhood sexual abuse, written by a pair of creative writing teachers (one of whom claimed to have been an incest “survivor”), and neither of whom had any clinical or psychological  or scientific training whatsoever.


    This was the book which first introduced to the big-time the use of extensive and somewhat scientifically-phrased or scientifically–presented ‘checklists’ purporting to enable “survivors” to determine if they had been incestually abused, but which checklists were (purposely?) vague and – in the manner of psychic readings and such gambits – were so vague as to have an almost universal applicability among willing readers.  (Alert readers here may have made the connection that it was from this book’s overall tone and approach that I derived my characterization: “If you are an adult and don’t like hot coffee, then you were probably abused by your Daddy because Daddies drink hot coffee … see? It’s science!”)


    The book also popularized the idea that if you found yourself checking off lots of boxes on the checklists and yet didn’t remember ever being abused, then you might well have repressed the memory. Which did much to lubricate the path for that particular gambit in subsequent years and events.


    But as I have often said, and recently: while the traditional ethos of law did not bear any particular pre-existing animus toward such allegations, yet that traditional ethos of law was evidence-based. Which was why a great hue-and-cry and Stampede had to be stirred up against evidence-based (Western and American, traditional and classical) law, in order to weaken and undermine the very concept of ‘evidence’ (which concept itself, in such legal authors as Catharine MacKinnon – writing the very next year in her book Toward A Feminist Theory of the State – was hegemonic, patriarchal, rationalistic and so on and so forth).


    Naturally, once the work of those two books was taken up by legislators eager to please certain demographics, and incorporated into jurisprudence and jurispraxis, and also taken up as cutting-edge theory in law schools, then – I would say – the groundwork was surely laid for any concerned Citizen to look very carefully at the claims of any such beneficiaries of so thorough and sustained a full-court-press.


    Once again I will say that a) I am not going to get into the critiquing of any individual’s case, but also that b) I have dealt at length and recently with the distinction between – to use the examples deployed by Learned Counsel here – i) an addiction for which the alleged abuse was the proximate cause and ii) an addiction not only perhaps latently pre-existing the alleged abuse, but an addiction whose characterological sequelae actually provided the impetus to make the allegation in the first place.


    And I will further say that while juries – especially in the past few decades, and in such cases as actually have come to jury-trial – may not always have made the conceptual distinction between (i) and (ii), yet those conceptual distinctions do exist as realities and have to be taken into account in any accurate assessment and comprehension of any particular person’s difficulties.


    In fact, of course, it was part of the dogma of the victimist Stampede that to even think about such distinctions was to ‘re-victimize’ the victim. Of all the many elements of victimist doctrine, this bit stands out for me as the key: because this was a gambit that precisely acted so as to preclude any potentially corrective or revelatory examination or analysis or ‘interrogation’ of allegations and claims whatsoever.


    And this became especially so in the public sphere where many persons simply slid into the unexamined presumption that to ‘question a victim’s victimization’ was the height of insensitivity (and, not infrequently, laid any such questioner open to the charge of being a victimizer him/herself).


    Curiously, Learned-Counsel’s envisioning of the typical ‘family’ whose child would later become an allegant easily supports not only the possibility that the “super-involved” priest (however that is defined) made his way into the family circle on the pretext of helping, but also supports equally well the possibility that a priest tried to help out a particularly difficult and troubled family and thus unwittingly provided the pretextual basis for a later effort to score a check from the Church.


    And in saying this I do not here claim to know for certain in any particular case nor to proclaim the governing dynamic or scenario in all such cases.


    Probably one result of this Catholic Abuse Matter is that priests are not going to be risking involvement with such families (which are only going to become more numerous as time goes on and various large-scale social initiatives bear their ineluctable poisonous fruits). But – if my surmise is accurate – then such families will thus simply be thrown into the arms of the (increasingly cash-strapped) state … and that will be that.


    The allegations and the defenses are “nothing new” because they are simply the working-out of the actual originating scenario from which they spring. Thus again, though, we are left with the question: Which of the two general scenarios is the actual originating scenario – that a) the evil priest slyly insinuated himself into a family for nefarious sex-abusive purposes or that b) individual(s) within that family later realized that there were big bucks to made with little legal risk even if – by some improbability – one’s allegations were examined and one’s gambit exposed?


    But, lastly, my point in my prior comment was that what “newness” the Chicago case would offer would be in the way the judge and jurors might deal with the case and specifically with the claims of the allegants. And if the allegations were dealt not simply in the usual victimist-inspired way but rather were handled more even-handedly, then that would indeed be significant. Learned-Counsel may not be a trial-attorney, but no matter what the outcome of the Chicago case, the ever twitching-whiskers of all attorneys will be acutely sensitive to the outcome: either there is still a good chance to run the same old playbook, or things have changed and there is not such a good chance any longer. That sort of thing.

  15. Publion says:

    Responding to Herb’s comment of 1011PM last night.


    I’m not trying to make a political connection, in the sense of trying to blame one Party or the other. As I have often said, this victimist agenda has been embraced – for their own purposes – by each of the Parties. And thus in things-victimist I hold no brief for either Party.


    Instead I had merely pointed out the facts of Brennan’s bio in order to establish the fact that he seemed to have relied on political connections (with whatever Party being secondary) to get along and get ahead.


    But this dovetails nicely enough, I would say, with your assessment of his incompetence (which incompetence I also suspect is the case). The professionally incompetent have more reasons than the average bear to compensate for their incompetence with political connections.


    The fact that this guy muggered around as a logger and stone-mason for half-a-decade of his post-military adult life before deciding to take up Law as a profession struck me right off the bat when I was reading the official bio. And then how quickly he moved ahead through political-appointments up to the Superior Court bench. (Nor did I see in the bio that he had had any prior bench experience at the lower trial-court level.)


    I also agree with the possibility of an ambitious prosecutor. Although from what I have been able to discern (although you may have more knowledge than I do about this particular case involving Fr. MacRae) I cannot yet agree that the actual and only reason for the screw-ups in the MacRae trial was Brennan’s inability to manage the prosecutor. The two Philadelphia trials, as we saw, provide more than enough material to consider that there were political synergies that would make an ambitious (competent or otherwise) judge want to shape the process to serve some political bosses’ agenda and objectives.


    As far as Brennan holding “some personal grievance against the Church”, I certainly cannot and do not deny that possibility. His photograph imparts to me the impression of some 1960s-type wingnut (I run into them at various reunions) and on top of that – as you say – there may be not simply that type of 1960s (or “socialist anti-religion”) aversion to the Church but also some personal animus.


    And I agree that Fr. MacRae certainly did get caught up in this whackery, as you say.


    In fact, he was taken under fire from both sides, since not only was the civil/public milieu deranged against him but the hierarchy itself – in the form of his Ordinary – also turned on him. I suspect his Ordinary at that time was – to use my terminology from comments on prior recent articles – a City-Cohort commander used to leading parades and the daily pleasantries of presiding over it all, rather than a commander of the legions with the wit and spirit and chops and competence to deal with the situation that enveloped Fr. MacRae.


    And in that regard it is my hope that starting now Ordinaries will be appointed from the legions rather than from the City-Cohorts. Pope Francis is certainly – in my taxonomy – a legion commander and I hope and pray that his spirit will begin to manifest in the selection of American Ordinaries.

  16. dennis ecker says:

    I do not know much about this case, but I would like to ask those who support this individual a question. We live in the U.S. were an individual who has committed a crime and has been found guilty by a jury of their peers has the right under the law to file an appeal.

    Here is my question, if the superior court fails to release this individual, he fails at his appeals, how many of you would be able to accept this individual to be a child abuser and make the stand this individual should serve out all remaining time ?

  17. jim robertson says:

    And Lord, I have one more prayer, a request actually, that P shorten is lengthy, unbelievably lengthy posts. It's niether necessary; nor fair; nor interesting. Please Lord? amen

  18. Delphin says:

    Ask your incredibly naive (smugly) rhetorical query to any one of the "convicted" here:

    Maybe our "convicted" priests are just of the wrong PC pursuasion-



  19. LearnedCounsel says:

    "Curiously, Learned-Counsel’s envisioning of the typical ‘family’ whose child would later become an allegant easily supports not only the possibility that the “super-involved” priest (however that is defined) made his way into the family circle on the pretext of helping, but also supports equally well the possibility that a priest tried to help out a particularly difficult and troubled family and thus unwittingly provided the pretextual basis for a later effort to score a check from the Church." No, not curiously but rather, precisely. That is why the pederast priest gambit sometimes works.

    "Probably one result of this Catholic Abuse Matter is that priests are not going to be risking involvement with such families (which are only going to become more numerous as time goes on and various large-scale social initiatives bear their ineluctable poisonous fruits). But – if my surmise is accurate – then such families will thus simply be thrown into the arms of the (increasingly cash-strapped) state … and that will be that." Not probably, but perhaps. The priests can stick to sacraments and theology and leave the social work to trained social workers. Or not. Come what may for troubled families and their troubled children and the state and country in which they live. The people and the state will deal with that. The church does not need to save the state from the possibility. The church could keep her priests at the church and there would still be plenty of charitable work for the catholic charties to do.

    "The allegations and the defenses are “nothing new” because they are simply the working-out of the actual originating scenario from which they spring. Thus again, though, we are left with the question: Which of the two general scenarios is the actual originating scenario – that a) the evil priest slyly insinuated himself into a family for nefarious sex-abusive purposes or that b) individual(s) within that family later realized that there were big bucks to made with little legal risk even if – by some improbability – one’s allegations were examined and one’s gambit exposed?" False dicotomy. Senario (a) happened frequently. Senario (b) very rarely.

    "But, lastly, my point in my prior comment was that what “newness” the Chicago case would offer would be in the way the judge and jurors might deal with the case and specifically with the claims of the allegants. And if the allegations were dealt not simply in the usual victimist-inspired way but rather were handled more even-handedly, then that would indeed be significant. Learned-Counsel may not be a trial-attorney, but no matter what the outcome of the Chicago case, the ever twitching-whiskers of all attorneys will be acutely sensitive to the outcome: either there is still a good chance to run the same old playbook, or things have changed and there is not such a good chance any longer. That sort of thing." Yea, no. Nothing new will happen. The court's decision will be what you have come to expect or a happy surprise. You will have to supply the perceived "change" later.

    Here is why. Say that a priest, friend of the family, takes my 13 year old son out regularly for an icecream or dinner and a movie and any number of church-related activities. This has been going on since my son was 10 years old. Now, my 13 year old son comes to me and says that the priest, on a couple of occassions, convinced him to wrestle with him in his room at the rectory. Both times the priest kissed him and touched his genitals. The first time, my son told the priest to stop and the priest apologized, saying it was an accident. The second time, my son told him to stop, pushed him away and came home. This would be a sexual assault and battery but what actually happened? Where is the evidence? I want to believe my son but the priest, when confronted, denies the accusation vehemently. He says my son is going through a tough time, that they had a falling out and that he may be making this up in order to distance himself from the priest and from religion. It is just his word against his word. If the law were to get involved with this matter at all, it would never have anything more than circumstantial evidence. Were these two together? Did they have some sort of familiar relationship? Also, assume that the time period is the 1990's or earlier so that cell phones, text messages, email and video are not pervasive and great sources of evidence. You can tweak the senario to make the battery more serious/severe or go all the way to a form of rape. You can increase the number of abuse incidents based on the manipulative power of the priest and/or the gullibility/susceptibility of the boy. ALMOST no matter what you do, you will not have the type of physical evidence or credible impartial eye- witness evidence to satisfy beyond a reasonable doubt. Just he said, he said. Well, you can always just do nothing about it. Or you can give the boy some money to be quiet and calm down. Keep the event a secret. And move the priest to another parish. That has been tried. Or you can do many other things, but they will all require an assessment and a judgement and a reaction based on the he said he said. That is the dilemma at the root of this. Based on my lived experience, I tend to believe the accuser. That is my bias. Might be the bias of some of the media too. We tend to be correct way more often than we are wrong – my assessment.

  20. Julie says:

    For crying out loud, Dennis.

    • dennis ecker says:

      @julie – I believe it to be a very simple question that anyone can understand.

      However I am not shocked or suprised by your comment.

  21. gloria sullivan says:

    Just because "one priest" out of millions, has been found to be innocent, does not mean that you should nullify all the evil that has been perpetrated on all the children that has been going on for mllenium(s)

      If all the so called" good priests" nuns or brothers,  had called the police and done what any normal person would do under the circumstances of  knowing  that there are religious who are sexually abusing innocents and left this evil  place,( that is condeming people to hell  rather than saving them.). There would have been millions of lives saved  from being Spiritually Murderd and tortured their entire lives.  This is not just a small  thing.  It is considered to most normal people, to be a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY,  imo I think  it is the "Unforgiveable sin AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT".

    • Clare says:


      It is a cheap shot and inappropriate for you to evaluate what is or is not normal.  My understanding is that religious brothers and sisters are in many regards similar to a biological family–including their perspectives on love and loyalty.  The thought of human being wrongfully acused of this crime is sickening.  If you are interested in a fantastic  book on the consequences of false assumptions read Mean Justice by Ed Humes, and, consider some empathy for both the falsely accused individual and a profession/vocation trying to heal and rebuild.


  22. Delphin says:

    …and, the dullards (leftist, radical, militants) continue to prove us right. It is their toxic brew of illogic and hatred of good, as displayed here day after day, that is gripping American culture,(and politics/policy) since the 60s.

    Sometimes, it is better to just stand back and let the insanity reveal itself, for all to see (since they are incapable of responding to truth and reason). Eventually, their retread diatribes all lead to the same place: an attack/assault on all faithful Catholics, just for existing.


  23. Publion says:

    Responding to Learned Counsel’s from 121PM today.


    Let me do this by going down the comment with each paragraph being a sequential number.


    First para: I can’t make sense of the distinction here between my “curiously” and L-C’s “precisely”, but I will say that the key is that “sometimes” – which is precisely what is at issue in the Matter: distinguishing the ‘sometime’ from the ‘not’.


    Second para: Without descending into what seems to be degenerating into merely a war of adverbs here, I will stick with my original “probably”. We still don’t know how many social-workers  – trained  and certified and licensed or otherwise – are also abusive; the searchlight hasn’t been aimed at that group yet and if sex-abuse dogma is accurate, then abuse is everywhere, including at public agencies. Learned-Counsel demonstrates here a not uncommon and convenient presumption that the government can handle everything and do it better than anybody else – which doesn’t strike me as altogether accurate at all. But “come what may”, he asserts cheeribly.


    And the Church – I am going to say – is not so much interested in “saving the state” in any of this; in fact, it is the existence of an alternative source of help (in so many ways) that has fueled the government’s efforts in getting and keeping the Ball Inflated in the Catholic Abuse Matter. And in “the people and the state will deal with that” I hear unmistakably the blithe and callow arrogance of the Bolsheviks, who once upon a time were pretty sure that the government needed no help from any other source in meeting the needs of the people; history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does sound the same when given voice. Nice to leave some space for “Catholic Charities” though.


    Third para: We are given nothing but an assertion here: that Scenario (a) “happened frequently” while Scenario (b) very rarely”. In order to prove my Scenario (b) to be false – I have to explain this to a Philosophy Major and an attorney? – Learned Counsel would have to know how many times priests have gotten involved with families with or without incident, and then compare the number of proven-abusive instances with that overall number. Does Learned Counsel claim to have such information as to the overall base number for priests’ involvement with families? Throughout the US? Over a period of half a century? For all priests within those temporal and spatial parameters?


    Or has Learned Counsel simply been drinking his own Abusenik Kool-Aid and presuming (as we are all presumed and expected to do) that the few cases we have seen of abusive priests involved with families somehow ‘proves’ that all or almost-all of priests’ involvement with troubled families are abusive in nature?


    And may I kindly point out that I went to the trouble of spelling ‘scenario’ properly, and when quoting my text Learned Counsel still managed to spell the word wrong? I usually don’t comment on spelling errors, but … really.


    Fourth para: I am not sure what “Yea, no” means. It seems to mean Yes and No – which doesn’t help. But moving on, we are informed as a matter of fact or certainty that “the court’s decision will be what you have come to expect or a happy surprise”. Thus: a ball hit by a batter will either be caught on the fly by somebody on the other team or it will not – logical but hardly informative or even insightful; one wonders why people pay to go to baseball games at all. Clearly, though, Learned Counsel is – as he has claimed – not a trial attorney, since one can never be so certain of outcomes, especially in cases where one hasn’t much information as to characteristics of the judge and the individual jurors, let alone what might develop as the trial unfolds.


    Will it not be the jury’s judgment rather than “the court’s decision”? Or does Learned Counsel have information that this is to be a judge-only arrangement?


    But apparently what Learned Counsel is going for here is this: individual trials cannot be expected to yield any information about how judges and juries may change in their handling of a certain (highly publicized) class of cases – and if you want ‘significance’ then you will have to impose or construct that significance out of your own head after the fact.


    And to that I would respond: A) As the trial process and outcome becomes publicized and commented-upon, all that material will become grist for the public mill and also for the judges’ mill and the attorneys’ mill; conversation and even professional commentary and certainly media reporting will all play their part in creating fresh input and fresh variables to be added into a complex equation that Learned Counsel seems to think is really as simple as putting a coin in a jukebox and getting music (or putting a card in an ATM and getting cash).


    And B) this seems to me an effort to forestall disappointing news for the Abuseniks. Before the fact, Learned Counsel here is already saying that the case will not – indeed cannot – have any significance of its own and it will simply be what it will be. Neat: if it goes against the Defendant(s), then the Abusenik tide can roll on; if it goes against the Plaintiffs, then the Abuseniks can claim that it’s just a single, isolated case and always has been. Neat.


    But we see here clearly the entire Stampede dynamic working now (or threatening to work) in reverse: from the get-go, each successful court case back in the bad old days of the Stampede created yet another quantum of belief in the public mind (and the minds of potential jurors in any future cases) that there must be a real and true huge Catholic Abuse Crisis with shoals of abusive priests;  and yet another quantum of belief among tort attorneys that you could actually get away with cases like this, and for big bucks indeed.


    So, yes, individual trial outcomes do indeed have their part to play in creating or re-shaping the ‘field’.


    And if people (and jurors) start wondering if a silent presumption of guilt against the Church in abuse matters is really justified, then they might start paying more careful attention to the material and ‘evidence’ presented, and – I would hope – we might see the beginning of a dissolution of the Stampede.


    And whatever consequences might then flow from such a development as that.


    We shall see. “Change” happened once some decades ago; and it may well happen again. Nor will tin-foil hats or crystal-balls stop it.


    And in his concluding scenario Learned Counsel makes the case for precisely what I said was the core problem in the first-place: the Western-based system of law and adjudication is based on evidence. And – as Learned Counsel tries to make the case here – there just isn’t that type of evidence to adjudicate these allegations.


    And so the solution to this  – Learned Counsel would have us believe – is to undermine the evidentiary principles of Western and American Law. And to do so by substituting the dynamics and principles of ‘revolutionary’ law … while at the same time claiming they were doing nothing more than introducing some whizz-bang ‘reforms’.


    This is the core Victimist demand, and it has been since Victimism first got going here, and merged with other political influences to insist upon the derangement of evidentiary principles in order to further their agendas.


    But this “bias” – as Learned Counsel neatly minimizes it – is nothing less than a treacherous weakening of the entire capability of the Law to protect the accused from the assault of the Sovereign Coercive Power. It is precisely what Thomas More – in Bolt’s phrasing as I mentioned it in prior comments – warned about: if you knock the trees flat to get at your personally important devil of the moment, then you have also gone and destroyed any possibility of defending yourself or of anybody else defending themselves when that time comes – as historically it always does come – when that ‘devil’ is suddenly redefined, and by the newly un-limited Sovereign Coercive Authority, to include you.


    That is the issue here, regardless of whatever scenarios Learned Counsel wishes to concoct to create a tactical emotional surge in favor of knocking down the ‘trees’ of the evidentiary principles. It is the deliberate (if insane) effort to get rid of a feared rat-infestation on a sailing ship by burning down the ship itself. There will not be enough lifeboats – there never are – when the ship goes down.


    To the Old Bolsheviks it seemed a great thing to define justice merely as ‘whatever serves the revolution’ and unleash the Soviet Sovereign Coercive Authority on the kulaks, the bourgeoisie, and anybody else who didn’t support the wonders and glories of the revolution … and then one morning Stalin got up and announced that the Old Bolsheviks themselves were an enemy class and had to be liquidated. And what could they say then?


    Martin Niemoller soberly and sadly realized that he didn’t’ think it was a bad idea not to speak out when the Reich deranged the Law in order to get at the Jews, and then the Communists, and then the labor reformers … and then the Reich came for him and there was nobody left to speak out.


    And – passing by Mao’s Cultural Revolution and its public confessions and parades with dunce-caps – we can think of Pol Pot and his pals who liquidated anybody who wore glasses, on the presumption that sooner or later they would have the brains to figure out the fraudulence of his ‘revolution’ and oppose him.


    The utter imbecility (as I have used the word here before) of weakening the laws that bind a limited-government and still expecting to retain a limited-government is demonstrable conceptually and historically.


    Nor do I accept any inference that what has been going on in the Catholic Abuse Matter has simply and primarily been the fine-and-dandy quotidian work of tort-attorneys trying to do their heroic bit for their clients.


    Nor do I accept the assertion that canon-law is nothing but an obstructive scheme for protecting the guilty (and ‘child rapists’ and ‘pedophiles’ and so on). Canon-law was the source code for much of Western Law and at this point has demonstrated more faithfulness to Western Law than – certainly – the ‘reformed’ American Law of recent decades. It was specifically designed to protect the rights of the accused cleric against any and all comers, including the Sovereign power of the Vatican itself.


    Any assertions to the contrary are – historically and conceptually speaking – nothing but Cartoons, designed to distract and seduce the public, just like Goebbels’s state-of-the-art cartoons that showed Germans how the Jews were just icky vermin-in-the-breadbox and needed to be broomed out the door by any good German hausfrau.


    The dynamics remain the same in all of the foregoing examples and they are the same that we have seen in the Abuse Matter (and, as well, in so very much of so-called ‘victim-friendly law reforms’).


    And I will further say that the primary relevance of all these treacherously lethal dynamics is not encompassed merely by the intentions of those who push them through, regardless of whatever good intentions and regardless of whatever vivid horror-stories are put forward. The primary relevance is in the consequences that have been historically and conceptually demonstrated to be ineluctable, inevitable, and unavoidable whenever Leviathan is unleashed and the bars of its cage are unlocked.


    So then, as may be imagined, I do not agree with the handy toss-off that “we tend to be correct way more often than we are not”.


    ‘We’ have clearly misjudged the ferocious and implacable nature of the dynamics that ‘we’ have unleashed. And in the end that will be the only epitaph.

    • jim robertson says:

      Ladies and Gentlemen right this way. Welcome to the Side Show of Minutia. Come get lost in detailia boredumbia. Where nothing matters and nothing makes sense. Step up folks come and be fooled into a mendacious delerium provided to you by someone who earns $400,000 a year to "do it" to you. And believe you me; done you will be.

  24. LearnedCounsel says:

    Check it out in today's Boston Globe. Announcing that the man is cleared because the sex abuse allegation could not be substantiated. Stupidly, the Globe randomly brought up the priest's record of stealing money from his parish. Irrelevant! The only thing that I hate more than embezzlement, is bringing up years of embezzlement by a priest that just got reinstated! So frustrating. C'mon, you have to laugh because this stuff writes itself.


  25. Delphin says:

    Apparently, homosexuals preying on minors is OK with the left, so long as you're not affiliated with Catholicism.

  26. Publion says:

    I was under the impression that Learned Counsel would “hate” priestly sex abuse of children more than anything else in the whole world. Now we are informed that it’s ‘embezzlement’ and the only thing that he hates more than embezzlement is years-of-embezzlement.


    We see how quickly the devil du jour can change once this dynamic and mentality get rolling.


    If the Ordinary in Boston has determined that his priest can still serve – since there was no substantiated sex-abuse – then that is the Ordinary’s decision to make. Since the local newspaper of record has plastered the embezzlement material up in this article, then there’s nothing ‘secret’ about it; parishioners will know and no doubt the pastor of the receiving parish will also know.  I don’t know what factors were involved in that Ordinary’s decision; perhaps persons in that Archdiocese or that parish will want to make further inquiries. But nothing is going to be ‘secret’. And if the parishioners choose to accept a repentant priest, then what precisely would be gravamen of the complaint here?


    But this comment of 520PM says something else to me: that in his need to have something to bethump the Church about, Learned Counsel will take whatever opportunity comes along. So much for priestly clerical abuse as the primary concern.

  27. Learned Counsel says:

    Starbuck, despite your constant comparisonof the so called Abusenik movement to the great evil totalitarian regimes of modern history, I do not see much alarm in the comments. Should not all the commenters that love your posts be worried about the take over of the Abusenik regime through the perversion of the law. They are not scared or concerned. They are cheering     your rhetoric. Enjoy you popularity with your fans, even though they do not really get you. They just like to read you battling us pesky victims. You are such and alarmist though. I want the Roman Catholic Church gone. It is my enemy. It is a major retarding influence on the human race. Realistically, though, I just want to see its continued diminishment. I don't think it could ever go completely away. But I will not make a secret of my contempt for the church and religion.

    Now, having said that, I was being ironic about the clearing and the reinstatement of the embezzler. You are often too literal. And in case you want to goon now about the seriousness of the subject, I was using irony and humor to make a serious point about how laughably flawed the church and her priests are. The Globe could not throw the embezzlement in there if it were not true.

    i have to say that I love reading your propaganda so please keep it coming. You are so bold. Like when you try to make Brennan sound like a strange disenfranchised hipster worthy only of suspicion and then provide a link to a write up that describes a veteran, professionally accomplished, family man. You are the spin czar.

    btw, thanks for the generous and charitable correction on my spelling of scenario. I did not realize that I was missing the c. Good thing Harvard cannot take back my degree, right?

    • jim robertson says:

      I don't think the Catholic religion as a faith is any of my business.

      But are we only speaking about a faith here or a 2500 year Empirical Institution, The Wealthiest Institution with out a doubt on this planet. What else could it be after 2500 years of accumulation. but the wealthiest. No other institution has had a run like that.

      The faith can fit inside your head and heart. The Church's wealth, corporate earth bound wealth, you couldn't hold that in your head. That's probably why the Church doesn't want you to know what it has.  Would you feel compelled to give if the need wasn't really there?

      May I do a brief comparison Harvard I believe has an endowment of 200 billion dollars imagine if you dare, Ma Church's corporate worth? Harvards only a few hundred years old. And such a small American Empire most of those years.

      I mention it only because the people who know the true figures don't seem to want to trust you with that info.

  28. Rondre says:

    This is hysterical. All this for someone who is guilty. i know priest and friars ( you obvioulsy don't know MacRae was  Franciscan for a while.) who have seen MacRae inn action with kids. I guess when you are in need of a story to report on you take anything.

  29. Delphin says:

    "…how laughably flawed the church and her priests are…" I guess one needs "…my Harvard degree…" to be more "flawless"?

    At least the truth about LC (oxymoron there?) did eventually get intellectually pumelled out ( thanks to Publion) –  is Always about shear hatred of the Catholic Church and her adherents. What we have aways known stands- we will be hated for who and what we are: faithful followers/devotees of Jesus Christ.

  30. Publion says:

    Responding to Learned Counsel’s of the 23rd at 1001PM.


    To be specific and accurate, I do not compare the “Abusenik movement to the great evil totalitarian regimes of history”. I point out the similarity in some of the dynamics deployed by those regimes and some of the dynamics that are key and essential to the Abusenik success (so to speak). And I point out how the introduction of those dynamics into American culture and law are lethally poisonous to the health and integrity and legitimacy of Western and American culture and law.


    You “do not see much alarm in the comments” – my alarm or yours? (Your wording doesn’t quite do its job here.)


    I would distinguish between an original perversion of law and a subsequent correction removing (to the extent possible) that perversion. Thus if the Abusenik (and Victimist) “regimes” made their progress by basing themselves in perversions of law  X, Y and Z, then when those perversions are corrected can we really accept with a straight face that those “regimes” are legitimately being victimized (through some sort of “take-over”)? Or – if I did not read this vaguely-worded bit correctly – then is the Abusenik movement itself (and its supporters and enablers) not concerned that it has been ‘taken-over’ – and indeed has been functionally based-on – such perversions?


    As for the tin-foil assertion as to why readers read my comments and what they think of them and whether they are “scared or concerned” – I’ll leave that to the readership.


    Nor do I go to all this trouble for what would be a rather anonymous “popularity” – I have a life.


    And more tin-foil tinsel: they “do not get” me. And you do? I haven’t seen any demonstration of that in any of your material. For all the philosophical and legal issues I have raised, there has been very little substantive response and a whole lot of distractions.


    Nor do I see myself as “battling pesky victims”. I am battling the conceptual and actual developments that are afflicting the country’s culture and law. Were I seeking to “battle” victims I would allow my comments to do some informed and acute speculation as to the personal and mental-health characteristics of certain interlocutors – based on the material they provide here, and I do not do that.


    My material is “alarmist” – yes, well … the historical record demonstrates that if one is sufficiently “alarmist” early enough, then certain catastrophes can be prevented. Had the captain of Titanic been a bit more “alarmist” about the possibility of running her into a berg much of that historical bit might have been different, and better.


    But you reveal to us that you “want the Catholic Church gone”, that it is your “enemy”, and that it is “a major retarding influence on the human race”. Thank you for clearing that up for everybody. It will no doubt be a factor to be considered in assessing your material.


    In regard to the embezzling priest, I wrote about the material that was in front of me. If you are not sufficiently competent (though a Harvard Philosophy Major and an attorney) in language to craft words in such a way that they can carry the weight of your intentions then …


    Which then goes to your claim that I am “too literal”. Perhaps it is that you are simply not possessed of sufficient language competence to sufficiently express the (if I may) nuance and complexity of your thought.


    Humans being what they are, who can be surprised at the weakness of some priests? Look at the weakness so often demonstrated by persons with other types of stature who don’t seem able to perform up to expectations. But – as opposed to, say, elite university grads and attorneys – the Church has now instituted some reforms that place her well ahead of most of the other organizations on the planet. (Or perhaps you could name some organization(s) on the planet that have or have always had a better track record?)


    If you would care to provide us with an assessment of just how I ‘spun’ the material in the State’s own bio of Brennan, then do so. Otherwise, characterizations without explanation are merely another form of assertions without explanation. And I precisely took issue with elements of that bio that indicate that his ‘professional accomplishment’ was itself questionable, and specifically in ways relevant to his competence in conducting a trial.


    And – speaking purely conceptually – given the assertions of Domestic Violence advocates concerning the rot at the core of so many families, then one apparently can enjoy the status of being a “good family man” and yet – unless we dismiss the Domestic Violence dogma – really not be such a man at all. Or do you reject the Domestic Violence dogma and all its pomps and all its works?


    Lastly, the fundamental issue would not be in Harvard taking back your degree (the existence of which degree is presumed here for the purposes of discussion). Such a revocation would be merely a surface matter. The core issue – in my view – would be that you are clearly at sea with far less competence along so many axes relevant to your claimed and represented competencies, and are – again, presuming your claim to be an attorney and presuming you have clients – holding yourself forth as an educated professional of far larger actual competency-achievements than have been demonstrated in any material I have seen here.


    It’s not at all primarily about the ‘credential’, therefore. It’s the substantive achievements in maturity and mentation and competence which the credential (Harvard, the Bar) is supposed to reliably indicate.


    Which, ironically, places you in much the same type of position as sex-abusive priests.

  31. jim robertson says:

    When did Jesus say word one about gay people?

    Who was Jesus "beloved" according to the gospels?

    What if Jesus was gay? And he really is letting all you hetero's come to paradise out of the goodness in his gay heart?

    You know nothing and flaunt it. You wave your ignorance like a banner; and when no one rallies around your stupid flag. You shout it's the left that's doing this to us. Pathetic.

  32. dennis ecker says:


    I think you gave the catholic faithful a heart attack. One must remember that God was always portrayed with men.

    Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I don't remember in all my years of ever hearing of a Donna or Jane.

    They are lighting candles for you right now.


    • jim robertson says:

      Better them lighting candles for me now. In the old days they would have lit the candles with me.

  33. Delphin says:

    So simple:

    1. Marriage between one man and one woman, only

    2. No Sex outside of Marriage (see #1)

    The rest is HIStory.



    • jim robertson says:

      Too damn simple if you ask me. Jesus says zip but you know what the truth is about gay people. [edited by moderator]

    • dennis ecker says:


      So Simple:

      ALL men, not some were created in  the image of GOD.

      The rest is history

  34. Delphin says:

    Tsk, tsk, now boys, we've strayed so far off the reservation.

    Those darn butterflies…..

  35. Publion says:

    ‘Rondre’ has taken time off from teaching media courses to claim that this TMR article is “hysterical”. Were she to have said ‘inaccurate’ or ‘un-balanced’ then – without agreeing with her – I could at least have accepted it as input worthy of consideration. Once again, presuming that when one sits down to tap out a comment one does not leave one’s professional chops downstairs or out in the car – then it raises the question as to whence exactly these comments come.


    Nor do I say this to personally go after Rondre. But again and again I notice the type of exaggerations or ungrounded assertions and so forth in the Abusenik universe, either by (self-proclaimed) victims or by sympathizers of same. And again, I wonder: if such inexactness and such imprecision (of concept and/or expression) and so on are deployed in commentary, then are we reasonably to presume that no such difficulties existed in the original allegations and claims? And as to the sympathizers: a media that takes such material whole-hog and without analysis cannot but convince itself that there is a) a large amount of belief-worthy support for b) a Catholic Abuse Crisis that actually exists to the extent and depth that is so often claimed and asserted.


    Thus too: I don’t quite grasp the relevance of Fr. MacRae’s earlier Franciscan connection and I am not about to accept at face-value any assertion that anybody indeed “know[s] priests and friars” or that such alleged gentlemen “have seen MacRae in action with kids” and that such alleged gentlemen have also put themselves on record about their supposed observations. But again: how many times during the Stampede has this type of assertion or tissue of assertions been accepted at face-value, either by readers or by media?


    Nor do I wish here to rattle any cages unnecessarily. But JR’s of 135AM on the 24th seems perhaps to refer to my material, at least to some extent. Aside from noting the uncharacteristic familiarity with a somewhat Latinate style (“detailia”, “boredumbia”, thus combined into the Latinate “detailia boredumbia”, and “delirium” – which is also a psychiatric term, but let’s not go there), I note that it all seems to boil down to nothing making sense and “nothing matters”.


    Again, given the phrasing and expression, I can’t quite tell who or what is the subject here. But such inexactness – by whatever inspired or motivated – once again serves to prompt the question about comments-now and allegations-back-then.


    Nor, lastly, do I see the significance of – I am presuming the subject of the remark here – Bill Donahue’s supposed “$400,000”. It’s not a million, certainly. But is JR somehow implying that receiving remuneration disqualifies comments or ideas? If that is the case …

    • jim robertson says:

      [edited by moderator] I was compensated not renumerated. Bill Donahue recieves $400,000 a year not a one time settlement for a lifetime's pain.

      You really seem to not only, have no sense of humor but no ability to comprehend humor when you see it.

      No one needs you to define what I or Dennis or what any other decent person writes here [edited by moderator]

    • Rondre says:

      Believe what you want. I guess otherwise you woud be out of a job. Your sided shows are entertaining. I always appreciate the  heads up  " go see what medioreports is up to today".

  36. Publion says:



    In regard to the Ecker comment of 420PM today, may I point out Mary Magdalene – who was chosen to play such a significant role at several points in Christ’s life, including on Resurrection morning ; and Mary herself who – as Mother of God and Assumed Bodily into Heaven – not only received the most significant trust from God (entrusting the life of Jesus to her at His most vulnerable moments, birth and childhood) but also received the most thumping affirmation and distinction (i.e. that Assumption) which privilege and confirmation has been denied to Popes and hierarchs and everybody else.


    Additionally, though not directly involved in the material here, the number of female Catholic saints formally declared as such numbers in the hundreds, excluding other lesser titles and extends over the entire span of the Church’s life. In times when – so it is said – women were not ‘recognized’, the Church was raising women to the status of Saint and those other titles; in addition to placing itself under the tutelage of Mary the Mother of God and reaffirming that submission consistently and continuously.


    (Which, if I might add, is a submission never embraced by – say – the US government, which at this point might also be considering removing itself from any declared status as being “under God” … O tempora, O mores. Although, for those who have been to the rotunda of the Capitol and looked up, there is Brumidi’s Apotheosis of Washington with George Washington pretty much being assumed bodily into heaven … the hot ironies.)


    Also, for those readers interested: I have been reading the succinct and illuminating explanations of Catholicism written by Peter Kreeft, whose several books are out in paperback and may well be in your local library. For Catholics looking to refresh their knowledge without delving into outright theology tomes or the (venerable) simplicities of the Baltimore Catechism, I think he’s very readable and valuable.



  37. jim robertson says:

    I'd like to point out some other imaginary heroes from history, cartoon history. Very similar really to religious history.

    The Passion of the Popeye. Mel Gibson starring as Popeye.

    In our scenario Popeye, the saver of all mankind can't get to his sacred can of Spinich in order to beat the demon called Blutto who is harssing Popeye's holy "bride" Oliveoyl. (Any Italian connection is purely coincidental.)

    Oh heck make up your own stories, you always do anyway.


  38. jim robertson says:

    I propose P be ignored from here on out untill he limits his posts in length. I'm sure even his fans need a break from his typing.

  39. Publion says:

    Out of the recent bits I can glean very little that requires extended comment.


    But the “humor” is – I think – useful in a larger sense: it seems the fallback position when a gambit fails or is exposed as being without-substance: Ha, ha I was only kidding – silly you that you couldn’t see it andyoumustbereallydumbnottoseehumorandcrazytooandI’msosureofthatsoitprovesIam …  And so on with that sort of thing.


    It does make one think twice about the “delirium” though.


    But in the Abuse Matter that’s pretty much been a given: there would never be any serious consequences if the allegations or the claims were discovered to be false. There would be no consequences – either one could claim a mistaken memory of a repressed memory of a false memory and simply expect not to be ‘revictimized’ by further interrogation, or else one could just do one’s styling of the marvelous sing-songy Roseanne Rosannadanna bit from the old SNL: “Nevvvvvvvvvvver mind”.


    The media, the legal system  - they would all give you a pass if you needed it. Meanwhile, the accused would be suspected of anything and everything.


    As Al Capone might have said looking back on the good old days (and perhaps did): it was a great racket while it lasted.


    The readership is welcome to entertain any ‘proposal’ that comes along, after considering the source. That’s one of the perks of being a reader.


    If evidence of any stories I have made up is offered, I’d like to see that evidence. Unless what is meant is merely some large chunk of Catholic or religious belief, but what would be new about that in this context?


    And there remains then the thought-provoking possibility that some of the greatest or most remuneratively successful creators of stories have suddenly taken it upon themselves to make a life out of being outraged at other ‘stories’.  There is a clear symmetry in this, although further speculation along that line is not the proper focus of this site or of my commentary.


    But I also want to turn one of my own thoughts around here: I would hope now that a new era of the Church’s priestly formation is going to be further and fruitfully developed. I would see this developing along the lines of what Vaclav Havel discussed as being a fundamental element of individuality: the sense of responsibility. (See, for example, his Letters to Olga in the 1988 Knopf edition around page 145.)


    Havel’s idea was that responsibility is the fundamentum around which all other elements of human identity develops. And the reality around which human identity fails or succeeds. In Vladimir Tismaneanu’s recent discussion of it (see his The Devil in History, around pages 184-5) this individual sense of responsibility “is the foundation, the root, the center of gravity, the constructional principle or axis of identity”.


    Of course, neither Havel nor Tismaneanu are speaking from a Christian or Catholic perspective; they are humanist philosophical thinkers, seeking to refresh (perhaps rebuild) an authentic individual human identity after the decades of that identity in the former Eastern Bloc being corroded by the Political Correctness inherently required by the Communist system and its thought.


    Thus – in my view – they are unable to take their fine vision further back or further up: they are limited to human beings in the here and now, with no resources beyond the here-and-now. They are well-intentioned Existentialists, though they have taken a far more other-oriented and communal human stance here than earlier Existentialists such as Camus and – surely – Sartre.


    Havel does indeed refer the need to develop a “vertical identity”, but this verticality extends only within the individual self, and does not because it philosophically cannot arise to a Vertical beyond the human self, a Vertical that originates in God and is the Origin of human-being itself.


    Whereas the genuine Christian and Catholic Vision allows one to take this excellent sense of responsibility and further ground it in the reality of humans being made in the Image of God and sustained by God’s Grace. Thus simultaneously connecting human-being to that Beyond that is and always has been its genuine Source and Origin.


    Priestly formation – seeking (I hope) not simply to train sacramental functionaries as in the City-Cohort sense but rather to train fuller and more comprehensive participants in the ministry of Christ – can and should draw on all of these resources to develop a deeply-rooted Stance toward life and ministry.


    And, of course, this would be an excellent element to introduce into all catechetical education as well, and would provide – I would say – a rich possibility for educational development among the laity as well.


    I think that with the election of a Pope from a religious Order (rather than one from a diocesan priestly background) there is great hope for this type of possibility being actualized. The diocesan approach can sometimes get bogged-down in more of the administrative and basic-function type of formation. Of course the religious-Order approach is liable to its own over/under-emphases: perhaps a bit too ‘idealistic’, some might say.


    But I think this fresh approach is needed now. Especially given the huge ‘existential’ (if you will) challenges now facing Western and American culture and society.

  40. Delphin says:

    Historical fact check: Nero, the infamously way-too-gay Roman emperor, burned Christians alive to serve as lamplight for the nightime. As a matter of fact, 8 of the first 15 Roman emperors were homosexuals, and they were the harshest persecutors of Christianity, and brutal tyrants, overall. If you deem yourself a god it will always unleash pure evil.

    That era must have been the true dawn of the En"light"enment-


  41. jim robertson says:

    [edited by moderator]What about all the homosexuals that weren't emperors? And what about the Christian Emperors like Constantine who murdered his wife and son?

    You know this old saw about Gays equal decadence. Is total crap. You just saw one too many sword and sandle flicks in the '50's

    What could be more decadent than a religious institution that enables the raping of it's own innocent young?

  42. jim robertson says:


    And since your God has nary uttered a sylable. You are the one doing all the talking here. I claim you to be just like the self diefied emperors. So why not follow your own advise and don't deem yourself a god. or even a spokeswoman for him.

  43. Delphin says:

    Oh- we shouldn't discuss any homosexuals crimes, only Christian crimes, forgot those lefty rules.

    Constantine was still a pagan when he discovered that his wife and son were having an illicit affair and had them executed.  While the Church investigated and issued the verdicts for heresy, the penalty was pronounced, and executed, by the state (you need to keep historical facts "straight", if nothing else is so in your world).

    Can't seem to get a response to the fact that the crimes being committed against minors in and out of the Church are committed by deviant militant homosexuals. That plague resides within your community- have you addressed the spill-over of that filth into the greater hetero society and the filth's adverse effects on minor boys? Why didn't "victims" focus their revenge on the offending deviant homosexuals? No "resources" with which to "compensate"? Your community (leftists, homosexuals) does seem to be disproportionately focused on Church resources- maybe this is just another lefty wealth "redistribution" scheme?

    Until you have cleansed your own house, don't offer any advice on how Catholics should maintain theirs. Perhaps the USCCB can loan GLAAD, B4U-Act, NAMBLA and the rest of the LGBT community a copy of the Dallas Charter since the 2012 Annual Report clearly provides evidence that it has worked -  the last vestages of your communities deviant, militant homosexuals have been exorcised from our priests ranks. If the solution (as caustic as it is) to the cancer caused by members of your community worked in our Church (even though there was clearly by-catch of innocents), it will work in your community – as well as in public schools, boys clubs/camps, synagogues, mosques, prison, the military (young males are the growing segment of sexual abuse "victims" there, wonder why?),  and everywhere the homosexual deviancy disease infects humanity.

  44. says:

    Thank you for your comments, everyone.

    We are shutting this one down for now.

  45. jim robertson says:

    I don't cleanse houses. Especially imaginary ones. [edited by moderator]

  46. Delphin says:

    "Imaginary" houses beget by "imaginary" crimes, perhaps?

    Beware, before your "camp" continues it's unholy war against the one true God and the "imaginary" faithful of his "imaginary" house, it is the largest care private provider for AIDS patients in the world.

    Some of your community's closest friends may be the recipients of our Catholic charities unconditional and selfless love, one day. Be careful about how much of that "imaginary" nasty church money you redistribute from the Church coffers into those SNAPpy attorneys coffers – I would not bet that those ambulance chasers contribute too much of their ill-gotten gains to charities that would ever benefit your peeps.

    I have to wonder if the HIV/AIDS patients worldwide hate the Catholic Church, as much as do the ever-maligned LGBT entitlement gang (aka overindulged spoiled brats) in the US….?

    Just saying.


  47. clare says:

    Communication is key is this subject matter.  The simple truth is that most people do not think or care who their priest is attracted to (men vs women).   FOR EXAMPLE, several years ago someone created a website for the purposes of reporting a relationship one has had with a catholic priest.  I forgot  what it was called, but was relieved it was shut down.  This would be cruel to do to anyone.   This is the underpinning of my perspective (s), my perspectives are rooted in protecting and caring, not judging.


  48. Not the first time priest were unjustly tried and convicted. Why today we celebrate  Bl. Richard Thirkeld, Roman Catholic Priest and English Martyr, executed for being a priest on May 29 at York. Indeed, to our race, save when it is trained in the Catholic philosophy, wealth and power appear as being almost self-evidently the objects of life. St. Thomas Aquinas has discussed that illusion in his famous question: "Whether money be the main good?" and all men not caring to pursue the reasoning to its conclusion, answer "Yes." Even where the Faith is preserved men pursue wealth and power inordinately. Where the Faith is lost they pursue nothing else. There is alot of money in  the Catholic Church England built an empire (including USA) from it.

  49. Please !! look into the case of Robert Phillip Hansen so-called spy and devout catholic

    Thank you



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