Willingly Manipulated: Media Touts Meaningless UN Committee Questioning of Catholic Church; More Free P.R. For SNAP

Barbara Blaine : United Nations : Pam Spees

Wild-eyed: SNAP's Barbara Blaine and CRR's Pam Spees

When an unknown and powerless group of bureaucrats from the United Nations somehow managed to question officials from the Vatican about the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church for several hours, the mainstream media was naturally more than willing to herald the event, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland.

But as is so often the case, the media missed the forest for the trees, reporting the subject with notable inaccuracy and a glaring lack of perspective.

A solution in search of a problem

The most egregious problem with the media's coverage of the UN-Vatican face off was that the issue was presented as if sex abuse is still a significant problem in the Catholic Church today. As we have relayed countless times before, it simply isn't, as much as haters of the Church may wish it to be otherwise.

In truth, in the United States, contemporaneous accusations against priests are extremely rare, and on average, only 8 allegations are even deemed merely "credible" by review boards each year.

Moreover, nearly half of all priests accused in recent years are long ago deceased, and the vast majority of accusations against priests allege activity that took place many decades ago.

But this context was sorely lacking in all the media coverage that we examined.

The mainstream media: SNAP's enabler

Nicole Winfield : Nicole Winfield AP Associated Press

Nicole Winfield : AP Associated Press

The mainstream media once again turned the event into another free publicity event for the anti-Catholic group SNAP, led by its radical founder Barbara Blaine, and an allied group called the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), represented by the daffy Pam Spees.

In fact, this was SNAP's and CCR's second attempt to garner international media attention over old sex abuse claims. As we reported last June, the International Criminal Court (ICC, aka "The Hague") roundly rejected the pair's wacky petition to prosecute Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican officials for purported "crimes against humanity" for their handling over decades-old abuse allegations.

The groups' effort was clearly a silly publicity stunt, as the ICC quickly recognized. But since the stunt gained the desired publicity, the groups then apparently decided to try the UN committee in hopes of obtaining even more media attention.

Following the sessions between the UN committee members and Vatican officials, SNAP and CCR presented a long and rambling "live stream" video, which only a die-hard bigot could possibly have seriously appreciated.

In fact, at times SNAP's Blaine appeared so discombobulated by the whole experience that she no longer made any sense in the video. At one point, Blaine uttered:

"I think we have to judge Pope Francis by his behavior, not his actions."
(18:40 on the video)

The media coverage was equally inaccurate and off point. After the Vatican released the statistic that it removed 400 priests over a recent two-year period, many mainstream outlets picked up on the breathless reporting by the Associated Press' Nicole Winfield, who appeared confused about whether the Catholic Church has the ability to jail any of its 400,000 priests worldwide.

Apparently trying to suggest that the Vatican's defrocking of abusive priests was still not a sufficient penalty, Winfield darkly wrote:

"The maximum penalty for a priest convicted by a church tribunal is essentially losing his job: being defrocked, or removed from the clerical state. There are no jail terms and nothing to prevent an offender from raping again."

Winfield may want to familiarize herself with the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Obviously, no organization has the authority to "jail" any of its employees, and unless a priest is a residing citizen of the Vatican, it cannot "jail" anyone.


  1. Jim Robertson says:

    Can't wash you lot clean. Apologies.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      Evil? What have I done or said here that would ascribe the word "evil" would be said about me?

    • Delphin says:

      You got your 30 pieces of silver out of the $3B the Church has paid out to claimed (not proven) victims to date (much more than actual rape victims get from secular sources), why are you still not satisfied?

      If Dennis or any other victim-claimant needs settlement welfare from our Church, they know how to locate the 'puny one', Anderson, or other crooks just like him, so why keep haunting here with your attacks/assaults/insults against the TMR readership? Go forth and get your Church booty (assuming you're a real abuse victim) – who's stopping you?

      The fact is that you two, and a few other of your drive-by cohorts, just enjoy vomiting your antiCatholic bigotry, materialism and atheism where you know faithful Catholics congregate.

      You act in direct opposition to God by attacking the Church that Jesus started, and by promoting sinful behavior (ex. homosexuality) and godlessness (ex. materialism, atheism), and, that is the definition of Evil.

      If you don't like that well-deserved and earned label, stop being evil.


  2. Delphin says:

    Oops, there goes that nasty misogynistic "clack" label being tossed again, this time at Julie, an obvious female commenter. When will the bigotry and sexism end?

    But, this rant provides a bit more insight into what drives this contributors hatred against the Catholic Church;  why, of course it would be that '…radical conservative philosophy…that is the antithesis of Jesus and His teachings'. Nothing quite like having a Communist-Atheist arrogantly attempt to school you on your own religion. No thanks, I'll leave my Catholic formation to the grace of the Magisterium. But, how's this for extending an olive branch – if I ever need advice on how to be a Communist, Atheist or homosexual – I'll give you a ring, ok?

    Gee, and here I though all the while the problem was with those woefully wascally and winsome [homosexual] priests that "raped, groomed, preyed upon and thoroughy ruined the lives of…" – what, liberals, leftists, communists or atheists? Or, are we still talking about abused minors  – I can't tell as this commenter is all over the place, which is typical when you haven't yet figured out quite how to manage or camouflage your hatred so that it isn't transparent.

    Well, I guess this commenter can add this latest failure on top of all the others, beginning with his education (somebody was partying way too much when they were covering the three "Rs"), livelihood (failed 'actor'?) and relationships, and ending with his wee-bit-late-in-life 'activism'- such that it is.

    But, Julie, you are right. While it is our responsibility to inform others (and to be likewise informed, through discernment, by faithful Catholics) that their sinful behavior is not aligned with God's plan and law, we are equally compelled to pray for their conversion.

    And, so, pray we will-

    • Jim Robertson says:

      Pray for yourself. You need something to help you. You think only faithful discerned catholics can inform you? Would pope Francis qualify as a faithfull discerned catholic to you? You don't listen to him.

      I have been an activist since I was 16 years old. That's how I know SNAP is bulls%#t. That's how I know everything you say is bulls%@t. Anybody who refuses to say who they are when they post on this issue, have something they wish to hide. Josie doesn't hide. Malcom and Julie don't hide. Dennis; Kay and I don't hide. Only P and D hide. Why?

      Why don't they want us to know who they are?

      When did you say you were going to compensate all your victims?

    • Jim Robertson says:

      Dear damaged one, How many years of religious education have you had? I had 12 solid years and another 10 say for the "religious education" I have recieved since 2002. To quote Mark Twain, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education". I was always a very devout believer when I believed.  I always got great grades in my religion class because I bought it, hook; line; etc. My abuse changed all that. It's the one good thing that came out of that for me. I won't get fooled again.  I hope.

  3. Publion says:

    On the 31st at 1135AM JR continues with his ‘when will you compensate’ trope. He insists that somebody “pick a year” [exaggerated formatting omitted] when the Church will “compensate your own Catholic injured”.


    I would suggest that that year might be the same year when it can be clearly and definitively established who is a genuine victim. If JR – I say once again – can offer a workable plan to effect that determination, then he will have done a great deal to hasten the arrival of that year.


    And in what year might we expect JR to submit his plan/solution in regard to the genuine-victim problem?


    On the 29th at 1155AM “Dennis” had posted a link to an article with nothing more than the comment “most brutal abuser”, which – although it is in quotation marks – is actually an inaccurate quotation from the article to which he linked, which referred to the former-priest B, of the Philadelphia Archdiocese (hereinafter: AOP) as being characterized in the 2005 Philly Grand Jury Report at “one of the most brutal abusers”.


    For readers who have read the article to which “Dennis” linked, I think the piece offers some useful material for thought.


    For openers, the two Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia are – both as grand-jury-reports and as Philly DA characterizations – somewhat dubious as reliable historical reports. Which is a matter we have discussed in prior comments on this site and which was discussed on the BigTrial site as well.


    But on to the historical facts that can be relied-upon.


    This B was ordained in 1977 and defrocked in 1985 – which is a period of 8 years and, for those days, reflects a rather quick process from allegations to laicization by Rome.


    There is an extensive recounting of what the neighbors in B’s housing complex in Dallas observed: while seemingly a hale and hearty fellow, who described himself as a retired Xerox employee with 30 years of employment at that organization, B seemed to always bring dinner conversations around to young males (he preferred them pudgy, he revealed), which seemed (and I would say rightly so) inappropriate and somewhat disturbing, even in an apparently out-gay group that existed in the housing complex.


    Worse, B seemed to pay far too much attention to young male relatives of complex residents who came to swim at the pool there. And even went so far as to send gifts and emails to some of those (minor) youths.


    Which prompted some looking around on the Web, where B’s actual history became known to the residents of the complex.


    Some of them confronted him, and received a menu of excuses and claims of early-abuse victimization (in seminary) and such.


    At some point thereafter B moved out without leaving a forwarding address, and his whereabouts are presently unknown.


    The basic slant of the story is that the AOP failed in its putative duty to publish the residence addresses of even former priests.


    Several thoughts come to mind.


    This gentleman is clearly not somebody who, as far as he has demonstrated by his actions at the Dallas housing complex, would be suitable for priesthood (without, possibly, some major repair and rework – which is now a moot subject). The AOP was right to request his laicization after finding at least some of the accusations made against him to be credible.


    Because of the Statute of Limitations, the article says, no criminal charges were ever brought. (The fact that B was the son of a police officer in Philly or thereabouts may have had something to do with that.) Thus B is not ‘eligible’ – as they say formally – for the national sex-offender registry, and is consequently not required to report his whereabouts to local police when he changes address. For that matter, it would seem that he has no criminal-record in the NCIC which would show-up if, say, he were stopped for speeding and his name was entered into the cruiser’s computer.


    However, given what they had learned about his personal history and what they had heard in the dinner-party conversation and what they had observed of his behavior and action at the pool and with various minor males, it seems that any of the residents (or relatives or parents of the minor boys) had more than enough reason to bring B to the attention of the local police in Dallas (not necessarily with a 911 call, but calling the business number and asking for the sex-crimes unit).


    It is possible that they did, and the Dallas unit did nothing; the article doesn’t say anything about any of this. But the point remains: in this Year of Grace the Two-Thousand and Fourteenth (or Thirteenth, if all of this happened in 2013), and of the Stampede the Twenty-Ninth (counting from the 1985 Doyle Report, but one might count from further back, perhaps to 1983 or even earlier), a whole lot of adults, with far more savvy than adults two or three or eight decades ago, and with far more information ditto, did not appear to take any action that might have brought local law-enforcement into the immediate picture, even if only for a serious chat with B and the opening of a file.


    Why did they not do so? I don’t pretend to have an answer in this instance, but clearly the non-action of adults in regard to calling the police is as vividly demonstrated in this day and age as it was in any prior era.


    Instead, this media report focuses merely on the AOP, which is putatively to be considered responsible for publishing the whereabouts of persons no longer in its employ, which persons are under no obligation to keep the AOP informed of their whereabouts.


    And one need only remind oneself of the assault and battery perpetrated on that elderly priest in Santa Clara/San Jose a year or so back to realize that there is both a) an actual danger in publishing such information and b) a clear potential legal liability if as a result of such publication an individual is subjected to physical violence or other types of harm.


    Nor has the Church or the AOP any legal authority to require that former priests provide current address information, let alone to release such information.


    Or perhaps the residents did call the Dallas sex-crimes unit, B was visited and a file opened on him, and the Dallas authorities now have something that they can, if the occasion arises, provide to authorities in whatever location B has now moved-to. But if that is the case, then why blame the AOP for something that it does not have the legal authority to do and actually might incur legal culpability if it did try to do?


    Would advocates care to approach legislators (State or national) and have it enacted into legislation that the Church is mandated and authorized and empowered legally to obtain and maintain and release the information? Would this media outlet care to spear-head such an initiative?


    Instead, we get this media report that goes for all the usual Stampede talking-points but ignores far more relevant questions and avoids altogether the question of how the Church might legally achieve what is being demanded.


    For the purposes of this discussion, I will follow the silence of this media report and assume that the residents did not call the police. Why did these adults not do so?


    But if a reader wishes, s/he may run with the possibility that the police were called and did pay a visit to B. And what then was the result? B has now left town with no forwarding address (not that the police had the authority to prevent that, and perhaps they even initiated the suggestion that he move on – or, for that matter, perhaps the residents of the complex made the suggestion).


    The gentleman is now at-large, with his unaddressed proclivities and his potential for creating more problems.


    But I can’t see how the AOP is somehow to blame for it.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      When will all your victims be compensated?

    • Delphin says:

      We're assuming after paying out $3B, all vicitms of criminal priests have been fully compensated. If some of that money went to frauds instead of real victims because of the politicization of this issue- so be it, blame your own political hacks.

      No more Catholic Church money should be given out to anybody until all the other entities in the public and private sector that harbor predators to this day (and going back 50 years)pay up their $3B worth of awards (funny how that legal term doesn't seems out of place in this context)-

  4. Julie says:

    OK, Jim, I'll put an extra $10 in the collection basked and pray for you. You can rant and rave but you can't stop us from praying for you.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      What do you think the word clack means? There is nothing gender specific about clacks.

      "Winsome"?????  You find gay priests "winsome"?

      You don't speak catholic.

      You don't speak jesus.

      And obviously you don't speak English.

       Where did you come up with my being an actor? 

      If I was acting about my abuse I'm not,according to you, then a failed actor but a rather successful one. Dolt!


  5. Jim Robertson says:

    Lol! Incredable. I'm compared to Judas? What Jesus did I betray? Tell me where he said "Don't help the people you've raped?"  Jesus said NOTHING about gay people. He and pope frank say" judge not lest ye be judged". Nobody here bring up hate but you. You, I do hate that's what you want. I'll give that to you.

    The catholic religion per se doesn't mean any thing to me.  How, I ,or any other victim feels about your church is irrelevent . We were raped by your church.The issue is our rapes and what the Greatest Charity Giver on Earth intends to do for their own raped catholics.

    Technically I'm still a catholic. I've received all but 2 of the sacraments. I'm one good confession away from glory. Praise he lord! So I'll match you catholic for catholic. your brand vs. my brand.

    How, in the name of all that's important , does not believing in god make me evil? Rape enablers are calling me evil for thinking critically; honestly? My atheism touches you in no way.  Atheism is mine not yours. Mind your own business. Your not helping your victims is what not's happening .Nobodies hating anyone but YOU and I hate you because you are always spewing hate.

    You are what you eat, I guess hate must be in your weaties.

    • Jim Robertson says:

      Sorry about the double negative sentence above. It should have been. "Your helping your victims is what's not happening".


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