The New Apparent Standard: MPR’s Madeleine Baran Now Thinks Catholic Church Should Illegally Stalk Its Former Priests

Madeleine Baran

Journalistic malpractitioner Madeleine Baran from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)

Just in the past thirteen months, Madeleine Baran from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has completely smeared an innocent priest, been busted for publishing bogus information, and has plastered the Catholic Church with a heinous three-part series rife with falsehoods and misinformation.

And yet Baran has somehow managed to reach another new low.

In her latest piece light on clear thinking and logic, Baran suggests that the Catholic Church is now somehow responsible for hunting down and shadowing every past employee accused of abuse, and then constantly publicizing their whereabouts, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

There is no doubt that Tom Ericksen committed disgraceful crimes and was a shame to the priesthood. However, as soon as the Church got wind of abuse complaints against Ericksen back in 1983, it removed him from active ministry. The Vatican then completely removed him from the priesthood in 1988, over a quarter century ago.

MPR's new standard for the Catholic Church alone

David Clohessy SNAP

Master of the crazy quote:
David Clohessy from SNAP

Now in 2014, Baran is calling out the Church for not perpetually broadcasting the exact whereabouts of Ericksen, a private citizen.

Exactly what other organization tracks down and then publicizes the current addresses and phone numbers of former employees merely accused of abuse over a quarter of a century ago? Minneapolis Public Schools? The Boy Scouts? Some Hollywood studio? MPR? Baran doesn't say.

Instead, Baran turns to the perpetually wild-eyed National Director of the anti-Catholic group SNAP, David Clohessy, who naturally agrees with Baran's implication that the Catholic Church should risk criminal and civil liability and track the exact whereabouts of its former employees and then hold regular press conferences to announce the results of its illegal monitoring of its former employees.

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

And to this day, neither Clohessy nor SNAP has ever once publicly reported the current whereabouts of Kevin. Yet that never stopped David from boldly claiming to Baran that Catholic officials somehow have to "step up" and "warn people" to the current whereabouts of the Church's former employees.

The hypocrisy is staggering, yet Baran appears so blinded by her animus against the Catholic Church that she appears unable to think or reason logically anymore.

Make no mistake about it, folks. Baran's reporting has absolutely nothing to do with the so-called "protection of children" and enlightening the public about institutional failures. Baran's reporting is simple bigotry and malice.

[See also: *SPECIAL* MPR's 'Betrayed By Silence': A New Low In Vengeance Journalism]


  1. Ken W says:

    What's Clohessy gonna do if SNAP loses its relevance? Manage a Jack in the Box? He has a vested interest in keeping the flames going, no matter what. 

  2. True Catholic says:

    Let's smear her. And anyone else, who blows the whistle. Shea really is blowing the lid. Exposing Archbishop Nienstedt. And all his lies.

  3. Publion says:

    It seems apropos here to recall some points I have made previously.


    The wisdom of the Anderson Strategies in pursuing matters in the civil rather than the criminal forum is clear: a lower threshold of evidence is required in civil trials; there is a huge (and tortie-attracting) chance for very large settlements (the Church is your classic tortie’s dream of a ‘deep-pockets defendant’ and on top of that the Insurer attorneys will be concerned for nothing except minimizing outlays for their clients, i.e. the Insurers); and as long as there is a solid media-supported tendency to help stampede public opinion then you can be reasonably sure of any potential jurors being tainted before-the-fact and before they ever became jurors (although this is just a back-up since in the legal universe most such large tort cases, so similar to class-action suits, are settled by attorneys before trial and the results imposed by the authority of a judge – not a jury).


    And this wisdom is further demonstrated by the un-remunerative results of either a) individuals who seek to go to trial with their so-often dubious and dodgy stories or b) criminal prosecutions brought by District Attorneys for their own purposes (viz. Philadelphia and the Doe/Gallagher cases).


    The media’s role in all of this has been vital and essential. Put your self in a tortie’s shoes for a moment: the national cultural and legal and political forums have all been working toward a Victimist-friendly stance in widely-accepted tropes and framing of issues, in legal ‘reforms’, and in a) the ‘progressive’ tactical objective of playing-to ‘victims’ of this, that and every other sort of ‘oppression’ and ‘outrage’and in b) the strategic objective of removing any countervailing institutional opposition to the proggy agenda / you would dearly like to start up some kick-butt lawsuits against so marvelously deep-pockets a defendant as the Church / but public opinion would not be hospitable to such a gambit because there is still a general residual concern for truth and accuracy and evidence and you can’t afford to rile up that dozing but still toothy dog / and the allegations and stories upon which your business model here must base its claims are not particularly evidence-heavy and indeed, if examined too closely (or if examined at all), bid fair to fall apart just as their story-tellers may well tend to perform very poorly on the stand under even the slightest cross-examination.


    What’s a tortie to do?


    Enter the media (and the front-organizations such as SNAP and Bishop-Accountability): provide a forum for the unquestioning acceptance of any story pushed their way, focus so very selectively on the ‘horror’ of the story and insist that any examination of the story is out-of-bounds, and thus create a hospitable climate (big payout, no serious danger of being caught in a lie or of being prosecuted for perjury) for shoals of story-tellers to troop in to sign-up for a lawsuit.


    But the downside is that while the Anderson Strategies may well enjoy the benefits of their defendants being ‘tried in the media’, yet the fact that these defendants or accused have not actually been found guilty in a court of law (such as due-process and evidence-based jurispraxis still remains in this type of case) means that they don’t get put on sex-offender registries.


    I would imagine that since this whole Thing is now past its salad days this means that not only the torties but the front-organizations are now in the unhappy position of having their ‘mission’ dissolve out from under them or their surf-board get lost in the surf.


    Thus now we see Baran trying to go after the Church for not doing something (keeping-track-of and publishing the addresses of all accused (though few were convicted) priests on an ongoing basis) which is an activity that requires the Sovereign Coercive Authority of a government (State or federal).


    Organizations such as Bishop-Accountability have tried to create their own ‘registry’ (while simultaneously maintaining a handy reference file for any story-tellers who might need this or that specific bit of information to burnish their story).


    But since there haven’t been many new cases, and since nobody has the authority to actually play the Great Hound and track the accused down through the decades, Baran is now trying to drum up some groundswell for beating up the Church for not doing so. (If she doesn’t know the legal terrain that prevents the Church from doing so then she is grossly ignorant of a matter upon which she claims to be ‘reporting’; if she does know and still seeks to raise this issue then she is deliberately manipulating her readers with false implications.)


    One can imagine the possibilities here for Keeping The Ball Rolling: ‘Accused former priest lives on residential street!’ – thus by implication such a monster may be next door to you; or ‘Accused former priest lives in isolated rural cabin!’ – thus by implication such a monster may be out there where nobody can see his further nefarious predations. You can see how it’s done in this type of thing: you can draw the most horror-heavy implications out of any factoid.


    But with the Stampede and its underlying dynamics now starting to demonstrate their dark side (which has been there from Day One) then everybody’s business-model is at risk: no more big payout pots for allegants and torties (thus no more kick-backs to the front organizations); no more media calls to the front-organizations for what will be vivid puff-pieces; no more shoals of allegants with stories; no more fresh ‘names’ to be added to the database; no more soap-opera ‘revelations’ for page one or even for a back-page.


    If you think of the Stampede elements as parts of an eco-system (albeit a swampy one indeed) then as the system comes under threat all of the various denizens will demonstrate increased levels of agitation as they try to preserve their place in the general ooze.


    And so for a while I think we can expect more of this sort of thing from Baran and others of her kind.


    Lastly, there is the prospect of the Pope’s visit – and specifically this Pope’s visit – to the US in the Fall of 2015. It will be strategically necessary for The Ball To Be Kept Rolling until that time. The Abuseniks don’t want to reach that day like (as many political commentators are now saying about her political prospects) Hillary Clinton, i.e. a regressive throw-back to the politics of the past and – the horror! – yesterday’s news.


    And who can forget Mussolini, who in the run-up to WW2 insisted that his forces become blooded and bloodied in some combat somewhere because he needed to ‘show some blood’ in order to purchase his seat at the Great Power table … ? Without ‘victims’ and their stories – or, faute de mieux,  ominous ‘reports’ about where long-ago accused are now living or making a living, then the Abuseniks may find themselves without a place at the Table during the Pope’s visit and will have no fresh club to hold over the Church’s head.


    Of course, this Pope seems rather bent upon the purpose of re-igniting issues that go back to Vatican 2 in order to liberalize (there: I’ve said it) the Catholic Church in accord with the demonstrably-failed strategies of the Protestant polities (and his own Jesuit Order) that sought to ride the back of the Progressive Secular Tiger with its very particular version of ‘liberalism’, and have wound up with nothing to show for it but comprehensive and fundamental desiccation as their portion.


    So it may yet be that this Pope himself may want to use the Stampede (even in its decline) as a club to whack the ‘conservatives’ (who are – pick one or several – ‘insensitive’, un-pastoral, un-welcoming, abstraction-besotted, rigid, patriarchal, genderist, ageist, too theological, and/or fill-in-the-blank). And of course – as can also be used now as a handy papal tool – ‘abuse-enabling’, which might prove the perfect pretext and trump.


    We live in interesting and complicated times indeed.

    • Ken W says:

      I think it's important to point out that often enough the insurance company makes the decision to settle against the wishes of the accused priest involved; I know of many instances, 2 in my diocese alone, where the accused stood ready to face his accuse and give his account, only to never get his day. There is a biblical standard to bringing forth and accusation, and the tort process and the subsequent smears by SNAP and BA and all of their adherents, all violates that biblical standard in spades. 

  4. Publion says:

    And in regard to that ‘theological’ bit, I point to a December 6 piece by the Associated Press entitled “Pope says theologians need to listen to ordinary faithful”. (The piece was also published by that rusty if not trusty newspaper, the Boston Globe.)


    The Pope has told an assembly of the Church’s top theologians of the International Theological Commission that they need to a) “listen to what ordinary Catholics have to say” and b) “pay attention to ‘the signs of the times’”. And they need to do this “instead of just making pronouncements in an academic vacuum”.


    Thus while the theologians must indeed “humbly listen” to what God tells the [C]hurch by understanding [S[cripture” they must also be “taking into account how ordinary Catholics live out their faith”.


    Otherwise, apparently in this Pope’s view, the theologians are really only “holding back the [C]hurch in its mission to evangelize and work with other Christian communities”.


    And since in matters of “full agreement” with other Christian faiths “that day will never come”, then this Pope sees the entire project of theological reflection as needing to do-something rather than just keep – not to put too fine a point on it – doing-theology.


    The piece concludes with the eyebrow-raising papal deployment of this image: he wants to see “theology on its knees”.


    I will work back up the list of ideas here.


    By “theology on its knees” the article says that the Pope means “a more merciful kind of theology that isn’t focused so munch on rules but on meeting the faithful where they are” in order to “help them reach holiness”.


    With this trope we are brought precisely back to the core issues arising from the implementation of the Second Vatican Council but also reaching all the way back to the beginning of the Church: how does she relate to ‘the world’? By i) seeking to accommodate herself to it? Or ii) by bearing witness against it? Or iii) by seeking to blend both (i) and (ii) in some way that will a) make her accessible to believers while also b) retaining the integrity and continuity of doctrine and praxis that makes her reliable for them … ?


    Without giving any indication that he understands the deep and deeply-troubled waters into which he wishes to proceed at full steam here, this Pope – in what might be considered a characteristically Jesuit way – wishes to emphasize Option (i) while necessarily rendering fungible both Options (ii) and (iii).


    He seems to wish to ignore the danger of invertebracy while embracing flexibility, and while ignoring the need for vertebracy by painting it as ‘rigidity’. Consider the prospect of flying on an aircraft the fuselage of which is not rather rigid. Or a ship the hull of which is more flexible than rigid.


    You can maybe get by like that if you are dealing with a small (pleasure or even experimental) aircraft or boat, but you won’t get far with a large passenger aircraft or ship. And this point takes us right to the heart of the Church as a Multiplanar organizational vessel sustained over millennia: if you give yourself to the times in an effort to be mostly flexible, you wind up losing everything (just as the Protestant polities in the West and the Jesuits themselves have done in the past half-century). You wind up, as all Liberal Theology and its descendants since the Enlightenment have wound up: losing your identity, your integrity, and the very strength that human beings deeply seek and need as they try to live out their lives in the boom and buzz of their times and the various waves and excitements that roil those times.


    And you wind up indentured to this or that culture and government that – for some brief period of time – controls ‘the world’ to which you seek to minister.


    The Catholic Church in this country – led by its self-proclaimed ‘elites’ – have been pursuing this course for quite a few decades, with results we can now see. But for the first time, this impulse and this excitement is to receive the boost of papal authority and influence itself.


    And this happens precisely at the moment in history when the entire ‘liberal’ project (as it is currently and Progressively defined) begins to reveal its short-comings so vividly.


    Of course, to imagine “theology” as being “on its knees” is also a hugely inadvisable image in English for its other connotations: one thinks of surrender or one can even think – perhaps not entirely irrelevantly – of some particular sexual position. The papal speech-writing staff surely need to be spackled up with some members more alert to language (in English, certainly) or at least less prone to Freudian slips.


    Then we have the papal impatience with theologizing and theology since it is – it is claimed – concerned with a “day that will never come”. I think here of an exchange between the Radical Republican senator Ben Wade and President Lincoln in regard to the Radicals’ impatience with a Union commander who was too slow and indecisive in his prosecution of the Radicals’ objective of freeing the slaves: Get rid of him, said Wade. With whom shall I replace him, asked Lincoln. “Oh, anybody!” asserted Wade in exasperation. To which Lincoln sadly replied: “Wade, you will have anybody – but I must have somebody”.  The point being that just because one feels that something must be done, it won’t serve the cause to simply do anything right away rather than do nothing at all. Wade’s impatience seems akin to that of this Pope (and all of the ‘elite’ elements of the past half-century around here); it might even be seen as a politically-driven impatience. Lincoln’s deliberateness is driven by his sense of responsibility for actually and practically prosecuting the war and commanding large armies – neither of which gargantuan and sobering tasks can be trumpeted-away with whatever short-term actions seem to make folks feel as if something is being accomplished.


    It is the job of theologians to deliberate and think, within the parameters of what the deposit of faith and the accumulated achievements of prior generations (extending over millennia now) of theological thinkers have provided. The cheerible image of a house-cleaning nanny who’s going to turn everything around in house and family within the blink of an eye (or the allotted run-time of a movie script) is grossly insufficient to accurately imagine the stakes here.


    Then we come to not only the expected claim that such deliberation and deliberateness are merely “holding back” the Church’s ‘progress’, but also the coded definitions of what it means to “evangelize” and “work with other Christian communities”. If this means for all practical purposes that ‘evangelization’ is a matter of accommodating the Church to the excitements of a particular era and place, and if ‘working’ with those “other Christian communities” means joining the Church to the lemming-like debacle of Liberal Theology … then there is more than enough reason for caution and very intelligent and painstaking ‘discernment’ (as the Jesuits like to say).


    Then on to something even more acutely topical: just who are these “ordinary Catholics”? What is the actual working definition that is operative here? In Gramscian usage, you want your agitprop agents to present themselves as just “ordinary” little-people seeking confront the ‘castle’ of the established organization that is your target. We have seen this type of agitprop time and again in the United States, especially in the past half-century since the fundamentals of Gramscian methodology (as popularized in the US by Alinsky) were embraced by ‘reformers’ and ‘advocates’ who always manage to get to the cameras to deliver their pre-determined ‘message’ while actual “ordinary” people are elbowed aside. That’s how you can get a Stampede started.


    Is this Pope here – intentionally or otherwise – trying to open up the Church to the same type of Gramscian agitprop that has deranged so much of America’s public discourse for decades? Certainly we have seen the deployment of Gramscian agitprop in the various campaigns of Victimism and most certainly in the Stampede.


    Then we get the exhortation to “pay attention to ‘the signs of the times’”. Has this exhortation and its underlying presumptions not been the watchword of the ‘elites’ in their long campaign against tradition, against rationality, against anything that impeded the success of their zealously-embraced agendas, all of which were supposed by now to have brought us to the broad sunlit uplands of (fill-in-the-blank)?


    When Jesus deployed this exhortation did He actually mean that believers must accommodate themselves and His message to whatever is going on in the culture around them? And thus to bestow the blessing and authority of Christian belief upon whatever seemed to be the Coming Thing and The Thing To Do in ‘the world’ around them?


    Once again, we are back to the issue of the Church’s stance toward the various cultures and eras in which she finds herself.


    And if the past fifty years in the US have shown us anything, it is that the Gramscian tactic of cloaking your revolutionary agents in the raiment of “ordinary” people has simply enabled the profound undermining of the target culture and the target institution (precisely as Gramsci sought to do on behalf of Leninism to the governments and societies and cultures and peoples of Western Europe).


    Then a remarkably deficient characterization of theologians as merely operating in the realm of an “academic vacuum”. If there is any indication that the legendary broad and deep and maturing education of the Jesuits has long since departed, it is this almost adolescent crack. The task of the serious and professional Catholic theologian is to contemplate and think in order to further contribute to the Church’s wealth of insight; the image of theologians simply spinning abstruse webs of Latinate gobbledygook for the hell of it not only betrays an impoverished vision of what theologians do and what theology is for in the greater schema of the Church’s life and ministry but also more aptly describes the Theory-driven agitprop thinkers once (and still) enamored of the utopian vision of their new world order and all the variants of sugar-plums and happinesses to be most surely and certainly achieved once the bloody business of clearing away opposing views was accomplished and the necessary many eggs were broken for the Great Omelette.


    The theologians don’t work in a “vacuum” because the Church herself is not a “vacuum” but instead a mansion of many parts, all of which – under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (and the abiding authority of the episcopal and papal Offices) – create and sustain a vessel that can body-forth in history the message of the Gospel to all human-beings.


    None of which is a simple or easy task, nor one to be taken lightly (let alone flippantly).


    We will always have the poor and the oppressed with us because we will always have Sin and Sinfulness with us as human beings – all around us and within ourselves. It goes with the territory as human beings. This statement of Jesus was not a lightly tossed-off justification for poverty or oppression; it was rather a profound warning of the existence of Sin and Sinfulness within us.


    The Church’s ‘evangelization’ therefore must be an evangelization into the profound and darkly persistent reality of Sin and Sinfulness and of our human nature. And thus then an evangelization into the Gospel’s message as to how Sin and Sinfulness must first be addressed.


    It will be the task of governments and peoples and cultures, each in their own way and era, to specifically address the poverty and the oppression existing among them. But the Church’s role is to bear witness to that Gospel, even if such witness elicits in some places and times not happy-faces but sad or angry faces in response. Popularity and celebrity and ‘acceptance’ and status come at very high prices in this broken world.


    And thus we shouldn’t ‘conform’ the Church to the powers of such a world. We won’t be doing the Church or the world any favors if we do.

  5. anotherMark says:

    Shear baloney….Kevin…the Bishop makes the final decision NOT insurance companies to settle any case, further most diocese these days are SELF INSURED, you left that part out.

    Publion, as always true to form, your diatribe is without substance and in your earlier post, blaming victims once again as if the clergy of the church can do no wrong..are you blind?  You talk about the church and evangelization but first our church MUST get its own house in order, yes we will always have those that fall short, yes we are all sinners, imperfect indeed…but the acts we read about almost daily are not simple failings, or sins, they are serious crimes committed against children, crimes committed against families and crimes committed against the faithful who trust our Church Leaders and they absolutely have a profound impact upon the faithful, pretending otherwise also does a disservice to our church. Here are just a few VERY RECENT examples that our church MUST put its own house in order FIRST before it can credibly evengalize or witness to others….one must be able to walk the talk no?  It's not just here in America our church leadership is being challenged  This link is a statement, released by the Vatican Press Office, confirms 2 High ranking Vatican officials and the Vatican lawyer are under investigation in the sale of 29 church properties, thier bank accounts, held at the IOR have been siezed.   Another Vatican official, who molested 7 boys in the Dominican Republic, and his accomplices.  NOT DECADES AGO…abuse by clergy real and still occuring.  Will the Media Report Catholic Culture for printing this fact?   Ireland and Australia conducting government ordered investigation of sexual abuse of children in state and church run institutions.


  6. Publion says:

    And in a pitch-perfect example of projection, ‘anotherMark’ (the 10th, 610AM) declaims that something in my material (the comment does not specifiy the material to which it refers) is “sheer baloney” (correction supplied). Perhaps thus it is his own comment here that is “sheer baloney”.


    Because he conveniently omits a point raised here in prior comments when this topic came up: if an Insurer decides that it will only pay through a settlement and will not pay if the Bishop chooses to opt for a civil trial, then what choice, really, does a Bishop have? To go against the Insurers would be to risk loss of all insurance and the prospects of getting an even modestly competent trial are – thanks to the Anderson Strategies and their Stampede – greatly unpromising (viz. the Philadelphia trials, all of which are in some stage of appeal and all of which demonstrated more than a little chicanery and failures in jurispraxis if not also basic due-process).


    Once again, having benefitted from the legal derangements induced by the Anderson Strategies and the Stampede, the Abuseniks now want to have their cake and eat it too by pointing to some presumed pristine legitimacy from the results of those legal derangements.


    And again we see the usual Playbook gambit of claiming that I am “blaming the victims” (an assertion which is itself “without substance” since no quotations of my material to support it are provided). Ditto the bit about my somehow claiming that “the clergy of the [C]hurch can do no wrong”.


    Thus too the question he derives from his own inadequate presentation here also fails: to what, precisely, am I supposed to be “blind”? Indeed, given his mis-reading (deliberate or otherwise) of my material, I might put the very same question to him.


    We are then treated to yet another classic and familiar Playbook gambit: since the Church is not utterly perfect, then until the Church is utterly perfect then the Church cannot presume to speak about anything.


    To which I would respond that a) no human institution is perfect and thus to disingenuously insist that the Church must stop all ministry until that (humanly unattainable) state of perfection is reached is merely a rhetorical ploy to somehow shut the Church up in all respects.


    And b) we really don’t have any clear idea of just how many genuine instances of abuse were perpetrated (does ‘anotherMark’ have some dispositive evidence in this regard?).


    And c) we have today a Church that is organizationally more abuse-preventive in terms of its policies than any other comparably large and complex institution on the planet.


    As for “the acts we read about almost daily” – that’s not only hyperbole but inaccurate. Indeed, the number of claims have fallen off quite precipitously – when, given the legal derangements introduced in favor of such claims, we would have every reason to expect that they would increase.


    And as for his listing of assorted bits with their URLs: as has been discussed at length before on this site, there is every possibility that what we are seeing is simply the attempts in other national venues to try to run the Stampede there. Readers may recall, for example, that some years ago the world was treated to the claims of the (informally-called) Dutch Abuse Report. But no actual copy of that (Dutch-language) Report has ever been released for public inspection in English translation (or in translation to any other language) after all these years.


    But media articles quoting ‘numbers’ reported the number of 109 cases (in other words, claims and allegations; and those were not divided further into ‘genuine’ or ‘otherwise classifiable’) stretching over a 50 year period. The math works out to just over 2 Dutch cases per year.


    The possibility – hardly improbable – of our largely seeing an ‘echo effect’ of the Stampede in venues other than the USA cannot be ignored and that possibility remains as a variable that has to be accounted-for before one can seriously assert that abuse goes on in Stampede-vision numbers all over the world.


    It would be better methodology to stick with the USA. But, of course, that would be seriously uncongenial for Abusenik purposes since i) the numbers have fallen off so drastically and since ii) the methods and procedures of the Stampede (and the larger victimist, sex-assault or sex-offense Stampede from which it is descended) are now increasingly revealed to be so flawed, either through deliberate intent or gross reportorial and/or editorial incompetence or malfeasance, that one can credibly imagine the Stampede to have deceit and deception ‘baked into it’ from the get-go.


    Thus ‘anotherMark’s effort here to both draw in non-USA venues and to draw in issues beyond the specific matter of priestly sex-abuse reveals itself as merely an effort to muddy the water while also distractingly roiling it up.


    So it is ‘anotherMark’ here who has indeed performed “true to form” and has put together something of a (groundless and unsubstantiated) “diatribe” himself.


    He might therefore perhaps be advised to learn how to “walk the walk” of developing substantive and substantiated thoughts and material before hitting the ‘Post’ button. Presuming, of course, that such is his purpose in the first place.

  7. kirk says:

    Publion – it would be nice if you would make your comments more concise.  You seem to enjoy writing a book in this forum and that is tedious for the readers.  I for one will never read beyond the first paragraph and i'm sure there are many others who feel the same.  Do you dominate conversations in person also?  That's what i would call a classic b……e.

    • rondre says:

      Got a heads up today to check out mediareports. Wow they know beter than the pope on how to lead the church. Boy that takes BIG ones. Agree kirk, on and on and on…but I guess when you have nothing else to do.

  8. anothermark says:

    Publion…once again you failed to mention, perhaps you are simply ignorant of the fact, most Diocese today are self insured, so to say the insurance company forced the bishops hand is yes…"sheer baloney"…did I get that right this time?

    a. Nowhere did I claim the church should stop all ministry.  My point, Church officials need to lead by example, walk the talk.  How can a Bishop believe he holds any morale authority to lead or tell others how they must live when he violates laws or knowingly puts our children in harms way?  Archbishop Finn (convicted of child endangerment), Archbishop Nienstedt, Archbishop Myers, Cardinals Law, Mahoney, George, McCarrick, Pell are just a few who come to mind.

    b.  Where do I claim to know the true extent of the sexual abuse of children committed by clergy?  Those who do know, like Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal Ratzinger headed the CDF and whose job it was to hear/review all such clergy abuse cases,  have refused to release all or any files about what they really know.  Ask the governments of Ireland and Australia who have requested these documents (the US too, in Court, but diplomatic Immunity was invoked by the Vatican's lawyer Mr Lena).  No you nor I know the real extent, what I did write and stand by it is the FACT, you can read about such clergy abuse cases from around the world DAILY…don't belive me…go to Abuse


    c.  You said, "we have a church that is organizationally more abuse preventive in terms of policies, than any other comparably large and complex institution.  For once we agree…you are right, no other institution has more abuse prevention policies…what our church doesn't have is men who follow these policies nor the consequences or accountability for those who refuse to.  Don't believe me, then please explain how Archbishop Finn of Kansas City, who would not be allowed to teach CCD in the Boston Archdiocese (Cardinal O'Malley's words, not mine) is allowed to run the Kansas City Archdiocese in spite of a conviction of child endangerment almost 2 years ago? 

    So I wrote about the extensive and well documentated GOVERNMENT investigation of Ireland and Australia, and you want to talk about a Dutch investigation you claim no one can read…well read what the governements of Ireland or Australia has written….most damning indeed.

    Lastly you want to dismiss the links I included as something which has been addressed on these pages at length and " is simply the attempts in other national venues to try to run the Stampede there".  You did see that I posted a link to the Vatican's own press statement and another written by the well established and respected Catholic Culture?  So are they also complicit in this effort to "run the stampede"? 

    Publion, weather you like what I write, how I write it or even my spelling errors are of no concern to me…I am simply diseminating information all should have, they can decide for themselves where the real truth lies, no matter how often you deny, blame, deflect, conceal, misrepresent the truth of such matters.  I have no doubt the majority will come to know the truth and recognize who is actually putting up the smoke and mirrors.

  9. Publion says:

    In regard to ‘Kirk’ (the 10th, 356PM): it might be nice for him if I used shorter format and sentences, but the Stampede issue requires some serious thinking and that doesn’t usually work with one-liners or comments that don’t cover the ground. That may not work for him, alas: attention-span, cartoonish thought processing, and the list of possible reasons why can go on. Or perhaps (to indulge in a bit of his psychologizing here) he needs to give himself an excuse for not reading material that he just doesn’t like and doesn’t want to hear and can’t handle. Be that as it may, I’m going to continue with my approach to commenting.


    Since he seems to be working toward the idea that I just do this because I like to “dominate conversations” then I don’t imagine his not-reading my material is going to constitute a loss; I put up comments the way I do in order to give the topic as full a treatment as I think it needs. There are plenty of sites further on down the Web where short one-liner comments are readily available so it’s not like he doesn’t have options.


    And he can, of course, “call” it whatever he wants. Although I can’t figure out what “b……e” is. But it would appear to be an epithet, and the Playbook deployment of epithets is a gambit with which readers here are very familiar.


    Then ‘Rondre’ comes back again (the 10th, 722PM). Readers will recall that she originally presented herself as being a teacher or professor who conducted “media classes”. Readers can also consider the content and presentation of the comments she puts up to consider the probability of that self-description being accurate. And, again, we are apparently supposed to understand that she doesn’t actually follow the TMR site – doncha know? – but instead she just occasionally gets tips from wherever and apparently reluctantly drags herself to the site to proffer the bits that she has put in the record here. Fine and dandy.


    Perhaps she has so much to do with her teaching or professorial chops that she can’t spare any of that talent in comments here. Perhaps she doesn’t have any interest in media matters; although we have been discussing the media for the past couple of articles, that doesn’t seem to have prompted anything relevant in her comments.


    And she appears to have misread my material to the effect that I think I “know beter than the pope” (sic). Is she not familiar with the concept and purpose of media and blog commentary? Is she familiar with the concept of the op-ed?


    But she and Kirk are right: they have both mastered the art of putting up comments that don’t require much thought or time at all.

  10. Publion says:

    Moving on then.


    In regard to the UVA/Rolling Stone matter, I came across an op-ed by Jonah Goldberg in the New York Post (“When Rape Charges Are A Power Grab”, edition of Wednesday, December 10, p. 27 in the print edition).


    He quotes one Zerlina Maxwell, who had a piece in the Washington Post: “We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. Ultimately, the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist”.


    Readers may recognize the Maxwell approach: it is straight from the Victimist Playbook (which has been discussed frequently and at length on this site).


    There are numerous problems with the Maxwell approach.


    Following along in the text of her assertions:


    First, “as a matter of default” is English, but what does it mean here? What does “as a matter of default” actually work out to mean here? From what are we ‘defaulting’ such that we arrive at the presumption of belief in whatever “an accuser says”? It would appear that what she doesn’t want to say outright is that we should ‘default’ from the presumption of innocence of the accused, which is a fundamental principle of Western and American justice.


    Which is hardly surprising since if she said that outright then the profound dangers inherent in her approach would become far too clear and obvious. Which would then endanger the Victimist illusion meant to conceal the lethal fact that many victim-friendly ‘reforms’ are actually dangerous regressions from vital core principles of Western law.


    And this vague “as a matter of default” also works to push away any alternative principles like “as a matter of evidence”. Because – to repeat a point I have made in prior comments – these cases are not particularly evidence-heavy. And if you don’t have evidence, then you have to somehow start the play on first or second base rather than with that at-bat where you present evidence supporting your accusation. You have to get people to side with the accuser not because the accuser has presented evidence but rather just … because. People should thus believe an accuser Just Because.


    That’s what her approach boils down to when you get right to it.


    Then, immediately and slyly, she tries to plaster over the consequences of her position that her statement is trying to distract you from in the first place: Heck, what’s the harm, really, in being publicly accused of being a rapist? Apparently she thinks the consequences of that aren’t really that bad.


    Certainly not so bad as to outweigh believing the victim ‘just because’ … even though people will then find themselves in the position of presuming the veracity and accuracy of an accusation for which they haven’t seen any credible and sufficient evidence. And furthermore: on that basis, imposing very real and profoundly serious legal consequences  upon the accused (whose alleged guilt has only been established “as a matter of default” and without credible and sufficient evidence).


    That’s where the Maxwell/ Victimist approach takes us.


    Goldberg goes so far as to say that “the stigma of having been raped is hardly as deleterious to one’s reputation as the stigma of being accused of being a rapist”. And it is precisely this actuality that the Victimist Playbook seeks to sidestep: by continuously positing horror-stories about how the (presumed) victim feels, you can distract people from logically considering the actual and demonstrable consequences for the accused (who, since he has already been presumed guilty “as a matter of default” deserves whatever consequences befall him … that’s how this thing is done and has been done from Day One).


    Goldberg then observes that Zerlina Maxwell is a lawyer and yet she is “openly advocating the defenestration of the bedrock of American law: the presumption of innocence”. If you ever wonder how Victimist law ‘reforms’ are made, you can look to Victimist attorneys who are taught Victimist law in law school.


    He goes on to note that in the aftermath of Rolling Stone having now admitted that it “reported as fact an unsubstantiated story” about “institutionalized gang rape”, a number of “feminist activists” are now asserting in effect that “the truth shouldn’t matter, or at least it shouldn’t matter very much”. Some readers may recall the old bumper-sticker mantra from back in the day: “Facts don’t matter!” (repeated, I clearly recall, by some Duke University faculty member half a decade ago when the veracity of that sensational accusation of gang-rape began to come apart under examination).


    You can imagine, then, what Stampede torties might well have advised their prospective allegants: facts don’t matter. (And, of course, thanks to the Victimist doctrine that allegants can’t be questioned because that would merely ‘re-victimize’ them, then whatever ‘facts’ one put into one’s story wouldn’t be examined anyway.)


    And he concludes this line of thought by noting that the excuse for presuming guilt and ignoring “facts” and evidence is that there is a claimed “rape epidemic” on college campuses. And he doesn’t believe it; rather, he believes that “this alleged epidemic is largely a deliberate political fabrication”.


    What he says here about the UVA case (and cases like it) is directly relevant to the Stampede: We are seeing the same dynamic now being played out in the university venue that was carried out in the Church venue.


    And, in another spot-on similarity between the university-rape and clerical-rape gambits, Goldberg notes that there has been a “decline” in actual rape claims and “the primary evidence [for the ‘rape epidemic’] activists cite is a bogus statistic”. Readers here may well recall prior discussions here about false and manipulative statistics, and can think especially of that “100,000” figure for (alleged) clerical-rapes  that was reached by simply taking the then-current 10,000 actual and formal allegations of clerical sex-abuse (however defined) and simply and merely and gratuitously multiplying it by a factor of 10 in order to ‘extrapolate’ for all the ‘unreported’ cases that activists simply wished into existence in order to make their ‘numbers’ more shocking, while also then defining any sexual-abuse as rape.


    So this UVA incident reveals so many of the elements of the Stampede: faulty media reporting, manipulative use of bogus statistics, outrageous stories fueled by the self-justifying assumption that ‘facts don’t matter’, and legal theory that seeks to regress Western law back to the days of ‘spectral evidence’ and the presumption of the guilt of the accused without sufficient and credible evidence.

  11. Publion says:

    The comment of the 10th at 832PM by ‘anotherMark’ (hereinafter: AM) was not up when I posted my immediately previous two comments.


    He asserts that “most Diocese today are self insured” (sic), which he figures negates my point that Bishops confronted with Insurer preferences to settle would have little choice.


    First, I would need to see some support for the assertion that most Dioceses today are indeed and only self-insured. It would certainly be a relevant and important point … if it is true.


    But, second, it would not – even if true – be a comprehensive answer to the problem. Imagine you are the Bishop of a completely self-insured Diocese: faced with an Anderson Strategies lawsuit, and taking into account the probabilities – in a time of deliberately fomented Stampede – of getting an objective jury, what would you do? What could you do? Risk a jury award that may well break the back of the Diocese’s financial position?


    Nor can we rationally presume that this point would not have occurred to a competent tortie, especially one who is working from the Anderson Strategies playbook; the tortie would realize that the prospects of a jury trial under Stampede conditions would almost certainly militate against a Bishop’s choosing trial – unless the Bishop wished to completely undermine the very existence of the Diocese by risking much or even all or even more-than-all of its resources. Nor can anyone familiar with the actual organizational structure of the Church merely imagine cheeribly that ‘the Vatican’ would simply FedEx over enough pots of gold to cover the settlement … from that treasure room of pots-of-gold fantasized to exist down in the basement of St. Peter’s.


    So: No, AM, you did not in my opinion “get that right this time”.


    Then, in regard to his (a), AM’s position on the Church’s ministry: he wrote that “first the [C]hurch MUST get its own house in order “before [if you read the text of his comment of the 10th at 610AM] any talk of “evangelization”. “Evangelization” is the Church’s ministry – as especially noted by this Pope – so if that ministry cannot happen until the Church “first” ‘gets its own house in order’, then I would say that the Church would have to stop all ministry until the (theoretically impossible) arrival of that Day.


    If AM cares to submit a list of Church ministries that his theory considers acceptable to continue in the meantime, he is welcome to do so. But if “evangelization” is off the table until that theoretically-impossible Day, then I would say his theory as presented in his comment pretty much requires the cessation of Church ministry.


    And this is especially true in light of AM’s point about a Bishop not having “any morale [sic] authority” and so on. If the Bishop (in AM’s vision here) has no remaining claim to “morale authority” then what can a Bishop do in terms of exercising the ministry proper to his Office? And if (in AM’s vision here) the Bishop has theoretically lost that “morale authority” as a result of claimed past actions (which cannot be undone), then how can it be recovered? So we see here a neat construction specifically tailored to pretty much undermine the ministry of any Bishop involved or asserted to be involved in the Stampede through malfeasance or nonfeasance of his Office. And if we extend the line of reasoning implicit in AM’s vision here, then this dynamic might well reach all the way up through the entire hierarchy and on to the Pope. Neat.


    If AM believes that my reading here of the dynamics inherent in his vision is faulty, he is welcome to explain how and why – in his vision – my reading is faulty.


    Then, in regard to his (b): if AM here implies that he does not know “the true extent of the sexual abuse of children committed by clergy” then about what, exactly, is he going on? Because it then becomes possible that somehow the Stampede vision or narrative of a ‘culture of rape and cover-up’ within the Church is far more manipulative hyperbole than it is any accurate picture of the situation within the Church. And – for all he knows, then – there may not be very much genuine “sexual abuse of children” at all.


    Then AM makes reference to the refusal to “release all or any files about what they really know”, which is a bedrock trope of the Stampede Playbook. The real question is: Why would the Church refuse to release such files? And here there are a number of possible considerations, hardly limited to the Playbook presumption that such a refusal is merely an attempt at further cover-up (shades of the 1970s corporate-evil lawsuits).


    One possibility: to prevent the embarrassment of allegants such as the editors of Rolling Stone now feel they inflicted upon that UVA allegant by publishing her story. This would also tie in with the fact that – as federal judge Schiltz revealed – the secrecy requirements in settlements were included at the behest of the torties and allegants. (Which also leads to an interesting question: why would the torties and allegants not want their stories – even perhaps with their names redacted – published so that those stories and claims and allegations could be publicly examined?)


    Another possibility: to prevent contributing to a deliberately fomented Stampede to the detriment of all parties involved. The canon law of the Church – which is not soused with Victimist ‘reforms’ the way American law now is – would retain a strong protection for the confidentiality of all parties involved, certainly until such time as a legitimately-grounded and conclusive and dispositive judgment can be made. (But, of course, in these cases there is so very little actual evidence that such a judgment is well-nigh impossible to make; which is precisely why Victimist law thinking must try to undermine the role of actual substantiating evidence in this type of case and why the Abuseniks can claim that the Church’s delay is attributable to nothing but a desire to ‘cover-up’.)


    As for government inquiries and requests for documents in other countries: it is certainly possible that both Vatican diplomatists and canon-lawyers know political grand-standing when they see it, and even that the governments making those ‘requests’ know that they know.


    In the Irish case, certainly, the government is deeply involved since it supported the Church – even with public funds – in the Irish foundling-homes matter. Why, for that matter, hasn’t the Irish government set a good example here by releasing all of its own files? (And, for that matter, we haven’t heard much further about that Irish foundling-home matter, the facts of which now seem to indicate that the vivid scare-visions fomented by the media are not accurate.)


    As for the Dutch government and its Abuse Report, we have heard nothing from that government for years now. I think it is reasonable to consider the possibility that none of these governments will ever really follow-through on whatever ‘requests’ they are so publicly trumpeting to their electorates.


    So what “FACT” (scream-y caps retained) precisely is it that AM is pointing-to here? That the Church has demonstrated consistent reluctance to turn over all its “files” (such as they may be)? As I have said above, if that is AM’s “FACT” then there are a number of possibilities to explain it.


    As for the “DAILY” bit: what one gets in Abusenik sites is simply an omnium-gatherum of whatever allegations anyone has chosen to make … and nothing more. And there is utterly no guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of such ‘reports’; one can see how the ‘report’ of the UVA matter dissolves under examination and one recalls that even Bishop-Accountability was forced to publish a disclaimer to the effect that its information (‘reported facts’, if you wish) cannot be considered dispositive and guaranteed for accuracy and completeness.


    And we recall my assessment of the role of Bishop-Accountability as a front-organization for the torties that plays and has played a role in the Stampede and might well receive kick-back type funds from the torties to continue its efforts.


    Then, in regard to his (c): AM agrees about the “policies” in place, but then seeks to shift the focus now to the “men who follow these policies”. This is, I would say, yet again a rhetorical effort to create an impossible standard and then claim that he is merely waiting for that impossible standard to be realized. No human organization (AM is welcome to name some if he disagrees here) is going to have perfect implementation of its policies since human beings are by their nature rather consistently imperfect and incomplete even in the pursuit of their own highest ideals.


    And we still haven’t established the extent of episcopal failures in regard to these policies (let alone the actual veracity of such failures). The public discourse so far has been shaped by the media toward only one presumptive explanation, i.e. that the episcopacy has by and large and even deliberately chosen to stonewall because of the extent of the guilt of most of the accused and the veracity and accuracy of just about all of the stories, claims, accusations and allegations.


    Nor am I saying or implying here that absolutely no abuse (however defined) was committed by some priests, nor that this or that hierarch did not handle a particular matter well. But – to repeat a point and a statement I have made before here – there is a world of difference between the individual failures of this or that priest or hierarch and the Stampede-vision of a Church besotted with rapine and cover-up.


    Cardinal O’Malley’s statement about Bishop Finn (discussed in comments here at length recently) was Cardinal O’Malley’s to make and he made it. If the policy is that persons convicted of any sex-related crime (a misdemeanor charge in Bishop Finn’s case) cannot be employed by a Diocese in any capacity that would have him near children (such as teaching) then to that extent it applies to Bishop Finn. Whether Cardinal O’Malley is convinced that Bishop Finn cannot possibly retain any competence in moral matters … is another question altogether and would be Cardinal O’Malley’s personal opinion. My personal opinion is that Bishop Finn’s culpable error in handling that case does not and could not utterly erase his competence in matters moral. But the entire matter is under consideration by the Vatican and has yet to be finalized.


    For that matter, the Vatican itself – in its capacity as a sovereign state jurisdiction – is precisely the government that is taking formal steps against several hierarchs and that is the Vatican’s right and responsibility.


    But then AM will seek to evade the Dutch Abuse Report matter and try to focus on the Irish and Australian governments statements. He might do well to provide us with some accurate statements by those governments, especially those on which he bases his assessment of “most damning indeed”. And beyond that I refer back to what I have written above in this comment about governments. I would particularly like to see some quotes that indicate not simply the for-public-consumption PR snippets, but some formal conclusions reached by those governments and the supporting information that justifies them. That is precisely, by the by, what we did not get out of the Dutch Abuse Report brouhaha – and that lack is hardly irrelevant here.


    As for bits to which he linked that come from intra-Catholic sources, including the Vatican itself: I have discussed at great length on very recent threads the question of intra-Catholic divisions about the Stampede and how the Stampede factors into larger agendas within the Church, even agendas that have engaged this Pope overtly. In all of this, we are – I would say – faced with the problem Soviet citizens faced when confronted with ‘reporting’: there is so much potential for skewed discourse and ‘reporting’ that readers have to be deeply judicious and careful in what they assess to be accurate and what they assess to be dubious in some way. One must read critically and separate the wheat from the chaff and avoid coming to ungrounded conclusions.


    As I said a while back in discussing the Lawler book about the history of the Boston Archdiocese, even as competent and respectable a historian as he made assumptions and accepted presumptions that are not justified by any evidence that he presented and discussed. There are doubtless many Catholics and even Catholic commentators who have also failed to think critically about the Stampede and have accepted far too much of the Stampede ‘narrative’ as being indubitably demonstrated as veracious, to say nothing of assorted Catholic interests for whom the Stampede plays a useful and even vital role in their agendas regarding the Church.


    There are, therefore, in my opinion, many elements and interests and even within the Catholic fold and even at the higher levels of that fold, who are “complicit” in the failure to think critically and seriously about the Stampede narrative.


    So we must read carefully and think carefully. And it is precisely for that reason that I put up extended comments rather than snappy one-liners and short stuff.


    Thus, lastly, I resist AM’s effort – one that we have seen before from other commenters on this site – to try to reduce all of this to my ‘liking’ or ‘not-liking’ what another commenter writes. I don’t operate on that level. I am concerned for clear thinking and substantiated elements that can be reliably used to build a deeper comprehension and grasp of the whole Matter. If he prefers: I don’t ‘like’ uncritical and unclear thinking; personalities don’t enter into it.


    As to what “information” AM is “disseminating” (correction supplied): I would question just how much actual “information” he proffers  – as opposed to simply repeating the unripe fruits of uncritical thinking by himself or others, here or there, high or low.


    And if he would care to demonstrate with some accurate quotes just where perhaps he sees my material as constituting “smoke and mirrors”, then wouldn’t that be nice? Or is his epithet here merely a code for dismissing what he doesn’t want to (or can’t) deal with?

  12. Penelope says:

         I know Tom Ericksen, worked with him, spoke with 2-adults he abused as children.  The church moved him every year for almost a decade, because his abuse kept happening.  They moved him to Winter, Wisc. to keep a closer eye on him  He was caught in the church there abusing 2-young boys, after he raped a 17-year old boy he befriended a month before.. Over 3-million was paid in civil-court for only 2-victims of the Cath.Church for hush money years later.  Who is innocent here??? He admitted molesting the boys, the church knew what he was doing.  He was cut loose years after his acts or behaviors were already known..How many  other children were victimuzed during that time or  maybe even now????????? The police or public was never notified.

         He is a high-risk pediphile and he has a 1 out of 2 chance of re-offending.  I heard him speak he is not sorry and will never take responsibility.  What is here to defend or deny?

      Why are people going through so much time,effort, and words defending him & the church.  Unless you know him or his countless victims you have no credibility.  He was never on a sex-ofender list or served time for his crimes.  He has and will continue to work with children, vul. adults.  You may see him at your childs school, or befriending a young boy and his mom.  Would you trust him?  I belleive a person should know the whole truth, then decide if their child, grandchild  or any child could be at risk.  NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE THAT FOR THEM! 

  13. Publion says:

    In regard to the ‘Penelope’ comment (the 13th, 1213PM):


    The comment claims knowledge of somebody (about whom there has never been any discussion that I can recall) and so we have only ‘Penelope’s’ statements to go on.


    Does she imply here that the story – if true according to the general lines of her statements – is something that would be ‘defended or denied’ here? I certainly would not defend the story as it comes to us in the comment for the simple reason I have no substantive information and cannot make a judgment one way or the other.


    If for the purposes of discussion here we presume the accuracy of Penelope’s comment, then I would not ‘defend’ the priest (whatever that may mean here) – but the key question is why she apparently presumes that I or anyone here would defend him. And in this we see the Stampede-fueling and Stampede-enabling presumption that ‘the story’ is all anybody needs in order to move to the next level (recalling Goebbels’s trademark instruction to German viewers of his newsreel claims: Mehr als dieses braucht ihr nicht zu wissen! (More than this you don’t need to know!).


    So her question is actually quite apropos, more so than she might imagine: “What is here to defend or deny?” There is, I would respond, nothing here in her comment “to defend or deny” since there is not enough validated information for anybody to do anything with. This is precisely the problem with claims made on the internet: they cannot be made out to be sufficient grounds for readers to draw conclusions because the internet modality precludes the provision of sufficient evidentiary-level grounds for readers to draw conclusions.


    ‘Penelope’ also doesn’t appear to notice the gaping question to which her comment gives rise: if this man did all of this, why did nobody else call the police? His “behaviors were already known” so why did no dogs bark at all in the case? Indeed, if she did or does “know” him as she claims, then why did she not call the police? What is going on here?


    Is he a “pedophile” in the clinical sense? That would depend on parameters for which she offers no information. Or has he thus been formally diagnosed? We don’t know.


    We also don’t know if he has a 50-50 “chance of re-offending” (since i) we don’t know if he is indeed formally classifiable as a “pedophile” and ii) I would want to know where she got that percentage and whether it is applicable to all formally diagnosed pedophiles or is it the result of a risk-assessment of him as an individual. Or has she simply followed this train of connections: a) he is presumably a pedophile; b) somewhere there is a statistic about formally-defined pedophiles having a 50-50 chance of re-offending; therefore c) this man has a 50-50 chance of re-offending.


    To a certain (and hardly small) element on the internet, this type of ‘connecting’ suffices. But in serious matters it cannot suffice. But the Anderson Strategies – especially after 2002 – were especially shrewd in taking this aspect of internet commenting into account.


    Additionally, the ‘settlement’ problem (exhaustively discussed on this site) enters here if the payments were made by that modality.


    And we see here ‘Penelope’ making the (utterly unjustified) presumption that attempting to get a clear and solid picture of the Stampede and its dynamics (somehow) equates to “defending him & the church”.


    The fact that nobody here ‘knows him’ or “his countless victims” (I doubt if that “countless” is anything other than gratuitous hyperbole; surely the number of any genuine victims of his is not literally innumerable) is secondary to the fact that nobody here can know the facts of the case from anything in ‘Penelope’s comment.


    And the fact that I therefore attempt neither to defend him or the Church nor to exonerate him or the Church does not equate to anything except the fact that we have insufficient information to do either.


    But as for the point about “credibility”: what “credibility” can we ascribe to this story at all? We have nothing to go on here sufficient to come to any conclusions whatsoever.


    And when ‘Penelope’ then asks whether we would trust “him”, I would have to say that from what her comment has given us, we have to ask that question not about this individual named Tom Ericksen, but rather of the phantasm entitled Tom Ericksen that she has proffered to us here.


    And as for the assertion that “he has and will continue to work with children” and – oddly put – “vul. adults”: is this a fact or a scare-vision? Is it probable in this day and age that any adult male in (allegedly) this Ericksen’s situation can get hired into such a position without revealing enough of his prior employment to tip off any potential and responsible employer as to his past?


    And so I can agree with the comment’s concluding idea that parents or such must be sufficiently informed. As long as they are also fully and accurately informed.

  14. Publion says:

    It also occurs to me that in the ‘Penelope’ comment (the 13th, 1213PM) we see just under the surface the basic outline of what may be Bishop-Accountability’s (hereinafter: B-A) hopes for a new business model, i.e. to fatten-up their ‘database’ in order to become the ‘sex offender registry’ for accused priests.


    As I have said in prior comments, B-A has already taken advantage of internet technology to compile and provide a reference ‘database’ for ‘concerned persons’ (and, by amazing coincidence, simultaneously a handy ‘detail database’ for anyone who might need some bits to burnish a story or some ideas as to who might already be on the list and might thus be especially available for an allegation).


    But the primary Anderson Strategies gambit of going the civil lawsuit/settlement approach means that many accused priests – including those whose Bishops ‘settled’ out from under them – were never formally adjudicated as ‘sex offenders’ and thus don’t appear in the national internet databases compiled from State and federal court actions.


    B-A may accurately perceive some useful business possibilities here: because although the stream of fresh allegations has largely dried up, there might be a small ocean of fresh ‘data’ if hierarchs can be prevailed-upon to ‘release’ files with more names of accused priests, reaching into the way and the way-way back. And and and: even priests now long out of ministry who are either deceased or carrying-on life as best they may even if they have not been further involved with the police and the courts in regard to this type of allegation.


    There is, of course, the problem of accuracy: B-A was required to post a disclaimer on its database to the effect that it cannot actually vouch for the accuracy of what it has put up (and so much, then, for any pious hopes and declamations about ‘concerned persons’ being ‘informed’ – at least if they are to be accurately and sufficiently informed).


    And then there is the problem of the sex-offender-registry template generally. By entering ‘validity and efficacy of sex-offender-registries’ or some such phrase into a search-engine one can quickly discover that there is a substantial concern for either a) the accuracy of the materials ( i.e. databases are only as good as the ‘information’ in-putted into them) or b) the efficacy of the registries (i.e. even law enforcement officials are concerned that the promiscuous (so to speak) in-putting of every grade of sex-related offense so clogs the registries (and waters-them down) that the occasional visitor or the ‘concerned person’ may well have difficulty in distinguishing the still truly-dangerous from the merely historical and currently non-threatening). Or both (a) and (b).


    And, of course, at least the official registries require the threshhold step that a person actually be convicted by some court (to the extent that we may rely on the validity of sex-offense jurisprudence as it has now mutated). Whereas the B-A model – if based on merely the publication of whatever names pop up in any document caches that might be released from Church files – could toss up all sorts of informational flotsam and jetsam, especially if the handy Abusenik presumption is deployed: that if a an allegation was ‘settled’ with a payout, then that proves decisively and indubitably that the accused priest was guilty (and, perhaps, is an indubitable “pedophile” and so on and so forth).


    Thus, especially in light of this Pope’s apparent willingness to ‘deal’ in priest-abuse matters, B-A might logically seek at this point to prepare the ground for the ‘issues’ that will be ‘on the table’ for the papal visit to the US later next year. And, in the nearer term, to start positioning at the gate for the first convocation of the Vatican sex-abuse master commission, chaired by Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley, in just two months’ time, February of 2015.


    And there are elements – especially within the Church nowadays – who will certainly not object to the resurrection or re-ignition of the actually weakening Stampede in order to further their own agendas, since this Pope seems to be signaling that such agendas will find some level of congenial reception at so high a level of the Church polity.


    And the usual media suspects (such as Baran) would be essential to this job, since there are some still-significant elements within the media that also have a vested (and a business) interest in Keeping The Ball Rolling.


    As I have said, the entire project here relies upon the (regrettably) large number of internet readers who can be counted-upon to i) presume uncritically both the accuracy of the information and ii) the ‘logical’ consequences (actually: scare-visions) that might be imagined to flow from that ‘information’.

  15. Publion says:

    Something interesting from an editorial entitled “The Double-Dipping Legal System”, appearing in The Wall Street Journal for Friday, December 26th, 2014, on page A-12 of the print edition.


    It has to do with “asbestos litigation fraud” and the way the torties have it worked out is this: An individual sues a company for damages for illness claimed to have arisen from exposure to asbestos; but in this area asbestos-liable companies or their Insurers have also erected “trusts” (large pots of money set aside by a consortium of companies in order to handle payouts for claims); thus an allegant can both a) sue a specific company directly and b) seek monies from the relevant “trust” as well.


    As it turns out, one particular federal judge – who, the editorial admits, is “a rare exception” – allowed for Discovery to include tracking and reviewing the dual claims (and stories) lodged by claimants (more familiarly known as ‘victims’, of course).


    And what has been discovered is that when the judge “reviewed evidence) (i.e., the assorted legal filings and claims and stories – made under the pains and penalties of perjury) “many of the claims were a sham”.


    Specifically, allegants and torties filed one story best-suited to winning a lawsuit against a specific company, and then filed another story – sometimes diametrically different – best-suited to winning a payout from the relevant “trust”. This, the editorial notes, “lets them get double or multiple payouts”.


    The WSJ realizes that “the extent of the deception won’t surprise anyone who’s done business with plaintiff firms” (the term “plaintiff firm” is a polite description of tortie operations set up specifically to sue large (and deep-pockets) defendant entities on behalf of – of course – ‘victimized’ allegants).


    It gets deeper: “The [plaintiff] law firms have been able to get away with this because they’ve pressured dozens of outside asbestos trusts not to share claims data with each other or the courts” – and this goes clearly to the reality of so many Church abuse settlement secrecy requirements being demanded by the torties. And as you can see, this is apparently familiar and perhaps even standard tortie stratagem and practice, extending far beyond just Church abuse settlement lawsuits.


    And deeper: “Most judges deny requests for [this type of] discovery” (although this particular federal judge was that “rare exception” whose permission enabled a sued company to uncover all of the shenanigans and scams). Readers here will quickly recall that it has always been a vital element of Victimist legal strategy that ‘victims’ never have a) their stories questioned or b) the wider record of their legal maneuverings examined. You can see why.


    I think that regular readers here will be sufficiently familiar with the probable dynamics of the Stampede and the Anderson Strategies to intuit the relevance of this development.


    But I would add this: with i) the declining energy of the Stampede and ii) the upcoming Vatican sex-abuse commission’s inaugural meeting in February and iii) the Pope’s upcoming visit to the US in September, is it possible that one ‘reform’ the Abuseniks (and the torties) will demand is that such “trusts” and “funds” be set up for (those highly hypothetical) future ‘victims’ and perhaps even for claimants who have already collected and cashed their checks?


    Such a ‘reform’ would provide fresh fuel and fresh incentive for torties and allegants alike, and would thus not only Keep The Ball Rolling but even kick The Ball higher into the air. Wheeeeeeeee.


    But the editorial doesn’t stop there. It notes that there is a reform “moving through Congress” at this time, which would “require asbestos trusts to disclose basic details about the claims that they receive”. This would enable them to – politely putting it – go about “preserving more assets to compensate asbestos victims with legitimate claims”.


    And the editorial then goes on to admit – in a nice by-the-by – that such legislation “had no chance in Harry Reid’s Senate” (i.e. a Democratic-controlled, Victimist-friendly Senate) … “but a Republican Congress might be different”.


    This would be a fine possibility, the editorial concludes, because such “fraud is a blight on the courts and basic legal fairness”.


    One can only wonder what might happen if such dynamics were to be allowed in the Church abuse matter, whose near-three billion dollars in payouts and costs certainly qualifies it as one of the more successful beasties in this Augean stable of story-telling-for-dollars.