Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I have finished going over the new John Jay College of Criminal Justice (JJCCJ) Report  on Catholic clergy abuse of minors.

JJCCJ did a Report in 2003 and I posted on it here.

When I put up my recent Post about the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Review Board I did not know that the release of the Jay Report would come within a couple of days (as so often in organized advocacy type things, there is a curious flavor of ‘coincidence’ to all these sudden flurries of ‘news’). But the second Jay Report is out now and it’s created an interesting pattern of uproars.

I’m going to go over it – although only to pick out the bits I think are interesting; this is not a Post that will seek to review and digest the entire Report. (It’s 152 pages long, with many graphs and charts.)

As always with Adobe formats, the link to the text gives you two sets of page numbers: the first page number is the one assigned by the Adobe system, and the second is the number of the page as it appears printed in the document. Thus for example, page 118-126 means Adobe page 118 and text-page 126; they are the same page.

There was an article in the ‘New York Times’ that garnered almost 450 comments and if you look at them you can get a sense of how people (at least, people who read that paper) process information.

A second article is also interesting. In the first place it follows the first article in insinuating that since the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) “paid for” the Report, then the Report is suspect; a Comment adds that the USCCB only used its own files, as if that were also proof that the whole thing is a USCCB ‘fix’ and is ‘rigged’. But while the bishops paid a hefty portion of the bill, the government and other sources also paid a share. And I think this is all a clear example of how the game works: the Catholic Church has been targeted so it is the ‘necessary monster’ and therefore ANYthing it does has to be put in a negative light. Had the USCCB refused to pay anything and refused to turn over its files to the JJCCJ researchers, then we can be sure that the Bishops would have been raked over the coals for that.

The ‘Times’ is also in a huff because the Report declares the priest-abuse crisis – as a crisis – to have peaked and passed. And that upsets the ‘Times’, I think, because this crisis has been a chunk of beisbol that been bery bery good to the ‘Times’ (champion of secularist liberalism as it has evolved in this country) and the ‘Boston Globe’, its Boston subsidiary that broached the most recent phase of the eerily recurring ‘crisis’ almost a decade ago (Jan. 2, 2002). The ‘Times’ article refers to 2002 as if it were just the other day – as perhaps it and its readers wish it were. (In those days – in illo tempore as the old Latin of the Gospels would put it – the ‘Times’ was also rah-rahing for the invasion of Iraq.)

The ‘Times’ sniffs that one of the most “controversial” findings is represented in a mountain-shaped graph that shows reported cases of priest-abuse indicating a peak of the incidents in the 1960s and 1970s and declining downwards since the 1980s. It is not impressed. With facts? With numbers? With simply counting up the actual reports and doing the math?

But of course, if this graph is accurate, then it raises a whole mess of unpleasant questions which no doubt the ‘Times’ would prefer that people not think about. The graph is not-Correct, that is to say, and perhaps ‘unhelpful’ and ‘insensitive’; and the reality that the researchers did some actual counting and tallying of actual facts is not really what fourth-level advocacy (where you aren’t simply trying to inform the public but rather you want to purposely manipulate it with an eye to pressuring politicians and legislators) is in the business of doing. Lenin, famously, was not interested in finding out how many Russians might actually want his brand of revolutionary Utopia; that’s not what revolutionaries are in business for. He knew it was the right thing for them, and what they wanted would merely be an ‘irrelevant fact’ that would only get in the way. He would, to use later deconstructionist terminology, ‘explode their paradigm’ and make them see the new ‘reality’ – the explosions to come from the barrel of a gun wielded by his Cheka, his secret revolutionary police. Terror was the ticket – and that was OK because Terror inflicted in a good cause is a good thing … and Law must not be allowed to obstruct it.  

At any rate, as we shall see, there is much food for thought in the reality that many who back in 2003 praised the first John Jay Report for ‘proving’ how awful and huge the priest-abuse crisis was, are now suddenly condemning JJCCJ for being a cheap, lying dupe and tool of the ever-sleazy USCCB and all its pomps and all its butt-covering works. Funny how the night moves.

I also came across a mention somewhere about SNAP, the group that started out being an organization seeking to represent survivors of those abused by priests. It was, I recall, on the point of folding a few years ago; one researcher sought to find out if its national office was getting (kickback) funds from attorneys who made millions representing priest-abuse survivors in those nifty lawsuits (against the dioceses and their insurers, not against the individual accused priests) and the national office refused to say. The organization has since branched out a couple of times: against Southern Baptist minister-abusers (and I can’t think of a more fearsome engine of retribution and wrath than a Southern Baptist under full sail with all guns run out and cleared for action) and then against any and all clergy who abuse, and now, for all practical purposes, to offer solace and perhaps the name of a good lawyer to anyone anywhere who has ever been abused by anyone in any sort of authority. Which perhaps will give it a new lease on life, on the off-chance that the cat is out of the bag about the Catholic ‘crisis’.

But enough of the preliminaries and let’s get to the Report.

The Report limits itself to the abuse of minors by priests (2-10). There is some problem, the Report acknowledges, with the fact that the age of minority changed throughout the period covered by the Report, the years 1950-2009.

The Report offers the remarkably sane and informed observation that ‘celibacy’ – refraining from sexual activity in all forms – is a “commitment” required of all priests, but it is not a “condition”. Meaning that this is the commitment all priests are required to make, though – being human like their parishioners and all other humans – the priest can be expected to fail to some extent, sort of like anybody else, including – say – Presidents in the Oval Office. (And NO, I am not here insinuating a claim that abusing anybody sexually is OK because priests are human and humans are notorious for not being perfect … but there is a rather profound human reality in there somewhere.

I recall a comment once a couple of years ago made by an email poster who reported to have been abused by a priest and ‘lost the faith’ because this commenter had been raised to see the parish-priest as a “king”; that image being derived from part of the ordination ritual that referred to Melchisedech. Being Catholic myself, I can’t recall ever thinking of my parish priest as a king, although the old pastor may have taken that bit rather too seriously, as did more than one old-school Cardinal back in the day. Boston’s Cardinal O’Connell, I think, actually saw himself as an Irish clerical version of the Holy Roman Emperor (therefore, alas, still subject to the Pope), though his successor Cardinal Cushing jauntily referred to the obligatory limo as “the boat”.)

According to all the known reports and cases, the incidences of claimed abuse of minors peaked by the 1970s and declined noticeably thereafter, clearly so by the mid-1980s (46-54). Today “almost all cases” now are claimed to have occurred “decades earlier”. Whether this is the result of the curious workings of ‘traumatic repressed memory’ or rather a reflection of the remarkably hospitable legal atmosphere in which remunerative claims can be received with almost no chance of clearly establishing their truth after the passage of so much time … is an interesting question and neatly unanswerable in any factual way.

Also of great interest is the Report’s dismissal of ‘celibacy’ as a cause of abuse since it remains a constant factor throughout the covered period and before; as the Report notes, it has been a constant since the 12th century, so it can’t be seen as an operative factor – let alone a significant causal factor – in  the ‘spike’ of the 1960s and 1970s when, as the Report also notes, there was a great deal of sexual ‘change’ going on everywhere in society (mostly in the direction of It’s Reely Reely Groovy and an absolute essential for total human fulfillment and adult functioning).

This is bound to rile up one key demographic helping to fuel the ‘crisis’: those within and outside of the Church who want to see married clergy and/or female clergy. But if other religions are also experiencing pastoral sexual abuse, and they have a married clergy, then how could ‘celibacy’ be a substantial causal factor since marriage doesn’t seem to impede sexual abuse either … ? And then there is that recent example of a married President … but I digress.

The Report has made one substantial allowance which skews its numbers, I think – although it admits that it had no other choice. In trying to establish a base-line for the number of interactions between priests and minors (against which incidents of abuse and percentages could be calculated) it admits that it had to take some verifiable number, so it took the number of confirmations a parish had every year. (25-33) Thus if there were x number of confirmations in the country in a given year, and then y number of incidents of abuse, one could derive a factually based percentage of abuse. Sort of like taking the total number of passenger miles an airline flies in a year, and then the number of fatalities, and you come up with some number (usually something like 0.000xxx) as the airline’s passenger-safety factor.

BUT the possibilities for priestly interaction with minors in a parish are, I think, vastly larger than simply confirmation classes. CCD classes, sacramental preparation classes (confession, first communion), extracurricular activities (band, parish teams, dramatic plays, and so forth). I think that if you use that number as a baseline, and then apply to it the number of abuse allegations of all sorts, you find an incidents per passenger mile (if I may) and thus a safety percentage, better than any airline; something along the lines of 0.00000xx. The Report couldn’t do this because so many of the interactions are not documented, but you can imagine for yourself.

As it is, I think 3.4 percent of the 110,000 or so priests serving between 1950-2009 had an allegation made against them. From which you have to make allowances for false allegations and perhaps also for the severity of the violation according to the definition of ‘abuse’.

Again, this is not to minimize any actual abuse, but simply to put the matter in some perspective.

Among currently reported cases, 975 are claimed to have taken place between 1985 and 1989; 253 between 1995 and 1999; and 73 between 2004 and 2008 (47-55). This reflects a rather noticeable decline in incidences, although whether because the Church’s strengthened policies are beginning to have an effect or because more recent timeframes are more susceptible to being investigated (and possibly disproven) or both is hard to determine factually.

There has been some comment on various sites about the age of pubescence (53-61). The Report takes the age of 11 for boys; advocates claim that the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) uses the age of 13; the higher age would increase the number of ‘pedophile’ cases. Pubescence determines whether a perpetrator would be at least partially suitable for the diagnosis of pedophile (sex with prepubescent children) or an ephebophile (sex with post-pubescent children). There are other factors that would have to be considered as well in order to make a clinical determination; current media and Mania shorthand about ‘pedophiles’ is not well-based in clinical knowledge. And in any case, the Report notes, research with incarcerated sex-offenders does not find that those diagnoses are generally applicable – which raises a whole bunch of interesting questions on its own.

But on that ground – that pubescence in boys is generally held in the literature nowadays to be 11 (the current edition of the DSM dates from 1994, although it was updated somewhat in 2000) – the Report finds that four out of five minors abused in any way were post-pubescent.

Thus, the Report tallies that of all reported abuse cases, 3.8% could be eligible for clinical consideration of ‘pedophile’ and “18.9% as ephebophile”. (55-63) (The diagnosis requires at least two victims; diagnosis cannot be made on the basis of a single victim.)

This then does not include priests who only had one reported incident of abuse (however defined)*, which is still a valid object of scrutiny but does not of itself rise to a clinical diagnosis.

In fact, the Report notes, most priests who abuse minors do not qualify for diagnosis of either a paraphilia (one of several forms of unconventional and unhealthy sexual preoccupation and/or expression) or pedophilia. (74-82) Nor, the Report goes on, are most of them gay.

You can see where this type of finding (discovery?) will be gall and wormwood to a number of ‘interests’. Those who are for one reason or another deeply gratified and satisfied to think and speak of legions of ‘pedophile priests’ must now impugn the Report or be constantly reminded by some little voice inside themselves that one of their favorite imprecations is not necessarily true at all. Those who would very much like to blame the whole thing on ‘gays in the priesthood’ are equally discomfited since “the clinical data do not support this finding” either.  And, not surprisingly, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Of even more significance formally, the Report notes that there are few actual markers that will accurately distinguish between who is and isn’t possessed of the potential to be an ‘abuser’ of children from those who ‘abuse’ adults. (74-82) This raises questions about just how one can ground ‘prevention’ as it is currently being demanded: with no clinical markers of proven accuracy and reliability, then how does one identify whom is to be ‘prevented’? One begins to scent, however faintly, the distinctly fetid odor of witchcraft trials, where – for all practical purposes – it was up to the ‘feelings’ of the judges or examiners, backed up by some semblance of ‘proof-tests’ (see my immediately previous Post).

The Report notes that there is a discrepancy – and not a small one – between the general national approach to ‘sex abuse’ at the time of the commission of the alleged acts and the period starting about 1980 as ‘victimology’ began to take hold and more focus was brought to bear on the matter of what constitutes abuse, the damage it causes in short and long term, and what should be done about it. (75-83)(And again, let me say that I agree with the position that overt genital activity of any sort was a crime then regardless of the state of psychological and clinical knowledge; a handy guideline, which would not have been beyond the grasp of any priest in any era, would have been: is what you are doing now something you wouldn’t mind the local sheriff or bishop seeing?)

The bishops did not start to receive wide reports until the early 1990s (an era familiar to the SO community generally). Which is not to say that they handled matters any better than, say, the military and National Command Authority handled Iraq … although that doesn’t at all let them off the hook. But as the Report continues, the bishops individually and organizationally were not well versed in how to handle the welter of complicated problems which arose, then lit to white heat in 2002 by “the extraordinary media attention”.  

In that year, following the January ‘Boston Globe’ series, 3300 allegations were received. Further, and this is an interesting bit, whereas in the 1980s even the public focus was on the offending priest, the new 2002 wave focused on the bishops themselves.

I think this may well have been the result of the application of a principle of expanding civil regulatory-law practice known as ‘respondeat superior’ (Latin for ‘let the superior respond' to the charge): if an agent of a corporation commits an infraction, the corporation is responsible EVEN IF the agent violated the corporate policy and norms in committing the infraction. Devised by enterprising attorneys to ‘go after’ corporations and make it easier for individuals to recover damages, it essentially held that if, say, an agent of Megalith Industries violated specific and government-compliant Megalith rules and regulations, the government could still hold Megalith and its CEO responsible. Applied to tort practice, a lawsuit could thus be brought against the corporate leadership (and its Insurers) even though the individually offending agent of Megalith had broken Megalith’s own regulations. The original idea had been that this would be a dandy way for the government to force CEOs and corporate leadership not only to adopt government-desired rules but also to make sure that they kept up the pressure on employees to follow them. But it must have been clear even then that the possibility for mischief was substantial.

Thus, I think, the 2002 phase of this ever-recurring focus on the Catholic Church was simultaneously to bring pressure of all sorts on the bishops themselves and also to open up the deep-pockets of the Church and its Insurers to claims (that, neatly, would be made in a superheated atmosphere of Mania: public uproar continually stoked, evidentiary rules weakened and Statutes of Limitation ditto, and all manner of ‘science’ that claimed abuse ‘harm’ was ‘traumatic’, even if ‘repressed’. As a purely legal gambit, it was inspired.

All of which offered much aid and support to the assorted ‘interests’ within and outside of the Church who very much wanted its moral authority and credibility taken down a peg or ten.

(And again, I am not here suggesting that genuine cases of abuse did not take place. But this whole matter is far from a clear and simple ‘field’ – thus not at all like an old 17th century battlefield where you could see all the pieces in play with one quick sweep of your telescope from the hill over yonder.)

Almost too innocently, in reviewing the development of abuser ‘therapy’ in the 1970s and 1980s, the Report notes that polygraphs were brought into play in the 1990s (that decade again) to help therapists ‘ensure compliance’, but that – as if there were no connection – ‘therapy’ fell off in the 1990s. (80-88) This can hardly be surprising. It was a decade when the therapeutic privacy was legally withdrawn from persons seeking help for many kinds of sex-offensive behaviors; definitions of what was now considered to be (and to have been) eligible for classification as ‘abuse’ were expanding almost monthly; Registries were being erected and put on the Internet; and the ‘science’ supporting it all had a heavy flavor of ‘anecdote’ and ‘intuition’ and pre-determined ‘discoveries’ made by eager ‘researchers’ formal and informal. And the laws were also expanding at a rate that would have put the Third Reich’s race-law whizz-kids to shame: often, because of the ‘emergency’, taking effect upon passage before they could even be published to the citizenry.

Indeed, the Report’s tally indicates that 94% of the allegated offenses between 1950 and 2009 had taken place before 1990. (79-87)

Priests, as the Report notes, could be deprived of vocation and living for less and less serious or even clear offenses. The ‘scientific’ discovery, eagerly grasped by legislators, that sex-offender recidivism was the highest of all the crime categories, and that ‘sex offenders’ were essentially untreatable in any realistic timeframe fed into this.

I can’t imagine what a decent bishop was to do: the options were to throw even the most incredibly accused into that lion-pit or somehow try to … what? Send him to therapy, presuming that he would not (perhaps on the advice of prudent legal counsel) ‘clam up’ to prevent the creation of treatment files that could become evidence against him in court? Extract a promise that he wouldn’t do anything ever again? (I am not thinking here of actual rape or genital assault.)

Even a decent and modestly courageous bishop would have been over a terrible barrel in trying to figure out what to do. Which is what happens in times of Mania.

The Report notes that the Church’s organizational response was no better than other large American institutions such as schools, hospitals, businesses, and the police.  (91-99)

However, the Report notes, the Church developed substantial reforms under the pressure of all this ‘attention’. (93-101) Which makes you wonder: why aren’t all the erstwhile ‘concerned’ interests happy that they have apparently succeeded? One might entertain the dark thought that many of these ‘interests’ were not exactly hoping that the Church would emerge from all this stronger and more efficacious than before and that the clergy would be substantially improved through the enhanced training.

That the Church did so only ‘under pressure’ hardly seem to qualify as a substantial cause for complaint. What organization – what individual even – doesn’t like to change until somehow it or he or she has to? If the fact that pressure had to be applied to effect change is a substantial proof of social unsuitability for an organization, then what organization in the country is worthy of trust and credibility? The whole idea of pressure-politics and indeed Identity Politics is that you always have to bring some pressure to get changes made.

And, as the Report notes, Catholics – pace the claims of some of the ‘survivors’ that they have lost their faith and can never go to church or believe in God again – remain devoted to their Church and their faith and trust in their priests. (93-101)

The Report recounts the development of ‘victimology’ since the 1960s in this country and also makes the point that the amount of psychological and life-problems suffered by those claiming to have been abused constitutes a “public health problem”. (94-102) This public-health angle is one that has become more evident in a number of areas in recent years: coffee, smoking, sugary or fatty foods and even internet and virtual-reality electronic games are among the many issues that are bruited as being public-health issues. Formally, it opens up all sorts of government-involvement (and funding) angles. If you think about it, there is little that could not qualify. And while it is certainly true that those adults who claim childhood abuse carry a notable and statistically significant number of diagnoses for life-problems (for which help is surely justified), there is no clear line of causality between the alleged abuse and the life-problems. Which to some minds is thinking wayyy too much, but there it is.

The Report accepts matter-of-factly the existence of the Traumatogenic theory of childhood abuse (about which I Posted recently in regard to Susan Clancy’s recent book). (97-105) It clearly isn’t looking to take on a validity-assessment of all the victimological claims and theories that are currently out there. Fair enough, given its responsibility and task, but readers should also be aware that the entire victimological-science area is fraught with questions; this is not to say that there is no such thing as ‘victimization’, but rather that it does no good in the long run for the nation and the government to start creating policies and laws when it isn’t quite sure what’s actually going on or how the dynamics of the problem work. (Look what happened with Iraq and Afghanistan; or the economy.)

Not to bring politics into this site, but I think it’s worthwhile here to recall that it was Marx, in the eleventh of his “Theses on Feuerbach”,  who asserted that the goal of Communist thought is not to understand the world but to change the world. Given the queasy reality that one of the roots of much of post-1968 ‘liberalism’ here and in Europe has been the ‘revolutionary’ purpose of changing the world (through deconstruction, transgressive self-assertion, creative destruction, exploding the old paradigms, and etcetera and etcetera and etcetera)  … given all that, it’s important to see how – weirdly and lethally – some of the most poisonous fruit of the Communist tree was inhaled by (and injected into) the American democratic and deliberative ethos. Change and emergency change was enacted into policy and law without any real deliberation, not only by the public (which was largely excluded from the whole process) but by the legislators and ‘experts’ and ‘advocates’ inside the Beltway.

If it seems like the Beltway pols must have been one thoroughly dopey bunch to get the country entangled in this mess of bad stuff, an alternative explanation must now also be imagined: the pols were merely assured by pressure groups that ‘thinking’ in order to understand was obstructionist and unnecessary; it was only required that the legislators ‘change’ things – and the sooner and deeper, the better.

Thus I don’t think it’s enough to say that the SO Mania is only a ‘moral panic’, although there is certainly that element in it. Rather, I think that the SO Mania has been one of the first large-scale efforts to radically change the national ethos under the influence of philosophical and operational presumptions that come from some dark place that is hell and gone from vital and essential American principles.**

In regard to the clear decline in new cases, the Report asserts that “some mechanism other than the criminal justice system” had to play a part (since, I suppose, so few of all these many ‘priest-cases’ actually came to actual trial, such as these types of trials are). (117-125) The Report surmises that the publicity and new awareness has kept those who might have been potential victims away from ‘potential’ situations, which may well have some truth to it. The possibility that priests are better trained is also real, however; and so is the less happy thought that priests are simply not getting involved with the parish youth as much as they used to.

The Report believes that a “prevention model” should be employed to protect minors. (117-125) If that means that you enhance priest training, and alert persons are in place to respond to any possible early ‘warning signs’ that’s fine. When it comes to any sort of examination of priests by the various Boards in place in dioceses, especially (see my recent Philadelphia Post) in matters where no actual abusive action took place, I would tend to be much more cautious. As that Post indicated, there is a tendency to become a tad Inquisitorial – not to put too fine a point on it – when dedicated ‘preventers’ start looking into thoughts and predispositions, a murky area for any Western approach to law (which has punished acts, not thoughts or possible or inferred ‘tendencies’). After all, to prevent auto deaths it would be best to have far far more stringent licensing regulations and perhaps outlaw private motor vehicles completely. ‘Total’ or ‘perfect’ are not words that correspond to human beings in any way, shape or form. (Which is something the Church has known for a couple of millennia now: the ‘counsels of perfection’ are precisely named that: ‘counsels’, not ‘orders’.)

And this is especially so when the ‘therapeutic’ and the ‘legal’ (civil, criminal, or canonical) are now so lethally mixed and confused in the Mania.

The Report’s Final Summary and Conclusions and Recommendations start on page 118-126) and you can look at them for yourself. The Report is not a hard read and while it conforms to the form and general approach of a scientific report, it is written for lay readers. (And I, for one, give thanks for that.)

So that’s my take on the new Jay Report.


*The 2002 Catholic Bishops ‘Charter for the protection of children and young people’ casts a very wide definitional net: “sexual abuse includes contacts or interactions between an individual under the age of eighteen (a minor) and an adult, when the minor is being used as an object of sexual gratification for the adult. A minor is considered abused whether or not this activity involves explicit force, genital or physical contact, or discernible harmful outcome, and regardless of who is the initiator of the contact.”

This is an admirably broad conception, and quite useful for purposes of therapy, spiritual confession or direction, or as a guideline for an individual priest to ‘examine his conscience’. As a legal definition, it has its difficulties, however. And since Diocesan Review Boards can recommend serious ministerial limitations that would activate canon-law protections for an accused, then you can see how complicated these things can get. It is hardly inconceivable that a priest with no actual incidences of abuse but who mentions to a therapist or spiritual adviser that he has to work to keep his imagination on the straight and narrow (and has, successfully) might easily wind up as a candidate for permanent removal from ministry.

**Of course, given that Marx was a thorough-going materialist and considered religion to be nothing more than the “opium of the people” it isn’t hard to see where any ‘paradigm’ or ‘ethos’ that drew deeply from the Marxist well is going to consider religion as an enemy of the New Order; and a rival as well, since the materialist and Marxist paradigm and ethos precisely take the metaphysical position that there is no metaphysical Beyond – hence any organized religion (and Catholicism is still one of the biggest on the ranch) is going to pose a threat simply by existing as an alternative way of construing one’s life and the life of the polity. And it is exactly here that I think there is to be found a deep and profound motivation for the continuing efforts to delegitimize or weaken the Catholic Church.

This is NOT, of course, to suggest that there were no cases of genuine abuse or that the Church hierarchy was not initially inept at handling the cases that arose. I am NOT trying to insinuate that the whole priest-abuse and Church-leadership crisis is (or was, anyway) merely the result of political-philosophical hostility on the part of secular and materialist interests that want to eliminate the influence of a rival. But there is this inescapable connection that must be factored in.


I can’t resist this. I came across one of the old ‘Star Trek’ movies yesterday: Kirk asks Scotty how much time the ship will need to spend in the repair facility; 8 weeks, says Scotty, but for you, Admiral, I’ll have it done in 2; Kirk asks Scotty:  do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of 4?; all the time, replies Scotty – it keeps up my reputation as a miracle worker.

It occurs to me that grossly overstating the threat from SOs and the number of SOs (on top of the assumption that they are all wild, incorrigible, and diabolically malevolent) serves several interests: the public is suitably stampeded, the advocates are numerously ‘justified’ in whatever they demand; and the enforcers are simultaneously turned into ‘heroes’ AND prove themselves as marvelous enforcers every time they catch even one of these rampaging monsters. In an era of ‘deal’ politics, that is simply wayyy too much ‘goodness’ for any deal-brokering pol to pass up.


It’s also a curious twist that for at least the past 40-plus years the Catholic Church has been speaking strongly against unrestrained sexual activity, which is a core element in the ‘liberation’ of the totally-autonomous individual as currently envisioned in Correct thought.  Paul VI was roundly derided for his stance in his 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (so much so that he never wrote another one in the remaining decade of his reign). John Paul II also incurred much opprobrium for his consistent stance that sexual activity outside of marriage is in many essential ways harmful to the full development of the human being.  (He also delivered some truly amazing thoughts about mutual orgasm in marriage being related to the life of the Trinity and the Godhead.)

The Church’s position has consistently been that sex – even more than violence – is an insidiously powerful temptation to ‘give oneself over’ to pleasure with no context of responsibility or obligation. I have previously used the imagery of a warship commander and I do so here again: it’s a whole lotta fun to order a full salvo of missiles and watch those puppies go streaking up into the sky; it’s also nice – but alas rare unless you can get a recording craft in proper position – to see those thingies blow stuff up downrange.

BUT that is precisely why naval discipline requires that a commanding officer doesn’t indulge in that professional but also visceral ‘pleasure’ without very serious and grave reason: explosions, as the military knows, have consequences, and not all of them are good or foreseeable or controllable.

Sex is kinda the same thing: great fun to do and seems like just the thing to do at the moment, but then there are consequences. And not simply consequences that a handy device or dose can ‘take care of’. The individual becomes habitualized to some powerful but not necessarily constructive (to self, others or society) behaviors that are better hemmed about with at least some of the same serious and deliberate care that naval commanders give to the firing of their weapons-arrays.  Nor do we like police officers going around firing off their service weapons without at least some professional assessment.

To the Boomers – if memory serves – this approach to sex was all baloney: sex  was groovy, liberating, great fun, and when you’re young (and American?) who really cares about ‘consequences’ let alone deeply-rooted habits that affect all sorts of levels of the self that don’t show up in a mirror or in your favorite photos of yourself?

Curious, perhaps, that Americans are now as porny for military weaponry ‘explosions’ as they are for ‘hooking up’ in sex.

So the Church – staffed by humans rather than legions of feathered angel-warriors  who don’t seem to have any inner attraction to sex (and I am sure that somewhere in the archives there are ancient transcripts of discussions about THAT point) – has been making a speed-bump of itself through consistently warning about the hugely underestimated power and potential misuse of sex.

Which doesn’t endear it to assorted interests that would very much like to see the sex and the weapons-explosions.

Again, none of this is intended to insinuate that there has been no sex-abuse on the part of some priests; but it’s important, I think, to get as full and clear a picture as possible of all the factors in play, whether on or above or under the table.


I had mentioned in the main text of the Post that there were going to be a number of ‘interests’ who would not be pleased by the Report.

On the ‘Revealer’ site , a religious-opinion site of a Lefty lean, under the heading of ‘Timeless’ on the home-page, you can access several articles that indicate one major group that is verrrrry unhappy indeed.

In these articles, especially the one by Frances Kissling, former President of ‘Catholics for Choice’ and now a Visiting Scholar somewhere, it becomes clear that the cause of feminism within the Catholic Church is not well-served by the Report at all.

Among the points in hers and the other articles in the mini-series on the Revealer site, the Jay Report is tainted because it was paid-for by the Bishops (although one writer tries to pooh-pooh the government’s fiscal contribution because the government “has no interest in the outcome” – whereas the Bishops had hired John Jay to do a whitewash); the researchers are simply the hired-flunkies of the Bishops. Why the government would pay anything for a Report in which it had no interest is a question the writer doesn’t bother to address.

And that the whole problem is not really one of priests and ‘sex’, but rather of “hierarchy and patriarchy”. And that comment should indicate that there is a powerful organized ‘interest’ for whom the Catholic sex-abuse issue has been a chunk of beisbol that not only been bery bery good to them but also provided a hefty bat with which to flail the Church in the service of their agenda’s demands. A bat – a weapon – that the Report now threatens to take away.

Because the only “real reform” is that women be ordained as priests (and consecrated as bishops, I imagine, will be the next thing). Or – as one writer puts it as a “concession on a single issue” – the Church must yield its position on “celibacy requirements, the ban on birth control, the ban on women as priests”. You can see what this ‘interest’ is looking for here.

It ties all this into the ‘sex abuse’ crisis because really it’s not actually about ‘sex’ at all, but about “power and dominance” by a patriarchy that is also (for red-blooded American lovers of democracy) a  “top-down hierarchy and an absolute monarchy”. And therefore, deploying all the classic “rape-as-power” tropes (although very few of the cases involved actual rape), the articles seek to establish that the only “real reform” (as opposed to the piddling oversight Boards and such that are now in place) is for the full feminist agenda to be accepted by the Church forthwith. Only THAT would indicate that the Church is acting “in good faith”. That the Church has more sex-abuse prevention safeguards and oversight in place than probably any other organization in the country doesn’t seem to count for anything with these writers. In fact, it should be seen, they say, as pretty much just  ‘window-dressing’ and part of an ongoing “process” to “protect the image of the American bishops”.

And who can forget Lenin’s absolute opposition to the workers’ “trade unionism” because ‘reforming’ the system would do nothing; only utter ‘revolution’ (according to Lenin’s vision of it, and nobody else’s was to be allowed) would be an acceptable outcome for Russia and its workers and peasants.

But no – the sex abuse crisis will continue as long as “male” abuse of hierarchical power is allowed to continue. So therefore only the full feminist agenda for the Church can be acceptable as the Correct solution to the still-present-tense “crisis”.

Even more amazingly, one author goes as far as to say that IF ONLY the Church would make that “concession on a single issue” mentioned above, then the Church would be treated much more kindly in the press because of its “good faith”. The writer seems to realize – as I have been mentioning as well – that there are dynamics linking the sustained media-attention and the agendas of various politically influential advocacy ‘interests’; and that if you do what it wants you to do, the media will lay off. As my aged grandmother used to say: At least Jesse James had a gun; you KNEW when you were being held-up. The Capone organization would also use such a quid-pro-quo offer to get you to see things their way; you were advised not to refuse their offer.

There is only modest reference to the actual numbers of cases and so forth that the Report rather exhaustively toted up and explains. Indeed, making the best of unpleasant ‘facts’ (which, famously, “don’t matter” in advocacy circles – especially if they don’t support your agenda), the Report is pooh-poohed as “number-crunching”. It’s not a matter of what is actually happening, in other words; the advocates are out to “disintegrate a paradigm” here, and so – channeling Lenin – inconvenient facts and numbers shouldn’t be allowed to obstruct the Glorious Cause.

In regard to the conclusion, based on the actual reports and numbers, that the abuse-crisis as a crisis is now a matter of “historical” significance but no longer a major emergency, there is the now-standard cry – echoing a certain US military organization’s favorite come-back – that the Church and John Jay should “tell it to the survivors” (who, of course, must be considered as always telling the truth and as having no “mercenary interest” in bringing lawsuits – although so often the huge sums garnered in ‘settlements’ are also bruited as proof-positive that terrible things happened).

I can’t imagine that on top of its own doctrinal concerns, the leadership of the Universal Church hasn’t noticed that American women-in-power have now amassed a not particularly spotless record of awfulness: Janet Reno’s violent destruction of the Waco complex and all its women and children in order to “save the children”; Madeleine Albright’s observation that a rather large number of collateral losses to civilians (women and children included) would be “acceptable” to effect ‘regime change’; Hillary Clinton’s ongoing support of the frakkulently death-dealing military misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan (where those benighted populations will continue to be ‘helped’ with military occupation until the full ‘womens’ agenda is accepted; and the several highly-placed females in the World Health Organization who have colluded with Big Pharma in foisting lethally dangerous drugs on the populations of developing nations. The feminist dampdream of matriarchal power as “benevolent” seems not to be quite the Utopia that its cadres like to spin. The Church might wonder if it’s wise to invite that vampire (Vampiress? Vampirix?) through the front door.

Although it is none-too-subtly suggested that to do so would no doubt help increase the numbers of Catholics, who are reportedly abandoning the Church (although whether because of the sex-abuse crisis, or ‘patriarchy’, or as the consequence of a general societal infatuation with more vivid and extreme religious affiliations … is a question apparently too inconvenient to deal with). As if the Catholic Church was primarily concerned with ‘keeping numbers up’ and conforming itself in whatever ways necessary to keep up the membership – which has led the mainstream American Protestant denominations into the Correct Valley of Decline and Irrelevance.

I mention all this to the SO Community to highlight how the SO Mania can be used – and is being used – for the purposes of groups that are not primarily concerned with anything except finding pretexts for their own agendas.

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