Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The Archdiocese of Boston has released a list of priests credibly accused of child-abuse; it omits those priests who were dead at the time the accusation was first made.

There is an article here that discusses the event, along with other links to interesting material.

The comments following the article are also of interest, running along the spectrum from full-blown victimism to concern for due-process; some condemning the Church for not doing enough, some for doing too much and caving to the Mania (my term).

I submitted a comment but I put it up here now as well.

Here follows the comment with its title:


I hold no brief for genuine child-abusers, and certainly don’t want to see them in active ministry.

But I am extremely wary of such outfits as SNAP: they are now deeply enmeshed in the ‘keep the ball rolling’ dynamic: having found meaning and purpose in addressing what was originally a crisis or emergency, they now naturally need to keep the crisis or emergency going or lose a great deal of meaning, purpose, and perhaps funding and income.

And I cannot stress strongly enough that the entire concept of Western Law is that the sovereign authority can only be deployed against an accused after careful ascertainment of the actual facts of what the accused has done. Thus the Statute of Limitations is vital primarily and vitally to ensure that the evidence and witnesses are credibly fresh and available; over the passage of Time that becomes less and less the case and hence the Statute. To ascribe Church (or any organization’s) concern that the Statute not be eroded to nothing more than willful desire to hurt or cover-up misses the essential purpose of the Statute: without it almost any charge, now for all practical purposes unprovable, can be lodged (for any purpose).

What many do not seem to grasp is that in the past decades of almost Mania-level intensity, the focus has shifted from the careful boundary-ing of the Sovereign Power (essential to  Western justice) to the immediate gratification of the demands of the accuser (who, weirdly, has now morphed into ‘the one who must be believed regardless of evidence’); the vital principle of Western justice is that the burden of proof lies with the accuser or else – as the Framers well knew – the government can put just about anybody up to make any charge, and prosecute and convict without evidence … which is an element of the tyranny the Framers had seen in practice throughout the world and did NOT want to see happen here.

But it IS happening here with the rise of the Nanny State and the Preventive State: where the government, much like Carol Gilligan’s early-80s formulation of Mommy-at-the-Breakfast Table, exercises immediate (and presumably benevolent) sovereign authority to woo, placate or punish any of the squalling tykes around the table simply to get through the meal. Americans are Citizens in the fullest and most serious sense of that word, and of a rather amazing Constitutional Republic; and Americans are therefore not squalling-tykes around a big breakfast table demanding this or that for themselves immediately, or demanding that so-and-so over there be punished forthwith.

The entire direction in which law has been travelling along these lines recently is not at all ‘reform’ nor is it ‘progress’; it is rather the result of importing dynamics (swathed in cute or sensitive imagery) from a totally alien legal and cultural Universe; one known to the Framers and one which they rejected rather thoroughly. Charges of child-abuse or more generally sex-offense are now treated much like ‘revolutionary obstruction’ was treated in the French Revolutionary Terror or the Soviet system. (Let’s not even get into witch-hunt dynamics, which saw their most lethal days in the Protestant ascendancy of the 16th and 17th centuries, not the Catholic Middle Ages.) This is not only not ‘progress’ for a polity such as America; it is a frightening and lethal and profound self-destruction of vital principles and dynamics. These are the issues at stake here, far beyond the Breakfast Table scenario - itself so amenable to so much manipulation,  and which, not to put too fine a point on it, constitutes no basis for a national policy or a system of government. And again: as the Framers well knew.

I hold no brief whatsoever for any human being imposing unwanted sexual experience on any other human being.

But if we declare that any action is sooooo outrageous that the Rule of Law must be dispensed with immediately (even if swathed in the sheeps-clothing of sensitivity and reform) then we have punctured the watertight bulkheads to get rid of the rats, and ours will not be a voyage that shall live long or prosper.

I would add finally, as a clear indication of the above dangerous processes, that a) the burden of proof has been shifted from the accuser (even if called more nicely the victim, or – with apologies to those who survived the Holocaust’s camps – a survivor) to the accused; b) the definition of what constitutes the crime is vague and elastic (the definition now being most reliably that it ‘causes pain and trauma’, which is not a definition at all); and c) there are elements within the polity who insist that classic American and Western principles of Law are ‘obstructive’ because they prevent the immediate destruction of the accuser merely on the claim of the accused.

These are dynamics from an Alien Universe and should be recognized as such. And rejected. Or we will lose everything.


September 9: Earlier this week I noticed a Comment on the NCR site that seemed related to mine, which raised a point I had not encountered before: that if there had been more “diversity” among the priesthood (e.g. “married priests, celibate priests, women priests”) then the sex-abuse crisis would not have happened. Also that the Vatican should introduce changes to its fundamental beliefs and operating principles forthwith.

I submitted a Comment to the NCR-online site (NCR is the 'National Catholic Reporter') along the following lines.

There have been child-abuse episodes (and probably far more that have escaped the stubborn focus on the Catholic Church) in religious polities with a married clergy, so I am not sure if the ‘diversity’ solution actually addresses the cause. Additionally, there has been very little study done on female-initiated child sex abuse, so I am not sure if that ‘solution’ is going to have very much effect. And surely nobody should be asking the Church to make such huge changes to its age-old structure until enough research has been done. Nor should the Church be taken to task simply because it is hesitant to implement such demands or solutions, or is adamant against them.

After all, I note here, the entire SO Mania was built on insufficient or grossly-skewed ‘knowledge’ and ‘science’ that was then hastily incorporated into legislative Findings that became – in theory – the justification and basis for the entire Regime. And look where that has led: a profoundly anti-constitutional and alien Regime that is now not only conceptually undermined by its own originally wrong assumptions but is also unworkable and encountering resistance from the States (only a few of which have accepted AWA and even among those several of their highest State Courts have rejected AWA’s retroactivity sections because the whole scheme has now risen to the level of ‘punitive’ rather than ‘regulatory’ law).

This is a Vietnam-War type of dynamic: as the originally flawed strategy failed because it was built upon a grossly insufficient strategic appreciation of the dynamics in play, the Beltway and the Pentagon simply kept trying to re-apply the original approach in various forms, all the while insisting to the American public that things were going well (thus having to lie deliberately and continuously to ‘spin’ the actual failures that were increasing on the ground). Having devised the wrong spell to open the desired magic door of Victory, the whacky wizards of the Beltway simply kept yelling the faulty spell more loudly and forcefully.

So too with the SO Mania Regime and its laws.

I also note here the curious adoption of the sooooo-familiar ‘diversity’ mantra to the claims of those – many of them within the ‘progressive’ elements of the Catholic Church in the US – who are seeking and probably for at least the last decade have been seeking to somehow use the sex-abuse crisis for the purposes of their own agenda (‘democratizing’ the Church, female clergy). As I have said before, it is probably this in-house hostility to the Church and ‘males’ generally that has helped keep the ‘Catholic sex abuse crisis’ going for a quarter century now, in phase after phase; few institutions have come under such sustained and comparatively exaggerated negative attention … but few have had their enemies so usefully fortified by elements of their own membership.

Nor is there any awareness that – as I have said in earlier Posts on this subject – the most recent phase of the abuse crisis is just 3 months short of a decade old now (January 2, 2002 was the day the Boston papers began the phase). And that as a result of the past decade’s worth of attention the Catholic Church probably has more abuse-preventions structures in place than any other organization in the country.

And my second point in the Comment was that there is a difficult balance to be struck in a human organization – as in the human being itself. In the human being the biological architecture has to allow for both flexibility and rigidity; the being must be able to both move flexibly enough to adapt or respond to situations of threat or opportunity; while simultaneously, there must be enough rigidity so that the being can literally ‘keep itself together’ and ‘support’ itself in its movements, holding together with a sustained and utterly necessary predictability and competence that gives it functional integrity.

In the Church as a human organization this balance has been struck in a structurally hierarchical fashion: there is a ‘head’ (although the Pope is greatly circumscribed in any sort of totalitarian authority by the Curia and the world’s Catholic bishops) that more or less guides the balance and preserves the structural integrity. Yes, most ‘change’ has to go through a thickish filtration process in order to percolate upwards to the head and then downwards from the head to the members.

This arrangement has resulted in an organization that has maintained its integrity and core identity for two thousand years.

Can the Church be ‘regime-changed’ to make it more ‘democratic’? Will the profound changes demanded by this or that element within the Church be accepted merely on the basis that all that is past is oppressive and all that is ‘change’ is by its nature therefore Good and must be adopted immediately without any serious deliberation at all?  

Surely, I think, it cannot escape any serious person’s notice that the demands being placed on the Church in America (and around the world) eerily and ominously echo the process that has caused – as We can see now with increasingly vivid and inescapable clarity – so much failed Change in this country.

And which We also see now being exported to countries around the world (selected in a somewhat sinister way for their material resource advantages more than anything else: examples so far being Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya). Just as the ‘humanitarian intervention’ demanded by the National Nanny State has now allied itself with the agenda of the National Security State and the newly-developing National Grab State (go out and grab the resources and advantages that the US no longer possesses and that it literally ‘deconstructed’ precisely in the service of the many allegedly Good Changes that have been demanded domestically over the past several decades), so too the Universal Catholic Church can be forgiven for being hesitant to inflict the same whackulent and lethal future upon itself as an organization. Especially one charged with so vital a mission in the world.

I don’t mean to introduce international and domestic affairs into this site, but it seems clear to me that the SO Mania generally, and especially as it has been so selectively applied for so long to the Catholic Church, is an active part of the whole wrong-headed and ultimately dangerous development of the past decades whereby ‘demands’ must immediately be accepted at face value with no supporting investigation and evaluation, and judged not by whether they will actually work when they are implemented, but rather that they are Good in and of themselves – simply because they are ‘demands’.

These dynamics, introduced in the form of the SO Mania Regime under the aegis of Victimism and assorted domestic politically-connected advanced-advocacies, have been deployed against the Church. But they also migrated into economic and also foreign-policy, where their failure now has become so very obvious that it cannot be avoided.

In an irony that can be seen – as it were – from space, the utterly predictable bad and harmful consequences of all of these trends and policies have now become too clear to ‘spin’ or ignore.

In the specific matter of the SO Mania Regime I think that this is a moment of both opportunity and danger: the opportunity is that since all of these huge Changes share a common dynamic and method, then the exposure of one element endangers the on-going activity of the other elements; thus the Illusion of Goodness that originally masked their actual nature is now punctured.

As this Illusion fades or collapses, the opportunity it presents to those who oppose the SO Mania Regime is clear: more and more people can see this Thing for what it really is. And that good-intentions, however ill-informed, cannot justify profound and unexamined Changes that are and always have been Alien to the American Universe.

The danger is that folks will figure that the whole SO Mania Regime will therefore now just ‘wither away’ and go into the ‘trashcan of history’. This is not going to happen. The laws are still on the books, and generations have now been raised who are used to seeing this Thing only through the rose-tinted glasses of its advocates’ and enablers’ best-case scenarios and good and urgent intentions. And there are now ‘interests’ that have been created and integrated into the Regime by the many ‘deals’ of domestic politics as that politics has now degenerated in this country.

Yes, the government money is running out – and money is the mother’s milk of all such scams. But the laws are on the books and there’s no guarantee that as the general lack of government money creates panic and fear in the Beltway’s preferred advocacies, then the now desperately agitated government won’t try to ‘double down’. Imagine a re-inflammation of the Mania and the lurid nightmare of The Sex Offender as a way to urgently distract people from the much more real (and hugely threatening and terrifying) national problems that now beset the country.

And, as I have been saying on this site, the very heart and soul of the American legal and cultural Universe are corrupted, corroded, and fundamentally deranged and derailed by the Alien principles piggy-backed into the nation’s conceptual core by the stampeding agitations of the Regime’s advocates and enablers and political supporters.

So there remains much work to be done.

No comments:

Post a Comment