Thursday, September 15, 2011


As so often happens with ‘news’ in the advanced-advocacy world, things are curiously bunched together.

Just last week I came across an article about Catholic Church sex-abuse and put up a Post (on the basis of comments submitted to the NCR (National Catholic Reporter) site.

Reference was made in those articles to a big Catholic sex-abuse conference to be held in October up in Canada, where the ‘diversity, democracy, and regime-change’ crowd – who have been trying to get their agenda enforced since Vatican Council 2 ended in 1965 – will gather to confer, Om, and share.

Suddenly, a few days ago, it is revealed that the S.N.A.P. organization – whose questionable but dwindling financial arrangements with American tort attorneys specializing in church-abuse cases are still withheld from public scrutiny – has filed a Complaint through a New York law group with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, accusing the Church of crimes-against-humanity and torture, and requesting the criminal trials of the Pope and assorted Cardinals.

You can review articles about this here and here. Or you can just enter something like ‘Vatican and ICC’ into your search engine and explore the hundreds of articles there; don’t forget to look at the Comments made after the article to get a sense of the spectrum of opinion and thought on the matter.

I have reviewed the filing document – the Complaint, as it might be called – that was submitted to the ICC by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit legal outfit in New York City.

The document itself is available here. The link brings you to the CCR website, and then you need only scroll down a bit to see a link that will open the document to you. Since each paragraph in the document is numbered, I will give the browser page and paragraph number; thus ’21-15’ would refer to Page 21, Paragraph 15. I won’t bother with the actual page-numbers of the printed document.

At 15-1 the Complaint sets the timeframe “in recent years”: this gambit glides slyly over the verrrry significant past ten years, in which the Church, in the United States especially, has implemented some of the most comprehensive ministry reforms of any organization on the planet.

This means nothing to the Complainants, since they have set themselves the happily eternal task and mission of bringing ‘closure’ to a Past that is never allowed to be closed; in a Mania where one cannot really be sure – nor dare question – what actually happened in a particular alleged past; and which task is further ‘eternalized’ by ‘progressive Catholic allies’ who are not going to be satisfied until there is ‘diversity’ of ordination (women as priests and bishops), ‘democracy’ of polity (vs. the hierarchical structure that has kept the Church chugging along for 2,000 years), and ‘regime-change’ at the Vatican (effected, they apparently hope, by ICC criminal prosecutions of the Pope and several Cardinals as somehow the equivalent of Balkan and 3rd-world generalissimos who committed genocide and crimes against humanity). They have created a self-licking ice-cream cone here, if they can just keep the cream coming.

In the same Paragraph they insist that incidences of “sexual violence” against “children and vulnerable adults” are not simply the work of individual errant priests but are part of a systematic pattern – and thus organizational program – of abuse and cover-up. This is a ratcheting up from the original first phase of the Catholic Sex-Abuse wave, when it was focused on errant (or allegedly errant) priests; and from the second phase, when it was focused on bishops who did not respond well (as if any organization in the country or the world did respond sufficiently well); and from the third phase (begun in January, 2002) when the focus was on the bishops and the Vatican. Now, to read the Complaint, it is a matter of crimes-against-humanity and perhaps torture (see below) perpetrated in an organized and deliberate way by the Vatican, which has presumably been directing all of the world’s priests in their primary mission of sex-abuse.

At 15-2 the Complaint claims that the Vatican – including the present Pope and other prelates still living and in office – refused to act against priests whom they knew to commit or to be “about to commit” such abuse.

Further, that since the Vatican is a strict and rigid hierarchy, then the dots easily connect to demonstrate that the whole thing is a planet-wide criminal enterprise. (Why the Complainants didn’t try to bring a RICO prosecution … well, perhaps the US government wasn’t quite ready to go that far.)

Hence a picture is painted which – in an eerie symmetry – limns precisely the cartoon image of the Catholic Church held in this country by assorted Protestant sub-groups, especially of a fundamentalist bent, since the beginning: a huge, slavering, monarchical, foreign, calculating, omnivorous, un-democratic, oppressive, dominating, near-demonic organization bent on undermining American values and institutions (that last bit altered here to focus on perpetrating sex-abuse as a primary official objective and mission of the entire Catholic Church agenda).

At 16-3 the Complaint carefully asserts that bishops around the world, in seeking to cover all of this up, were acting not against Vatican policy but in conformity with it. This reflects the Complaint’s need to rule out the very sensible possibility that a) some bishops were more and some less competent or open-to recent changes and that b) many bishops and Vatican officials may have quite reasonably harbored prudential doubts about how Mania-type demands might well turn out to have profound ill-consequences, foreseen and unforeseen, if too hastily set in train.

Which, by the by, is precisely what this country has now discovered as the SO (Sex Offense) Mania has led to serious derangement of legislative and jurisprudential integrity and the corrosion of reasonable law enforcement. Perhaps the Church’s institutional  history – which extends back to the era of Roman and early Western civilization and law – includes an institutional wisdom that encompasses an awareness of what happens when Alien concepts are too hastily introduced as if they would produce nothing but Good with no ill-consequences.

At 16-4 the Complaint reveals a new Memo for Political Correctness: the term “sex abuse” is actually a sly Vatican invention to “minimize” the horrific damage done by any unwanted sexual imposition. (The Vatican invented the term?) Instead the term “sexual violence” must be used forthwith and henceforth, in order to capture the full awfulness of any sexual imposition, regardless of degree of severity or circumstances or anything else. By remarkable coincidence, “sexual violence” is the term formally incorporated into the ICC’s founding and framing document, the Rome Statute of 2002. (The text of that document is available here; note that the Rome Statute framing the ICC has nothing to do with the Vatican, also situated at Rome.)

Further, that the term “sex abuse” is too broad, encompassing “fondling, touching, and masturbation” (which the Complaint immediately says also create horrific damage) and that “sexual violence” is a term necessary to capture the awfulness of rape and sexual torture. I can completely agree that genuine rape (I can’t even imagine sexual torture in the Catholic context, certainly not as a systematic objective of the Church) is an outrage; I cannot guarantee that every individual who experiences that is effectively wrecked as a human being, but I fully accept that the possibilities for serious damage are rife.

But then – certainly in the United States – there are so few cases or even allegations that priests have committed rape; both John Jay Reports clearly indicate from the records that the vast majority of complaints do fall at the lesser end of the spectrum.

Of course, the Correct Mania comeback is that there are probably vast numbers of “un-reported” cases which have not only “scarred” victims for life but have also caused them to lose their faith. But if that is true, then how has the Church remained so large and robust a voluntary entity for so long? Why is it not, in the US certainly, as historically bereft as the Shakers? Why have not the dozens if not hundreds of thousands of supposed rape-victims and their families not simply left the Church? If they had, surely the Church in this country would have collapsed as a large communal polity long ago.

Further, what precisely is the definition of “sexual violence”? Radical feminists consider all sex to be violence when between a male and a female, at least. How do we avoid conceptually (and legally) the result wherein just about any sexual encounter is considered as “sexual violence”? And how beyond that can the Complaint’s oh-so-Correct spinning of “sexual violence” be made to rise to the level of a crime-against-humanity (CAH) and “torture”?

The ICC Statute seems to imagine the type of mass rapes perpetrated by troops or armed groups, although there is some deep cloudiness as to whether, say, a Red-Army-in-Berlin in 1945 scenario rises to war-crimes and CAH and torture, as opposed to a clearly and directly mandated command program where soldiers are ordered to rape as a way of degrading the enemy. Or again, does every rape committed by a soldier in a war zone – even against orders – constitute a war crime or render his commanders liable for war-crimes or CAH?

At this point, the Correct response is to brusquely dismiss such efforts to think things through as mere insensitivity, obstruction, and a further oppressive  re-victimizing  of the putative victim.

But this response, so familiar to the SO community, is utterly insufficient. It’s not enough to be motivated to assuage what may be real pain; if you are going to do it in a large, legislative and thus legal way, mobilizing the power of the Sovereign Authority and the State, then you need to do it carefully and competently. And if in a Western style democracy, then you also need to do it in such a way that not only the integrity of the legislative and judicial processes are preserved, but also the vital democratic process of public deliberation and approval.

Imagine a leader – rather unripe and immature – who calls in his ordnance experts and says he wants to see a nice big dramatic explosion right now. The gentlemen advise him that to rig that much explosive, they are going to have to make some rather careful calculations and do some careful connecting of wires and so forth. No, no, no, insists the unripe leader – I want to see it out in the yard right now! If the ordnance team obeys him, a whole lot of damage might be done.

Imagine a group that insists to the City Council that in order to more quickly assuage pain, city ambulances should be made to travel at no less than 75mph responding to calls, and no shilly-shallying about ‘safe’ speeds. What happens if that is erected into policy, well-intentioned though it is and real as the ‘pain’ is?

Or, to use an incident from Lincoln’s life: early in the Civil War, in the face of yet another Union general’s defeat, the radical abolitionist Senator Ben Wade demanded that the President appoint a new commander. Whom shall I appoint, Lincoln asked. “Oh anybody” fussed Wade. To which Lincoln replied reasonably: “Wade, you will have anybody; but I must have somebody”.  The idea being that it’s not enough to have i) a real problem and ii) a real desire to fix it. You must also have iii) a workable solution.

In this matter of “sexual violence” there is surely some validity to (i) – though the possibility of exaggeration is clearly present; there is certainly a strong (ii); but the vital challenge is in formulating a (iii). And this is precisely where the stampede and ‘dramatic symbolism’ of Mania method fails so profoundly and lethally. As can be seen now as the SO Mania slides into a morass of unforeseen and lethal consequences, unworkable ‘repairs’, and profoundly corrosive and confounding implications for the very fundaments of society and law.

And if “sexual violence” is defined as widely as the Complaint seems to be trying to do, then the Church is hardly the only organization on the planet that is rife with it, nor are priests the only human beings on the planet who are entangled in it.

And if “sexual violence” is defined as widely as the Complaint seems to be trying to do, then ‘sex’ resembles far less a war-crime or CAH, and much more resembles some expression of Original Sin, which the Church has been working against for the most part of two millennia.

But there is also a more sinister element to the sudden deployment of “sexual violence”. In the beginning (so long ago, it seems) of the SO Mania, “sexual abuse” was coyly slipped in to replace “rape” and the initial and queasily fungible “molesting”; this was done precisely to include the rather large spectrum of offenses that could be included in under the ‘sex offense’ umbrella – and in the Catholic case to cover for the fact that there were so few actual instances of genuine rape.

But over time the public has gotten somewhat more acclimated to parsing “sexual abuse” along the lines of severity and the actual type of action involved. And this is precisely what advocates don’t want; they are always going for the quick-burning code-word that will simply bypass the mind and go straight for the primal emotions; they prefer the limbic system to the prefrontal cortex any day of the week.

The neat effect of “sexual violence” is that it lumps any and all actions along the sex spectrum into one lurid code word again. It’s a useful gambit for manipulating opinion (and bypassing the higher brain functions) but it cannot well serve the functions of thought nor serve successfully as a legal term (it’s too vague and broad). But then, as with the original term ‘sex offender’ ('SO') – neither a clinical term nor useful for diagnosis nor of itself capable of supporting a criminal charge – it’s kinda catchy and grabs the attention. Which is good enough for advocacy work the way it has mutated around here nowadays.

(And, I am going to imagine, the term will now remind the framers of the ICC’s enabling charter – the Rome Statute of 2002 – just how dangerous it is to simply want to give a formal nod to feminists or victimists by including ‘sexual violence’ among their enumerated major crimes against humanity.  Those framers either forgot that among such advocacies are many who define ‘sexual violence’ verrrrry loosely and broadly; or else among those very framers were advocates who define ‘sexual violence’ verrrry loosely and broadly. Either way, ‘sex’ took another large step toward becoming ‘weaponized’ by the advocacies of feminism and victimism.)

At 17-5 the Complaint quotes “experts” in Germany who also want to ensure that “trivializing” or “minimizing” language (i.e. ‘sex abuse’) is not used because it doesn’t convey the “extent of the offense” or the “extent of the damage”. But again: if every sexual imposition guarantees profound damage in every victim, then the planet is facing far more problems than errant priests or even (per impossibile) a Universal Catholic Church primarily organized as a sexual-predation ring. Because the core problem then becomes that ‘sex’ itself, and between individuals rather than as government or organizational policy, is creating profound damage in even its most minimal forms. The species, if this is true, is heading for psychological and maturational extinction.

And as I have said, there are only a few (though luridly advertised in the Complaint) rape cases; most of the allegations do not rise to that level at all.

You can’t conceptually hold that all sexual imposition at any level is profoundly damaging, and then  claim that you can still make legal distinctions whereby some rape is even more damaging such that it rises to an entirely different level of damage. Nor will I accept here the usual Correct comeback that this is ‘thinking too much’. Such frakkulent incoherencies at such a profound level of pre-action analysis have not served the country well in the SO Mania or in its strategic blunders in Iraq or Afghanistan or in the management of economic affairs.

At 17-7 the Complaint quotes a Polish “survivor” (the term too-easily and too slyly taken from European Jews who survived the Holocaust) who says that being abused by a priest and being refused in a request to have the priest re-assigned results in feeling that “we’ve lost  our grounding on earth”. If this is a true case, then the Church authorities there surely should have done more. But to use this as a justification for a claim that the entire Church is for all practical purposes nothing but a sex-offense-perpetration ring is an impossible leap.

But this is precisely the type of ‘leap’ that zealous advocates presume is the easiest part of the programme; the hard part, from their point of view, is getting ‘pain’ recognized. After that the ‘solutions’ are easy enough to implement. Which is not how to effect workable and necessary change. Surgery takes a long time to master precisely because, even if you want to help the patient and have discovered the problem, you can’t simply take the nearest bread-knife or hack-saw and get to it: you have to effect the repair or change without killing or further damaging the patient. The same thing is true in trying to effect change in the ‘body’ of society or culture or any organization.

At 18-9 the Complaint makes specific reference to the Philadelphia Grand Jury that met in February of 2011. That body felt that there were still cases that should have been handled more robustly; I am not familiar with the Grand Jury’s findings but I can imagine that either a) that Archdiocese still hasn’t fully gotten control of its ‘reforms’ or b) that there’s something else going on in Philadelphia specifically that seems to keep matters coming back to the Grand Jury. That Archdiocese needs to address that, and perhaps more vigorously than it has.

But the Complaint wants to use this curiously repetitive Philadelphia Grand Jury matter to float the claim that despite “much talk of ‘reforms’ and ‘zero-tolerance’ policies by church officials over the past few years” it was all a smoke-screen and things haven’t gotten any better in Philadelphia or anywhere else.

It’s odd. If the Church was as thoroughly deranged in matters of sex-abuse as its detractors have always claimed, then the fact that so much progress has been made at all in the space of a mere ten years should indicate something positive. If on the other hand the Church was not so thoroughly deranged, then the failure to make small necessary repairs in the course of a decade or more is indeed a reason for legitimate frustration. But you can’t have it both ways here. And yet the Complaint, mirroring so much of victimist agitation, wants to do precisely that. There are huge, centuries-old problems; they have not been addressed totally and instantaneously the way we want to see them addressed.

And if the Vatican, not without legitimate reason, has prudential doubts about some of the classic American Mania solutions – and does anybody think that the failures of the Mania Regime’s solutions are not visible to intelligent and competent and serious observers? – then it’s grossly insufficient (no matter how useful to this or that group’s agendas and purposes) to claim that such caution is nothing more than obstruction of ‘justice’ and cover-up. If nothing else, the performance of the Mania Regime laws in this country have now delivered ample proof of the damage that their hasty introduction of principles utterly alien to the American legal and political Universe have caused and that as ‘solutions’ and ‘reforms’ they are still not only unworkable but ineffective even as to their own intended objectives.

At 18-10 the Complaint gets a bit tactically cagey. The ICC cannot address matters that occurred before the Court’s erection in 2002. Yet the vast majority of priest-abuse claims pre-date 2002 (and as the second John Jay Report released in May of this year indicates, are falling off noticeably). No matter, the Complaint insists; the allegations pre-dating 2002 are useful to establish “patterns” that go back a long way. Although to do this, the Complaint takes all the ‘stories’ and ‘allegations’ as proven and true. And that is surely a stretch. And allows the Complaint to unload all the old stuff – from the heyday of the Mania when the stampede was in full force, accepting that any allegation must be true (buttressed, I add, by the bishops’ settling so many cases for large amounts of cash out of court – which was itself perhaps a reflection both of the tort-lawyers’ shrewd gambit in suing not the individually accused priest but the deep-pockets Diocese and of the bishops’ attorneys tactical decision that it’s impossible to adequately defend such allegations in courts in a time of Mania).

Indeed, so very many of the supporting documents and studies that the Complaint introduces date back to the early days of the Mania or to the early years of this decade when the new go-after-the-bishops phase was introduced in January of 2002.

Thus at 18-10 the Complaint insists that all the pre-2002 material “is useful to further establish the threshold requirements of crimes against humanity – that these offenses have been committed, and are still being committed, on a widespread and systematic basis”. They “demonstrate the wide-spread attack on children and vulnerable adults [which in the Complaint’s conceptual universe include all adults]; that high-level Vatican officials, including Joseph Ratzinger, were on notice of the serious crisis facing the Catholic Church in relation to sexual violence committed against children and vulnerable adults, the scope and scale of the crimes; and that the Vatican policy and practice was to protect the Church rather than to protect the victims”.

And that there were “many situations where the perpetrator has benefitted from the culture of impunity, and may still be a danger to children and vulnerable adults, victims continue to suffer, and the systemic cultural [sic] of sexual violence continues”.

I hold no brief for unwanted sexual imposition by any person upon any other person. But it is more than a stretch to imagine a “culture of impunity” throughout the Universal Church or even among its various national regions and episcopates. Try to imagine what this charge is suggesting: that the Church leaders  as a matter of policy got together like Chicago mobsters at a party or meeting and plotted and planned how to further accomplish their primary goal of inflicting unwanted sexual experience upon anybody that struck their or their priests’ fantasy certain that they had nothing to fear from law enforcement (or, even more amazingly, God). Which, actually, is the picture painted by radical feminists in regard to all men in the matter of ‘sex’ – although for radical feminism ‘God’ is a hypothesis for which they do not have a need.

I also raise a point here which I will make further along as well: if you take all of the possible interactions between priests and ‘children or vulnerable adults’ – or any adults – and then tote up the number of allegations made, the ‘incident rate’ is going to be mighty small, even if you omit grading the allegations for severity along a spectrum and even if you omit judging the allegations for accuracy and truthfulness and even if you assume that there are ten or a hundred times as many ‘unreported’ cases as there are actually alleged cases.

Small enough to undermine claims of organized CAH-level machinations; small enough to undermine the gratuitous characterization of a ‘culture’ of impunity; and small enough as to actually lead to the thought that if the Church had indeed set itself such a (reprehensible and outrageous) major organizational goal as widespread “sexual violence”, then the Church is one of the most incompetent, Three-Stooges’ level, bunch of evil blunderers the planet has ever seen.

The Complaint quickly moves the reader along the desired path: at 19-11 it asserts that “Despite the vast amount of evidence presented herewith … it is merely a sample or representation of the vast amount of evidence and documentation currently available. And that “even the currently available information is likely just the tip of an iceberg.”

I would say that the quality of the ‘evidence’ is of widely varying reliability, especially when under the Mania rules questioning or doubting the allegations is unacceptable because it merely makes the allegating parties unhappy and further ‘traumatizes’ them. And that from everything that can be seen, cases are actually declining in this country – so the gratuitous presumption that there is an iceberg’s worth of evidence still out there is hugely doubtful.

Yes, the Mania has spread to other countries, where it is therefore ‘new’, but that simply indicates, first and foremost, that all of the frakkery that has been seen here is now going to start up all over again somewhere else, and other countries are going to have to learn the hard way what this country is now coming to realize. But to say that fresh “evidence” is now springing up all over the planet is probably not at all accurate. But it helps give the impression of a universal conspiracy, against which ‘proof’ is now multiplying like weeds in an ill-tended summer lawn.

At 19-11 the Complaint pays itself a rather large compliment: all of this “evidence” (and the assurance of much, much more if the Court would like it) is due to the “heroic efforts of survivors, supporters, investigators, attorneys” and so on. [Italics mine] Do these people really understand what that word entails? Coming forward against the mob or a gang or a dictator on his own turf … that is heroism.

The American soap-opera version pales in comparison: ‘heroic’ to tell your story to an organization eager to believe whatever you choose to say, sign you up, refer you to a good tort lawyer, and promise that you’ll never be questioned further or held to account and will be held, rather, in the group’s highest esteem? And perhaps rewarded financially?

There is a strong whiff of the conveniently mythological in this victimist agitprop spin that it takes heroic levels of courage to admit you were sexually abused. It may be so in some individuals, but it is hardly true of all. Is it harder to admit that you were abused or that you are an alcoholic or drug-addict? At least with sex-abuse you can claim you were a victim.

But this ‘heroic courage’ element has only come to the fore as the former excuse for not coming forward sooner has lost credibility: repressed memory. As American courts have finally wised up (or had the courage to) and no longer kow-tow to the merest mention of a ‘repressed memory’, now the excuse for waiting so long has been quietly slipped to the side and any new allegant must simply be praised for now having ‘the courage to come forward’. It’s a matter of ‘heroism’, and no further questions are to be asked.

And at 19-12 the Complaint rather gives itself away: the Vatican, it insists, has continuously nurtured and enforced “a culture of rape” within the Church. One recalls that particular phrase from radical feminist tracts, where the charge was leveled at – take your pick – Western civilization, patriarchy, or all of the world’s cultures since (pick one) the beginning of recorded time or since men insidiously overthrew the Original Matriarchy and set up their oppressive rule of ‘sex’.

Further that the Vatican has set up a “culture that when left to its own devices accepts, embraces, and condones it [i.e. rape] and, ultimately, perpetuates it”. If anybody at any time can point to priests’ generally advertising themselves to their fellows or their congregants as ‘rapists’ with a callow and proud sense of “impunity” I would like to know about it. Surely, I cannot picture priests getting together in general company and boasting of how they had ‘done’ this or that person, the way  – say – soldiers or combatants might get together and boast of having whacked this or that (take your pick: enemy, gook, rag-head, unbelievers, or any of a thousand other categories).  

As part of its “Factual Background” the Complaint goes on (19-13) to surmise that around the world, between 1985 and 2005, the number of victims of priests is likely approaching 100,000, and "will likely be far greater as more cases come to light in Latin America and Africa”.

Given the usual exaggerations, I am surprised to see such a low-ball number as 100,000. And why Latin America and Africa are singled out is curious. And this number, of course, excludes the ‘un-reported’ cases that are always ten or a hundred times as great in this type of thing.

Let me say here that I am not making light of genuine cases of serious sexual-imposition. But it is hard to go through this type of document and not succumb to skepticism as you watch these assorted, now-classic (and now so obvious) ploys and tropes continually deployed.

And again, if statistically you start with a base of all the interactions between all the priests on the planet and all of the persons with whom they come into contact, and then take a figure of 100,00 (or, say, a million to account for the ‘unreported’ cases further down in the ‘iceberg’) you are still going to get a rather impressively low ‘incident rate’, especially if – as the Jay figures indicate – a small core of priests account for a substantial percentage of allegations. And then factor in for ‘severity’ and ‘accuracy’ of the allegations and you are going to get, I would say, an even further impressively low ‘incident rate’. Not perfect, I immediately grant, but then this is not a world where human beings have achieved perfection, even when they seek it.

At 19-13 the Complaint quotes Amnesty International, and that organization mentions ‘reparation’. I cannot imagine what sort of a frenzy might be sparked, especially in less-developed nations (or even now-struggling Western nations) if desperate people suddenly imagine themselves able to collect monies from the Church the way that has played out (for advocates, lawyers, and allegants) in the American Mania.

Indeed, it is hardly beyond the realm of possibility that this entire Complaint – as almost stunningly frivolous as it seems – is somehow strategized as a means of re-creating the ‘reparations’ element of the Mania in other countries now that the American dioceses are sorta tapped out and American public opinion is no longer stampeding on cue. If so, then tapping into the ‘vast wealth’ of the Vatican treasury or holdings must be a giddy vision for allegants, tort attorneys, and the S.N.A.P organization itself (whose funds seem rather suspiciously to stem in great part from ‘kickbacks’ shared by newly-enriched tort-attorneys).

If a Mania is a conceptually repugnant and frightening phenomenon, it is even more repellently so when you start to see the assorted remora-like parasitical activities that spring up around it to make a buck or two.

At 45-80 the Complaint notes that although it is a State Party to the international Convention Against Torture, the Vatican State has yet to file an annual Report demonstrating that it has not tortured. That may well be true – especially if the old Medieval apparatus has been retired or sent to the basement of the Vatican Museum. But it’s hardly evidence of cover-up, especially when you realize that the sexual crimes (or allegations thereof) of individual priests were never imagined to constitute Torture the way the Convention conceives of it.  

Reviewing assorted European and non-US ‘reports’ (which constitute the great majority of such current or recent reports as are included in the Complaint; now that the Mania seems to be taking some root over there), the Complaint mentions (47-84) the Belgian Adriaenssens Report , which acknowledges that the Report – by a layman – was compiled “to address older cases for which there would be no legal recourse due to the statute of limitations … [and] … detailed evidence pertaining to 476 cases and included anonymous testimony by victims to ensure that their voices could be heard”.

Those 476 cases stretched over a period “from the 1960s to the 1990s”. I note that a) that’s a period of almost forty years, for which there are 11.9 cases per year. And that b) within that number you have to (although the Complaint’s conceptual assumptions forbid it) look at the severity of the allegations. And that c) you must most surely consider the probative effects of any person being allowed to give “anonymous testimony” – accusations no doubt – and with no fear of further investigation; and especially if there is any possibility in the mind of the accuser that going on record with any advocacy interviewer would establish a basis for ‘reparation’ should the fabled American Mania tort-pinata were to be set up in his/her own country.

Again, I do not mean to denigrate genuine victimization, but human beings are human beings and no serious examination can rule that stubborn if sad fact out – but of course it is precisely that possibility that Victimism seeks to prevent by insisting that ‘the victim’ must be believed forthwith and without any skepticism or further examination. As if by being a ‘victim’ a human being became an angel … if that were true then the entire species would have ascended to a Higher Plane long long ago.

There’s no doubt that it’s ‘therapeutic’ to have one’s pains ‘heard’ – which is why competent therapists and – even more importantly – mature friends are vital to any society. BUT to be ‘heard’ in the sense of courts and laws, that is to say by the Sovereign Authority of the State, requires more, especially if a) you not only want to be ‘heard’ but to be agreed-with, and that in consequence b) your accusations against another human-being are going to result in the deployment of that Sovereign Authority against that other person.

And again, this is precisely the hugely fraught abyss or boundary over which Victimism and the Mania seek to hurry an entire society and culture along without a thought: between being ‘heard’ and having somebody else become the formal target of Sovereign Authority is a lethally profound leap, and not one to be taken by the herd at full-stampede speed.

At 49-89, in one of the most vivid give-aways in the Complaint, the first John Jay Report is discussed and mined to the Complaint’s putative advantage. (I Posted on that Report here). But the second John Jay Report, which was released in May of 2011, while it is listed as a supporting document, is not at all mentioned in the Complaint. (I Posted on that Report here.)

The reason for omitting the second Report is no doubt connected to the fact that it declares the ‘crisis’ of abuse to be over, and demonstrates how vividly the number of allegations have been declining.

But the first Report – issued in response to the January 2002 initiation of the go-after-the-bishops phase of the Catholic priest-abuse initiative – concluded that 3-6 percent of priests serving in the US between 1950 and 2002, a period of 52 years, had allegations made against them (the Complaint terms this “credibly accused” but that’s not quite so). There were allegations against 4,932 priests during that half-century, with a significant chunk of them being lodged after 2002 but relating to events alleged to have taken place decades before.

The Complaint then adds (49-90) that the bishops have since added figures that amount to 5,948 “credibly accused” priests with 10, 667 accusations made for “child sexual abuse” (however defined). Even before making the necessary allowances for definition and severity, let alone accuracy, that comes out to about 205 allegations per year for that half-century. This is hardly evidence of a ‘culture of rape’ or ‘culture of impunity’ spread throughout the entire American Church, unless you imagine that its corps of priests were singularly incompetent male sexual predators who were unable to implement the putative official policy of the organization and its ‘culture’ of rape and impunity.

Again, I am not saying that there have never been any cases of sexual-abuse perpetrated by priests ,nor that bishops have always handled matters well. But the figures do not support the charges of a massive epidemic – of ‘crisis’ proportions , nor of a ‘culture’ of rape and impunity, let alone of a Vatican conspiracy and programme amounting to CAH and torture.

As an organization that must rely on human beings, the Church – if the numbers are to be believed,  even if gussied up with imagined legions of the ‘unreported’ – has been doing better than other religious polities, other institutions, other professions, and certainly the military. If the Complainant organizations expect perfection, then they have no clear concept of what being human means, and simultaneously have created for themselves an eternal (because utterly un-attainable) Cause.

At 50-91 the Complaint lists – for purposes of trying to conform to the Elements of Crime listed in the Rome Statute – several “common practices” that have contributed to the “cover-up of sexual violence”.

The first is a Refusal to Cooperate with Local Authorities. But in examining such instances, and there may well have been such instances, at least three points have to be borne in mind. First, that the Church, in predating any of the current Sovereign States of the modern world, had developed its own system of canon law to be applicable to its priests precisely to both discipline and guide them and also to prevent their being used as pawns by local powers (before modern Western states and ‘police’ this included tribal chiefs, feudal barons, and Medieval monarchs).

As late as Napoleon, Hitler, the USSR, and current totalitarian governments a ‘culture’ was deeply inscribed in the Church whereby it had to preserve the integrity and independence of its priests (notice today that the US does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction precisely because it does not want its troops used as pawns in sham-legal show-trials whipped up by hostile or unfriendly foreign governments).

This does not at all mean that bishops have been completely in conformity with current law enforcement trends (as for example, in the ‘developments’ made in ‘rape law’ over the past few decades in the West). But it does mean that there is indeed an institutional culture deeply inscribed in the Church polity and organization (and its verrrry long institutional memory) that is wary of this or that trend – and the uses to which such trends can be put – among this or that government authority.

Second, in times of what I call – and accurately – Mania, where local politics drives significant deformities in the jurisprudence and jurispraxis and legislation of law as it has developed in Western civilization over the centuries, the Church is hardly to be condemned for being a bit wary of what may well prove a temporary as well as dangerous trend (that, as can now be seen with the SO Mania in this country, may well collapse due to the accumulated weight of its own incoherencies).

This is especially so when the Church’s own canon-law, from which so much Western law has taken example, has remained more faithful to classical Western legal protections and practice than have the Mania-deranged national polities. The Vatican – again judging from a historical vantage point almost inconceivable to American legislators and jurists, let alone advocates – can see elements profoundly alien to the Western legal Universe for what they truly are; and can hardly be faulted for wanting to prevent its own derangement by incorporating such derangements into its own intact legal tradition.

Third, concomitantly the Church has looked to its bishops to guide and govern the corps of priests not only as subjects of the law but as human beings who are, like any human beings, imperfect and  flawed. This is not at all to excuse either the sins and crimes of priests or the excessive indulgence of this or that bishop. But it does remind the world that Law serves a purpose subordinate to punishment (for which an all-knowing Judge, Court, and Punishment will ultimately ‘catch-up’ with any malefactor): that ultimate purpose is the ongoing development of the Laws’ subject as a human being under Grace and God’s rule.

So in that regard – and this is not intended here as any sort of ‘trump’ that disposes quickly and completely of present situations – the bishop has to factor all of that into the mix when considering how to handle an errant or aberrant priest. This is not indicative of a ‘culture of cover-up’ but rather of a culture that is designed to cover far more bases than the more primitive and vengeful and limited scope of a governing authority that limits itself entirely to ‘this world’ and this Plane of Existence.

The second element of the Complaint’s “common practices” (51-94) is “priest-shifting”. Here I note what I have just noted above. But I also say that if you as a bishop do have a priest who seems to be committing these types of offenses, then you cannot simply get him off your hands or hope that a change of scenery will improve him. Surely, the bishops have erred in the past in this regard. To what extent this goes on now is another question altogether.

But even such failures among bishops does not rise to the level sufficient to sustain a charge of CAH or of a universal organizational culture of cover-up in the service of a universal organizational goal of supporting rape and sexual violence (however defined).

The ICC was designed to deal with morally primitive rogue governments or movements whose agents (almost always armed) were ordered or encouraged to make predations upon “civilian populations” (to use the phrasing of the Statute) as a matter of policy.

The third element of the “common practices” in the Complaint (56-101) is Obstruction of Justice and Destroying Documents.

At  56-102 the Complaint describes a particular form of what it calls obstruction as ‘waiting out’ statutes of limitation until the case could no longer be prosecuted.  This, asserts the Complaint, could happen simply by holding an internal investigation and/or hoping that the accusers would choose not to pursue their allegations. It is difficult to establish the intent to ‘wait out’ the statute, nor should it be presumed generally. I could certainly see a diocesan counsel suggesting that in order to avoid entanglement in  a time of Mania. Before that there is some question as to how serious prosecutors would take an allegation even if it were made; indeed it has long been a crowing-point of advocates that before they began their efforts nobody – courts and prosecutors included – took ‘sex’ cases as particularly egregious. So the Complaint seems to work against itself here (such incoherences are hardly rare in so much of sex-offense agitprop).

But if matters were not taken seriously by law enforcement or the courts before the agitprop, the resulting Mania then created a truly lethal dilemma: there was significant reason to fear that anybody caught in the crosshairs of Mania attention was doomed no matter what the facts might be.

It takes no great imagination to grasp that a large organization suddenly spot-lighted, and relentlessly over time, was not going to be able to make a quick, fast, sharp course-alteration. I very much doubt that any organization can be claimed to have managed things better than the Church, nor have advocates ever suggested one that has.

Which is not to excuse.

The Complaint, in that regard, mentions a case in Germany (56-104) where “experts” (not identified as law enforcement agents) seeking to examine documents claimed that they couldn’t turn up higher numbers because documents were probably destroyed; although what they actually described were sloppy record-keeping procedures or files stored off-site due to lack of space.

But several incidences in the US are noted (56-105 ff) and supported by references and outright admissions by clerics involved, that documents having to do with sex-allegations were shredded. If these are letters or notes accusing a priest, they wouldn’t necessarily constitute evidence in a case – the plaintiff/complainant would have repeated the charges in a formal filing.

Such letters might have gone into a personnel file for future reference, but were disposed of instead. Not, I would say, the best way to handle files (I don’t know how the individual allegations were resolved) – and yet a bishop who intended to have a priest get therapy (I am thinking of the lower end of the spectrum of sex-abuse here, where most of the cases actually aggregate) might have figured that he had enough to go on simply by having in his mind a general picture of the problem.

If there are clear cut cases where it is proven that episcopal record-keepers were literally shedding documents as the police banged at the front door, I don’t find them in the Complaint.

I would also add that in a time of Mania people do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. To suddenly imagine that the Great Eye (to use an image from Tolkien) is suddenly turning upon you and yours could prompt all sorts of actions. This is the occupational hazard of a government starting up a Mania to begin with: realizing what such ‘attention’ brings, people will do almost anything to escape it. Perhaps out of fear of exposure, or perhaps out of an awareness that under Mania conditions reality and facts don’t matter; the same emotional impetus that seeks to sweep away obstructions to its will also evokes a responsive emotional impetus to escape being swept away. Especially if allegations are taken almost as a matter of course as ‘true’.

And there remains one other major reality: the focus on the Victim. As even victimists eagerly explain, before they began their work law-enforcement was primarily a two-sided matter with the police on one side and the accused on the other. It is dearly cherished by victimologists and advocates that their efforts were instrumental in the past couple of decades in effecting the introduction of a ‘third-side’ to the matter: the victim (or allegant, if you wish).

And indeed, from law enforcement being a two-sided adversarial contest between the Sovereign Authority and the accused, it became not only a three-sided dynamic, but actually the Sovereign Authority  in both its civil and criminal mode was seen as being merely the agent of the victim’s desire for (pick one or several: justice, vengeance, closure, cash). Eager to please, legislators strove manfully (so to speak) to do their bit to enshrine this dynamic in law; law schools embraced ‘critical legal studies’ which held, among other things, that laws and Law are simply sly modes by which oppressors oppress the oppressed.

It has been an ongoing gambit perpetrated by the victim-advocacies that an organization, such as the Church, be held to modern-standards rather than the standards current at the time of the alleged incident – which, if it extended back more than a few years would have been quite different, such was the rapidity of the ‘victim-rights revolution’.

But all that notwithstanding, most bishops were not prepared to deal with matters as fully and as complexly as modern practice dictates. And, more tellingly, they approached misconduct as corporate administrators rather than as pastors of not only their priests but their people. I can only hope that the Vatican realizes that not only must it increase the scrutiny of its applicants to the priesthood, but also its criteria for consecrating a bishop.

But to characterize, as the Complaint does, this entire misch as somehow being a premeditated, long and deliberately sustained criminal enterprise (actionable if it were true under the US RICO statutes) or – even more wonderfully – as a deliberate, ongoing, world-wide  crime against humanity … surely no serious assessment could reach such a conclusion, nor any serious legal representatives file such a Complaint. (About which more below.)

The final “common action” is the alleged punishing of whistleblowers and rewarding of collaborators (57-109).

At 57-110 the Complaint quotes that Philadelphia Grand Jury, which found that Diocesan officials “intimidated and retaliated against victims and witnesses who came forward to report abuse". I really would need to know just what comprises the ‘intimidation’ and ‘retaliation’ – those are loaded words that bring to mind organized crime’s methods – back in the day – for dealing with people. Frankly I don’t trust advocacy claims, having watched so many decades’ worth of them pursue their frakky courses.

But I am no fan of what I call ‘ekklesiatchiki’: persons who enter Church service merely to pursue an ever-ascending career up the status-ladder; nor old-boy (and I have no doubt there would be old-girl) networks that act, on whatever misguided ideas of loyalty, to cover for their close associates.

Also that a nun who complained about a priest still being in ministry was removed from her position: what I said above applies here as well. Presuming, that is, that the priest was actually actively liable to sexual misconduct.

Also that a seminarian who claimed that he himself had been abused as an altar boy was dismissed from the seminary for homosexuality. If he had declared himself to be so oriented, then by Church law he would have to be dismissed. If he had been discovered in a homosexual act or some such, and then post facto claimed that he had been abused, he was not being retaliated against and he wasn’t really a whistleblower as most people think of the term. Whether he was or wasn’t abused, and if so what level of abuse … all that forms yet another separate room in a complicated house.

I don’t claim to have dispositive knowledge in any of these instances, but I am unsure enough of the integrity and seriousness of this Complaint to know that there is a great deal I don’t know.

At 61-121 the Complaint discusses its final “common pattern”, victim-blaming. This is a charge that any old Mania-watcher knows to take with many grains of salt. In some victimist quarters, simply to doubt the allegation is re-victimizing the victim/allegant and denying him/her a “voice”. I would need to know in any particular case if the allegant was  ‘re-victimized’ simply by being asked questions seeking to validate the allegation, or whether a Church official literally said something along the lines of This is your fault, you know. The latter instance, where it may ever have happened, is utterly insupportable.

There is no doubt in my mind that in any genuine case of sexual-abuse involving a priest and somebody else who knows him to be a priest, no matter of what age that somebody else might be, the priest (or his superiors) cannot legitimately or morally take cover under the assertion that the allegant somehow created or even contributed to the situation. Not unless the allegant used a gun or some other coercive force or instrument.

There follows a number of Paragraphs seeking to establish the ICC’s jurisdiction over this case (because either the accused or the allegant is a citizen of a State that has signed the treaty accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction). Or that the crimes happened within the parameters that began in 2002, the date of the ICC’s erection as a judicial authority. Or that the charged actions or patterns rise to the level of CAH.  It is interesting to note that neither the Vatican nor the US are signatories to the ICC; it may also be a novel question whether the Pope is now a citizen of the Vatican State or of the country of his birth.

The 2002 time-parameters and the CAH parameters are going to be lethal hurdles for the Complaint, I think.

But there are some remaining items of interest.

On page 73, Note 161 admits in small print that in order to establish the necessary seriousness of the allegations it contains, the victims’ “representations” (claims, allegations, stories) must be taken as true (and thus the Court must presume them to be factual from the get-go). This is a vital element in the victimist Mania game-plan. That it is spelled out here tells me that the Complaint is unsure just how ‘victim friendly’ the ICC’s procedures are.

At 74-171 the Complaint refers to the Court’s framing Article 7(g) which states that in order to qualify at the level of a CAH requires “rape and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity”. This is a serious definitional problem in the Rome Statute: does it mean an act of comparable gravity to rape OR does it mean an act with an effect of comparable gravity to rape?

This is no small matter. Because it is an axiom of victimism and ‘traumatology’ nowadays that any sexual act can have (or inevitably does have) the same awful results. Thus an act of enforced masturbation can have the same effect on a victim as rape would have on a victim. And most of that school of thought – including the pandemonium of paraprofessional ‘therapists’, counselors, and such – probably operate, I would say, on the assumption that the act itself is of less significance than the act’s  (inevitable) awful effects.

This gambit raises ALL sexual acts to the level of trauma-and-scarring, conveniently wiping out any consideration as to where on a spectrum of severity an act might lie. At this rate the organizational Complainant, S.N.A.P., can stay in business until the Second Coming.

Thus in this case of the Vatican supposedly committing CAHs, a priest ‘fondling’ or ‘inappropriately touching’ or – repellent as it is – masturbating somebody is committing an act equivalent to rape, and the Church – to the extent that it does not punish him or even ‘enables’ him – becomes an enemy of humanity on the same level with a Third-world warlord or Balkan warlord or Hitler or Stalin or Mao (the latter four actually having done their deeds before the Court came into existence, I acknowledge).

Further, that the Vatican thus commits a crime against humanity sufficient to rise to the charge of Torture as it is listed in Article 7(f).  I cannot begin to give this assertion the treatment it justly deserves.

At 74-172 the Complaint quotes a commentator on the Rome Statute to the effect that “crimes against humanity offend against a transcendent good, the value of the human being in the moral code, a value that cannot be compromised”.  Bravely spoken by a commentator in his book on the Statute. But as stated then any ‘sin’ – as the Church has traditionally and consistently defined the word – qualifies as a crime-against-humanity. This is the problem you get when lawyers and elite, secular-leaning  intellectuals try to take over the very hard work of clearly-thinking through matters of human evil. And when then other lawyers seeking to stretch a point to make a major case start tossing such stuff around as if it were – you should pardon the expression – Gospel.

At 77-181 the Complaint intones that “It is recalled here that there is no doubt that the victims and survivors of the crimes at issue in this case are civilians”. This may seem an odd thing to say; the priests too are civilians in any recognizable sense of the word. But the Complaint here is adjusting itself to a reality that it seeks to keep from the awareness of the average reader: the ICC Statute was designed with literal rogue governments and their military agents in mind, or rogue non-governmental generalissimos and their armed followers. To use the Statute to go after clergy is stretching the Statute wayyyyy beyond its original and intended purview.

In the same Paragraph, the Complaint baldly asserts that “the target of predator priests was most often children who [sic] they encountered in the course of their ministry, at school and at church”. This is most certainly not true; the Jay Reports among others indicate clearly that children constituted the smallest percentage of victims; the largest being minors beyond childhood. If this is an intentional statement, then it is untrue and if knowingly untrue it is a lie. If it is a mistake in the Complaint, then it says something none too good about the submitters of the Complaint that they would be so sloppy with what is arguably one of the most novel court filings in modern history.

At 78-186 the Complaint goes on to state that “the Rome Statutes and supplemental texts  reflect the evolution of rape law and an understanding of the true nature of rape and sexual violence that reflects the lived realities of the victims of these offenses”.  And so we are once again back to this very profound and buried matter as to the nature of that ‘evolution’ of rape law (and all sex-offense laws) under the baleful influence of radical-feminist and victimist ‘thought’.

It’s my position that this ‘evolution’ has actually been a ‘revolution’, and not in the best sense of that word. While it is right and proper to enhance public and official understanding of the effects that rape has on a victim, and on the wrongness of any human being imposing sexual experience on another human being, yet to somehow make the leap from that to brushing away ancient and vital legal protections, principles, and procedures in order to have the law ‘respond’ to the experiences of the victims is a hugely fraught undertaking. To use an image I have used before, you can’t set fire to the hull just to get rid of the rats, because then you won’t have a ship out there in the middle of the ocean.

Or to use another image, no matter how great the emergency, the ambulance is not going to do anybody any good – and may do more people much more harm – by driving 100mph on city streets to get to the emergency situation sooner. Regardless of your good intentions and of the urgent need at the site of the emergency, you can only push the vehicle so fast and then you yourself become a danger and a part of the problem – official uniforms, flashing lights, sirens and all.

And clinically speaking, there is no way of establishing that an act – especially if it is of lesser severity than outright rape – uniformly has awful effects on every human being who undergoes the act. Yes, at the very high end of the spectrum – rape and acts of comparable gravity – you can reliably assume a certain panoply of probable ill effects in the victim’s experience . But once you get down into the lower end of the spectrum – which is where most of the Catholic priest-abuse lies – you can’t justifiably make any such assumptions or assertions.

This is not meant in any way to ‘justify’ or ‘minimize’ anybody’s imposed sexual acts on another person, but there are realities that have to boundary and anchor the ‘discourse’ and the ‘conversation’ about all this or else the whole shebang is going to float off into fantasy-land. And a dark and dangerous fantasy land at that.

The Complaint attempts here to run the same play as victimist and SO Mania ‘thought’ generally: lump all sexual acts together as being equal in the same uniformly and inevitably harmful effects, and then piggyback even the least (though still immoral) sexual impositions onto the intensity of harm inflicted by the worst-case but greatly less frequent ‘rape’.

In another give-away, the Complaint , on page 78 in Note 186, references  the book “Gender Crimes as War Crimes” by one Rhonda Copelon, published  in 2000. My thought is that the ‘war’ she should be referring to is the one being waged by radical-feminists on all males, using ‘sex’ as the weapon of choice. All well and good as academic speculation, but greatly inadvisable as a basis for any nation’s laws, especially a nation that does not share Lenin’s idea that there is no such thing as the Law in the abstract (so to speak), but rather only the-law-at-war, in the service of the revolution.

On page 79 in Note 188 the Complaint quotes a prior Decision of the Court to the effect that “serious violations of sexual autonomy are to be penalized … sexual autonomy is violated wherever [sic] the person subjected to the act had not freely agreed to it or is otherwise not a voluntary participant”.

Well spoken. But as a legal maxim or principle or guideline it is dangerous precisely because it seems to be helpfully solid and yet in practice is actually very slippery and mushy. What is a non-serious violation of sexual autonomy? Who decides it? Does it depend on the nature of the act and can thus be adjudged so by an observer-third party? Or does the perception (or ‘feeling’) of the recipient of the act determine whether it is serious and/or voluntary? Is there a point at which the person receiving the act is irrevocably committed to it being freely agreed-to, or can that point be always subject to revision by the ‘recipient’ … even after the completion of the erstwhile voluntary act?

Frankly, I think the ICC got in way over its head when it sought – no doubt out of the best of intentions – to expand its purview from war-crimes and genocide into the tendentious and hugely fraught realm of sex and sex-crimes, especially as war-crimes. Probably only careful students and observers of the Court really know how many times in the past 9 years it has run afoul of the many rocks and shoals hidden in this ‘sex’ element; but with this Complaint a whole lot of folks are going to see just what happens when this profoundly complex reality of ‘sex’ becomes simplistically weaponized through legislation and courts are dragged in (and down).

Well, that’s my take on the Complaint by S.N.A.P. and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

I don’t think it has much merit as suitable for the ICC. (And so much of its material had only modest merit in domestic American legal proceedings, as far as I can see.)

But the Center for Constitutional Rights has been known to take on cases simply to give their causes more ‘exposure’ (i.e. publicity) and perhaps that’s part of what’s going on here.

Perhaps the S.N.A.P. organization, realizing that things are not so cushy for its Mania work against the Church in the US, is making a desperate bid to spread itself out into the developing world.

And with that big Catholic sex-abuse conference coming up next month in Canada, perhaps the Snappers wanted to have a little something to strut about.

The US government might appreciate – as it has for so long – the priest-abuse variant of the Mania’s ability to hold in check the Church’s proven ability to speak out against initiatives of the Right (nuclear war and economic injustice) and Left (abortion and anti-Family and anti-Marriage initiatives). But I doubt it wants to get too close to the ICC in any way, shape or fashion, since in much of the world’s opinion charges of war-crimes, crimes against humanity,  and torture are far more appropriately to be lodged against it than against the Church because of the US government’s own ‘culture of impunity’ as it now goes out to grab other peoples’ resources to shore up its own failing primacy.  (If that sounds like news, then try to be familiar with more of the overseas media and independent American media.)

Thinking geo-strategically for a moment, this overseas gambit of the priest-abuse Mania (especially into Third World areas like Latin America and Africa) might serve as usefully as it has domestically. Where it has served for a couple of decades now to blunt the possibility of the Church’s interference in assorted initiatives of the Right and the Left here, now it can perhaps serve to help blunt and ‘pre-empt’ any Catholic Church opposition as the US now extends its influence (and not upon voluntary recipients) into the necessary resource-rich lands of Southwest Asia and the Eurasian landmass, and onto the African continent.  In its hour of need, I doubt the government would have any scruples in allowing such an organization as S.N.A.P. do some dirty work for it. And for that matter, I doubt S.N.A.P. would reject such a role.

Into any religious vacuum that this gambit might create in those distant lands that are now ‘of great interest’ to this country, the eager ranks of Dominionist Fundamentalists and assorted other more government-friendly (if not government-worshipping) religious groups might quickly flow.

These thoughts may be a bit beyond the usual conceptual horizon of the SO community, but as I have always said: there are profound and larger issues beneath and within the SO Mania Regime than the daily sufferings of those caught in its toils and their families and friends (upon whom be peace).


In mid-December, 2011, by the most amazing coincidence, the nation in which the ICC is based, Holland, released a Report – or, actually, a report of a Report since the actual text of the thing hasn’t been made public – that is actually a based merely on a survey, that garnered stories from a field of 34,000 or so interviewees, whose ‘numbers’ were then extrapolated and estimated to imagine or indicate or prove or establish (take your pick – the words seem not to matter to such ‘researchers’ who put this Thing together) that somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 children were somehow ‘abused’ by Dutch Catholic clergy in the 60 years between 1950 and 2010. Of the 800 priests named among these stories, more than 700 are conveniently dead and cannot respond.

You don’t have to have a degree from MIT to realize that an estimation that contains so wide a margin of error is clearly dubious. Nor that ‘surveys’ that collect ‘stories’ (and whose narrators realize will never be probed for veracity) from which ‘estimates’ are made are in inherently dubious – and greatly so – from the get-go.

Such are the wheels within wheels of this Mania.

And I suspect that there are even more wheels than anyone imagines.

We shall see. At this point (January, 2012) it remains to be seen if the text of this ‘Report’ will be released for public scrutiny as the two John Jay Reports were.

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