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:
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.