Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How did this happen?

How did this happen?
By Patrick McIlheran
Friday, Feb 1 2008, 11:51 PM
As wretched legacy of Franklyn Becker continues to unwind, Richard John Neuhaus writes at First Things about a forthcoming book on the clergy sex scandal in Boston. The book is "The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture" by Philip F. Lawler. Dad29 noticed the post, too, and comments.Neuhaus says the book is good:
"The account offered is devastating and the blame is clearly laid at the door of the American bishops. Lawler is outraged, but, to his credit, his outrage is controlled. ... 'The thesis of this book,' writes Lawler, 'is that the sex abuse scandal in American Catholicism was not only aggravated but actually caused by the willingness of church leaders to sacrifice the essential for the inessential; to build up the human institution even to the detriment of the divine mandate.' Bishops again and again responded to the crisis as institutional managers, employing public relations stratagems to evade, deceive, and distract attention from their own responsibility."
Lawler, again, is writing about Boston. He might as well have been describing Milwaukee, where our former archbishop, Rembert Weakland, responded to teachers turning in a sexually abusive priest by threatening them with lawyers, referred to abuse victims' accusations as "squealing" (a word he later publicly regretted), and was known for playing legal hardball against anyone making accusations against priests. Weakland, in short, managed the crisis and defended the human institution instead of pastoring his abused people. He wasn't the only one. The church hierarchy, argues Lawler, particularly the bishops, were corrupted. He calls this the most serious and least examined aspect of the scandal. They were corrupted not chiefly by doing wrong themselves but by knowing about it and tolerating it. Neuhaus again:
"Lawler adds: 'Homosexual influence within the American clergy was not in itself the cause of the sex abuse crisis. The corruption wrought by that influence was a more important factor.' He very gingerly addresses a theory proposed by a number of commentators on the crisis, namely, that bishops engaged in cover-ups and other deceptions because they were threatened with homosexual blackmail. He cites a number of instances in which this appears to be the case and bishops were permitted to resign when their misdeeds could no longer be denied. 'The blackmail hypothesis,” he writes, “provides a logical explanation for behavior that is otherwise inexplicable: the bishops’ willingness to risk the welfare of the faithful and their own reputations in order to protect abusive priests.'"
Which, again, as Dad29 notes, fits. Weakland had his own affair -- with an adult, to be sure, but still scandalous -- to hide. And during his time, in 1996, the archdiocesan abuse panel learned of the allegations against Sister Norma Gianini, who sexually abused boys in the 1960s, and apparently didn't tell authorities.That, obviously, wasn't a case of homosexual priests preying on the altar boys (which makes the case unusual). But what Lawler is arguing would imply that an archbishop who had things of his own to hide and who at the least inculcated a bluff attitude toward victims would be in no position to nail a nun who had unprosecuted wrongdoing in her past. His own wrongdoing corrupted him.For which we'll now pay more, yet again, we Catholics who depend on the parishes and schools and hospitals of an archdiocese that may be heading for bankruptcy. All these names of back-when, these bishops and priests who did terrible things 30 to 50 years ago -- all the way back to 1964, when Archbishop Cousins didn't kick Becker out of the seminary for trying to have sex with a classmate -- and even the district attorney who heard about it and advised the archdiocese to give Becker "another chance" if he stayed clean for five years, all this history is going to cost us now. The archdiocese is trying to raise about $105 million to fund education; it maintains that the money can be protected from lawyers who continue to predate on the church over old abuse. I'd like to believe that. I'm not quite certain, especially given the power of federal judges. I hear others voicing the same doubts. That I can't be sure that money I donate to support the church's educational mission won't instead end up in the pocket of some bottom-feeding legal opportunist like Jeffrey Anderson is the result of Archbishop Cousins not drawing the line in 1964 and Rembert Weakland sending threats to whistleblowers instead of doing something about the sins unfolding before his eyes. So, yes, I think I'll be reading Lawler's book.


Omid said...


I agree with your opinion about the affiliation of child abuse with Jewish/Christian/Islamic traditions.
But since you are an active Satanist, I have a question regarding your belief.
Let me confess that I don't worship God, too.
But it is interesting for me to know that why some of the Satanists (theistic approach) worship Satan?
I mean why do they think it is better to worship Satan instead of the Christian God?
I appreciate you answer in advance!

JDS said...

Because "Theistic satanists" are a bunch of nuts and losers. They have NOTHING to do with the Church of Satan.