Thursday, April 08, 2010

MORE ON CATHOLIC PRIEST ABUSE

(I had to do another Post on this topic on a different site. Although this Post deals with the same subject as the immediately previous Post here, I think I raise some further points that would make it worthwhile for readers here.)

As you may have noticed, the Catholic Priest Sex Abuse tornado has circled around and blows through town for – by my count – the fourth time now.

This phenomenon is a sub-variant of the general Sex Offense Mania and I look at it as the result of a synergy of all sorts of larger and deeper forces in American society.

My concern in this Post on this site is a bit more specific. I came across an article today about a priest from India – now back in India – who, years later, is charged with “sexually assaulting” a “teenage parishioner”. Or, at least, the charges are just now being publicized.

As always, I hold no brief for anyone who takes liberties with another human being, especially when that anyone is in a position of trust or authority.

I also don’t like stampedes. And while they’re physically dangerous when you’re talking about Texas Longhorns, they’re politically and morally dangerous when you’re talking about people, especially Citizens responsible for a Constitutional Republic.

That being said, and meant, there are some other points.

First, of course, is that “sexual assault” – the trusty vague phrase that can mean anything from something approaching Attempted Rape to something like a pat on the behind (or, for that matter, on the head, since it seems acceptable in Sex Offense jurisprudence now to infer a ‘sexual’ motivation even if it isn’t actually there). The parishioner is a 16 year-old female, which while it certainly does not excuse improper behavior indicates that this is not the Lindbergh Baby case either.

Curiously, there isn’t too much of a timeline given. But what there is indicates that he came to this country in 2004, worked in a small parish in northern Minnesota, and then in 2005 returned to India – the article says – because his mother was ill.

Half a decade later and the case is part of the 4th Wave.

There is no reason given by the local prosecutor as to why it has taken half a decade to bring the case to light, or why the US government has not yet moved for his extradition.

An ecclesiastical official in India said that in light of the public criticism that has arisen, the priest “has a duty to establish his innocence”.

I’d like to point out a couple of things about that comment.

In the first place, in the context of the Catholic Church, with the priest being an official representative and the matter receiving – as it now is – wide publicity, then the publicity itself now creates its own variable in the equation: there is the matter of “scandal”. In Catholic organizational and legal usage this term means that there is an event or action which might subject the faithful to unnecessary and unwarranted doubt as to the integrity of the Church.

When a matter which had been previously dealt with without such a publicized dimension is suddenly raised up by publicity, it is not so much a matter of the American popular usage of the word ‘scandal’ (something bad had been ‘hidden’ or ‘swept under the rug’ and has been finally brought to light); in theory – and in this case – official Church procedures were deployed and the priest in this case was sanctioned by his bishop –in this case, the priest is no longer working in parishes but rather in a special-ministry with alcoholics (where, presumably, he will be working with few if any children).

Rome – the Vatican – had apparently wanted the priest removed from all ministry, possibly ‘defrocked’ – although the article is not quite clear on this. Whether Rome did it because what the priest was determined to have actually done after ecclesiastical investigation and adjudication was serious enough to justify defrocking, or whether Rome made its recommendation to the priest’s ‘home’ bishop in India simply because the general atmosphere of Mania in the US would pretty much guarantee a situation of probable ‘scandal’ for the faithful … this is an interesting question, not dealt with in the article.

At any rate, in the Catholic system, the ultimate decision was in the hands of the local bishop. This is contrary to a popular impression that the Church functions much as the US military – where ‘Washington’ or ‘the Pentagon’ can issue a definitive order to any forces and local commanders anywhere in the world. In this sense, Catholic organizational practice is actually similar to the American State-rather-than-Federal arrangement, where the ultimate authority rests with the ‘local authority’ – the State – rather than with the Federal authority. (Although in the SO Mania over here we have seen a consistent effort by the Feds to horn in on the States’ Xth Amendment authority – as evidenced in the Adam Walsh Act and other legislation.)

The local bishop in India made his decision that the priest would no longer be allowed to work in parishes; but that he would be allowed to continue exercising his calling in other ministry settings where ‘children’ are not present, nor where the assorted ‘home’ or other ‘informal’ or ‘domestic’ settings organically arising from parish ministry would arise; the priest would work in a setting that by its nature was structured to preclude such informal interactions with the alcoholics.

In this way – in the Catholic view of things – the erring priest (to the extent – one must always say in matters of the SO Mania – that he had indeed erred) was removed from a setting that would place him in occasions of ‘temptation’, and the faithful and the Church would both be preserved from ‘scandal’ and not deprived of his actual services while the priest himself would be allowed to fulfill his calling.

This is a pretty standard example of the Church’s overall ‘patience’ and ‘prudence’ in such matters of priestly weakness, seeking both to maintain the integrity of the ministry while allowing a priest with a demonstrated weakness (to the extent that applies here) to continue to carry on his life-calling.

It is, most certainly, an approach that is hell-and-gone from the more radically ‘impatient’ American approach – so similar to the general Fundamentalistic approach – whereby ‘evil’ must be immediately rooted out and destroyed vividly. This Fundamentalistic approach, the ‘impatient’ approach in my terminology, informs the SO Mania over here.

As does the ‘zero tolerance’ policy, which actually includes not only an absolute intolerance of ‘evil’ but also the vivid and utter erasure of the offender’s life possibilities.

While nobody can accuse the Church of not being interested in ‘evil’, it has always been rather interested in ‘good’ as well – and the Catholic (as opposed to Fundamentalistic) approach has always been to salvage whatever good is possible from a situation.

This is premised upon a rather common-sense awareness that ‘evil’ does not exist in the abstract, but rather manifests through the lives of individual human beings, and you want to try to avoid creating more damage with your solution than existed with the problem in the first place (and can you say Iraq War?).

Also, the Church has always realized that ‘sin’ is more relevant an operational concept than ‘evil’, since the concept of ‘sin’ includes the human life through which ‘evil’ manifests itself in the world.
If you simply grab an edged-tool and start scything away in the field seeking to immediately inflict zero-tolerance on the tares, you are going to wind up cutting up a lot of still-growing wheat.

Which, also, does not mean to imply that some people are ‘tares’ (or weeds, and therefore totally evil) and other people are wheat (and therefore totally good). In the ‘field’ of each human individual, there is some amount of weed (evil) among the wheat (good) … that has always been the Catholic approach.*

And again, to the Fundamentalistic** mentality that has proven so crucially formative in the SO Mania, this can easily be spun into the more sensationalistic ‘script’ of ‘corruption finally uncovered’ that – nicely –also appeals to America’s increasingly sensationalistic media.

In the second place, I’d note that the comment of the ecclesiastical authority in India that it is the priest’s “duty to prove his innocence” must be taken as an expression of this Church requirement that the faithful not be scandalized.

As an official representative of the Church, he must respond actively to such accusations – since not doing so (human nature being what it is) would lead the average person (in the American setting, anyway) to assume that the government charges are accurate and that the priest is therefore guilty as charged.

But I would not at all accept this comment as reflecting traditional Western legal theory, especially as it is woven deeply into the fabric of the Constitutional vision and ethos: one is innocent until proven guilty, and it is the government’s responsibility to prove guilt.

It is hugely regrettable, I think, that in 2002 the American bishops chose to ‘settle’ in civil courts (for sums in ‘damages’ that now total in the billions of dollars) rather than accept the route of defending priests in criminal trials. Yes, sound legal advice from the Church’s organizational legal advisers might very practically have justified that approach: the sight of dozens or even hundreds of criminal trials involving priests as defendants might itself have provided ‘scandal’.

And in a time of Mania Law – especially given the deformations introduced into such classic jurisprudential protections as Rule of Evidence and Statutes of Limitations, and the monstrously selective and hostile ‘reporting’ done by most of the media – a seasoned legal professional might have decided that it would be impossible to guarantee the possibility of an uncontaminated trial-process.

But the result of choosing the ‘civil settlement’ route has been equally disastrous. Such a surrender merely engorged and further inflamed the appetite for financial gain. And many accused priests were deprived of a chance to defend themselves. And many of the faithful, confronted with the jaw-dropping sight of the American Church truckling so quickly and shelling out billions without – as it were – a fight, led many to believe that the nightmare scenarios limned by the accusers and their representatives were largely accurate (which has not been established).

Only a little less so, I am going to imagine, have been any plea-bargains made. Yes, seasoned defense counsel now take it as given that a defendant in the current climate and in light of the assorted deformities that have now been formally introduced into the American legal system has a poor chance of establishing innocence in a rational and traditionally Constitutional way. But most Americans still operate on the assumption – now utterly outdated by events – that only ‘guilty’ people make plea-bargains; whereas actually now many defendants accept plea-bargains imposed by prosecutors who know that the defendant’s only other option is to face a trial on a greatly skewed field.

And that further reinforces the ‘scandal’ of many of the faithful presuming that priest-defendants are indeed almost always ‘guilty as charged’. Which may well not be the case at all.

Most interestingly, of course, the idea of guilty-until-you-prove-yourself-innocent is precisely the anti-Constitutional presumption woven into the very core of the SO Mania legal approach.

And that stems from the very fundaments of so-called ‘feminist’ law or – to use my term – its further enshrinement in ‘victimist’ law.

Which is demonstrated clearly in a comment in the article made by the (female) prosecutor up in Minnesota: “We want justice for the victim here and we want to do whatever we can to protect potential future victims everywhere”.

This is an almost pitch-perfect encapsulation of the frakkery of this ‘new’ type of legal thinking.

In the first place, nobody is formally a ‘victim’ until they are proven so in a court.

It has been a great conceptual trick – ‘rhetorical’ in the classic sense – of feminist/victimist law that anyone who makes the claim to be a ‘victim’ must surely indeed be a victim. And from that flows the further frakkulent assumption that to ‘question’ the victim further or to ‘doubt’ the victim’s allegations or ‘story’ constitutes a further ‘re-victimizing’ of the ‘victim’. Recently one Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor and now second-tier law school ‘victim’ maven, opined that she’s glad victims no longer are ‘denied justice’ just because there’s no evidence. (Yes, she’s a lawyer – and a law professor.)

Instantly, the entire process of formally establishing guilt or innocence is utterly undermined.

Because then if there is a ‘victim’, and that ‘victim’ must be assumed to be truthful (and ‘good’), then whomever the victim has accused must indeed be cast as a ‘perp’ (and therefore utterly ‘evil’). At which point the necessary elements for a melodramatic, soap-opera type ‘script’ are in place. And let the games begin.

The legitimate insight underlying this dynamic of feminist/victimist law is that many crimes can thus remain hidden because there is insufficient evidence to prove that they actually took place.

This however is hardly a new observation. You may recall that in the film version of ‘Camelot’ – now almost half a century ago – one of the old-school barons approaches King Arthur, who had just established the fundaments of evidentiary law against the old Medieval concept of ‘intuition of guilt is enough to justify the presumption of guilt’. The baron reproaches Arthur for such a new-fangled approach: “So, no evidence no crime, then?”

But the position Arthur takes in the film is actually the (pre-feminist/victimist) Constitutional approach enshrined in Western and American jurisprudence: you cannot permit the police power of the government (or the ‘sovereign’) to impose its awesome capacities against any individual unless you make the government/sovereign authority clearly prove that such a deployment is justified.

And you can only establish that by making the government demonstrate that its evidence is beyond any reasonable doubt.

So – alas – what feminist/victimist law has done (and continues to do) since its espousal by the government (no surprise there) in the 1970s is to re-introduce the old Medieval concept that ‘intuition of guilt is proof of guilt’. Or to put it less formally: if it feels like he’s guilty, then he is guilty. This is not progress and it is not ‘progressive’. It is regress and it is frakkulously ‘regressive’. (And again, you can see what has happened not only in the SO Mania but also in the ‘justifications’ put forth for the invasion of Iraq after 9/11.)

It’s not hard to understand the frustration built into the classic post-Medieval Western legal system: a crime can indeed be ‘hidden’ in the sense that there is not sufficient evidence to clearly justify the deployment of the government police power against the alleged perpetrator.

But the only alternative is to have the government police power deployed merely on the basis of ‘feelings’ and ‘intuitions’ – and that is death to the post-Medieval Western political concept of limited government.

And this is not essentially resolved by the government raising up the ‘victim’ to ‘front for’ the engorgement and un-limiting of its police power. (And again, you can see the lethal effects of this ‘new’ development in other areas of government activity, including the invasion of other sovereign nations, whether on neocon or neoliberal grounds.)

So you get now a Medieval element poisoning from the Right with the Fundamentalistic 'satanic' stuff that made its debut in the now-infamous Ritual Satanic Day-Care Child Sex Abuse trials of the early 1980s, and from the Left with the feminist-law 'progress' that throws out the need for solid evidence and so brings everybody back to the Medieval era of 'law'. Charming. And on top of that, folks are supposed to see these developments as 'progressive' and merely as 'reforms'.

Phooey.

Further, this prosecutor’s comment touches the ominous but oh-so-Correct base of ‘preventing’ further harms to “potential victims”. Which boils down to the government deploying its police power against non-existent criminal actions.

And this constitutes a core dynamic motivating and sustaining the Regulatory-Preventive State, whereby the police power can now be deployed even where no crime has yet been committed.

Because, built into the post-Medieval Western concept of limited-government is the assumption that there is only so much a limited-government can do. Beyond which boundary a government escapes its ‘limits’ and you are hell-and-gone from the classic Western genius and into some other, far more ominous, form of government.

I add that such a development – as I have said before – is virtually guaranteed if you take Carol Gilligan’s 1982 mommy-at-the-breakfast-table vision (Mommy knows best and must provide whatever she feels is best to calm her squalling, immature children) and try to erect it into a philosophy of government.

But with the hugely-dangerous adoption of the Gilligan insight by the vote-addled Beltway, the most indispensable basis of Constitutional vision and ethos is thoroughly undermined. The government will deploy its police power a) on the basis of feelings and intuitions about b) what may happen and c) its intentions are so ‘good’ or the ‘emergency’ created by ‘pain’ is sooo great that it may not be effectively questioned.

If it is not clear just where this must lead, then folks have really and truly lost touch with the fundamental genius of Western and American government.

And if that is so, and it is not widely considered worthwhile to reverse this trend, then this country is indeed no longer in touch with its Founding genius and it is truly ‘decadent’ in the most basic (and ominous) sense of that term.

NOTES

* And – I say again – you can imagine how Iraq might have turned out had the Catholic rather than the Fundamentalistic approach had been taken; in a sense the Catholic view would support the ‘diplomacy’ approach and the Fundamentalistic approach demands the ‘military’ approach.

Thus also, you can see why the Fundamentalistic Ascendancy in American politics (and most surely in the military chaplaincies and senior leadership) was so dead-set against the Catholic vision and the Catholic approach. Neither the neocon militarization approach nor the neoliberal ‘humanitarian intervention’ approach (equally militarized) are looking for the obstructions to the imposition of their will and the fulfillment of their ‘visions’ that a Catholic ‘patience’ and diplomacy would present.

**I also point out here that the Fundamentalistic 'impatience' and impetus toward the 'radical rooting out and punishing' of 'evil' is itself very similar to the Leninist and Maoist 'revolutionary' impatience with in-Correct thinking.

This is not so surprising, for two reasons.

First, the late-19th and early-20th century 'revolutionary' approach was a secularized version of the Fundamentalistic approach always latent, and often not-so-latent in Reformation-era Protestant thought.

Second, the radical 'revolutionary' approach very greatly informed early, radical feminist thought and praxis as it came to then be espoused by the political 'elites' over here starting in the early 1970s.

ADDENDUM

The article adds a second report of a priest who was accused of “fondling” a 12 year-old altar server (female) at her apartment in 2003, for which a New York court sentenced him to four months “in prison”. The priest served the time, returned to his native India, and is now working with alcoholics and is not in parish work. Which the article seems to consider more or less outrageous.

It’s odd that in 2003, a full year after the 3rd Wave began on Jan. 2, 2002 with the ‘Boston Globe’, an American court – and in New York, no less – would give such a short sentence for a substantive sex offense charge against a minor. And so short a sentence usually means ‘jail time’ in a county lock-up, not full-scale ‘prison time’ – which usually indicates a sentence of at least a year.

ADDENDUM 2

As if by inadvertence, the 'Boston Globe' - whose 'reporting' enabled the 3rd phase of the Mania in 2002 (it also supported the invasion of Iraq) and now fuels the 4th - today 'reports' on its own stunning marvelousness in a front-page, above-the-fold story.

ADDENDUM 3

It may be that I did not clearly point out some of the more specific possible or probable connections.

I have recently come into possession of a used copy of a 1989 book (“High Treason”, by Robert Groden and Harrison Livingstone). The book compiles all the information then extant – a quarter of a century later – concerning the evidence in the assassination of JFK.

It makes for disturbing reading.

The stunning amounts of contradictory evidence, missing evidence, falsified evidence, evidence incompatible with eyewitness accounts including doctors in attendance, and much of all of the foregoing overlooked or ignored by the Warren Commission … it stuns.

There appears clearly to have been a potent synergy of interests – to say nothing of a conspiracy – that JFK’s death would have served. Ray McGovern, noted present-day intelligence analyst and former CIA member, had admitted as much late last year: after a comprehensive private review he finally acknowledged that he could no longer doubt the existence of a highly-placed conspiracy before and after the fact, both to kill and to cover-up.

In that frame of mind, let me be a little more specific in regard to connections that in the main body of this Post I perhaps treated too politely.

Only a month or two before this latest 4th Wave of Catholic Priest Sex Abuse and Church Cover-up, I recall noticing articles in ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Boston Globe’ remarking that one of the most vocal victim-of-priests groups was in danger of folding because of financial short-falls. Without pursuing this fact into the realm of causality – why were the donations falling off? – the articles simply rehashed the original (and by 2009 old) stories.

So when this 4th Wave suddenly started up in January 2010 – just about the 8th anniversary of those papers’ initiating the 3rd Wave – it occurred to me that there was more than coincidence in it.

Of course, with the national economic crisis taking the public’s attention away from smaller advocacy causes and forcing that attention to the grievous and huge matter of the weakened and declining national economy, and to the government’s failure in addressing it or preventing it (indeed claiming not even to have foreseen it developing), then those very potent ‘interests’ could well appreciate any distraction – especially one so tried and true – of the public’s attention back toward ‘safer’ emergencies (so to speak).

And clearly the alliance – you can’t not-call it that – between the ‘Times’ and ‘Globe’ and the priest-abuse advocacies has proven quite useful to both sides. At this point, though, I can’t get out of my mind a scene from ‘M*A*S*H’ the TV show: Klinger has figured that a wounded young soldier is his ticket out of the war-zone; he arranges it to look like the soldier has gotten a gun and taken Klinger hostage, demanding that he (the soldier) has to be given passage out of the war-zone and Klinger (Klinger will yell out the door to the staffers who surround the building) has to accompany him; so far so good, until the soldier passes out; resulting in Klinger having to prop up the limp form of his ‘kidnapper’ in order to try to get himself a ticket out of the war-zone. At this point, with the priest-abuse mania having run (and outrun) its course, the papers now have to prop up their ‘advocacies’ in order to keep up sales. It isn’t so humorous as it was in the show, I think.

Further, with a still-hopeful American ‘progressive agenda’ hoping to spread itself to any nations around the world – especially the developing world – where the Church’s influence is growing, then those interests would also be served by a re-ignition of the bonfires against whatever vulnerable areas of Catholicism might be easily reached.

And so this 4th Wave, focusing now on Europe and on the Vatican and the Pope, suddenly burst into media flame.

There are three things that strike me.

First, is that from a Vatican, long view – and therefore not primarily an American short-term view – the prospect of secular authority being exercised against the Church has a dark history. Since the growth of monarchical power after the Dark Ages (say, ummmm, about after 1000 AD or so) the Church has been involved in a struggle to keep local – in the Vatican view of it – and secular powers from exercising authority over the Universal Church.

Many monarchs chose to pursue this path for the purpose of strengthening their own authority and – they could never resist the temptation – getting their hands on whatever cash and ‘reachable assets’ belonging to the Church that lay within their jurisdiction; in this regard, Henry VIII’s assumption of power over the Church in England – which also included closing the monasteries and confiscating their property and assets in order to enrich his treasury – was only the culmination of something that had been brewing in Europe for centuries.

Nor is it only about assets. Henry, influenced and perhaps given ‘cover’ by the theological currents of the Reformation, also sought to make such changes in doctrine as would conform the Church of England to his authority (and clear his path to taking a new wife, and then another and another and … you know the rest of it).

Presently, some developments – as in some of the Commonwealth countries – are seeking to deploy national government legislation to make it illegal to exclude women from ordination, using the current Western trends in feminism supported by Western governments.

From the point of view of the Vatican the current US mania over sex-allegations takes place as one more in a long line of efforts by governments to involve themselves in the doctrinal integrity and freedom of the Universal Church. (This is not, certainly on my part, a sly effort to minimize wrong-doing by any genuinely assaultive priest.)

Surely, the transfer of billions in the US through civil settlements paid out in lieu of numerous individual civil – and very few criminal – trials constitutes as large a transfer of Church assets as Henry effected in the 16th century.

The significance of this long-historical point is that the Vatican has always been leery of governments that seek to involve themselves in Church affairs.

This is not the whole story, but certainly it goes to the popular media charge of ‘cover up’ and also goes to put in perspective the Church’s approach. It also goes to the media inferences to the effect that the Church is merely opting for an oppositional stance in order to avoid responsibility.

And it has to be added that since the development of Western Law arose in significant part from the Church’s canon law, then to the extent – and it is not small – that the legal regressions essential to the imposition of certain core aspects of feminist/victimist law constitute – as they do – a threat to the integrity of the entire hard-won evolution of Western law, then the current US trend in law has to be kept from spreading to the Church’s law.

This point is no doubt unpalatable in the US for at least three reasons: i) a Mania requires simplistic conceptions of Good-Evil in order to maintain its vitality; ii) Americans have not been well-informed as to the negative consequences of the rise of feminist/victimist law within American jurisprudence, where that rise has been spun as merely ‘progressive reform’; and iii) both feminist and victimist elements are now so politically ‘valorized’ within American domestic politics that is very hard for the Beltway or the ‘elites’ to now change course and present a more accurate picture of what has really happened.

Second, almost all of these cases are old – decades old; there are no new cases. Which leads me to think that the Church has indeed made substantive progress in handling these matters and even – through a more careful vetting of its candidates for priesthood – strategically preventing them.

(This won’t satisfy those elements of feminism that want to see nothing less than female priests, of course, but that’s another – although not irrelevant – matter.)

(And if Benedict is already starting to show signs of wear and tear after only 5 years on the job, then perhaps there are elements within the Church that are simply starting to prepare the ground for influencing the next papal election … yes, the average person doesn’t think like this, but there are those who are paid to sit and opine and ‘influence’, for whom such a world-historical event is simply another move on the game-board, and the Game is what they do.)

There is also the fact that the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, commissioned almost a decade ago to examine priestly sex abuse found that only 4 percent of priests between 1950 and 2002 had been accused of abuse. The Jay study had its problems, and I Posted at length about them here.

Among the many points of complication: the Jay study counted allegations of abuse, not findings; ‘abuse’ is an elastic phrase that could mean anything down to and including touch without sexual intention at all (because according to victimist dogma, the ‘victim’ gets to define if it ‘felt’ like it was sexually intended); and in that heady time of heavily publicized 3rd Wave Mania, and with the hugely watered-down criteria for credibility and evidentiary value, there were still only allegations against 4 percent of the priests, when the national average of sexual abuse actually perpetrated by males (according to one national child-victim organization) is 10 percent. And then, of course, what of the 96 percent of priests who even if you credit the headlines are conducting their ministries well? See this article and its embedded links.

Third, having now reviewed the jaw-dropping evidence of the most premeditated and criminal cover-up – and at the highest levels – in the JFK assassination case, it seems to me that the assorted documentary ‘smoking guns’ in the Catholic matter constitute verrry weak ‘evidence’ of a cover-up in comparison.

If anything, the most salient point is the similarity in the tactic of distracting public attention from the most urgent and vital areas of inquiry.

If the Catholic Church and the Vatican are going to be held up as examples of ‘cover-up’, then what on earth should be done about the cover-up in the matter of the assassination? Because although it is now almost 47 years ago, the consequences of it were and remain huge: an elected government overawed by the ability of its most lethal and secret security forces to pull off such a brazen plan, and for several years afterward to continue to eliminate witnesses and – even from the National Archive! – evidence that contradicted the official ‘story’. This when the witnesses could not be suborned or the evidence couldn’t be falsified, as clearly happened in several instances.

If you subtract those Church documents that either clearly indicate or may quite reasonably be read as indicating a preference for a non-sensationalist handling of a particular matter, you will see that there are few documents of the This Is a Heinous Sin and Crime and We Are Going To Cover-It Up For Our Own Benefit variety.

But a stampede has to make do with whatever ‘loud noise’ is available to spook the herd.

And in the absence of a lot of solid dry wood, a bonfire has to be fueled with whatever vaguely combustible stuff that may be lying around.

In addition to helping old friends and cultural allies, of course, the papers are doing themselves a great favor: resurrecting ‘proven performers’ among their old great ‘stories’ in order to boost sales. Sort of like so much of Hollywood and Broadway output now merely re-hashing old gems from a bygone era, rather than undertaking the strenuous and demanding responsibility of creating new works.

And, neatly, the 4th Wave isn’t going after individual offending priests as did the first three. Because there aren’t any – not any new ones, anyway (though perhaps if the Statute of Limitations is pushed back to, say, 50 years – as Connecticut is now so Correctly considering – there may well be a new spate of allegations, even more indeterminate and indeterminable than the last).

So now, somewhat by default, it will have to be a run at the Vatican and the Papacy.
If I were an ‘advocate’, I’d be thinking the way the Beltway is now thinking: are folks finally starting to get so fed up that they’re not going to jump through all the old familiar hoops when prodded by all the old familiar cues?

Surely there have been some priests that have done genuinely awful things. (Though whether there are proportionately more than in the other professional groups and whether their cases were as ‘covered up’ as, say, the actual perps in the JFK assassination … are questions that still remain to be posed and answered.)

Many of the alleged-against are dead.

And thus those among the deceased who were truly guilty have ‘gotten away’.

But only from earthly justice, such as it is.

You wouldn’t want to be in their shoes when they faced Varsity justice, as it were.

But then, for that reality to be of any consolation, you’d have to believe in ‘the Varsity’, in a God Who Judges even (and especially) His official servants.

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