Monthly Archives: November 2011

Finn, Cain, Paterno, OWS, and the War on the Catholic Church: Liberals and “Accountability”

An absolute moral code is great.  It makes sense.  It doesn’t require sophistries to explain why this is OK and that isn’t, when you have principles and apply them consistently.

That’s why I’ve said for the past 9 years that what outrages me most about the media’s attacks on the Church, besides how unfair they are, is that I don’t believe anyone who supports abortion, or “gay rights” or the so-called “sexual revolution” gives a rodent’s excrement about protecting children.

I was just watching a video someone linked on Facebook of Jon Stewart talking about the Joe Paterno business, and he made the comparison all media liberals are making of the Penn State situation to the Catholic Church.  “It’s about having some accountability,” he says, and that struck me. 

The “latest” permutation of “the Scandal” is the case of highly regarded “Benedict Bishop” Robert Finn of Kansas City, who became the first bishop indicted in a sexual misconduct case, in which the Diocese of Kansas City itself was indicted, both for a misdemeanor charge of “failure to report child pornography.”  The pro-death and anti-Catholic _Kansas City Star_ has been making a great deal of this case for months,  apparently, as it’s had a long standing beef with the unabashedly pro-life Finn.  The Catholic League has in turn been going up against the _Star_, and the radical abortion activist DA is trying to push the case to raise her own political star.  The case concerns a priest who had some photos which were admittedly disturbing but did not, according to the diocese’s Lay Review Board, meet the legal definition of pornography.  So the Bishop tried to handle the matter internally before going to the police.  He committed the priest–who attempted suicide–to an institution till the priest was declared “fit” by the psychiatrists, transferred the priest to a non-parish ministry, and banned him from having computer access or from being around children.  As soon as the priest violated both those restrictions, and began to use diocesan computers to access pornography, the bishop called the police and made a public announcement/apology.  He then hired an independent auditor to review their handling of the case to see how they could have improved it.  After the auditor concluded that he did mishandle the situation, Bishop Finn issued another apology.  Nevertheless, the DA indicted him.

Tying into another recent news story, at least two women with liberal political agendas (though I keep seeing reports that refer to “multiple” alleged victims) have claimed that Republican presidential hopeful and Tea Party favorite Herman Cain sexually harrassed them, suggesting that the crude term the Left has used for Tea Party supporters the past few years is true in Cain’s case.   Now, if true, of course, the allegations should rightly derail Cain’s campaign.  Even if false, many are saying he’s not handling this crisis well, and that that alone calls his suitability for office into question.  However, it’s definitely a planned political hit, like the Anita Hill thing, and some people are arguing that aspects of the alleged victim’s stories challenge their credibility.

In any case, one alleged victim claims she told Cain, “I have a boyfriend,” as if it’s OK to sexually harrass someone who’s single.  When “sexual harrassment” first became a big deal in the early 90’s, I wondered what the big deal was about behavior that was sinful to begin with.  Liberals like to suggest, thanks in part to Christians who have abused their religion, that things like sexual harrassment are part-and-parcel with “Christian hegemony”.   Any true Christian would reject sexual harrasment as obviously sinful, but question how liberals who support the “sexual revolution” can support it.

Then that brings up the other recent issue, “Occupy Wall Street,” and a document by the Pontifical office for Justice and Peace which seemed to suggest support for the “Occupy” movement and seemed to call for a world governing economic authority.  Now, there are also indications that Justice and Peace may have been metaphorically slapped on the wrist for issuing that doc. without the Pope’s approval, but that’s irrelevant because Benedict XVI has made similar statements.  However, what people miss is that, whenever the Vatican says that there needs to be some world authority on some moral issue, the Vatican is not calling for greater UN power: it’s saying, “hint, hint” and pointing at itself. 

For centuries, the Pope was the final authority in world affairs.  For centuries, the Catholic Church said that, for example, if slavery needed to be an institution, slaves needed to be given basic human rights and permitted access to the sacraments and family life.  Families should not be broken up, slaves should be allowed to marry, etc., and slave “owners” should not abuse their slaves.  These rights were guaranteed in areas that listened to the Church. 

After the Protestant revolt and the so-called Enlightenment, however, things began to change.  In the Protestant British Empire, slaves were treated much more cruelly, on the average, than in the Spanish Empire, and the British in general were more likely to brutalize native populations than the Spanish.  The Portuguese were officially Catholic, but the Portuguese kings were generally more defiant of the Church’s authority in secular affairs than the Spanish kings. 

For centuries, the Church was the arbiter of peace between nations, and the idea of permanent peace treaties was a Catholic notion.  Let’s not get into all the things like health care and education that the Church provided, or even law.

Sure, the Church is a hospital for sinners, and there have always been bad Catholics, and corrupt members of the hierarchy, and people who abused their offices or twisted the teachings of the Church to suit their personal agendas.  Today we call them Kennedy Catholics and Nancy Pelosi.  Back then it was the Borgias and Medici.  But imagine what things would have been like *without* the Church standing up as a voice of morality!

Wait: you don’t have to.  It’s what happened in the past 200 years since the so-called “Enlightenment,” and especially in the last 4 decades.

Sexual predator priests like John Geoghan said time and again that they were inspired by the Sexual Revolution and by the “Spirit of Vatican II” talk of doing away with priestly celibacy or even with chastity in general.   Yet somehow this is overlooked in the fervor to blame the Bishops or even the Pope for the evils these men committed.  It’s overlooked that the bishops were listening to psychotherapists who said the predators were “cured,” or to lawyers who gave them bad legal advice.  No one talks about going after the APA or the ABA for facilitating child molestation not only in the Catholic Church but in the public schools and numerous other institutions.

Yet it is the rebellion against objective morality that gives people the “freedom” to think they can engage in pederasty or sexual harrassment.  If random fornication is accepted, why shouldn’t bosses fornicate with their employees?  If sodomy is accepted, why shouldn’t grown men sodomize little boys?

Those who would otherwise tell us there’s no such thing as an objective moral law suddenly get all high-and-mighty on these matters, and their standard, echoed by the “I told him I had a boyfriend” lady, is this notion of “consent.”  You see, in the view of secular liberals, it’s OK to sin if you *consent* to it.  Indeed, they see no hypocrisy in attacking the Church and supporting Roman Polanski because Polanksi claims his drugged adolescent victim was consenting.  They see no hypocrisy in supporting abortion and opposing the Holocaust because, if pressed, they will say that what was wrong with the Holocaust was that Hitler took away the Jews’ freedom to choose.  According to secular liberals, it would have been OK for Hitler to kill Jews if they’d consented to being killed–no word on how the unborn baby is supposed to consent to being killed; they just care about the mother’s ability to consent to the killing.  It’s an absurd standard. 

If consent is the standard, then why should some arbitrary legal definition of age alter consent?  We know that liberals think it’s perfectly fine for underage kids to have sex with each other.  We know that the Clinton and Obama administrations have both promoted explicit sex education for kindergartners.  We know that the Planned Parenthood-designed “touching safety” program Good Touch/Bad Touch implies that there are good ways for children to experience sexual pleasure and, again, suggests that the main difference is the child’s consent.  We know that it is extremely common for sexually active underage girls to be sexually active with older males, and that Planned Parenthood covers up statutory rape.  We know that every so many years the APA redefines something (i.e., homosexuality is no longer a mental disorder).  We know that when the Demonocrats pushed through their changes to the federal protected classes for “hate crimes” to include “sexual orientation,” Republicans pushed the issue to get Democrats to acknowledge “pedophilia” as a legally protected “sexual orientation.”  So what’s to stop legislators from changing the age for legal consent to sex?  What’s to stop the APA from redefining pedophilia as being as acceptable as homosexuality?  Nothing.  Once they finish using pedophilia to attack the Catholic Church, that’s what these monsters will do.  This is not about protecting children, or else they’d be going after public schools, where sexual molestation by teachers and others abounds and goes unreported to this day. 

And that gets back to the other arbitrary standard these people use: so-called “accountability.”  They say they want the Church to be “accountable.” To whom?  To whom should the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ and governed by the Holy Spirit, be accountable?  To godless secular authorities?  The State is accountable to the Church, as the Vatican is always trying to subtly remind everyone, not the other way around.

Yet that’s been the agenda since the Enlightenment: to overthrow the Church and create a supreme secular state with no accountability of its own.

On “Camels in Bed”: How do we Label our Children?

Einstein once said, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life thinking it’s stupid.”  One of the stories my father would always tell when he went around the country giving talks on education reform was the “Camel in Bed” story.  When my brother Peter started kindergarten, he came home with a picture of a red circle.  “What’d you do at school today?”  “I drew an apple.”  Every day, Peter would come home with a picture of different colored round fruit: apple, orange, lemon, grapes. . . . Finally, Dad said, “Let me show you how to draw something different.  I’ll show you how to draw  a house.”  So, Dad showed Pete how to draw a square for the house and triangle for the roof.  The next day, Peter came home with more fruit.  Then Dad said, “Did you try drawing a house?”  “Yes, but I got it wrong.  All I got was a camel in bed.”  Puzzled, my dad said, “Here, let’s try it again.”  Once again, Dad demonstrated the square and triangle on top.  “Now, you try.”  Peter drew a square.  “Good,” Dad said.  “Now draw the roof.”  When he went to draw the roof, instead of a triangle, he drew a half circle, so  it was a square with a half circle on top.  “Oops!” Pete exclaimed, “There’s another camel in bed!”  The teacher, meanwhile, had drawn a big red “X” over the “camel in bed” Peter drew at school.  So, Dad would talk about how important it is to see things through the child’s eyes, how a teacher could look at Peter’s picture and say, “Fail,” because he didn’t succeed at “drawing a house,” or else see it as he saw it and praise his creativity in perceiving it as a “camel in bed.”

Similarly, last year, at the virtual charter school she was attending, Alexandra  had to do an oral reading exam with her teacher on the phone.  She had to read a text to her teacher, and then answer questions.  The story concerned a little girl in a wheelchair.  The teacher asked what was “unusual” about the girl in the story.  Now, I forget what Allie said, but the intended answer was “She used a wheelchair.”  At the time, Allie stated as her answer something that was unusual for her, such as that the girl rode the school bus or that she attended brick-and-mortar school, or something like that.  The teacher commented that she got that question “wrong.”  I said, “Well, you asked what was ‘unusual.’  I use a wheelchair, so being in a wheelchair and using a ramp and all those details were everyday things for her, but since she’s attending a virtual school, riding a school bus and going to a brick-and-mortar school are ‘unusual’ to her.”

There’s another story educators like to tell.  Maybe it was a true story, and I just heard it once, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it from multiple sources over the years.  The story concerns a teacher who had two students named “Johnny.”  There was a “good Johnny,” who got straight “A’s” and always listened, and a “bad Johnny” who got failing grades, refused to listen, and often skipped class.  On parent conference night, a couple came very early and walked up to the teacher.  Presuming such involved and well-groomed parents must be the parents of a “good” student, the teacher was pleased when they said, “We’re Johnny’s parents.”  She began to talk about a wonderful student “Johnny” was.  The parents—the other Johnny’s parents–were pleasantly surprised, having come to the conference dreading a lecture on their son’s problems.  They went home and praised their son for doing a good job.  “Bad Johnny” was shocked that his teacher thought so highly of him, and was touched that his parents showed approval for the first time ever.  So motivated, he went to school the next day with a new attitude, and he started to show his teacher respect, and listen, and do his work, and he became a “Good Johnny.”  Again, I don’t know if it’s really a “true story” or just a well-meaning parable, but it makes the same point as the “Camel in Bed” story.

We often say that nobody rises to low expectations in regard to setting high standards, but it’s also true in terms of how we “label” people.  Once someone is labeled “bad,” he or she has no motivation to improve.  Everything in secular culture is competitive.  everything in secular culture is “how can we get you.”  Among adults, we make various behaviors criminal and make no distinction between genuine mistakes or intentional malice.  Look at how society wants to punish not just the bishops who carelessly “shuffled” corrupt priests but even the bishops who tried to discipline those priests internally and see if they were capable of reform before involving the police.  Employers look for every way to find fault with potential and current employees.  Schools, governed by the same lawmakers and wealthy employers, operate under the same principle of “how can we get you”, so that they can raise people to conform to the world’s standards.

Yet the God who told St. Faustina, “My name is Mercy,” intends people to live under the same principle.  Jesus teaches that we will be forgiven based upon our own capacity to forgive, to see others through His eyes.  He tells us that love of Neighbor is the second greatest commandment, and, in the story of the Good Samaritan, that we should see our neighbor as the one we most consider to be our enemies.  He tells us that we should love our enemies and bless those that persecute us, that we should turn the other cheek, etc.

If we wish to raise our children to be Saints, and certainly if we wish to be Saints ourselves, then we must treat others, especially children, the way God wants us to treat each other.  While admonishing a sinner is most certainly a spiritual work of mercy, we should also remember the importance of forgiveness.  When mitigating circumstances are at work, we should be willing to accept them and try to address the problems in the circumstances rather than “punish” the “bad” person who fell in a difficult situation.  After all, when we come to Christ in the Confessional, is that not how we ask Him to deal with us?

The Church teaches that our human nature is corrupted by Original Sin, both spiritually and physically.  Not only do we pass on an inheritance of concupiscence, but we pass on an inheritance of genetic defects that effect our minds and bodies.  Some of these may not even be defects but are indeed authentic differences intended by our Loving Father, which we only see as defects because our society forces people to fit the same mold.

It is important that we recognize the difference between consequences of genetic diversity and intentional behaviors people commit and have control over.  While we must encourage people to do better in fighting against intentional actions resulting from disordered inclinations, we must also be willing to tolerate and show understanding towards weaknesses and disabilities.  In a storyline on _House, MD_, where the title character was under treatment for his Vicodin addiction, his psychiatrist observed, “You recognize the importance of taking pain killers to address pain or other drugs to treat physiological illnesses, so why don’t you recognize the importance of using drugs to treat physiological illnesses in the brain?”

Of my four children, two are diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and the other two also probably suffer from some form of mental health issue or developmental disorder, in addition to the problems children experience just from having autistic siblings.  While we struggle to help our autistic children cope more functionally in society, we also recognize there are certain aspects of their behavior and temperament they have little control over, and that we must account for these and accommodate these problems.  The accommodation of these problems can lead to resentment on their siblings’ part, and an attitude, that “If he or she can ‘get away with’ this behavior, why  can’t I?”  This is a common attitude among siblings of children on the Spectrum.

People, even medical professionals, say to us, “Why do you want to label your children?”  People complain in general about children being overly medicated, while we can see the advantages that medication have had for our two children with diagnoses, such that the two who used to be our major discipline problems are now the easier ones to deal with.  Well, what kind of “label” would you rather have?  Is it better to “label” a child ADHD, or Asperger or autistic or bipolar or even schizophrenic, and to try your best to address issues in childhood that can be absolutely destructive in adults if not properly treated before it’s too late?  Or is it better to avoid those “labels” and choose instead labels like, “lazy,” “disobedient,” “wild,” “failure” and just plain “bad”?

Why is it that people are so willing to label children as “bad Johnny’s” and promote negative behavior by expecting it of children, rather than recognizing that, often, children’s inability to cope with society’s rules or expectations stem from genetic mental defects that are consequences of original sin, and then properly identify those disorders so as to treat them and work with them constructively, rather than simply punishing out of vengeance?