Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thoughts While Shaving: Michael Steele Plays the Race Card (Again)…George’s After Easter Mass Statement on Abuses. More

  Easter Tuesday. St. Marcellinus of Carthage.* 
                            “Slimmer Margins of Error.”
         Embattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele, defending himself from charges of heavy spending and loose administration, stemming from an evening spent at a gay-lesbian-bondage club in North Hollywood which a consultant ok’d (but which he didn’t attend) once again played the race card, declaring yesterday that… 
         He and Barack Obama “have slimmer margins of error” because of their race.
         I tell Republicans: Get rid of this guy or you’ll be hip-deep in sensational trouble later on in the year when the Dems use stuff like this as equivalent to their high tax and spending scandal—and cut down on what should be a big margin of Republican victory.” 
        Get him out of there even if you have to use a derrick to lift him bodily  in his swivel chair.

         For one thing, this guy is a natural to defect…and collect.
                               No Single Story Behind Abuses: George.
         After Easter Mass at Holy Name Cathedral where he didn’t mention pedophile abuses by priests directly, Francis Cardinal George met with the media and said this about the problems in the Church:
          “I think the Catholics should try to figure out what is behind a lot of the reporting as they’re gathered from all parts of the world in order to create a single story line when in fact there isn’t a single story line. There are a lot of different stories.” 
            Gee, all this time I thought there was a single story line. 
          Starts with Step One, the Lavender Priesthood burgeoning from lax seminaries and bishops…goes from there to pedophile abuse…from there to unconscionable stalling,shoveling cases under the rug and transferring errant priests to different parishes without giving those parishes a heads-up…then suspending the offenders from the priesthood…holding them in Limbo when some of them appealed to Rome… shuttling cases to Rome where five, six years are spent whatever they do in Rome to adjudicate the cases—during which time either the alleged offenders die or continue their abuses while awaiting a determination…winding up with the media getting hold of the stories and prelates saying it’s a concerted media assault on the Church…and/or as the Vatican exorcist said yesterday—Satan is behind the media.   
          Make no mistake, Satan is involved but every step of the way up the daisy chain—beginning where moderns think his presence borders on superstition, regarding his presence as a mere symbol. Those who took him lightly aided the whole process in Step One in initiating what Paul called “the mystery of iniquity.”  To say there’s no single story line…and/or the devil jumped in at the last step with the media…fails to understand the cause and thereby not grasping the cure.   
          *: St. Marcellinus of Carthage [circa AD 413].   Interesting story here for those who may inadvertently fall into the error of being “more Catholic than the Church.”  The great evil of our age is laxity, relativism and cultural decadence but at an earlier time there were heresies that went the other way. In history there were those who were “more Catholic than the Church.”  
           During Roman persecutions of Christians in the 3rd century the blood of the early martyrs turned thin and a weak breed arose, thousands of people, who turned traitor to Catholicism to save their skins—including many priests and bishops. Rich Catholics offered bribes to get certificates of compliance to get off the hook. But after the persecution passed, a group of hard-liners arose in North Africa following one Donatus.  Hundreds of churches in North Africa joined him in a schism.  
              Donatus argued that that the clergy who betrayed the faith—called Traditores or traitors—could not be restored to holy office or apostolic sucession, meaning that the congregants of  their churches were receiving invalid sacraments: and they must be purged.  Augustine argued rightly that Catholicism meant forgiveness. Hadn’t Peter denied Christ three times?  Hadn’t Thomas doubted the Resurrection? He argued Catholicism was for sinners who by the grace of God could become saints.  Aren’t we all sinners? 
            No, said the followers of Donatus, called Donatists: the clergy were impure and must be excised root and branch—that’s that. For a century churches in North Africa refused to accept repentant ex-apostates, as ordered by a forgiving Rome. Now enter one Marcellius, not a priest but a politician: secretary of state of the Western Roman Empire, top aide to Emperor Honorius and  close friend of Augustine, bishop of Hippo (in Africa)…a politician yes, but a truly devout one, a frequent correspondent to St. Jerome.  
             In AD 409, Marcellinus granted the right to public worship to the Donatists, the heretical group.  He lived to regret it sorely. The Donatists began to grow in number and oppress the orthodox.  The orthodox appealed to the Emperor Honorius in Rome for protection.  The emperor named Marcelinus to be judge of the controversy. In 411 at the Conference of Carthage after listening for 3 days to testimony from orthodox Catholic and Donatist bishops, , Marcellinus ruled that the Donatists were heretics and that they had to give up their churches and return them to orthodox bishops and priests.  Meaning to the Donatists that the horrid ex-apostates who denied the Church during persecution were now in the drivers’ seat in North Africa! 
            It would have been tough to enforce at any rate but Marcellinus and his brother were given the job by the Emperor to enforce the law…and they did, using tough tactics—far too tough from a pragmatic standpoint.. Augustine begged his friend Marcellinus to take it easy, go slow(Augustine proved to be a more realistic, pragmatic person than the pol Marcellinus) …but nope. The outraged Donatists in North Africa still had the preponderant majority and they rose up in insurrection and tossed Marcellinus and his brother into prison.  Augustine appealed to the Donatists to release them but nope. He visited Marcellinus in prison.  The Emperor sent reinforcements to rescue them but too late. 
          Marcellinus and his brother were taken out and executed without a trial.  Augustine wept and dedicated his book City of God to “my dear friend, Marcellinus.” Marcellinus became a martyr.  The emperor Honorius  punished the Donatists and praised the late Marcellinus, calling him “a man of glorious memory.”  Marcellinus’ name was then added to the Roman Martyrology.  Thus Marcellinus was the first politician-statesman to be martyred.  Not until Thomas More would there be another.


  1. Mr. Roeser, do you have any collective guilt on how the U.S. Department of Defense has facilitated and covered up child sex abuse over the past decades?

    “Here solider, sailor, airmen, or marine -- here’s your pay, go to town.”

    Two of my cousins are products of the U.S. Air Force policy of ‘leave.’ Once they found out my uncle had impregnated an underage Vietnamese prostitute, the Air Force attempted to send him home without her, but to their surprise, he married her instead.

    He’s told me that this cover-up was, and is rampant, where’s the watchdog journalists, oh they’re too busy trying to take down a Pope.

    What’s the newest ‘gotcha Pope’ evidence today?

    Am I outraged at the way the Church handled the abuse of minors, ABSOLUTELY! Am I convinced all is well after the reforms, NO! However, are any of these allegations about post reform priests, or are they from 30+ years ago!

    This all started with the report of the Pope’s brother slapping a kid on the face, now it’s obvious what’s going on with the media. Throw mud, lots and lots of mud.

    I’m not going to be Mr. Hitchen's and attorney Andersen’s useful idiot, I’ll leave that to you great ‘Catholic Journalist’ who profess so much love for the Church.

  2. Today I was visiting Tom Roeser's blog and reading his post on the Roman Catholic Church's current sex scandal difficulties.

    One reader was offended at Tom's post and said the media should be covering the e US military's cover up of children fathered by military personnel in places like Viet Nam. Interesting. Here's my response to him.

    I think you're a bit off topic here. Fault for ignoring sex abuse can be found everywhere, particularly when it happened in the '50's-70's.

    The reason why the Church is coming under this media onslaught is because it is a religious institution that is supposed to be caring for the 1 BILLION people under its charge, not engaging in sexual predation of them. Couple that with the extensive international network of schools and you've got a story that won't go away. In a sense the Church has dumped fuel on the fire by its equivocating approach to the offenders and the bungling PR efforts to defuse a powder keg of a controversy. It doesn't help that so many of the Church leaders, like Benedict, were very active in the hierarchy at the height of the mess.

    So is all this media coverage "mud throwing"? Some always is. But there is much legitimate criticism occurring that demands the Church and its leaders to stand up, take direct responsibility and clearly enunciate how it is firmly dealing with abusers, homosexuality in the priesthood and seminaries and monitoring itself to see that these things never happen again. Mumbling something like "well, we all make mistakes" just isn't going to cut it.

    I wonder how the Apostles Peter or Paul would have handled these situations. ( cf. Acts 5:1-10 and Galatians 2:11-14) It seems today's ecclesiastical bureaucrats are more than happy to claim Apostolic authority while avoiding Apostolic responsibility.

    Sola veritas,

    Jean Cauvin

  3. Jean,

    What’s interesting to me Jean is how you concluded that I was off topic, on my own topic…that gave me a chuckle.

    The Church is 1 BILLION strong as you emphasize, and if you or the media want to know where to look for the majority of Catholic children who are sexually abused, you should look to the pews because most abused children are abused by family members in their homes…

    The Church has acted and reforms are in place, however the media acts as though it has not. The media brings up cases of evil men who were perpetrating their heinous acts even before Benedict was ordained! I should just accept that the NY Times is just giving me the facts, bullshit.


    You’re right though, saying we all make mistakes isn’t a valid excuse, but then again according to most media reports, the Catholic Church is the only one who has ever made ‘mistakes’.


    I will be expected the NY Times to be holding Arnie Duncan and President Obama accountable for these acts any day now. From the Catholic League:

    • A Milford, Connecticut teacher's aide pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a high school student
    • A Brookville High School teacher in Pennsylvania was charged with aggravated indecent assault; indecent exposure; corruption of minors; possession of obscene material; sexual abuse of children; and unlawful conduct with minors
    • A middle school gym teacher in Athens, New York was arrested on charges of sex abuse and forcible touching
    • A Morrisville-Eaton Central School District teacher outside Utica, New York was arrested for forcibly touching a girl over a three year period, beginning at the age of 11, and for endangering her welfare
    • A former Teacher of the Year in Bullitt County, Kentucky was indicted by a grand jury on sexual abuse charges
    • A teacher at Olin High School in Iowa was charged with sexually exploiting a freshman. This same teacher faced similar charges two years ago when he taught in another school, and was simply moved from one school district to another.

    Okay, let's forget about the military. Where is the holding accountable of any other institution as a whole, for the present and the past? I suppose other religions don't have schools, or maybe other institutions don't have child molesters? Look into what's going on with the Lutheran Church in Germany right now, you may have to look hard though, our media doesn't know about it, I guess. Let's hold all Protestant Churches accountable as if they were one Church, then compare the statistics, wouldn't that be fun?

  4. Bob,

    By "off topic" I was referring your challenge of Tom's post by referring to the lack of media interest in the US military's behavior in SE Asia. Frankly no matter how poignant the tragedy it's irrelevant to Tom's post.

    There is a significant difference between the abuse perpetrated by priests and the abuse perpetrated by laypeople. First, out of the billion Catholics there are only 406,000 priests worldwide (as of 2004 from a Vatican report in 2006). One would expect a larger number of abuse stories among the laity. There's more of laity by a factor of 2000 Reportedly "only" 1.5 - 5% of priests were involved in sex abuse (according to Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi). But one also expects of much higher standard of behavior out of ordained clergy.

    Second, law enforcement officials often allowed the Church to handle abuse cases "in house" as opposed to lay people or Protestant clergy who had to deal directly with the legal system. When priests were often just transferred or discipline was minimal the cycle of pedophilia was perpetuated. This pattern of behavior is what has angered many, including Tom.

    Third, abuse in any form is unacceptable. Any mishandling of abuse cases by authorities, whether they be secular or religious is just as unacceptable. Those authorities have to be held accountable for their behavior. The problem is that the Catholic hierarchy has difficulty with the concept of accountability, especially to their flock. It's just not the way the Church leadership culture has functioned over the centuries. So when they are heavily criticized and can't figure out why.
    Current practices and reforms are irrelevant to past failures/sins which need to be acknowledged and repented for, even if you are the Pope.

    Fourth, arguing that "at least we didn't abuse as many as they did" doesn't really deal with the moral and ethical issues here adequately or acceptably. It's just a dodge. "Mea culpa" is the only acceptable response, and necessarily has to be acknowledged in each and every instance of harm.

    Jean Cauvin

  5. Jean,

    I don’t expect any higher or lower standard of behavior from ordained clergy.  Actually, I would expect higher standards from men and women who voluntarily enter Holy Matrimony, and then abuse their own children, but who cares -- Let’s get the Pope.
    Secondly, huh?  Most law enforcement officials have allowed all institutions to handle abuse cases “in house.”  Check the recent Oregon Boy Scout trials.  Our government routinely allowed and allows sexual offenders to reenter society without any counseling or supervision over and above just being a felon.  Also, most Protestant clergy were and are just dismissed by their churches as pastors when serious allegation arose/arise, the documentation on that is quite easily accessible on the internet. 
    Because of the Bride/Groom relationship a priest has with the Church, these men couldn’t just be let go from their job.  One of the reforms the media has chosen to ignore is that it is now far easier to ‘fire’ the perpetrators, and Pope Benedict is chiefly responsible for this reform, but who cares, let’s get the Pope.
    Accountability?  There is no institution who has been held more accountable for child sex assaults, be it monetarily or morally.  Name any other organization that has.  Irrelevant, you say, well then I suppose that’s over…  Let’s get the Pope, facts be damned.
    Yes you’re correct; the Church has never said Mea Culpa…  What was it when Pope Benedict publicly met with victims of abuse here in the USA?  I suppose that didn’t happen because it’s time to get the Pope.
    After all, the Pope’s brother slapped a bratty kid in the face 40 years ago, which then led to the Pope  being supposedly involved in a case in Wisconsin 30-40 years ago, while he was in Germany! And all of this conveniently being wrongfully presented by the NY Times to the public in the weeks preceding Holy Week.  It’s time to get the Pope. Have we got him yet? --You know the man the objective media refers to as God’s rottweiler.

    I totally understand why one would chose to ignore, or minimalize the reforms that been put in place. You know, the reforms that have brought the accusations in the USA down to single digits last year – it interferes with their/yours ultimate storyline on how we're going to get the Pope.

  6. I only address you as Jean (Jean Cauvin/John Calvin) because that is the moniker you have chosen for yourself. I'm well aware of where it is you come, and of course your true desires for 'Catholic' reform.

  7. Bob,

    I actually think Benedict is a "good guy". I have always admired him for his courage and commitment. I am not out to "get" anyone. No one is above criticism and everyone can learn to handle crises better. I despise the New York Times and the journalism they practice. I agree with you that the actions of the elder Ratzinger really are irrelevant to this whole discussion. Actually he was reputed to be well liked by his choir members and probably was no different in his approach to discipline than the average Catholic school teacher of his day.

    But the European controversy is really being driven not just by the situation in Ireland but also in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and so on. The problem is that the Vatican hasn't been proactive enough in dealing with these cases. Blaming the outrage on "Satanic attack" just isn't going to cut it. It seems to me they need to realize that this is a defining moment and take bold and decisive action as a result. Start by changing Canon Law so that proven abusers can be immediately defrocked. Require those involved in cover-ups to publicly acknowledge their guilt. If they won't cooperate then demote them. Clean out the "good old boy" network in the Vatican. Decisive proactive action demonstrates you care and are determined to do what is right. Rightly or wrongly the Church is not being perceived that way by its own people.

    As to your criticism of my blog name, Cauvin was a good Roman Catholic for his first 20 years and even contemplated the priesthood as a vocation. When he chose to side with those calling for the reform and renewal of the Church at the Collège de France his life as a Catholic was hastily ended and he had to flee to Switzerland for safety. The rest as we say is history. Most of the leaders of the Reformation were priests who sought purity in the Church and a return to the Bible as the authority for its teachings. Few of them sought to found a new church. They wanted to reform the church the Church they served and loved.

    I too was a "good Catholic" for my first 20 years, had 11 years of Catholic Schooling, was an altar boy, came within a week of starting seminary, even had a brother who served as a priest till his death. I chose a different path but still care for my friends who attend and serve the Church. After college I went to the second largest independent Protestant seminary (accredited, by the way) received a ThM (a 4 year degree)got ordained legitimately, pastored for 9 years in Chicagoland and have spent the last 20 years serving as a foreign missionary (lecturing in Theology, Bible, Ministry and Church History). I think I have the expertise and background to comment on the issues we've been discussing.

    It's unfortunate that some feel that any criticism is malicious in its intent. I personally wish the best for my Catholic friends and family and take no pleasure in watching their church self-destruct.

    Veritas Curat,

    Jean Cauvin

  8. One small but important correction: the large majority of these cases are not pedophilia but homosexuals preying on teenage boys/young men. It is important to not cooperate with the homophile media in recasting the bulk of this problem as something other than what it is. Misdiagnosing a problem is a sure way to fail to solve it.