Some guy with a vendetta says there’s a gay pedophile ring of Satanists in the Vatican

…so, of course, the more tabloidesque press runs with it and a number of Catholics write me in panic about it this weekend, particularly since one of those tabloids was a Conservative Catholic Folk Hero. I was, however, off swimming with my adorable grandddaughter Lucy the Cuteness, who astonished us all by donning an approved flotation device and putting out into the deep like a duck to… what’s the word I’m looking for?

All in all, it’s been absolutely beautiful here. The light on the leaves makes them somehow golden more than green, reminding me that this is, after all, Tolkien’s Middle Earth, just a little later in its history. Beauty, courage, valor, honor, humility, faithfulness, still grow in our world as they do in Aragorn’s and the green grass that grow in my yard is still the mighty stuff of legend.

Oh! Right. So the latest hysteria from Rome. It turns out that my plan of “Ignore the hysteria and enjoy the weekend” seems to have worked extremely well. If there was something to it, I figured, we’d know more by Monday. If not, we’d know that too. As it happens, there’s not so much as you might think, to judge from Jimmy Akin’s typically cool-headed analysis and from John Allen’s actual real reportage as distinct from that of rumor mongers with a camera and a twirling pencil.

Of course, that doesn’t do much to slow down the hysterics in Jimmy’s comboxes, many of whom are examples of that curious new phenomenon, the *conservative* Church despiser who deeply *want* there to be a scandal so that a) their beloved Folk Hero(s), both bald and mop-topped, will be vindicated; b) their enemies, real and imagined, will be punished; and c) their own reflexive assumptions about their virtue and darkest suspicions about their enemies will be vindicated. It goes without saying, of course, that poor Jimmy and the roughly 50% of readers in his comboxes who share his cool head are fools and stooges for sticking with what we in fact know and for failing to leap beyond the evidence to the conclusion “EVIL CABAL!!!” being asserted by Folk Heroes and their fanboys.

Could it be that the Evil Cabal these people so profoundly hope for really exists? Hey! Anything is possible. It could be that a defrocked pathological liar and pervert with a vendetta, and Italian scandal sheets with all the reliability of the National Enquirer, and a guy with a twirling pencil are really on to something. But at present we don’t have any evidence for that, nor do Italian prosecutors (you know, the people who jailed the pathological liar for being a pervert in 1999). All we have is, well, a guy with a pencil who appears to have jumped the gun on a story because it fit his pattern of demagoguery against the bishops, coupled with the extremely weird alliance of anti-Catholic scandal sheets and their strange bedfellows, Ultra-Super Pure Catholics, who want, more than anything, for it to be so. If it turns out that the Evil Cabal is there and the defrocked pathological liar with the vendetta is telling the truth, then let the guilty be jailed. But first, let’s try praying it’s not there, not hoping with burning malice that it is, just so a Beloved Catholic Folk Hero won’t look dumb and his fanboys’ lust for the Great Cleansing Fire won’t look half-cocked.

I sometimes wonder if, on the day state persecution of the Church begins in the West, it will be the Ultra-Super Pure Catholics who make the midnight phone calls to the NSA informing on their impure Catholic neighbors and demanding their arrest in order to “purify” the Church of the Unrighteous. I’ve never met a subculture more bent on desiring the Great Cleansing Fire than that one, nor more blissfully certain that they will pass the Test they want so much to inflict on everybody else.

One humorous note: I love belonging to a Church with a heirarchy so out of touch with media-speak that its representative, called upon to address rumors of rent boys and black masses, replies, “This sort of coverage violates the most elementary norms of journalistic deontology.”

De. Ont… Just a minute…

de·on·tol·o·gy (dn-tl-j)


Ethical theory concerned with duties and rights.

[Greek deon, deont-, obligation, necessity (from  neuter present participle of dein, to need, lack; see deu-1 in Indo-European roots) + -logy.]

Okay, your Eminence, so what you’re saying is, this is unethical journalism, right?

Anyway, it appears that, so far, there is no actual evidence beyond the word of a defrocked pathological liar and pervert with a vendetta to support this story.  If something turns up, I’m sure we’ll hear about it, particularly since some Conservative Catholic Folk Hero fanboys are now desperately hoping the story is true.  It will be interesting to see if any sort of retraction is issued if it turns out not to be true.  But then, I’m still waiting for a retraction of the insinuation that Bp. Mulvey was part of a gay cabal that schemed to destroy the Black Sheep Dog and an honest acknowledgement that he was a bishop who actually did his job and disciplined a sexually immoral priest–much as the Folk Hero’s fanboys are demanding be done here.  Only the priest was real.  And so was the bishop whose reputation was sullied by the Hero and his fanboys.

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  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    The leading Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, which is no friend of the Church, has already made it pretty clear that it regards the priest in question as utterly discredited and without belief. In fact, the Italian judiciary have charged him with defamation and perjury. On the other hand, on the same day, a top monsignore from IOR was arrested, clearly with the support of Pope Francis, who wants to clean out that particular sewer – Pope Benedict already tried, only to have his personal nominee chased out of town by IOR’s board. Some corrupt conspiracies do exist, I’m afraid.

    • chezami

      To be sure. But it appears this one is bunk.

  • Wayne

    I guess the Baltimore Catechism ignores stuff like detraction and Rash Judgement, so these guys in the clear, like um morally? It’s not like denigrating the reputations of people, causing scandal, is like anything sinful, ya know? I mean, cuz purifying the church is so important, isn’t there like a mortal-sin-immunity card in effect for “straight-shootin’ ” commentators jus’ wokrin’ the crowd?

  • Jared Clark

    If only more secular news sources mentioned the part where Poggi (the defrocked priest) was arrested for slander.

  • By the fourth sensationalistic headline (hey, if I can’t post on your wall, what are you doing in my e-mail?) I googled it. Within three minutes, I dismissed this from my mind as “more baby boomer and gen X priests who apparently don’t believe in the vow of celibacy” and left it at that.

  • brandon field

    Re: journalistic deontology

    Just because journalists write to an 8th grade reading level is no reason that you have to castrate your own vocabulary when you’re giving an interview!

    • moseynon

      hmmm…. I have a college degree, but could not have defined “deontology” if had read it in a news article. When being quoted on the record by a journalist, it seems prudent to use words which are understandable to the general public.

      I agree with Mark Shea that the quote about “journalistic deontology” is an example of the tone-deafness which has hurt the Church when presenting itself via the media. But wasn’t an American journalist (Greg Burke) hired a year ago precisely to put a stop to this? I wonder what he is up to?

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Actually, it’s just rotten translation. That word is commonly used in Italian, and every Italian knows what it means. I am a professional translator, and I would never have rendered it like that in English: I’d have translated it as “professional ethics”, because that is the thing that an English speaker uses when he means what an Italian means by DEONTOLOGIA.

  • Al

    Batman is a Deontologist….perhaps we should call him to investigate.

  • Completely off topic comment: Pics of Lucy The Cuteness please?

  • An Aaron, not The Aaron

    What a cracking investigative journalist that Voris is! Such detail! It reminds me about the time that guy told me that thing that had to do with the stuff going on in that country. You remember that, right?
    Oh, and Mark, thanks for providing the definition of “deontology.” I found myself wondering why the journalist needed braces and why his Eminence would even care.

  • jeff

    To be fair, Michael Voris has since given a retraction (with caveats)

    • chezami

      Is that like a non-retraction retraction or what?