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The Great Thing about the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal for our Chattering Classes…

…was that it provided the incredibly satisfying feeling of caring about children who were sexually abused without having to actually, you know, care or anything.

The demonstration of just how shallow and uncaring our Chattering Classes are is this: How many of the people who fake concern about sexual abuse have continued making Woody Allen a very rich man for the past 20 years? Here’s what we know about this man.

Here’s what his victim says to a Chattering Class that completely ignored her because Allen was so cool (exactly the way victims of priests were iced out by the chanceries and parishes of St. We-Adore-Our-Hip-Priest in the Diocese of Denial.

And here’s what the Chattering Classes did about him and his victim:

Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. …

What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?

Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

So imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.

Are you imagining that? Now, what’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?

The Onion has our Chattering Classes down pat in this fake editorial from Allen:

Gosh, just thinking about the moral ramifications of this situation is enough to make one’s head spin, frankly. On one hand, you have the accusations that have been leveled against me: that I am a sexual predator who molested my adopted adolescent daughter while simultaneously entering into a sexual relationship with the child of my now ex-partner that continues to this day. But on the other hand, you have my truly lovable persona and monumental contributions to cinema—as evidenced by such timeless works as Manhattan, The Purple Rose Of Cairo, and Crimes And Misdemeanors—that have delighted millions of people and unquestionably benefited society as a whole.

So, do you blindly condemn me based on unproven allegations of sexual impropriety that, even if true, shouldn’t automatically diminish the import of my immense artistic contributions? Or do you maintain that the value of my work supersedes what I may or may not have done in my personal life, knowing that in doing so you are most likely siding with a pederast whom the American public has inexplicably let off the hook for a series of horrific crimes that in a just world would have seen me in handcuffs long ago?

See what I’ve done to you? See the choice I’ve forced you to make? That’s right, folks; for the rest of your lives you’ll have to weigh everything my art has meant to you personally against a series of damning, albeit not technically proven, allegations of horrific abuse, and you basically have to make that calculation every single time you watch one of my films or laugh at one of my undeniably funny jokes. Holy Moses, that has to be a real drag for you guys.

The reason it’s a quandary, of course, is that Allen’s peers, apologists, and fawning admirers never really cared about victims of sexual abuse. They cared about being perceived as caring about it. So when priests were doing it and bishops were covering it up, it was an entirely cost-free way of expressing moral dudgeon alongside all the hippest people and doing it at the expense of something that none of their peers would be caught dead approving of anyway. Cheap, fake moralism.

But now, when it involves blaspheming something and someone that they regard as cool and as one of their own, the Chattering Classes don’t merely fall silent: they loudly acclaim the Great Man as they have done for 20 years.

I take seriously the people who have consistently attacked sexual abuse of children, not only in the Church, but among the hip as well. But anybody who has patronized Woody Allen’s films for the past 20 years or lionized Roman Polanski while loudly wailing and wringing their hands about the abuse in the Church is poseur and a fraud who makes abundantly clear that sexual abuse of children is just fine so long as you are the Right Kind of Roman.

  • Elaine S.

    “they cared about being percieved as caring about it”

    One of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters has an interesting passage on the difference between imaginary and real charity, as well as imaginary vs. real hatred. The “patient” referred to in the Letters is a Brit living in England during the WWII Blitz and Screwtape cautions that encouraging his hatred of Germans — to him, an abstract class of people, none of whom he has ever personally met — won’t do much toward insuring his damnation if “a pernicious habit of charity” is growing up between him and people he actually lives with and sees every day. The goal, he says, should be to achieve the reverse — encourage him to have lots of charitable feelings toward people he doesn’t know while focusing his anger, hostility and hatred toward people he DOES know. I think a lot of the modern emphasis on “awareness” of various causes, etc. plays into this; it gives people a way to exercise easy but imaginary charity. Proving that you “care” becomes as important or more important than actually DOING something that makes a difference.

  • Evan

    I will say that I think there is enough evidence to create a reasonable doubt as to whether Allen is pedophile. That Allen’s a creep and a pervert, there is no doubt, but that does not automatically make him a pedophile. A good analysis of all the information can be found here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/filmchat/2014/02/a-few-thoughts-on-the-whole-woody-allen-situation.html

    However, supposing Allen is guilty, the biggest hypocrisy is that Mia Farrow, his most vocal accuser until recently, is still friends with and a defender of Roman Polanski (with whom she made ROSEMARY’S BABY). And that alone makes it difficult for me to accept her accusations at face value, especially considering that her son Moses has recently switched from attacking Allen to defending him, claiming that Farrow “brainwashed” her children.

    I’m not accepting Moses’ testimony at face value either, but I think there’s enough evidence to give credence to both sides.

  • kag1982

    I think that the reason why the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal got so much play is because of the hypocrisy that is involved. It is the same reason why a minister having an affair gets more attention than a Wall Street trader having an affair. Both the minister and the Wall Street trader are scumbags and sinners, but society will always criticize the minister more than the Wall Street trader. Everyone knows that the Wall Street trader is a scumbag; he isn’t pretending to be anything else. The minister, however, receives derision for preaching the Gospel but not living it.
    Everyone knows that Woody Allen and Roman Polanski are perverted Hollywood actors. However, people expected an organization like the Catholic Church that is preaching the Gospel to know that covering up child sexual abuse is wrong. The shocking thing is that the Church is acting on par with a dweeby actor like Woody Allen who has made a living out of writing, directing, and acting in biographical movies about his own stunted emotional issues. That obviously doesn’t excuse either Allen or abusvie priests, but hopefully it explains the situation.

    • Alma Peregrina

      Oh, so it’s all about knowing if one is hypocritical or a natural pervert? It’s all about judging others? Foolish me, and here I thought it was about the child’s welfare, silly me…

      • kag1982

        Both Catholic priests and pervert actors should be punished by the law. I’m just discussing the obvious. People hold the Catholic Church to a higher standard than Hollywood and so it is more shocking when the Church covers up sexual abuse than when Hollywood excuses it.

        • Alma Peregrina

          Hum, no…
          ——————————————–
          Objection 1) There are certainly people that left the Catholic Church because they were disgusted about what happened and because they felt betrayed. But the majority of people that use the pedophilia cases as admunition to beat the Church do NOT hold the Catholic Church to a higher standard. In fact, they detest the Catholic Church and want Her destroyed or, at least, barred from participation in the public square.

          You know, those people are the same culture guys and opinion-makers that are now railing in defense to Polansky and Allen.
          ——————————————–
          Objection 2) The Catholic Church never (EVER!) pretended to be pervert-free. You know, that “hospital for the sinners, not a haven of saints” thingy. So, that “holding to a higher standard” blather is utter non-sense. The Church’s authority comes from Christ, not the holliness of popes/bishops/priests. Jesus chose frail doubting three-time-denying Peter for that same reason.

          If Jesus was a pedophile, those accusers would be right. Since He was not, they are just hitting convenient strawmen.
          ——————————————–
          Objection 3) Hollywood does, indeed, “hold itself to a higher standard”. These are the people that want to propagandize LGBT morality and anathemize anyone that doesn’t tow in line with their pharisaical tolerance. These are the ones that make movies evangelizing about their liberal worldview. These are the ones that spend millions in “causes” and “awarenesses” and millions more in showing off how hip they are for doing so.

          So, why can’t I hold Hollywood to a higher standard? If they are such moral compasses and are perverts themselves, then people should be flocking away from the cinemas just like they are fleeing the Church, right? Or is it anything else I’m missing?
          ——————————————–
          In conclusion: If, as you say, hypocrisy is a disqualifier, then those finger-pointing holliwood opinion-makers are, themselves, hypocrites and should therefore be dismissed. Period. No double standard allowed.

          • kag1982

            Counterpoint #1 – Nobody is out to destroy the Catholic Church. Please get over this persecution complex already. Hollywood may not agree with the Church’s values on sexual morality but Hollywood moguls aren’t sitting in their mansions thinking about how to bring down the Church and cackling. I assure you that they just want to make money.
            Counterpoint #2 – Let’s use this non-religion example. Let’s suppose that a woman wins Miss America on the platform of promoting a healthy body image among young women. It comes out a few months into her reign that she has had five plastic surgeries and she binges and purges and obsessively exercises to keep her weight down all while preaching body acceptance and a healthy lifestyle. See an issue with that?
            It is the same deal with the Catholic Church. The same bishops who were denouncing a modern decline in sexual morality were covering up for priests sexually abusing minors.
            Counterpoint #3 – I really don’t look to Woody Allen or any Hollywood star for how to live my life. They are screwed up! And yes they support gay marriage, but gay marriage isn’t gaining popularity because of that. It is gaining popularity because many more people have gay children, relatives, neighbors, and friends.

            • Alma Peregrina

              Reply to counterpoint #1 – Stop with the persecution complex? Gee, thank you for the advice. Allow me to give you an advice in return. Stop sticking your head in the sand.

              Now that this advice was given with no other explanation attached (just like you did), I note that you have not really “counterpointed” anything. You said that people were condemning the Church because they hold Her to a higher standard. I said that they are condemning the Church because they would condemn Her anyway, so the pedophilia cases are just convenient admunition. Do you dispute this?
              ————————————————–
              Reply to counterpoint #2 – Again, nothing was said that really “counterpointed” anything I said. Is that Miss America the personification of Hollywood? Because that Miss America was condemning Church pedophilia while engaging abundantly in it. So what’s your point, really? That tu quoque is no longer a fallacy?

              To be clear: No, I do NOT have an issue with a Miss America that promoted a healthy lifestyle while destructing her own body. Because a healthy lifestyle is good in itself, it doesn’t borrow its goodness from the messenger.
              ——————————————–
              Reply to counterpoint #3 – Again, the success of the LGBT propaganda is completely irrelevant to my argument. It was brought up just to illustrate what I meant. And if you think that the increase of acceptability of the LGBT lifestyle hasn’t got anything to do with the unashamed apologetics that the media have been doing for the gay cause for years now, again I advise you… stop sticking your head in the sand.

              PS: As for you “not looking up to Woody Allen”… that is duly noted and never was the focus of my comments in the first place. I’m not refering to you, I’m refering to Hollywood and the intelectual elite we have today.

              • Guest

                I have to leave now, so I’ll just expose my arguments the shorter and clearer way I can, so that we will not get sidetracked:

                1 – The majority of people that condemn the Church do not do it because they “hold the Church in higher regard”, but because they don’t like the Church and need the pedophilia cases as a pretext to attack Her.

                2 – The Church being “hold in higher regard” is a strawman. A convenient strawman.

                3 – If the Church should “held in higher regard”, Hollywood should to, as Hollywood also pretends to be a moral compass and is also full of perverts.

                4 – I don’t like ad hominems, but if the Church should be condemned for Her hypocrisy, Hollywood should to. Equally. No double standards, no “yeah but”s.

                In conclusion: A child molested by Hollywood is just the same as a child molested by the Church. Period. In fact, a child molested by Hollywood is more grievous, because Hollywood holds a power the Church doesn’t possess in the modern world… the power to defame that child as a liar, the power to control every information that accuses their pet molesters. Your infatuation with gay “marriage” doesn’t justify how you relativize that child’s suffering, just because you hold the Church “in higher regard” (but it’s a shame you just hold Her “in higher regard” to accuse Her, not to follow Her teachings).

                Good bye.

              • kag1982

                “You said that people were condemning the Church because they hold Her to a higher standard. I said that they are condemning the Church because they would condemn Her anyway, so the pedophilia cases are just convenient admunition. Do you dispute this?”

                See I don’t think that condemning the Church for failing to live up to its standard is persecution. Let’s take another example. The U.S. gets roundly criticized for failing to live up to its standards in areas like torture. As an American, I don’t think that this is unjust persecution. America stands for a certain set of values and when it fails to live up to them, it is going to receive harsher crticism than China. In comparison, the Church stands for something that Hollywood doesn’t so there are going to be louder criticisms when it fails to live up to those standards.

                “Again, nothing was said that really “counterpointed” anything I said. Is that Miss America the personification of Hollywood? Because that Miss America was condemning Church pedophilia while engaging abundantly in it. So what’s your point, really? That ad hominem is no longer a fallacy?”

                The example that I gave you was of a Miss America who was promoting healthy body image as her platform. She won the title by saying that she wanted to make young girls happier with their bodies and began doing interviews and highlighting programs to help girls do so at the same time she herself wasn’t living up to this example. That is the sort of hypocrisy that the Church is being called to task for.

                I’ve never heard of Woody Allen advocating for family values. In fact, in Manhattan, one of the love interests was creepily a barely legal Mariel Hemmingway. This doesn’t excuse Woody Allen’s behavior. He is a pervy old man who should be rightly shunned but it does explain why there is more outrage in society about the Church than about Hollywood.

                “PS: As for you “not looking up to Woody Allen”… that is duly noted and never was the focus of my comments in the first place. I’m not refering to you, I’m refering to Hollywood and the intelectual elite we have today.”
                No one I know of looks up to Hollywood as a family values place. People might want to look like certain stars or be rich and famous but they don’t see them as living moral lives. That is the whole point of supermarket tabloids – to make people feel superior to the Hollywood stars.

                • Alma Peregrina

                  “See I don’t think that condemning the Church for failing to live up to its standard is persecution.”

                  See, I don’t either.

                  But I’m not the one that talked about persecution. You were the first to bring that up.

                  All I said was that people who acuse the Church, do not hold Her in high regard. They want the Church destroyed. They want the Church silenced. They want the Church changed to not contradict them anymore. It’s imprinted in their ideological background and there is no way to deny it.

                  Oh, and don’t get me wrong… they’re in it for the money, too. One thing doesn’t exclude the other.

                  Of course, that doesn’t translate materially into persecution, at least not as you define it, and at least not now. Never said it did. I just pointed out that they detest the Church, they would rather haver Her gone, not hold Her in high regard. Do you dispute this?

                  And even though I concede there is no persecution (for now…), I do NOT concede that this is mere criticism. It is one thing to criticize the Church for the pedophilia cases. Another completely diferent thing is to use the pedophilia cases as a beating stick to denigrate the Church whenever possible.
                  ——————————————————
                  As for your analogies, your restating of the “Miss America” case didn’t budge my opinion one bit. I will not criticize that “Miss America” you talk about.

                  As I will not criticize the USA torture more than China’s. Why would I? Does it mean something for the tortured one if the torturer has high standards? No? Then it shouldn’t concern you either.

                  So if the US tortures, let it be shunned for torturing. If China tortures, let it be shunned for torturing. If China tortures more than the US, shun it more than the US. Simple.

                  What you’re saying to the victims of Hollywood pedophilia is that they should be all like: “I’ve been molested, my life was scarred forever, but at least my molester was a pervert, which is nice for me. At least I wasn’t molested by someone with high standards, because THAT would be REALLY wrong. So let me shut up, let all the power of the media fall on me, lest my suffering distracts anyone from the REALLY, REAL victims: the kids molested by the Church. And the people killed by the Crusades, like, 1000 years ago. And by the Inquisition. And Galileo, that allways gets brought up somehow. Those are really suffering today, they are no convenient human shields for intelectual elites feeling good about themselves.”

                  Sorry, that’s disgusting.
                  —————————————————–
                  PS: Also, as for your strawman that you’ve never heard that Woody Allen or Hollywood are “family values” friendly… nor did I. Never told otherwise. What I said was that Hollywood sees itself as a moral compass. Its values are not “family values” friendly, of course. But they have values nonetheless, they are extremely moralist and should, per your logic, be held in high standards and appropriately shunned.

                  If you will, you could call Hollywood values as “Church pedophilia victims” friendly. So their hypocrisy in denouncing their own pedophilia victims should (again, by your logic, not mine) be enough to bring a major uproar in today’s society.

                  • kag1982

                    “All I said was that people who acuse the Church, do not hold Her in high regard. They want the Church destroyed. They want the Church silenced. They want the Church changed to not contradict them anymore. It’s imprinted in their ideological background and there is no way to deny it.”

                    That strikes me as the definition of persecution.

                    “As for your analogies, your restating of the “Miss America” case didn’t budge my opinion one bit. I will not criticize that “Miss America” you talk about.

                    As I will not criticize the USA torture more than China’s. Why would I? Does it mean something for the tortured one if the torturer has high standards? No? Then it shouldn’t concern you either.”

                    You missed my point entirely. The U.S. should get more criticism than China because the U.S. stands for freedom and human rights. The Miss America hypothetical is going to get more blowback than a regular beauty queen because of her platform. The Church is going to get criticism because it stands as moral force in the world. It is always going to get more criticism than a skeevy Hollywood actor.

                    That doesn’t mean that Woody Allen shouldn’t be punished and ostracized for his actions, just that the world’s press are always going to be more critical of the Church than Hollywood because the Church counts for something.

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      “That strikes me as the definition of persecution.”

                      No, because there is a world of diference between what they want, what they do and what they get.
                      ————————————————
                      “You missed my point entirely. The U.S. should get more criticism than China because the U.S. stands for freedom and human rights.”

                      Nope, you’re the one that missed the point entirely. You’re so bent in judging the sinner, in judging if the sinner is hypocritical or simply coherent… that you are too busy to simply condemn the sin.

                      But, even using your logic, it is still flawed. For those that you consider coherent (“perverts”) are hypocritical themselves. You keep missing that point entirely.

                    • kag1982

                      Okay.. Hat tip to another poster – If the Catholic Church wants to be treated on the same par with Woody Allen with sexual abuse, then it has the same moral authority as him.

                    • Alma Peregrina

                      Nope, you still keep missing the point.

                      1) I don’t want the Catholic Church to be treated on the same par with Woody Allen. I don’t want the media flocking to the defense of Church crimes. I want the priests punished, as people like Pollanski will never be.

                      On the contrary, I want Hollywood to be treated on the same par with the Church as pedophilia crimes are concerned. Get the diference?

                      2) The Church wouldn’t have the “same moral authority” as Woody Allen, even if She was treated the same as him. You still don’t get it. The Church will ALWAYS have MORE moral authority than Woody Allen, because the moral authority of the Church comes from Christ, not from Herself.

            • Joejoe

              Oh, people are definitely out to destroy the Catholic Church.

            • chezami

              I’ll explain to the thousands of exiled and slaughtered Chaldeans that nobody is out to destroy the Church. You might try familiarizing yourself with the work of John Allen, Jr. The reality is that the Church, as we speak undergoing more murders and martyrdoms than at any time in its history.

              • kag1982

                In the West, no one is out to destroy the Church. Whining about how the mean meanies in Hollywood are somehow getting together to take down the Church is ridiculous. I’m seriously getting tired of the War on Christmas and other nonsense.

                • Dave P.

                  My then -Archbishop tried to meet with a member of SNAP. The man spat in the Archbishop’s face, then went on a rant on how he wouldn’t rest until every Catholic church, school, and institution had a “For Sale” sign on the property. That member of SNAP is pretty representative of his organization.

                  • kag1982

                    I do agree with you that activists who hate the Church have infiltrated SNAP and I think that the UN report really hurt reformers like Scicluna by getting into the culture wars. However, you don’t know what the member was through. Perhaps he was abused by a priest himself and no one did anything for him. I’ve heard of abuse victims who are so angry with the Church that they cannot even attend a family wedding. Perhaps the man in question is like that?

                • chezami

                  So when the Western media totally ignores the slaughter of Christian unprecedented in human history, that’s not acting as an accessory to the destruction of the Church? Look. I agree that the War on Christmas stuff is BS mean to gin up right winger. But you are sadly mistaken if you seriously believe there are not very significant efforts to persecute and destroy the Church. Read John Allen. Educate yourself. The persecution of the Church is very real.

                  • kag1982

                    I have read John Allen and will amend my statement with this regard. I was talking about American Catholics whining about persecution, not Christians in the Mideast actually getting killed for their faith. And this isn’t getting talked about because brown people getting killed in the Middle East isn’t “sexy.” The war in the Central African Republic or South Sudan also isn’t “sexy” or the ethnic cleansing campaign that the Burmese regime is doing against the Muslim minority isn’t “sexy.” Reporting on Justin Bieber’s arrest is however sexy.
                    It has less to do about Christians getting singled out and more to do with those misplaced priorities that Pope Francis is always talking about. Society is messed up in those priorities. That doesn’t mean it is intentionally persecuting the Church.
                    I also don’t think that Catholics are helping matters when they whine about their own persecution. Really, there is a first amendment and religious freedom in the U.S. I’m not a fan of Obama but he is not persecuting the Church. Having to deal with a Democrat administration (which happens each eight years) is not persecution.

                    • guest

                      You’re just confused to cite the first amendment to suggest that it provides a basis for what Obama did.

                    • kag1982

                      No.. I’m citing the First Amendment as protection against executive overreach. The Little Sisters are likely to win their case, It is a pretty slam dunk. Obama started the War on Womenz because he realized that there was a generation of oversexed women like Sandra Fluke who would fall for it. It doesn’t say much about my generation that they fell for it. Obama didn’t underestimate the stupidity of the American electorate. I’m surprised he didn’t drop it after the election, but he tends to double down.

                    • kenofken

                      A bit of other perspective is also in order, before we can declare this as a disregard for Christians phenomenon. One, Americans have never much engaged with foreign news or the world at large, not in any sustained way. Our foreign travel is negligible compared to other rich countries, when you separate out Canada and Carribean booze cruises. Our interest in world news has always been limited in the best of times. Maintaining foreign bureaus, especially in war zones, is damned expensive. Nobody wants to pay for “content” these days, and almost nobody wants to admit patronizing the “mainstream media”. Everyone has their own bubble served by bloggers and aggregators, not outfits with the juice and know how to keep boots on the ground in Africa for years running. MSM execs may be vapid, but they can do arithmetic. Spend $10 million a year on a foreign bureau with a niche audience, or spend $100,000 and gas money to have a reporter and photog stake out Justin Bieber’s mansion, knowing they’ll get a bazillion hits every time the punk throws a beer can off his deck or goes out on a date.

                      We’re also not a society that has much outrage capacity left for homicide. Seriously, we don’t even really fuss about multiple shootings in grade schools anymore. We have a plug and play news template, and it’s just part of being a five year old, and anyway, there’s nothing to be done about it. Killing is the basis of virtually all of our entertainment which doesn’t center on sex. Our kids spend most of their after school hours blowing people away in graphic video simulators. We aren’t a people who are really wired anymore to get torn up about some mythical creature called a Syrian or Sudanese who gets killed, whether it’s over faith, tribalism or the civil war which has been raging more or less since our parents got their first bike.

                      Finally, when American Christians put their own political plight even in the same moral universe as anything that has happened in Syria, it’s a bigger slap in the fact to real martyrs than the fact that Anderson Cooper didn’t document their death. Seriously, step back, talk a walk and smoke if you’ve got em, then come back and look at the situations side by side at life size. HHS mandate. Siege of Aleppo. Nettlesome political and legal fight:starvation, helicopter bombing and beheadings of men women and children. If American Christians want ANY credibility for their real grievances, they need to stop claiming martyrdom. It’s a real eye roller. They also need to stop the wagon circling and the thousand and one oblique excuses for the sex abuse scandal. If you want the same treatment as Woody Allen gets, be aware that it will give you the same degree of moral authority as him.

                    • kag1982

                      I agree with you about the attention span of the average American. The news business is a business; the executives know that celebrity news sells. I also think that American Catholics have severely hurt their ability to advocate for persecuted Christians by crying wolf about their own persecutions.

                  • kenofken

                    What constitutes a sufficient Western media response in your opinion? I mean I’ve heard slaughter was going on in Syria, and that Christians were among the (very many) people being targeted, and I didn’t hear it here first.

                    Should MSNBC have 24/7 coverage about how Assad is Swarthy Hitler and cheerlead the cause for a new U.S. land war, the way they did in both Gulf Wars? Do you really think the Syrian story is primarily about an anti-Christian pogrom? It’s part of it, certainly, but a small part of the big picture. Muslims aren’t genetically predisposed to kill Christians anywhere on sight. They’ve been around a long time in Syria and co-existed, more or less. Christians are being targeted because they are allied with a fantastically corrupt and brutal regime which has pushed a nation to its breaking point and fostered the conditions in which radical Islamism thrives.

                    At least initially, the Syrian-born rebels targeting Christians weren’t doing so over their faith. They did so because they had supported the cause and sometimes wore the uniform of the regime which had killed half their cousins and tore out their fingernails for the gall of demanding democracy, or just cause… Now, of course, the place is crawling with Al Qaeda wannabes who really do kill Christians for their Christianity, and because they’re useful cultural proxies for everything they hate about the West. They also kill Alawites and Shia and Sunnis who don’t seem pious enough and fellow jihadists who might be competing for dominance.

                    A Christian pogrom has arisen from this toxic stew of hatred, but it’s not the central fact of the war, and the war would still have happened, and followed more or less the same trajectory, if Christians had never lived in the country.

                    Christians aren’t dying in Syria from liberal media negligence or Chattering Class sexual abuse hypocrisy. They’re dying as the end result of an unworkable and vicious political system which put them on the wrong side of a society’s real grievances. The West and Russia also enabled that regime for decades because we found it convenient for “stability” and as a weapons customer and because it was sometimes a good place to have people tortured by experts. If the West isn’t too eager to tell the story of Syrian Christians, perhaps it’s because some of the lead architects of their misery are in fact the world’s Christian superpowers.

                • guest

                  Have you paid any attention to the effect of the Obama administration’s policies on the Catholic church? Adoption agencies and social service agencies have been forced to close and there will be closures of Catholic hospitals and schools if the mandate goes forward as is. There is no question that Obama could have created a reasonable conscience exception to the mandate. Members of his administration urged him to do so. He very deliberately made the decision not to. He knows exactly what the results of his policies will do to the Catholic church. No one in the west wants to destroy the church? Puhleeze.

                  • kag1982

                    Umm.. Court cases and the First Amendment.

                    • guest

                      Your point, explicitly, being? Explain your actual reasoning, not just cheap soundbites.

                    • kag1982

                      That I am really tired of hearing how persecuted American Catholics are and how hard they have it because they have to deal with a Democratic President (as happens ever eight years). I’m sorry.. Please spend a few months in Syria and tell me how awful you life is.

                    • The original Mr. X

                      Oh please. People aren’t complaining “because they have to deal with a Democratic President”, but because the President is trying to pass regulations which if enacted will force the majority of Catholic-run hospitals, schools etc. to close. Quit with the straw men already.

            • tofubamboo

              Nobody is out to destroy the Catholic Church?? What about Obama and Muslims?

            • iamlucky13

              “Nobody is out to destroy the Catholic Church.”

              Definitely not true. Over the years, I’ve encountered hundreds, if not thousands of statements along the lines of, “we need label the Catholic Church a hate organization” “Ban” “Prosecute as racketeering” and quite a bit more.

              And quite a few more work towards marginalizing the Church, even as far as the recent UN report insisting the Church must stop teaching it’s beliefs.

            • Sara_TMS_again

              Kag, my dear, there are indeed people in the West who are out to destroy the Catholic Church. I went to Mass a couple of years ago in Westminster Cathedral, which was being picketed by the Secular Society on the subject of child abuse. I went up to the picketers afterwards, and tried to talk to them, maybe see if I could say anything nice if one of them actually was a survivor of clerical abuse. I have friends who are survivors (not of clerical abuse, but of abuse in the family), and I know how brave they have to be to speak out, and how much it costs them. Instead, it was clear they understood nothing about the subject, and were just using it as an excuse to bash the Church. One of them actually said to me (when I asked what they actually wanted from us), ‘Well, our long-term aim is to close the Catholic Church down’. That was the point at which I walked away.

              By the way, do you know that NCR has it comments back up again?

            • HA

              Counterpoint #1 – Nobody is out to destroy the Catholic Church. Please get over this persecution complex already. Hollywood may not agree with the Church’s values on sexual morality but Hollywood moguls aren’t sitting in their mansions thinking about how to bring down the Church and cackling. I assure you that they just want to make money.

              That is a specious statement. One can easily be both focused on making money, and also eager to poke a stick at Catholicism. Such biases, when exerted in large numbers, amount to an overt effort to destroy the church, or something near close enough. I refer you to the recent spate of stories regarding Philomena as documented here, with particular reference to Kyle Smith’s article regarding the movie Philomena and Bill Donohue’s corrections of the Magdelene Sisters (HT: the-american-catholic). That being said, I’m not sure anyone who could claim what you just did is someone worth arguing with. Hollywood may not agree with the Church’s values on sexual morality? Are you kidding me? I’ll give you this: when it comes to understatement, you have a gift.

              • kag1982

                It is my understanding that Philomena is portrayed as a devout Catholic and her faith allows her to forgive the sisters. Philomena Lee actually met with Pope Francis after his Wednesday general audience.
                Philomena was based on a real story. This really happened to this women. Let’s not suggest otherwise. Ditto with the Magdalene Sisters; that was based on real events as well.
                Again just because Hollywood is willing to portray real events on film, such as the disgraceful way young women who became pregnant out of wedlock were treated in Ireland, doesn’t make them out to destroy the Catholic Church. Yes, Hollywood disagrees with the Church on sexual morality but that doesn’t mean that Hollywood moguls are cackling in their secret lairs (with the Masons and Jews obviously) about how to destroy the Catholic Church.

                • HA

                  I’m guessing you didn’t bother reading the review I took the effort to link to, which indicates that I’m not going to get anywhere, but here goes.

                  You say Philomena was based a real story. Indeed, it is true that a group of nuns did selflessly and heroically choose to devote their lives and also their parishioners’ scarce donations (in what was at the time an essentially third-world country) to the care and housing of women who would otherwise be destitute, thereby giving them and their babies a chance at a life. Philomena retained her faith in the face of all that heroism and selflessness, you say? Well, I should certainly hope so. If *that* is what you are referring to when you say that Philomena was based on a true story, then we are in agreement. If, however, you are referring to some of the other contentions made by the film, e.g. that the nuns sold children, or even the implicit claim that the women in such places were treated any more harshly in general than what could ordinarily be expected in a country where life was brutally difficult for just about everyone (and where, as in any group of individuals given authority, some erred grievously) — then I would beg to differ, and say that the story deviates from the truth in very calculated ways. The fact that such deviations occur over and over again (as the articles I linked to elaborate) does indeed amount to a concerted effort to attack the church.

                  Also, if you could point me to where I implied in any way that this effort was organized by cackling Masons and Jews in secret lairs, kindly do so. Otherwise, please admit that you, too, are in the business of making ridiculous statements in an effort to back up a world-view that has a limited connection to reality.

                  • kag1982

                    The nuns in the movie were far from selfless. Girls were actually forced to stay at the convent after giving birth and “repay” the nuns. They couldn’t leave until they “repaid” the nuns 100 pounds. So they were actually kept there in an indentured servitude against their will. Philomena was also coerced into signing over her rights to the child and the sad thing was that Anthony was three-years-old, not a newborn. Later, the nuns refused to help either Philomena or Michael (aka Anthony) in their search for each other. I don’t see these as acts of Christian mercy or charity. I don’t think that Pope Francis’ idea of a poor Church for the poor is nuns keeping unmarried pregnant girls as indentured servants.
                    Yet, despite these facts, the story is surprisingly Catholic. Philomena is shown as a devout and very jouyful woman and her faith is a major plot point in the film. It is partially a buddy movie about a cynical British journalist and Philomena. Philomena’s faith and forgiveness are considered better than the journalist’s cynicism.

                    • HA

                      The nuns in the movie were far from selfless.

                      Yes. In the movie. In the fictionalized version. There’s the rub.

                      Girls were actually forced to stay at the convent after giving birth and “repay” the nuns.

                      Again, given the context of the time, being forced to pay for the room and board that saved one from literal starvation is, in the grand scale of things, somewhat southward of Auschwitz on the tragedy scale. I’d even put it somewhere down below working in a Welsh mine or Manchester factory floor, both of which were common “career paths” for people of Philomena’s age and milieu until quite recently. In fact, I’d even call it less tragic than devoting your life to serving Christ and the less fortunate only to have fictionalized recreations concocted decades after the fact attempt to twist you into a soul-suffocating monster and child abuser.

                      Philomena was also coerced into signing over her rights to the child

                      Says who? In the movie, she steadfastly denies that. If you would have read the article with any attention, you would have known as much. You’re apparently not satisfied with the movie’s bigotry, and would rather outdo it with your own inventions. For all its journalistic “cynicism”, as you put it, the article at least makes an effort to separate facts from bigoted anti-Catholic fiction, which is more than can be said for the journalist in the Philomena story, or for you, hence the futility of this discussion.

                    • kag1982


                      Yes. In the movie. In the fictionalized version. There’s the rub.”
                      Based on true story.. Yes, some of the encounters were fictionalized but these nuns didn’t act Christlike to the girls.

                      “Again, given the context of the time, being forced to pay for the room and board that saved one from literal starvation is, in the grand scale of things, somewhat southward of Auschwitz on the tragedy scale.”
                      Most things don’t match the Shoah in scope or horror; this doesn’t mean that they weren’t awful. So let’s take this scenario.. A young girl is sent to the Sisters of Mercy as an unwed mother and perhaps after a few months there, her boyfriend says that he will marry her. The sisters tell him unless he has 100 pounds, she cannot leave. That strikes me as quite an un-Christlike action.

                      Charity is not something that needs to be paid back. It is something that is freely given with the expectation that it will never be returned. Catholic religious orders that work with the destitute, unwed mothers, etc. should never force those they are helping to pay them back. What next – is Jesuit Refugee Services going to force African refugees to pay them back?

                      “I’d even put it somewhere down below working in a Welsh mine or Manchester factory floor, both of which were common “career paths” for people of Philomena’s age and milieu until quite recently.”
                      So the nuns were acting slightly better than the capitalists portrayed as villians in a Dickens novel? This is what we want for the Church?

                      “Says who?”
                      Says Philomena Lee, who is a devout Catholic herself. She never intended to give up her son but was coerced into doing so.
                      Frankly, this desire to classify every criticism of the Church as bigotry is getting tiresome. The Church is a falliable human organization and didn’t always live up to its moral standards. Priests did abuse little children and some bishops like Law covered it up. Certain orders of nuns in Ireland did use young women as virtual indentured servants and did coerce them to giving up their babies. Those are facts. As Catholics, we should reflect on these instances and use them to ensure that the Church acts more morally in the future.

        • Mariana Baca

          It is still saying that the sin that deserves censure is (a bad definition of) hypocrisy, not pedophilia. That is is a bigger crime to preach holiness if you are scum than to be scum and not preach anything.

          • Imrahil

            A priest does not preach his holiness but Christ’s. Which is why the Letter to the Hebrews mentions that any priest (save Christ of course) must first immolate a sin-offering for his own sins.

    • Imrahil

      Only that the Catholic Church has never claimed to be free of sinners – including bad sinners and ones within her hierarchy. That has been associated with her from the outside.

      For the record, I do not consider a Wall Street trader per se a scumbag, nor a Hollywood actor perverted.

  • Shawna Mathieu

    Same thing happened with Roman Polanski. Look how many celebrities seem to have “forgotten” that he drugged and raped a girl, then fled the country before he could be sentenced. Others have decided to deride the victim, or minimize what was done. Whoopi Goldberg’s little statement of “it wasn’t RAPE rape” is a perfect example, and note that, except for a few people who pointed out what she said was horrible, she wasn’t censured, or thrown off “The View”, people didn’t boycott the network because of what she said.
    . Some of them act like his self-imposed “exile” was punishment enough, and that it’s been so long, it doesn’t matter.

  • AquinasMan

    I would venture that pedophilia/pederasty is positively rampant in Hollywood. Much like the priest scandals, it will take a high-profile case to get some traction before other victims of other perpetrators start coming out of the woodwork — although it may be considerably more dangerous to come forward as a Hollywood victim, given the money, drugs (read: scum of the earth), and extremely tight-knit power-players that would dare celebrate a man like Woody Allen merely considering his ridiculous marriage to Soon-Yi alone. Let’s not forget that Hollywood’s active homosexuals and bisexuals are a protected class, and have been since the industry began; it’s almost a given that there are (and have been) countless pool-boys and “assistants” who may fall on either side of the age of consent. Their abuse is a feature, not a bug, as it were.

  • anna lisa

    I had never heard about what Allen did to Dylan until last week. Perhaps the Vanity Fair article and a few others will wake up the people who are in denial. I saw Blue Jasmine, and thought Cate Blanchette was brilliant in it, but will never, ever attend another Woody Allen film. I heard Blanchette speak at a film festival a little over a week ago She was clearly uncomfortable or on guard when she described the way she interfaced with Allen. She had nothing gushy to say about him. Her body language spoke volumes. This really stood out because she praised George Clooney, and his direction of Monuments Men, describing with enthusiasm how great it was to work with him.

  • Elmwood

    saw that blue jasmine movie too, not bad, not great either, but couldn’t stop thinking of the child molester who wrote and directed it.

    and i agree with AquinasMan that hollywood is full of child molesters and sexual perverts; look at all the child actors who where sexually abused.

  • http://ephesians4-15.blogspot.ca/ Randy Gritter

    The truth is the industry is about sexual abuse. Porn grows more mainstream and more explicit. Many young stars don’t have to imagine what it would have been like. They have been pushed into sexual acts by top Hollywood directors.

  • Dave P.

    I’m not defending Woody Allen (I was a big fan of his, but his affair with Soon-Yi Previn creeped me out); however, it should be kept in mind that Mia Farrow is not the nicest or the most mentally stable person. Either way, this is a nasty situation.

    • Käthe

      A child–especially an adult child–is not her mother. An adult woman has reiterated the allegations she has consistently made since she was 7 years old. You can’t shrug them off based on the fact that *her mom* is as much a piece of work as her dad. Unless you’re really desperate to not believe her.

      • Dave P.

        Unfortunately, I could believe either scenario, or a combination of the two. Neither of the parents are nice people. Whatever happened, their children have suffered most from it.

  • http://briangreenadams.wordpress.com/ Brian Green Adams

    Mark, have you ever wondered whether your brief thoughtless coy blog posts might just place you within the Chattering Classes you so malign?

    Those who express the most concern over the sexual assault committed by Catholic leadership and the subsequent cover up are the actual victims and their loved ones who must still deal with the effects of this abuse. There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of victims who are still fighting to recover, for justice and truth. You are not helping.

    • Dave P.

      The same people who exorciate the Church for sex abuse seem to have no problem with the actions of Roman Polanski, or the alleged actions of Woody Allen, or the indifference to the rampant sex abuse and coverups in public schools.

      • cmfe

        Is it the same people or just people? That makes a difference.

      • Jonna

        What proof do you have of this? This seems to be deflection and a poorly stated talking point. I see no evidence that those concerned about sexual abuse and cover ups within the Church are less concerned about children abused by others. It may be a matter of proximity. If someone in my family were being abused, I think I would be called to address this first before focusing on another family’s abuser. Catholics, I believe, are tired of funding systemic sexual abuse with their weekly donations and perhaps are becoming more aware of the need to be vigilant stewards.

  • neil allen

    Well said.

    There are some huge differences with the Catholic church, though. The Catholic church DOES know every single time any priest rape a child, because the child rapist told another priest in confession, and the 2nd priest absolved him DESPITE what Jesus clearly said in Matt 18:6, that child rape was unforgivable.
    Then it got worse. The others that knew about it lied about I, and hid it, and did it all in the Name Of God. It is impossible for that to be done in God’s true church.

    God has shown you clear proof that the Catholic church isn’t God’s church.

    • Imrahil

      What you said suffers from some technical errors.

      1. Although the probability is great in each case, it is not certain that every priest confessed every crime of his.
      2. The Lord did absolutely not say that child rape were unforgivable.
      3. Confessing a sin to a priest does not make the Catholic Church knowing of it. Sins are confessed as to God, and the priest is strictly forbidden to share this knowledge to anyone whosoever, including his superiors.
      4. Those who hid it never claimed to do so “in the Name of God” (at least I’m not aware of any occurrence).
      5. Most important, it has been known for all times that sinners are part of the Church, including the hierarchy. It has likewise been known that this includes, at times, people who commit mortal sins beyond masturbation, consented sex and missing Sunday Mass. Nothing new under the sun. Where did Christ say that this could not happen in His Church?


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