Conservative Catholics love to anoint folk heroes. And we love to circle the wagons when those folk heroes implode and blame “the media” or some “liberal conspiracy” or, in short, the victims. We do it over and over. We never learn, because we have completely convinced ourselves of the narrative which says that we are the Good Catholics, the Real Catholics, the True Catholics and all those liberal, pro-abort, fake CINO Catholics are clearly our inferiors.
So we did it with Maciel, circling the wagons and blaming the victims and speculating on the liberal media conspiracy against the Church.
We did it again with Euteneuer, because he was a true folk hero who told us what we wanted to hear about abortion.
We did it again with Corapi, because he not only hit all the right notes on abortion, but he stroked his fake Special Forces pin that told us we could be pro-life and fantasize about military exploits and derring-do as we sat at our computers and supported an unjust war.
We did it with Sarah Palin, a grifting quitter who blasphemed the sacrament of baptism by likening it to torture, but told us what we wanted to hear about our truly true patriotism.
We did it with Cliven Bundy, as visible-from-space obvious a disaster as you could want, with his huge flag and his cowboy hat and his horse and his anti-government rhetoric that we gobbled up from Sean Hannity, threatening a shooting war and longing to use women and children as human shields–right up until he came out with his completely predictable diatribe about how “the Negro” would be better off picking cotton as a slave.
And most recently, we did it with Josh Duggar, explaining that, in the words of Mike Huckabee, his molestation of his own sisters was “a mistake”. No. It was a sin and a crime. And soft-pedaling it only invites the scorn such euphemism richly deserves. The penitential rite does not say, “through my mistake, through my mistake, through my own most excusable mistake.”
But since that would imply that we are wrong to anoint folk heroes (and through them, ourselves) as Living Saints in contradistinction to all those accursed fake Catholic liberals, we don’t say that. Here, for instance, is Matt Abbott, traditionalist Catholic, fixing the fault where it squarely belongs: on the shoulders of “the liberal media” who “are having a field day with this story. Remember: if you’re outspokenly conservative and desire to be in the public eye, you’d better be squeaky-clean. The left will still despise you, but at least they can’t ruin you.”
What is particularly ironic is that Abbott cannot resist the urge to shift the blame to “the liberal media” for yet another Conservative Folk Hero implosion, even though he has sitting in front him an actual example of how to really deal with such fiascos. For, almost as an afterthought, he publishes Dawn Eden’s sane response to the Duggar implosion:
As a Catholic Christian, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, and as an author who has met hundreds of fellow victims and their families, I find the Duggars’ statement to be a sad caricature of what it should be. The use of the word ‘mistakes’ to describe what are in fact crimes is deeply offensive to victims – all victims – and compounds their pain. It is effectively a re-victimization.
Yes, God forgives, but where there is forgiveness, there has to be an admission of sin. The family’s statement indicates they are in denial and have not fully acknowledged the enormity of Josh’s crimes.
He should have simply published that. But no. He had to find a way to blame “the liberal media”. Because nothing is ever *really* the fault of the Party of Personal Responsibility.
God grant the swift arrival of the day when Catholics cease to anoint Folk Heroes, and stop playing “I know you are but what am I?” games when those heroes inevitably show their feet of clay. Free us from the clutches of the Culture War and the need to reduce sins to “mistakes” lest we lose face to our ideological enemies. Help us to put the victims of sins, not our need to win, first. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.