You Made Your Choice Mr Archbishop. It’s a Done Deal.

Deacon Greg, as usual, has the story.

So, there’s this Archbishop in St Louis who is accused of the same old enabling of child sex abuse by a priest stuff we’ve gotten to know too well. Mr Archbishop gave a deposition about these accusations.

In that deposition, he did the lawyered-up, don’t-give-them-anything di-doh. It was a masterful performance of I don’t know nothin, sung to the tune of I Can’t Remember.

The all-time show-stopper was when the attorney asked Mr Archbishop if he knew that the act of an adult having sex with a child was a crime back when all this was going on. “I’m not sure if I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it was a crime,” Mr Archbishop answered. The look on his face while he said it was classic the-dog-ate-my-homework.

The attorney pursued it, and the Archbishop kept right on lying.

If you’ve got the stomach for it, have a look.

YouTube Preview Image

I didn’t write about this when I first saw it because, to be honest, it made me sick. I felt so sad. Bereft, almost. I had nothing to say. I just wanted to go away from this and not deal with it.

Then, just to make sure that nobody ever believes him again, the Archbishop started the second quadrille to his little dance. Deacon Greg covered it. Mr Archbishop had the St Louis Archdiocese release another the-dog-ate-my-homework statement.

This time, it was a totally idiotic accusation that inaccurate and misleading reporting “has impugned Archbishop Carlson’s good name and reputation.” This was so daft it made me question if they knew that there was a video of the deposition out there on YouTube.

The letter goes on. But it doesn’t matter. We have the video.

Now Mr Archbishop has released a letter over his own signature. He also put up a video of himself, reading the letter. I see no point in going over what he said, since he essentially didn’t say anything. It was just typical I-wuz-robbed boilerplate.

The reason I’m finally writing about this today is simple. I want to tell the Archbishop something that he doesn’t seem to get: You made your choice.

I understand that the wise person takes their attorney’s advice when they testify. I also understand that we have a thing called the Fifth Amendment to protect people in situations like this. I further understand that an attorney who deliberately counseled a client to lie under oath would be guilty of subornation of perjury.

So, I rather doubt that your attorney, Mr Archbishop, told you to do this. Not in so many words. They may have said something like, don’t conjecture unless you remember precisely. It’s best to say, “I don’t know” unless you are absolutely certain. But I doubt very much that your attorney counseled you to go out there and lie under oath.

Testifying under oath is a scary deal for most of us and testifying on something like this, where you flat out know your are wrong, must be a real horror.

Fair enough.

But you jumped the shark on this one. And there’s no turning back. It’s a done deal. And you — and every other Catholic in the world — is going to have to live with it.

It all began with enabling priests to sexually abuse children, you know. That is so egregious that nobody, and I mean nobody except maybe your mother, is going to buy the idea that it was anything but an absolute violation of your priesthood.

That’s what got this started. And it wasn’t just you, Mr Archbishop. It was a lot of your colleagues. It was rife. It was what might be called a practice.

Fortunately, I personally know a bishop who called the authorities at the first step. I am grateful to him beyond words for having done that. It gives me hope about our leadership.

But it appears that you, Mr Archbishop, did not make that stand-up choice. Which leads to the point.

It was, is and always has been, on you.

You made your choice then. You made your choice at that deposition.

When, if ever, are you going to stop trying to deny it?

You. Did. Wrong.

As a wrong-doer myself, I can forgive that. I also understand that no matter what any of us has done, we still don’t want to pay the price. There is nothing so terrifying as getting caught in your own dirt. We all want to run. I know. I’ve done my share of running away in my life.

Forgiveness comes easy from someone like me. I’ve done so much, had so much done to me, and been forgiven so much, how could it be otherwise?

I think I can forgive just about anything. All you’ve gotta do is tell me you’re sorry. But you, Mr Archbishop, are not asking for forgiveness. If you’re sorry, it looks like what you’re sorry about is getting caught.

As a Catholic who is trying to follow her Church, who actually wants to believe you, I am beaten.

I can’t believe you. I don’t. I can’t follow you. I won’t.

You made your choice, Mr Archbishop. It’s a done deal.

 

For another take on this, check out Frank Weathers.

  • PetrusRomanus1

    The archbishop’s deposition is a court document, under oath, that requires the action of the judge to correct, if in fact the judge is so willing. The archbishop’s “misunderstanding” and “mistake” will not be cleared up by his not-under-oath video.
    Should the archbishop seek a judicial hearing on this matter, he may find himself in far more serious trouble than he is in already. As things stand, his best choice is a quiet and prompt resignation from office.

  • hamiltonr

    Thank you Lark.

  • Dave

    As far as I understand, what he actually said is that he didn’t know about when it became a crime for clergy not to report suspected child abuse to the police.

  • hamiltonr

    I admire the other bishop deeply, and not just for this.

  • hamiltonr

    I’m not buying that Ted. Not one bit.

  • hamiltonr

    Beautiful Ray. Thank you.

  • hamiltonr

    I don’t know exactly what you are asking Madzi. Do you mean what is the truth of the Archbishop’s behavior 30 some years ago, or the truth of this deposition or what?

    I guess, the first question would be, what is “the matter” you are referring to?

    Frankly, I’d rather let you decide for yourself what you want to believe about this. Or maybe, what you need to believe. We’re all emotionally engaged with this one, me included.

  • hamiltonr

    Archbishop Beltran.

  • hamiltonr

    Archbishop Beltran. He called both law enforcement and the press the same day the allegations were brought to him.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    That isn’t what he claimed.

  • hamiltonr

    I regard this as something we each have to judge for ourselves. Personally, I think the Archbishop did what the video and the deposition both show he did. If you read the deposition, it’s clear he’s not suffering from dementia at least not the extent that it shows. He’d have to be dotty for that to be the reason.

    But, if other people want to see it differently, that’s ok by me. We have to work this out each one ourselves as best we can.

  • hamiltonr

    Can’t access? Is my link broken Ken?

  • FW Ken

    I seem to have hit the mother lode of information. Go to the bottom of yours page for links to related stories.

    http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/criminal-charges-dropped-against-st-louis-priest/article_457a2e67-b367-5432-9bf2-dd9295ed7f03.html?mobile_touch=true

  • hamiltonr

    :-)

    Let me know if it works out.

  • davidclohessy

    I believe it absolutely IS the same as enabling an offender.

  • FW Ken

    Ted is apparently not going to respond. The archbishop said he didn’t remember the law (possibly the law about mandatory reporting). It’s clear from a memo he wrote in 1980 that he regarded child abuse as immoral. As we know from innumerable discussions, morality and the law are two different matters

    • hamiltonr

      I think Disqus is being wonky. Ted may have responded and it has been devoured by the ethernet.

      • FW Ken

        Discus is evil.

    • pagansister

      OK, if that is the case—not remembering that the law regarding mandatory reporting is true, why wouldn’t he have reported it because it was immoral, since he wrote that in a memo in 1980? Yes, in some cases morality and the law are 2 different matters—but IMO molesting a child is an easy one to put on the immoral side so that calling the law would seem logical. Those that work for/in the Church were trying to protect the Church by self-rehabbing the offenders—or ignoring it totally. Thus the mess things are now.

  • hamiltonr

    Just a couple of points of information. I was one of 6 people who started the first rape crisis center in Oklahoma. Two points:
    1. When we got it up and running, we were all astonished by the amount of incest that we encountered. I know that for me it was like discovering that cannibalism was being practiced. I had never in my sheltered little life considered the possibility that men could do that to their daughters. It was rife.
    2. As part of setting this rape crisis center up, I read reams of psychological studies and musings about rape. These psychologists were peddling ideas that I knew as a kid were flat-out nonsense. Among them, that rapists are no different psychologically from normal men; that men who expose themselves and peeping toms are harmless little guys who do nothing seriously wrong.

    They’ve backed off a lot of this stuff since then. Now we know that peeping toms and guys who expose themselves to little girls in parks are working up to violent crimes. We also know that men who rape are a lot different from men who don’t.

    However, the evil of trying to normalize these things persists to this day. I need — if I can control my anger — to write about the “work” being done in certain areas in this regard.

    The upshot of this is that I find it entirely believable that the bishops were told these things. I remember having a conversation with a prof in psychology at one of our universities in which he told me rather disdainfully that “tests show” that rapists are no different than men who do not rape. I replied — and remember I was just a kid, which tells you a little bit about my moxie, even then — then that means your tests are faulty.

    Maybe the bishops didn’t have my perspective or free-wheeling ability to back-talk to “experts.”

    • FW Ken

      First, to PS, they weren’t talking about right and wrong, but the psychological impact of putting a child on public display and declaring them a victim. It’s true that kids tend to meet our expectations. If we expect them to process something and move on, they more than likely will. If we expect them to be crippled for life, that can also happen. The actual impact of abuse on any particular person is determined by complex factors.

      Rebecca, I would say that any domestic abuse, including emotional abuse, unchecked leads towards murder. It may not get there, but the seeds are there. 4 years ago we had a guy shoot and kill his wife. I was doing some digging to see if we had missed something and found that he had made a series of women miserable over 30 plus years. The murder didn’t come out of nowhere. I think you should wrote that book about domestic violence, which, yes, includes rape.

      • pagansister

        So to have a child recount what was done to them was worse than not telling? It certainly wouldn’t have to be on public display. As I mentioned above and in a couple of other comments on this subject, the woman I know who spent most of her childhood being mistreated spent much of her adult life in destructive behavior because NO ONE tried to help her. That was her way of moving on. She finally has gotten help and is leading a productive life, however she will never be “over it”. She finally confronted the perps, who naturally didn’t even try to apologize. She probably prayed for someone to ask her or inquire about what was happening to her when she was younger. To this day the perps have never been brought to justice. Statue of limitations or something, I expect.

    • fredx2

      Which leads back to the claim that is now being made that gay marriage has no effect on the children. This is very hard to believe, and I think that once again, the experts are finding the results they want to find.

      • hamiltonr

        I agree.

      • pagansister

        What has SS marriage have anything to do with priests molesting children? There is a big difference from that and having 2 loving parents who happen to be of the same gender.

  • hamiltonr

    I’ve never accepted “the psychologists said so” as an excuse Sister. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter what the psychologists said. Jesus was abundantly clear about what happens to people who harm little ones.

    Oh, and thank you for your comment re the rape crisis center.

    • pagansister

      Not accepting what was said by those psychologists makes it clear that you had a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus than those that SHOULD have known!

  • pagansister

    I agree with you on that, FW Ken.

  • pagansister

    Perhaps I misunderstood what you wrote regarding helping children who had been abused. I interpreted what you wrote as the feeling from psychologists that children shouldn’t have to recall what happened to them—making them victims etc. Depending on what the child was told by his/her abuser to keep them quiet would probably cause either withdrawal and silence or hopefully full disclosure to authorities and a councilor.

    • AnneG

      I’ve known several people very well who were abused physically, sexually or emotionally as children. They almost never told anyone until they were adult enough to put distance between them and the abuser. That is why the laws were passed requiring health care workers and teachers to report it. I have a couple friends who were variously abused who would not tell even the counselor when asked. That seems to be common, I think. Right, FWKen?

      • FW Ken

        Anne, I’m not a therapist, so I can’t speak to how common non-response might me. I suspect it probably falls along the lines of how generally open they are to other people. And it would depend on whether they sought help or someone was determined to help them.

  • fredx2

    First of all, you have to understand that this man is being questioned about things that happened 30 or more years ago, in the 1970′s. He is repeatedly asked when did you find out about this or that, and he replies that “I don’t remember exactly” and “There may be a document that would answer that question”

    If, by relying on his memory, he gets something wrong, then he could be accused of perjury. So he and his lawyers have made a decision: rely on documents rather than force him to try and remember things that happened 30 years ago. If by relying on his 30 year old memory, he gets something wrong, he will be accused of trying to hide facts when in fact he just may not remember correctly.

    Now, that being said, this guy was around in the era when priests were moved from parish to parish and so he may have been involved in that.

  • fredx2

    The reason this case is bring brought at all is because Minnesota passed, just last year, a new law on the statute of limitations on child abuse. They removed the statute of limitations. So now, anyone from even 50 years ago can sue. That is why they are asking this guy questions from 30 years ago.

    • pagansister

      Good for Minnesota! As in murder cases there should be no statue of limitations.

      • AnneG

        I don’t agree. There are several cases that I know about where the plaintiff waited till the priest he was accusing had dementia and was unable to talk or even died before “remembering” he was abused years ago. I know there are false accusations.
        I also know there have been especially teenagers who were abused. That’s why I said 40. That puts enough distance and maturity, protecting both, but discouraging gold diggers.
        It is nothing like murder. After 30, 40, even 50 years there is no evidence, many of the witnesses are dead. How is this justice?

        • pagansister

          Of course there have been and will be false accusations. However not all priests and their superiors have dementia while they age and having the courage to come forth can take time for victims. One never forgets being abused,It is always in the mind of the victim. Hopefully a victim would come out for justice before 30-40 years passes. No statue of limitations is right for that crime. It reminds me of the few men who are still being found who worked in the German death camps—their accusers don’t forget. Think there is a fellow who has just been found here in the USA who was a guard at one of the major death camps and there is a move to send him to Israel for trial. Just because he has lived in this country (may be a citizen now) forever doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be tried for his actions in WWII. No excuses for his actions that many years ago—anymore than there is for the actions of the priests and the superiors who knew about it and basically did nothing.

  • http://mombrll.blogspot.com Tina Bell

    It’s like cockroaches. If you see one crawling around on the sink, you can be sure there are thousands behind the wall. The Bishops should be performing public acts of penance. After, that those of them who are enablers and active perverts are expunged.

    • hamiltonr

      Tina, I don’t have any quarrel that the bishops should be held accountable. But it makes me uncomfortable to make any person analogous to cockroaches. Please try to think of less dehumanizing analogies.

  • hamiltonr

    Tina, there’s an oddball idea floating around in our world today that equates a refusal to be abusive with weakness. I personally think that the opposite is true.

    All human beings, even those who have committed grievous sins, are still human beings made in the image and likeness of God. It is not being “vanilla” to acknowledge that. It is accepting reality.

    I am not asking you to trim your opinions, merely your rhetoric. The opposite faulty notion that floats around is that somehow or other harsh language equals justice.

    That is not true. Harsh language equals harsh language. Period.

    No one here is trying to apologize for those who have raped children.

  • hamiltonr

    If you think abusive language is something you want to use, that is your privilege. But you can’t do it on this blog. However you are welcome here. I hope you stay and engage in discussion about these things.

    • http://mombrll.blogspot.com Tina Bell

      Ok. Pax. We are on the same side.. And I promise never to compare anyone to an insect, ever, on your blog. :-)

      • hamiltonr

        :-)

  • FW Ken

    I spent enough time with the Trappists in Georgia that the guestmaster started putting me back where the miscreant priests stayed back in the old days. He called it the slave quarters. :-)

  • pagansister

    AnneG., was that last sentence addressed to me? If so I realize what you wrote is true. Know a person who lived it in her family—she was the victim.

    • AnneG

      Yes, it was. No statistics, but I know it happened a lot.
      As for this case, I’m not sure, but it looks like it is about a money grab almost 40 years after the incident. The deposition looks less like an attempt to elicit true information and testimony and more an attempt by an attorney to trip him up.
      Again, I emphasize 40 years and multiple depositions are lots of fodder for attorneys. Again, child abuse and preying on any vulnerable person should never be tolerated and reported to the competent authorities, always.

  • AnneG

    I believe SNAP has a political and monetary agenda and may not be a reliable resource.
    Rebecca, delete this if you want so SNAP doesn’t come after you.


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