Our Papa brings it with this extraordinary reflection on sex abuse.
Have I mentioned that I love this man?
Our Papa brings it with this extraordinary reflection on sex abuse.
Have I mentioned that I love this man?
Shirley Temple Black is dead at the age of 85.
I watched a few scenes from her old movies yesterday, and I was astounded. When I saw these movies on tv as a little girl, I took it for granted that she could sing and dance. But when I saw the scenes with her and Bojangles last night, I realized how extraordinary she was.
How could a little child perform at that level? Shirley Temple was an incredible talent.
She was also different in another way. Almost alone among child stars, Shirley Temple grew up to be a normal adult. We are all watching the implosion of Miley Cyrus’ young life as she destroys herself publicly. We’ve seen the suicides, the lives wasted on drug addiction and the inability to form meaningful relationships with people of the opposite sex over and over again.
But Shirley Temple grew up to become a young woman who was able to have and raise a stable family and engage in productive work at an incredibly high level in the diplomatic world. She had a successful life in the ways that matter.
What made the difference?
I would guess that the major difference was her parents. I read one story talking about the fact that Shirley’s mother was always present when she was performing. The story went that the director of a film sent Mrs Temple on a brief errand, and, while she was gone, deliberately frightened little Shirley to make her cry for a scene. When Mrs Temple returned and learned what had happened, she decided to never leave her daughter alone with these people again.
Contrast that with the famous story of the director telling Jackie Cooper that his dog had died to make him cry for a scene:
When young Cooper was unable to summon tears for a big crying scene, Taurog threatened to remove the boy’s small dog from the set and take it to the pound. The incident ended with Cooper believing his dog had been shot by an armed security guard.
“I could visualize my dog, bloody from that one awful shot,” Cooper wrote. “I began sobbing, so hysterically that it was almost too much for the scene. [Taurog] had to quiet me down by saying perhaps my dog had survived the shot, that if I hurried and calmed down a little and did the scene the way he wanted, we would go see if my dog was still alive.”
Only after doing the scene as best he could did Cooper learn that his dog was unharmed. He also saw Taurog, the guard and Cooper’s grandmother grinning over their successful deception.
“Later, people tried to rationalize to me that I had gained more than I lost by being a child star,” Cooper wrote. “They talked to me about the money I made. They cited the exciting things I had done, the people I had met, the career training I had had, all that and much more….
“But no amount of rationalization, no excuses, can make up for what a kid loses — what I lost — when a normal childhood is abandoned for an early movie career.”
It is worth noting that Jackie Cooper had a relative there when this happened — his grandmother. But instead of protecting her grandson, she allowed what happened and seemed to enjoy it.
The emotional abuse Jackie Cooper endured, bad as it was, was nothing compared to what Corey Feldman, and, according to books and testimonies by a number of former child stars, many others, have endured. Corey maintains that the single biggest problem for child actors is pedophilia.
He also says that the pedophiles are often big names in the entertainment industry. The way that industry people behave when famous directors are accused of child rape lends credence to these charges.
Shirley Temple Black and her normal, productive life, indicate that it is possible for a child to work as an entertainer and come out of the experience intact. But the fact that she is so rare as to be an anomaly raises serious questions about the practice of putting underage people into that world.
We’ve all seen the shattered lives of former child actors. From River Phoenix, to Michael Jackson, to Miley the story is the same. But we keep right on, ignoring the obvious.
Are the lives of children worth the “art” of the films they help make?
More to the point, are sexual predators in the entertainment industry who abuse and violate children off limits for prosecution and the long lives in prison that they deserve?
We will only truly know the degree of child abuse in the entertainment industry when adults who work in that world grow spines and begin to out these guys instead of covering for them and defending them. From what I’ve seen, that day is a long way off.
Let me repeat myself:
I try to be cynical, but I just can’t keep up.
A New York judge has ruled, by way of a “new interpretation of intimate,” that close friends may now adopt a child together.
From the National Catholic Register:
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/close-friends-go-ahead-and-adopt-rules-n.y.-judge?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2014-01-15%2006:25:01#ixzz2qUYI8Sd8
An on-line sting set up by Dutch charity Terre des Hommes, identified 1000 predators trying to pay a child to perform sex acts. These predators included 254 Americans.
The sting was based on a computer-generated avatar of a little girl named “Sweetie.” As Angus Crawford, the author of a BBC News article about the sting described it, “…. a researcher logged on to a chat room as Sweetie. Within seconds, like sharks, men were circling.”
I am glad for stings like this. I hope there are more of them.
If you suffer from addiction to porn, I hope that you will seek help. Pornography is the objectification of another human being. It reduces women and children, who are made in the likeness and image of God, to the level things. It degrades and humiliates women and children. It also degrades the person who uses it.
Using pornography is using people. It is deeply sinful.
As for those who sexually abuse and exploit children, we should put them in prison and leave them there.
From BBC News:
Sweetie, the computer avatar used to catch on-line sex predators. Source BBC.
More than 100 Britons were among 1,000 men caught trying to pay a computer-generated child to perform sex acts online, after a Dutch children’s charity set up a fake profile.
Terre des Hommes carried out a 10-week sting near Amsterdam, posing on video chat rooms as “Sweetie”, a 10-year-old Filipina girl.
Some 20,000 men contacted her, with 1,000 found to have offered her money.
When I visited the charity’s operations room – in a warehouse on the outskirts of Amsterdam – I watched as a researcher logged on to a chat room as Sweetie – incredibly life-like but created by a computer.
Within seconds, like sharks, men were circling.
Of the 1,000 men who were willing to pay Sweetie to take off her clothes in front of a webcam, 254 were from the US, followed by 110 from the UK and 103 from India.
Researchers used evidence including profiles on Skype and social media to identify the suspects.
Project director Hans Guyt told a news conference in the Hague on Monday that the crime “requires a new way of policing”.
“The predator won’t come forward. The victim won’t come forward,” he said.
“We identified ourselves as 10-year-old Filipino girls.
“We did not solicit anything unless it was offered to us.”
How many times have you heard a bishop try to explain away his actions concerning a child-molesting priest by saying “But we got him counseling. It was what the experts advised?”
And how many times, when you heard that, did you think, “Mr Bishop, nobody’s that dumb?”
There appears to be a growing move to legitimize child sexual abuse in our culture. It started a long time ago with the book Lolita and moved forward through lots of movies, books and plays such as American Beauty and others. I remember quite clearly the outrage in certain quarters when the government took a stab at holding Roman Polanski accountable for raping a 13-year-old girl.
In the words of one famous comedienne “It wasn’t rape-rape.”
It is increasingly becoming a fact rather than a conjecture that the sexual abuse of children is only really terrible in our society when it is committed by a Catholic priest, or occasionally, a famous football coach.
My colleague Dr Gregory Popcak has published a post raising the question of whether or not the DSM has moved pedophilia into the gray area of “orientation.” The phrase “orientation” is loaded up to the top with political correctness. It has become something of a synonym in the popular imagination for an inborn trait or illness, like, say, Down’s Syndrome.
Dr Popcak makes clear that the DSM has not changed its definition. The gray area was there all along. It comes from the dilemma of how to define people who are sexually attracted to children but don’t molest them. My understanding is that the DSM considers the sexual attraction to children as an orientation and the practice of molesting children a disorder.
That’s a fine cut for a layperson, and it explains much of the confusion in the public mind.
All this takes us back to the cry of so many anguished bishops that they were just doing what the “experts” told them when they gave child molesting priests a dose of counseling and then put them back into parishes where they could molest again. The confusion about whether or not the DSM has moved pedophilia into the gray area of “orientation” is freighted with questions that can lead to all sorts of wrong-headed actions on the part of people ranging from law enforcement, to legislators and on to Catholic bishops.
We need to temper our enthusiasm for advice from various professional associations with the awareness that many of them are too much the captives of political pressure and public opinion. This can hamper the genuine scientific value they offer. Some of the psycho-babble we read is more an attempt at political blackmail aimed at changing laws or “normalizing” destructive behavior than it is actual scientific understanding.
If trendy public opinion is going to be the guide of our professional associations, then those associations become worthless except as dues vacuums to pay for junkets, staff and glossy publications.
The bishops were wrong when they drop-kicked the Scriptures in order to follow the psychologists, especially since many of these psychologists were themselves hand-picked employees. They were morally wrong and they failed in their charge to be shepherds of the people God gave them to care for.
The fact that some of them can’t seem to get the message is not only infuriating, but it raises — at least for me — serious questions about the commitment to Christ on the part of these specific bishops. I am not talking about all bishops everywhere. But if, after all this time, a bishop still can’t figure out that priests should keep their hands off the children in their parishes, I am out of patience with them.
However, if Catholic priests are the only ones who are treated with public approbation because of their child molesting, then there’s something wrong with our mechanisms for public approbation. I read recently about a famous disk jockey who had made plans to meet a woman overseas so he could have sex with her seven year old daughter. British celebrities also come to mind. Where’s the approbation to equal the appall at priest child sexual abuse over these things?
One thing I’ve learned from my time as a member of the board of directors of an organization that rescues trafficked women is that men purposely buy children for sex, and pimps purposely sell them right here in America. They do it all the time. Where, gentle reader, is the outrage over that?
The question — which is the same question each of these satanic moves backward into the pit asks of us — is are the victims of this things, or are they people? In this instance, the question is, are children things, or are they people?
When someone does something so terrible to a child, their “illness” becomes an academic question in my mind. As a lawmaker, my response is that they should be put in prison and never let out again. I mean that. They should live out the rest of their days and die in prison.
If that sounds harsh, so be it. I am not going to change. Not on this.
I know of no other way to keep our children safe from these people than to lock the predators up.
It reads like an article from The Onion.
But it’s not.
It’s a serious pseudo scholarly article published in the supposedly serious journal Medical Ethics, whose tagline reads “An international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics.”
I’ve long maintained that “ethics” as a scholarly pursuit is just the dressing up of the fine art of doing whatever you want to whomever you chose. Ethics, without God, is incapable of morality and shows no mercy or compassion. “Ethics,” as discussed in our learned journals and our various think tanks is an empathy-free zone; an elaborate mis-use of language to justify a world where the biggest and the meanest get to make all the rules.
After all, who makes these various judgements that “ethical thinkers” pass down but the biggest and the meanest? These ideas come from the royal jelly schools where a select few are groomed to take home all the prizes at the expense of everyone else. They are housed in enclosed, almost hermetically sealed environments where people never face the realities of the terrors they have wrought. They are sheltered and shielded, petted and pampered. And the “thinking” they produce is, far too often, an extension of the deep narcissism reflected in this kind of living.
“After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?” is a product of this kind of thinking and tawdry ethical posing.
This scholarly paper, makes the case for killing children after they are born if “circumstances occur after birth such that they would have justified abortion … we claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the cases where abortion would be.”
In other words, they are saying that we should be able to kill newborns because we want to kill them. That this is “ethical.”
The authors of this paper take the same tack used by a lot of people who argue for abortion on demand on this blog: the “fetus is not a person.” They argue that newborns aren’t “persons” either. They say,
The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.
It is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.
… Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject to a moral right to life.’ We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence is a loss to her.
This means that many non-human animals and mentally retarded human individuals are persons, but that not all the individuals who are in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life.
… Although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons … If a potential person, like a fetus or a newborn, does not become an actual person, like you and us, then … there is no harm at all … The alleged right of (fetuses and newborns) to develop their potentiality … is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being.
We take a ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value. In other words, you aren’t a ‘person’ as these scholars define it, and you don’t have a right to be alive, until you can speak up and fight for yourself. If you’re helpless, you aren’t a person, and anybody can kill you, anytime. The authors only apply this to newborns in this paper, but if you can’t see where this is heading, then you aren’t, as we say here in Oklahoma, “too swift.”
It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the authors also claim that “many non-human animals” have a right to life, which newborn babies do not. This same line of reasoning has been employed by other ethicists who have advanced killing babies after they are born, many of them until the child is up to a year old, but are vociferous in their fight for animal rights.
In fact, there is nothing new in this article. It references the deadly Groningen Protocol, concerning the practice in the Netherlands of murdering disabled newborns under the guise of euthanasia.
Here in the United States, this line of logic comes, as I said earlier, from the royal jelly portions of our society. It is the privileged set who keep pushing the boundaries on allowable murder, notably Peter Singer of Princeton University, Michael Tooley, who got his PhD from Princeton and now teaches at the University of Colorado. Dr Singer is famous for advocating for animal rights at the same time that he advocates killing children after they are born.
Despite the fact that these arguments read like they were written by a pro life comic who is making fun of pro abortionists, their authors are serious about them. We need to remember that most of the things we find abhorrent in our society today were sold to the general public in just this way. The demand for legal abortion did not begin in the women’s movement. It began in think tanks, composed almost entirely of men, many of whom were frank misogynists, who published scholarly articles.
Our society takes these royal jelly people far too seriously. We do not consider their remove from reality when we look at their ideas. The thinking in After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live? is just a hatched up bunch of nonsense designed to allow people who have the power to kill other people who can not defend themselves.
All this blather about “actual persons” belies the fact that the authors are creating a construct for killing people at will on the basis of the fact that the killer wants to kill them. It is a philosophy that justifies the biggest and the meanest, making all the rules, nothing more.
It is exactly what you get when we remove God and His Commandments from human decision-making. When we remove God from our considerations, we become what Dawkins et al claims we are: Beasts.
Life in this brave new world becomes, as Hobbes said, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Make no mistake about it, the same royal jelly people who are telling you that you can kill your own babies when they inconvenience you, will eventually be telling someone who is bigger and meaner than you that they can do the same thing to you.
“The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.”
Frank Weathers, who blogs at Why I am Catholic, has the story.
Father Fugee, the convicted child molester, has resigned. Archbishop Myers, who put him back with kids after his conviction, has accepted his resignation.
Rather than go through another trial, prosecutors required Father Fugee to undergo counseling – which I assume they thought would make him all better – then they required him to sign a document promising he wouldn’t be around children anymore.
You may remember Father Fugee. He’s the New Jersey priest who pled guilty to child sexual abuse and whose conviction was subsequently vacated on a technicality by an appellate court.
Archbishop Myers is the New Jersey archbishop who also signed the document promising that Father Fugee wouldn’t be around children. It sounds like the prosecutors tossed this child molestor back into the same place where he had committed his original crimes on the basis that he had promised them he wouldn’t do it again.
Prisons are costly enterprises. Just think how much money we could save in Oklahoma if we were smart like these New Jersey prosecutors. We never thought about asking felons to promise us they wouldn’t do it again. Think how much money we’ve wasted, locking people up, when all we had to do was get them to promise us they wouldn’t do it ever, ever, ever, again.
Of course, Archbishop Myers, who was Father Fugee’s supervisor the first time he sexually abused children, needed to promise that he wouldn’t do it again, too. That fixed it. No problems now.
When the Archbishop got caught recently, breaking his promise, well, all we needed was for him to explain that he hadn’t done anything wrong. Which he did. He sent a letter to the priests in his archdiocese, explaining to them that he had not violated the rules he helped write to govern bishops concerning how they handle child sex abusers.
When ignorant people who don’t understand continued their outrage, it was time to drain the boil. Father Fugee resigned and the Archbishop accepted his resignation.
I think — not know, think — Father Fugee agreed to exit stage left and Archbishop Myers “promptly” accepted his resignation because the two of them talked it over and decided it was the best way to save the Archbishop’s bacon.
The rest of us, of course, are expected to wipe our brows, go whew! I’m glad that’s over. And fergitaboutit.
According to a nj.com article, Father Fugee “submitted his request to leave ministry,” and “Archbishop Myers promptly accepted the resignation.” I hate feeling this way about one of the bishops of the Church, but that sounds like one fine case of professional courtesy to me.
Again, I hate saying things like this about a bishop of the Church, but when I have to choose between the bishop and following Jesus, the bishop loses. According to another nj.com article, Archbishop Myers has a history of things like this.
Myers and his aides say the archdiocese has taken aggressive measures to identify abusive priests.
In other cases:
- In 2004, the Newark Archdiocese wrote letters to six dioceses in Florida on behalf of the Rev. Wladyslaw Gorak, one week after learning Gorak’s ministry had been terminated in the Orlando Diocese — after he was accused of breaking into a woman’s home.
- Also in 2004, the archdiocese banned the Rev. Gerald Ruane from public ministry after investigating an allegation he molested a boy, but did not publicly notify lay people or other priests. Ruane continued to say Mass and wear his collar in public.
- In 2007, the archdiocese failed to inform lay people that it found a molestation claim credible against the Rev. Daniel Medina, who had worked in parishes in Elizabeth and Jersey City. The case wasn’t made public until a victims group uncovered an alert sent by the archdiocese in September 2008 to other bishops saying Medina was on administrative leave and could not be located.
Neither Myers nor the priests identified above would agree to an interview for this story. But Myers’ spokesman, James Goodness, said the archbishop has lived up to his promises of 2002 and that the archdiocese has carefully followed procedures meant to bar abusive priests from ministry. He said it has trained thousands of church employees to spot molestation, published procedures for filing sex accusations against priests and passed annual audits examining whether it keeps its promises. He noted, too, that the archdiocese has an agreement with the state Attorney General’s Office to forward all allegations of sexual misconduct to county prosecutors.
“We do not have priests in ministry without proper supervision, and those who have had credible allegations have been removed from ministry,” Goodness said. “We do notify the communities where people (priests) have served of the existence of allegations and the results of all our inquiries.
“We believe we are living both within the letter and the spirit of the charter,” he said.
One thing that troubles me is all this debate about whether or not Archbishop Myers followed the guidelines the bishops set up in Dallas. I don’t care if he followed those guidelines or not.
Let’s get off the guidelines and take a look at the Gospels of Christ. This man did not follow Jesus. He did not do his job of caring for the welfare of the people that the Lord God has entrusted to him.
Father Fugee resigned and Archbishop Myers promptly accepted his resignation.
Does that make it all better?
Not for me, it doesn’t. Archbishops Myers refuses to even promise that he won’t do it again. In fact, he tells us he didn’t do it in the first place.
To top it off, if that nj.com article is accurate, he has a history of doing things like this. I repeat a question I said yesterday: Has he ever heard of Jesus Christ?
Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”
What would the world look like today if Jesus had said yes to Satan?
What if, when Satan offered Our Lord all the kingdoms of the earth, Jesus had said yes?
What if, like the Saturday Night Live skit, dJesus, Our Savior had used his powers to force people to bend their knee to Him?
These questions strike to the heart of other questions. Why does God allow people to rape, torture and murder innocent children? Why would He allow cancer? Why doesn’t He stop us from harming one another so viciously?
Why, in short, does He tolerate a creation that rejects Him and what He has taught us to do and so often goes in the opposite and entirely cruel and destructive direction?
If He is God, why does He allow so much suffering?
I have heard people say things like this when they were in the extremities of pain and loss. Their question was not so much an accusation as it was a kind of prayer, a cry from the depths.
On the other hand, it has become fashionable in certain circles for privileged people to ask questions like these as a method of self-justification or simply as a way to attack faith. This nonsense of blaming God for our sins is becoming an increasingly accepted way to brush aside personal responsibility for our actions. Instead of acknowledging what we have done wrong, we point out that someone else is doing just as bad or worse.
Who better to blame for all the sins of humanity than a God who has the power to stop us from harming one another and will not do it? So, the fashion of the day is misplaced blame. We hold God accountable for human depravity.
But what would happen if God stopped us from sinning? What would have happened if Jesus had been the kind of conquering messiah the Jewish people wanted? What, in short, would happen if God was more like us?
I am the first to admit that if I was God every rapist and child batterer on this planet would be a pile of ash. Poof! And they would be on their slimy way to hell.
But God doesn’t operate that way, even when we wish He would.
He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
Jesus said “No” to Satan’s offer of worldly power. He turned His back on the temptation to use His power for Himself, even for something as simple as turning stone to bread to eat when He was hungry. He said no to all of it, and by doing that took the first steps to the cross.
Our eternal salvation began with that series of “nos” to the prince of darkness and his tempting offers to make right with might.
The truth is that even when God directs us, he always leaves us the choice of saying no to Him. He sets before us life and death, and then He lets us chose. He gives us a radical type of freedom that allows us to literally do our worst, including mocking, criticizing and attacking Him.
When Jesus said no to the control of earthly kingdoms, He was also saying no to the use of force to convert us.
God’s Kingdom is made of free people who freely chose to follow Him. The narrow way is narrow precisely because so many people would rather go the way of power and license, of selfishness and greed rather than give themselves to a Lord Who chose suffering and death over all earthly power.
Why the cross? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die on the cross; beaten, tortured, mocked, naked and humiliated? Why was this necessary to save us? Why didn’t He just reach out and save us with a magical touch?
From the beginnings of Christianity to now the cross has been a scandal. It is the subject of mockery from today’s evangelical atheists just as it was the subject of mockery by the Romans. The Romans saw the cross as ignoble. It was shameful, a disgrace, to die in such a manner; proof that the person who suffered it was from the scum classes of society and essentially worthless. The idea that Christians claimed such a victim as their god was, to them, ludicrous.
Today’s atheists are not so class conscious. They hang their critiques on a distaste for the whole affair. They sneer at the bloodshed and suffering and rebuke Christians for what they claim is a morbid worship of death.
But in truth the cross was the greatest gift of love ever given to humankind. The cross was not the only way God could have saved us. But it was the only way He could have done it and left us free.
Frank Weathers, who blogs at Why I Am Catholic, published an interesting post a few days ago. He commented on the Saturday Night Live skit, DJesus, that mocked our Lord by casting him as a violent, vengeful killer who wreaked havoc on everyone who ever crossed Him. Frank raised the question, “What would things be like if Jesus had been this vengeful god the skit portrayed?”
I think another way to ask that question is, What would things be like if Jesus had said yes to Satan in the wilderness?
The answer is probably along the lines of Jesus as He is portrayed in the SNL skit, only much worse than anything we can imagine. People of the first century were accustomed to gods who hungered for power — over each other, and over human beings. Humanity had long worshiped various deities who craved death and demanded that their followers slaughter their children, captives and other helpless ones as sacrifices to them.
How is that so different from our current culture of abortion, euthanasia and meaningless wars? St Augustine said these early gods were in fact demons. If he was right, then it appears these same demons are working through people today. They have not changed their tactics. They have only changed their names and their arguments.
God doesn’t allow suffering. He allows us our freedom and we cause the suffering. God doesn’t rape and torture. He doesn’t send drones, tell lies and ignore the elderly, sick, poor and helpless in our midst. We do that.
What God does is allow us to choose who we will serve. Jesus was born in a stable and died on a cross to open a path to salvation and eternal life for us. He suffered all this because by suffering it He could both redeem us and leave us free to reject the redemption He offered.
God lets us chose. He sets before us life and death and then He lets us chose. That is the way things are because on that day so long ago, Jesus made His own choice. He said “no” to satan and turned His face to the path that led Him to the cross.