Bishops out to silence victims

I wanted to post that story yesterday, about Texas Catholic schools sticking up for Jews and Muslims, before turning to this one. I don’t want anyone to misread this story as evidence that all Catholics are morally bankrupt, reprehensible people. That’s not the point of this story.

The point of this story is that the leadership of the Catholic church in America — the bishops — is made up of morally bankrupt, reprehensible people.

Church Puts Legal Pressure on Abuse Victims’ Group,” reports Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times:

Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.

The group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, is neither a plaintiff nor a defendant in the litigation. But the group has been subpoenaed five times in recent months in Kansas City and St. Louis, and its national director, David Clohessy, was questioned by a battery of lawyers for more than six hours this year. A judge in Kansas City ruled that the network must comply because it “almost certainly” had information relevant to the case.

The network and its allies say the legal action is part of a campaign by the church to cripple an organization that has been the most visible defender of victims, and a relentless adversary, for more than two decades.

Well, actually it’s not just SNAP and its allies saying that this is “a campaign by the church to cripple … the most visible defender of victims.” It’s also the bishops and their allies saying this:

Lawyers for the church and priests say they cannot comment because of a judge’s order. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”

Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”

He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue said.

Yes, you read that right. Donohue says the church must “fight” the victims of clergy sex abuse “one by one” because they constitute a “menace to the Catholic Church.”

And lest you think that Donohue’s attacks represent only his own views and not those of the bishops, his attacks on SNAP earned him praise from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the current president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dolan shares Donohue’s views. The victims and those who support them must be destroyed.

Because that’s “a lot less expensive” than “writing a check” — the only other response Donohue and the bishops can imagine to those who have been abused and assaulted by ministers of the church.

But again, this is not the Catholic Church attacking the victims. Those victims, by definition, are the church. This is Dolan, Donohue and the bishops attacking the church. This is Dolan, Donohue and the bishops trying to destroy the church.

And doing a pretty good job of it, too.

I’ll let a member of that church explain. Here’s Thomas P. Doyle, a Catholic priest, on “SNAP, the bishops and a lesson in ecclesiology“:

Ecclesiology is a fancy name for the theology of the church, the meaning of the church. This meaning had to be recalled by the assembled bishops at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) because it had been buried in the hierarchical trappings of the church as monarchy. The meaning resurrected by the council is simple yet profound: The church is the “People of God,” which simply means that the boundaries don’t stop with the bishops or with the clerical subculture. The council reminded Catholics that there were followers of the spirit and word of Christ before there was a hierarchy and a clerical world. Almost before the bleachers were removed from St. Peter’s Basilica at the close of the last session in 1965, the forces intent on neutralizing the reborn understanding of the church were hard at work. These forces are more evident today than at any other time since the council, and they are led by bishops.

SNAP is the People of God. The laypeople and the priests, religious men and women and miniscule number of bishops who stand with victims of clergy abuse and give them hope and healing are the church. Even though they might not think so, the lawyers who help victims find justice and healing are the church. It’s not true to say that “the church” does little to nothing to provide authentic help. The church has been the source of the help. It’s not, however, been the part of the church that has the official mandate to extend pastoral care to those in need, namely, the hierarchy. But they are not “the church.” They are only a very tiny part of it — .00074 percent, to be more exact. …

So Bill Donohue (and anyone who agrees with him) is dead wrong, reading from a script that was never theologically sound and is certainly way out of date. The purpose of the “church” is not the care and feeding of the hierarchy. The most important people in the church, if one takes the lead from the example of Jesus, are not the ones with the fanciest and most colorful robes but the ones who are the most marginalized and rejected, and in this group, one must include the countless women and men who have become marginalized because of the physical and sexual abuse of the church’s own ministers.

See also:

  • tiredofit

    Donahue has no clue what Christianity is about.  “We don’t need altar boys”?  Yeah, I guess they already did everything they wanted to the altar boys, now they just want to hide them away in shame.

  • Anonymous

    I was going to ask if anyone could reassure me that I had read that quote wrong, because it seemed to me that, “We don’t need alter boys” was absolutely the very worst thing Donohue could have possibly said. It’s almost like he wanted to say something bad-ass, but couldn’t discern the line between that and “heartless”.
    And then he missed “heartless” by a country mile and ended up square in “pathologically inhuman and monstrous” territory.

  • Anonymous

    Sociopaths will eventually let slip what their real motivation is and Donohue certainly did that with that quote about altar boys. Wow. Just wow.

    SNAP must have them on the ropes for the Bishops to act this aggressively. I’m sure it is really frightening to them that criminal charges have been brought against one of their own for failure to report child abuse because they expected to get away with it the way they have for decades. And they seem to think that it’s all SNAP’s fault for encouraging abuse victims to speak out. As my grandmother would say, they are going to knock the bottom out of hell for everything they did in the past and for continuing to try and destroy abuse victims. God bless SNAP and everyone they have tried to help.

  • Lori

    The fact that Donohue used “we” in that sentence tells you everything you need to know about him and the Catholic League. He’s a tiny, tiny little man who makes himself feel important by attaching himself to a powerful group of which he is not actually a part. He fancies himself some modern day heir to the Knights Templar when he’s really just a blowhard asshat. There’s really no excuse for the fact that media outlets continue to interview and quote him. The only good thing about it is that he’s so repulsive that I suspect he’s doing more harm than good to the Bishops’ cause, and the Bishops’ cause is so horrible that I really can’t argue with most anything that damages it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    I love that this is the organization that wants to give moral imperatives to the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    I am ashamed to be a Christian right now.

  • Anonymous

    “We don’t need altar boys”

    We elderly types will immediately be reminded of Nixon’s resignation speech where he remarked that America needed “good plumbers”*. There must be a word for opening your mouth and putting your foot in it by reminding everybody inadvertently of just why you’re in so much trouble.

    *Younger folks outside the US: The Watergate break-in, which lead to Nixon’s demise, was carried out by burglars pretending to be plumbers. “Plumbers” was a pretty highly charged term by the time the old crook finally quit.

  • Ken

    The strangest thing to me is that I thought the South Park episode “Red Hot Catholic Love” was parody when it came out.  Now it turns out that the hierarchy really does think the problem is that the children who have been raped are reporting it to the police.

    Also strange, but tending more to disgusting: That episode is almost ten years old. Can you think of any other organization that could have survived for ten years (more, really) after revelations that it had systematically concealed the rape of children by its leadership? How long do you think Planned Parenthood or the Girl Scouts would have held out? 

  • Ursula L

    The Catholic hierarchy may not be the church, and their behavior may not mean that the entire church is corrupt.  

    But at this point, I’m starting to believe that anyone who materially supports the Catholic hierarchy is part of the corruption.  If you’re giving money that goes into funds used to hire the “not alter boy” lawyers, the salaries and benefits of the corrupt hierarchy, the bureaucratic that lets the cover-up continue. 

    The corrupt Catholic hierarchy couldn’t do what it does without the money and power of the Catholic Church.  And they couldn’t do what they do without the millions of people who self-identify as Catholic, who self-identify with the institution, and who allow their numbers to be counted as part of the group which is led by the hierarchy. The people who allow the hierarchy to say “we are the leaders of the Catholic Church, which has X million members in the US” and be telling the truth.  

    In democracy, organized groups that are large have political power, and maintaining membership in a group increases its power.  Donating money to a group increases its power. 

    As long as there are millions of people in the US who voluntarily maintain official membership in the Catholic Church and continue to support the hierarchy by donating money, they’re part of the problem.  Because they give the hierarchy the money to hire the lawyers attacking victims, and the power of being able to truthfully say “we are the official leadership of an organization millions of members strong, who give us money and who choose to stand with us.”  

  • Anonymous

    How long do you think Planned Parenthood or the Girl Scouts would have held out?

    Planned Parenthood will probably be under Congressional investigation for the rest of eternity (or, at least, until the Democrats retake the House of Representatives), and the Girl Scouts are apparently being branded by some elements on the far-right as… I don’t even know any more. They’re accused of being basically every nasty thing they’ve ever thought about women, all rolled up into a confused barrage of abuse and slander — the Misogynistic Pervert Medley, if you will.

    And this is before they did anything wrong. If PP or Girl Scouts ever did anything like this, they would be thinking back to the fate of ACORN with envy.

  • Ursula L

    There must be a word for opening your mouth and putting your foot in it by reminding everybody inadvertently of just why you’re in so much trouble.

    A sort of Freudian slip, perhaps, with your subconscious prompting you to say things that your consciousness doesn’t want you to say, but that you’re thinking at some level?  

    Nixon surely thought he needed “good plumbers” not the incompetent ones who got caught and got him caught.  And Donohue surely believes that the church doesn’t need its troublesome alter boys, who complain and cause problems for the hierarchy and organization.  

  • Ken

    It was the current attacks on PP and the Girl Scouts that made me choose them, but it occurs to me that may have obscured the point. How long would Microsoft, or Wal-Mart, or Exxon last if it were revealed that some of their middle management had been routinely raping children for decades, and the corporate response was to transfer the rapists to other offices and pay the victims hush money?

    For that matter, if this were some 30-member denomination with one building, what do you think would happen? Wait, why am I being hypothetical; I just described David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, I think that Microsoft, Wal-Mart or Exxon would survive just fine…if they hunkered down into a total defensive posture like the Catholic Church has. 

    On the other hand, those organizations – lacking the Catholic Church’s need to keep the commoners in their place – probably wouldn’t feel any need to cover up for mere middle managers. 

  • Nequam

    ken: Perhaps Penn State will end up being the example you want.

  • Ursula L

    One scary thing about this is what it does to the concept of conspiracy theories.

    One of the more powerful arguments against conspiracy theories is that you can’t get that many people to cooperate and maintain a secret for that long. Someone will have a fit of conscience, or get drunk and start talking, or otherwise break the silence.

    But this is a conspiracy that involved hundreds, if not thousands, of people.  Not just the priests and hierarchy who were directly involved in the cover up, but also many victims and their families who felt obliged to keep silent, medical professionals who saw evidence of abuse, but didn’t make the right connections, teachers who saw children taken from their classrooms, etc.  And it lasted decades, and is still continuing – they’re still denying, still covering up where they can, still hiding the connections to try to make things look like isolated incidents rather than a pattern.  

    This shows us that criminal conspiracies can get much bigger than one might expect, be maintained with more consistency than one might imagine, and continue much longer than one would hope, even after being exposed. 

  • LL

    Why am I not surprised Donahue’s scuzzy hands are all over this one? He’s repellent. 

  • Lori

    This shows us that criminal conspiracies can get much bigger than one might expect, be maintained with more consistency than one might imagine, and continue much longer than one would hope, even after being
    exposed.

    I’m not sure this is exactly true. This was only a single conspiracy at the higher levels of the Church hierarchy, where the numbers of conspirators weren’t that large. At the lower levels it was thousands of very small conspiracies, rather than one large one. The only reason it held together as long as it did was that the liars at the top were able to convince the folks at the bottom that they were seeing the ever-popular isolated incidents. Once information started to spread and more people realized that they were indeed part of a vast conspiracy the necessary secrecy couldn’t be maintained.

    The fact that the Church hasn’t suffered more as a result of facilitating tens of thousands of rapes is evidence that being an established religion with huge amounts of money and influence allows you to get away with a lot, but I don’t think it shows that vast criminal conspiracies are significantly more practical than we had previously believed.

  • Danielle Custer

    This reminds me a bit of the Satanic ritual abuse scares.

    In that the Church’s hierarchy is starting to sound like one.

    [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanic_ritual_abuse ]

  • Ursula L

    Once information started to spread and more people realized that they were indeed part of a vast conspiracy the necessary secrecy couldn’t be maintained.

    The thing that is amazing is not just the secrecy.  It’s the solidarity.  

    You have a very large conspiracy, organized in a “cell” system that divides it down to many small conspiracies that are deliberately kept ignorant of the other cells.  This is similar to how resistance movements are often organized, with small local cells, keeping larger knowledge deliberately limited to avoid having any capture or defection lead to exposure of the larger group.  

    Now, I can sort of understand that sort of organization, and loyalty to that sort of organization, in a resistance movement that is fighting people who have attacked and occupied your homeland, people who are oppressing your homeland.  

    But that sort of loyalty, that sort of willingness to self-sacrifice, in order to protect rapists?  

    From what I can tell, there are still an amazing number of people continuing the conspiracy.  It isn’t over.  It hasn’t been stopped merely by being exposed.

    Even if they have been partially exposed, they’re still working to cover up any problems that have not yet been exposed.  For problems that have been exposed, they’re still working to intimidate victims who want legal justice.  When victims seek legal justice, they’re still working to discredit victims in any way they can, lie or truth.  When perpetrators are found guilty, they’re still trying to portray it as a limited problem.  

    The conspiracy has been exposed.  But it hasn’t collapsed.  It is still going strong, still working to limit damage to the organization at the expense of victims.  And at the expense of larger congregation whose faith is damaged by the knowledge that the church they thought was good is a rape-promoting and rape-protecting monstrosity.  

    At the expense of a congregation that is still putting money in the offering basket, even though that money is not (just) being used for good, but rather being used to protect rapists.   

    Any good that can come from a donation to the Catholic church can also come from a donation to organizations that focus on providing social services.  You don’t need to donate to Catholic Charities or your local Catholic parish to help the poor, the disabled, or the oppressed.  You certainly don’t need to donate to the Catholic Church in order to help the needy. 

    So why is any decent human giving anything to the Catholic Church at this point?  

    At some point, people need to look at abuse, and do some self-questioning to figure out if they are doing anything to enable or protect the abuse.  To figure out if they are acting to empower the abusers.

    They also need to figure out what sort of things they want to promote.

    Anyone who is associated with the Catholic Church, at this point, needs to look carefully at the money they donate.  They need to know whether or not the money they donate may be used (even in part) to protect rapists and target rape victims.  If even a penny of their donation may go to protecting rapists and targeting rape victims, then they need to look carefully for alternatives for their donations, so that the money can be used for genuine good.

    If this means that some Catholic churches can’t afford to pay their electric bill, that’s a necessary sacrifice. Because it is better for a building to go without electricity than for even a penny to go towards a rape-promoting and rapist-protecting conspiracy. You don’t need electricity to worship.  You do need money to hire lawyers to protect rapists and the people who aide and support rapists.  

    If you want to donate, their are many, many worthy institutions you can donate to that aren’t rape-promoting, rapist-protecting awfulness. 

    This isn’t a hard choice.  This is not a matter of understanding that there may be some weaknesses in a large organization, but that such things need to be accepted in order to promote a greater good.   No one needs to worry that if they don’t donate to the Catholic Church and its associated charities that good deeds, caring for the needy, won’t happen.   Because there is always the alternative of donating elsewhere, to non-corrupt organizations.  The greater good can be served in many other ways, without accepting this sort of corruption and abuse as part of the process.  

  • Guest

    You are right to say that anyone who materially supports the Catholic hierarchy is part of the corruption.  I left the Catholic Church about 3 years ago because my personal experience demonstrated that the level of charity there is less than in the secular world.  I’m glad I no longer am part of this evil place

  • Matri

    The greater good can be served in many other ways, without accepting this sort of corruption and abuse as part of the process.

    Corruption and abuse should never be accepted as part of any process.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Abuse shouldn’t, but I am increasingly of the belief that holding out for no corruption is a lost cause. My corollary to ‘power corrupts’ is that ANYONE in ANY position of power will at times act in a corrupt manner, and it’s more a matter of how much corruption you’re willing to accept.

    Frex, I actually have no problem with relatives of police getting low-level preferential treatment as part of the costs of doing business — maybe of the level of fixing a few parking tickets or the like. When same relatives skate on a murder rap or the like, that’s more corruption than I’d be willing to accept. 

  • Anonymous

    “I am ashamed to be a Christian right now.”

    Come to the Pony side of the Force! We have…um…Goddesses! And muffins*! What we don’t have is pedophile Priests and crazed fanboys. (Okay, we *do* have crazed fanboys [just a different *kind* of crazed], but we *don’t* have pedophile Priests.)

    *Muffin availability not guaranteed.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    He said bishops were also rethinking their approach of paying large
    settlements to groups of victims. “The church has been too quick to
    write a check, and I think they’ve realized it would be a lot less
    expensive in the long run if we fought them one by one,” Mr. Donohue
    said.

    I imagine the rest of the conversation in the back of Donohue’s mind went something like this:

    (TW: Sexual abuse victim shaming)

    “So here’s what I’m thinking. Most of the time, these crimes don’t leave physical evidence. Certainly nothing that would remain visible years later. So it’s going to be our word against his. So if we can stack the jury with faithful catholics, maybe have the defense sort of subtly intimate that any catholic who votes to convict a priest goes straight to hell — but make sure they keep it subtle. And we really have to get out there and insisinuate that the victims are just making up accusations to make a quick buck. See if we can drum up any money troubles.  Best of all, try to make the whole thing as public as possible. I bet a lot of the victims would rather let the whole thing drop than be outed on national TV as having been sexually abused. Oh. Right. And stack the jury with as many men as you can get. Yeah, they’ll be inclined to see the victims as weak and unmanly.

    I mean, hey, it works for secular rapists, right?”

  • Holden Pattern

    If the Bishops wanted to shut him down, they could.  That’s what having a hierarchy means.  He’s doing what they want him to do.

  • Lori

     

    If the Bishops wanted to shut him down, they could.  That’s what having a hierarchy means.  He’s doing what they want him to do. 

    Yes they could. He’s still not a Bishop and his pronoun use is still self-aggrandizing BS.

  • Matri

    True enough. Things like that would only affect an extremely limited number of people and be easy enough to sweep under the carpet. Heck, it probably happens a lot more often than I would be comfortable knowing about.

    But what this church leadership has done? Nowhere near even remotely acceptable.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Roman Catholic Church can’t be blind to the fact that at this point, the image of a frock and a robe doesn’t inspire confidence.

    Certainly I just feel really creeped now when I see someone wearing an outfit like that.

    It reminds me of the desperate attempts by political parties on their last legs trying to do everything they can to hang on, knowing in the next election they’re going to get sledgehammered, like the Canadian PCs in 1993 when after the dust settled, they were down to 2 seats.

    When the Roman Catholic Church finally falls, it will not be a pretty sight. The leadership knows this and is desperate to stave off the final reckoning no matter the cost to anyone else.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    And here I thought faith in God also gave one morality. Is this moral behavior? Molestation, followed by resistance to the law of the land when evasion of it ultimately fails?

    Protip: If there truly is a Hell, there’s a special place in it for people like you, Donohue. I’m ashamed you share the name of the best lead singer / gaming magazine editor in the country. :p

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    What we don’t have is pedophile Priests and crazed fanboys. (Okay, we *do* have crazed fanboys [just a different *kind* of crazed], but we *don’t* have pedophile Priests.)

    No, but you do have plenty of Rule 34s. 

  • Anonymous

    “No, but you do have plenty of Rule 34s.”

    *nervous laugh* True, but that (mostly) falls under the “crazed fanboys” part. Look, I’m not going to deny that certain parts of the MLP:FiM fanbase (usually referred to as “Bronies”) sometimes have…um…*unusual* views in regards to sex and depictions thereof. But the Celestian/Lunite “church” (such as it is) has — at least at the moment — no priesthood. In truth it doesn’t even have a doctrine and the only theology (more like a mythology) that anyone can point to is the first few minutes of the pilot episodes. I like the show (a lot!) and I’m fascinated by the mythology behind Princess Celestia and Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon. I also like that Princess Celestia is something of an Ideal among her subjects, but has a sense of humor when it comes to being both Princess *and* Goddess. (Although she’s not shy about taking a firm hoof when necessary. See: “Lesson Zero”.) I like Princess Luna as a redemptive figure who’s having to find her way in a world that she barely knows anymore. (I’m hoping that there will be at least one episode per season focusing on this. Until then, there’s always fanfic…)

  • Matri

    … Explaining way too much into it, buddy. :P

  • Diez

    The laypeople of the Catholic Church may not be corrupt, but the institution itself is irredeemably so.   It is rotten, rotten, rotten to the core, and even if they don’t realize it, anyone who supports it in any way is complicit in that rot.

    The church is not the building.  The church is the people.  Yet the people insist on worshiping in a building so disgusting and dilapidated that it actually poses a health hazard to others.  And the people are the only reason this building is still standing.

    The laypeople of the Catholic Church may not be corrupt, but they are complicit in corruption.  They shouldn’t be surprised when they are rightfully judged and held accountable for that.

  • Anonymous

    Celestia is a troll. For the New Lunar Republic! 

    Ahem. Sorry.  Do you perchance read Fallout:Equestria? Not the main point of the story, but Luna/Celestia both have decent rolls and Celestia specifically gets some real twists. 

  • Ursula L

    And here I thought faith in God also gave one morality. Is this moral behavior? Molestation, followed by resistance to the law of the land when evasion of it ultimately fails? 

    From what I’ve seen of the world, morality and religious faith are absolutely independent variables.  Decent people will be decent with or without faith, awful people will be awful, with or without faith.  

    People with faith will attribute the parts of their behavior and personality that they are proud of to their faith. People without religious belief will attribute the parts of their behavior and personality that they are proud of to other parts of their lives.  

    Either with or without religious faith, “parts of their behavior and personality that they are proud of” will correspond closely to the individual’s idea of “morality” even if it doesn’t correspond to anyone else’s idea of morality.  

  • Tricksterson

    Nono, leave him be, this is fascinating.  We may be seeing  a religion being biorn right before our eyes.  Here, have some popcorn.  I prefer cheddar flavored but I can get regular if you want.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    And the corollary to that, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” even applies. After all, how much more bloody powerful can you get when you are literally seen as the human representation of God’s will on Earth? The decisive force between Heaven and Hell, paradise and eternal torture? The final authority on Earth for mankind’s status of redemption?

    And heck, that doesn’t even begin to take into consideration their financial power. I don’t think anyone has the slightest idea how much money is invested in the Vatican (the Catholic Church reported a total income $422 billion in 2001, and apparently they play the stock market…), but odds are, “$A Lot USD.”

  • Anonymous-Sam

    You and I know that. Unfortunately, the church and much of Christianity has been teaching for generations that morality comes exclusively from God, and without God, one cannot be moral. So when those who claim to be closest to God are the most depraved monsters on the planet…

    Ah, but they don’t want us to think that. They want us to ignore these trespasses and focus on the greater good they’re doing. “Think of all the children we’ve saved, not the one or two who get abused,” they say. Funny, but that feels like so little consolation.

  • Anonymous

    The US Bishops have declared today a day of fasting and prayer for religious liberty.

    I would like to know if and when they have declared a day of fasting and prayer for children who have been abused by priests.

  • Lori

    Ah, but they don’t want us to think that. They want us to ignore these trespasses and focus on the greater good they’re doing. “Think of all the children we’ve saved, not the one or two who get abused,” they say. Funny, but that feels like so little consolation. 

    Given the truly staggering number of victims I’m not convinced that the Bishops come out ahead even if we surrender our humanity enough to base our judgement purely on the numbers.

  • Jenora Feuer
  • Anonymous

    “Do you perchance read Fallout:Equestria?”

    Sorry, no I don’t. *hangs head in shame* I’ve got a huge, long list of other Ponyfic that I’m trying to get through (as well as my other, regular reading) and that one’s pretty much at the bottom of my list. Maybe someday…

  • Anonymous

    “Nono, leave him be, this is fascinating. We may be seeing a religion being biorn right before our eyes.”

    Heh. You may want to bring a pillow and some blankets…and some drinks…and an .mp3 player or whatever else you need to entertain yourself (selves?) with because this is probably going to be a long, drawn-out process — assuming that it’s even a live birth at all! Heck, I may very well end up being the *only* (semi-)serious adherent. We’ll just have to see…

    So Neigh We All.

  • Anonymous

    I’d really like to comment here. Alas, Disqus seems to have me on its no-fly list. Wondering if I can circumvent that with a Guest posting instead of wasting another half hour fighting it.
    OK, sorry about this. I’d delete it if I could.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to be a spelling freak, but it’s deeply ingrained:

    It would be nice if we had less on “alter boys”. Actually, altering boys is something that the Catholic Church gave up on a couple of hundred years ago, for real — mostly, anyway.

  • Anonymous

     Actually, though Nixon’s goons did show up in various disguises, it wasn’t mainly as plumbers. The name comes from a comment one of the top goons made early on, to his associates, about the number of “leaks” that were taking place and the need for some plumbers to fix that.

    Some of the readers here may be pleased to know that a use of that term can be found from about 1936, when Lord Peter Wimsey is unhappy about being sent off by the Foreign Office to act as a plumber in exactly this sense. The author of that story (“Busman’s Honeymoon”) was Dorothy L Sayers, who did some notable Christian writing, and a new translation of The Divine Comedy.

  • Anonymous

     Does anyone remember — from the books, I mean, this having happened quite a while ago — that the author of the “power corrupts” epigram was a Roman Catholic? In England, in a time when being RC had only recently become fully legal, so it took both brains and guts.

    And has anyone noticed that the time when Lord Acton wrote that, 1887, was a few years after the reign of Pius IX (Pio Nono as he’s called), who was perhaps the most fanatical gatherer of Papal power in modern times? Spoken of today with contempt or distaste or loathing by many Catholics; you should see their accounts of the railroading of Infallibility through an official council (not to mention Immaculate Conception, apparently just for fun).

    And revered, of course, by others, including the current owner of the Papacy, who decreed just recently that PIX is officially Blessed.

  • P J Evans

     I think that Benny-the-pope is going to be surprised when he dies and God points out to him that her idea of a holy pope is John XXIII.

  • Tricksterson

    Keep in mid that I follow the path of  Trickster and that I believe his modern aspect (or at least one of them) is Bugs Bunny.


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