I've updated this post with a lengthy editorial by Dave Hartline of the American Catholic Blog. It is a must read! It's blogs like this that are giving the Main Stream Media like the New York Times a challenge which they didn't have in 2002. Times have changed! Change the New York Times!
My comments first: The editorial below is from the Wall Street Journal. I believe Laurie Goodstein should be fired as a reporter for the New York Times and someone should sue her and the New York Times! But as a Catholic priest, I guess I should be advocating turning the other cheek! But what's good for the "goose" is good for the "gander!" Yesterday, watching CNN, the main stream media bias on our Pope was loud and clear. One of their reporters interviewed two Catholics who had attend Easter Sunday's Papal Mass and were dismayed that the pope didn't say anything about the scandal.The reporter was almost wringing her hands in dismay that the pope had said nothing and hoped he would in the future, thus leaving those who only watched this newscast and saw no other news on the topic to believe how wretched Pope Benedict must be and his entire Catholic Church. The reporter never once mentioned that Pope Benedict has said more about this since 2002 as cardinal and since becoming pope than anyone else. That just two weeks ago he spoke about it at a Wednesday audience with almost 30 thousand people present and then issued a letter on it to Ireland. Who is this reporter trying to kid? Who is CNN trying to kid? They have an agenda and its not about protecting children, or the media moguls would clean up TV, cable companies who carry pornography and the movie studios many of which are owned by the main line media. It's about destroying this pope and the Catholic Church--don't be fooled!
* OPINION: MAIN STREET
* APRIL 6, 2010
The Pope and the New York Times
Unlike the Roman papacy, in certain circles the New York Times still enjoys the presumption of authority. So when the front page carries a story headlined "Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Deaf Boys," people notice.
Written by Laurie Goodstein and published March 25, the thrust is twofold. First, that the Rev. Lawrence Murphy, a priest who abused children at St. John's School for the Deaf in Milwaukee from the 1950s to the 1970s, went unpunished. Father Murphy, she wrote categorically, "was never tried or disciplined by the church's own justice system."
This all feeds the kicker: "the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency." In other words, Murphy got off scot-free, and the cardinal looked the other way.
Ms. Goodstein cites internal church documents, which the Times posted online. The documents were provided by Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan. They are described as "lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee."
What she did not tell readers is that Mr. Anderson isn't just any old lawyer. When it comes to suing the church, he is America's leading plaintiffs attorney. Back in 2002, he told the Associated Press that he'd won more than $60 million in settlements from the church, and he once boasted to a Twin Cities weekly that he's "suing the s--t out of them everywhere." Nor did the Times report another salient fact about Mr. Anderson: He's now trying to sue the Vatican in U.S. federal court.
None of this makes Mr. Anderson wrong or unworthy of quoting. It does make him a much bigger player than the story disclosed. In fact, it's hard to think of anyone with a greater financial interest in promoting the public narrative of a church that takes zero action against abuser priests, with Pope Benedict XVI personally culpable.
Asked about the omissions in an email, Ms. Goodstein replied as follows: "Given the complexity of the Murphy case, and the relative brevity of my story, I don't think it is realistic for you to expect this story to get into treating other cases that these attorneys have handled."
Martin Nussbaum, a lawyer who is not involved in the Murphy case but who has defended other dioceses and churches in sexual abuse suits, emailed me four interesting letters sent to Murphy from three Wisconsin bishops. These documents are not among those posted online by the Times. They are relevant, however, because they refute the idea that Murphy went unpunished.
In fact, the letters from these bishops—three in 1993 and one in 1995, after fresh allegations of Murphy's misconduct—variously informed the priest that he was not to celebrate the sacraments in public, not to have any unsupervised contact with minors, and not to work in any parish religious education program.
It's accurate to say Murphy was never convicted by a church tribunal. It's also reasonable to argue (as I would) that Murphy should have been disciplined more. It is untrue, however, to suggest he was "never" disciplined. When asked if she knew of these letters, Ms. Goodstein did not directly answer, saying her focus was on what was "new," i.e., "the attempts by those same bishops to have Father Murphy laicized."
As for Rome, it did not get the case until 1996, when the archdiocese of Milwaukee informed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then headed by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Back then, the CDF handled abuse cases when they involved a breach of confession (Murphy was accused of using the confessional to solicit boys). At that time, too, the only real option for reducing Murphy to the lay state was a church trial. And the bishops in Wisconsin did begin a trial.
Ms. Goodstein's original article said simply that Cardinal Ratzinger's deputy halted Murphy's trial after the priest sent the cardinal a letter saying he was dying and asking for clemency. A follow-up Times article last Thursday clarified that Rome came down the way it did because Murphy had shown "apparent good conduct" for the last 24 years, and "it would be difficult to try him" because "so much time [had] passed between the crimes and the trial."
Plus, his bishops had already stripped Murphy of his priestly faculties, the equivalent of taking a doctor's medical license. Does all this really suggest people callously looking the other way?
A few years later, when the CDF assumed authority over all abuse cases, Cardinal Ratzinger implemented changes that allowed for direct administrative action instead of trials that often took years. Roughly 60% of priests accused of sexual abuse were handled this way. The man who is now pope reopened cases that had been closed; did more than anyone to process cases and hold abusers accountable; and became the first pope to meet with victims. Isn't the more reasonable interpretation of all these events that Cardinal Ratzinger's experience with cases like Murphy's helped lead him to promote reforms that gave the church more effective tools for handling priestly abuse?
That's not to say that the press should be shy, even about Pope Benedict XVI's decisions as archbishop and cardinal. The Murphy case raises hard questions: why it took the archbishops of Milwaukee nearly two decades to suspend Murphy from his ministry; why innocent people whose lives had been shattered by men they are supposed to view as icons of Christ found so little justice; how bishops should deal with an accused clergyman when criminal investigations are inconclusive; how to balance the demands of justice with the Catholic imperative that sins can be forgiven. Oh, yes, maybe some context, and a bit of journalistic skepticism about the narrative of a plaintiffs attorney making millions off these cases.
That's still a story worth pursuing.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A15
Why They Attack Pope Benedict XVI
By Dave Hartline of the American Catholic Blog
In some ways, we shouldn’t be surprised at all concerning the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father was never one of the “chosen religious people” loved by the dying group called progressive Christians, or by the mainstream media; that distinctions falls to the National Catholic Reporter, Maureen Dowd, Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, or the openly gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson.
(Point of personal privilege. In my mind, there are two schools of liberals, one is the utopian view, and while I disagree with their unrealistic views of the world, they are in their heart of hearts not nefarious. This group truly believes the world would be a better place if their views were followed. A couple examples of their spiritual gurus would be Jerry Brown and Jerry Garcia. However the other form of liberalism, which is much more prevalent, is a virulent strain that masquerades as a protector of the less fortunate and a conduit of all things intellectual. Their goal is nothing less than absolute societal control; their godfathers are Voltaire, Nietztche, Karl Marx, Saul Alinksy etc.)
When the Abuse Crisis came to Europe, the mainstream media, and the many within religious reporting circles who despise the conservative social teachings of the Catholic Church, were licking their chops to take a shot at Pope Benedict. Never mind, the huge number of abuse cases coming out of big government circles, or the fact that an overwhelming majority of abusers who were priests were those with views of changing the Church and not respecting her teachings, the mainstream media smelled blood in the water and feeding frenzy was on.
The New York Times article, basically saying then Cardinal Ratzinger looked the other way during the abuse scandal, was so shoddy that even writers from the liberal Jesuit America magazine took note of it. It might behoove those who have fallen for the Old Gray Lady’s hysterical rantings to read the quotes of some in the mainstream media praising then Cardinal Ratzinger’s handling of the crisis during the later stages of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.
Why the attack on the Catholic Church one might ask? The Catholic Church is the only Church who is universal, can speak with one voice and has conservative based social views. This coupled with the fact, that she unlike far too many Christian churches, has never lost her belief in the mystical i.e. the Eucharist, miracles, apparitions etc. However, the biggest reason some in the mainstream media attack the Holy Father is that despite all of these “non modern” views, the Catholic Church continues to grow. Adding insult to injury for these modern day Pontius Pilates (what is truth?) the Church continues to grow, young people in particular are draw to devotions like the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration.
The fact that the Catholic Church continues to grow is bad enough for these mainstream media’s religious writers. However, their own church darlings (the liberal Protestant mainstream churches) continues to plummet. Many mainline American Protestant churches have lost nearly half of their members in the last fifty years, some went to Evangelical Churches, some to the Catholic Church and others stopped attending any church. It would appear that in the latter case, they took the relativistic sermons they were hearing to heart and felt like those delivering them that they knew better than the teachings of orthodox minded Christianity. It is much worse in Europe, where it is estimated that more people attend Friday prayers at Britain’s mosques than attend Anglican Church services on Sunday morning. Yet it gets worse for the Anglican Church. In addition to the laity, the Anglican Church lost a large amount of their clergy as well, and many more are coming to the Catholic Church, thanks to the Personal Ordinate offered by Pope Benedict XVI.
One of the latest trends in the Episcopal Church (part of the worldwide Anglican community) centers around uniting the Eucharist with music of the popular Irish band U2 for something billed as the U2Charist which I wrote about it in 2006 while covering the Episcopal General Convention in Columbus. Though I greatly admire U2, have many of their albums and cd’s, along with seeing them in concert, it was more than a little bewildering seeing something billed as the U2Charist. What’s next liturgical music incorporating the lyrics of Adam Lambert or Lady GaGa?
Dave Shiflett’s book Exodus chronicles the plummeting congregations of the mainline Protestant Churches. The most extreme example of this can be seen in the Unitarian Church , which two to four former presidents called their own (depending upon your source.) By the 1990s, it was estimated that half of the Church’s congregation was either agnostic or atheist. Two men David Burton and Dean Fisher have become evangelists in their own church preaching that yes God does exist. This is only the start of this theological madness. In some Ivy League Theology Departments half of the faculty is either atheist or agnostic.
In many small towns and cities across the US, historic mainline Protestant churches sit empty as many of their adherents have left for the Catholic Church or the local non denominational mega church. While the conservative Southern Baptist Church is holding its own in numbers, the much maligned conservative Catholic Church is still growing in the US. Even in Catholic places like Quebec, which once had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world, church attendance has plummeted thanks to much of the province’s leadership having also drunk too much from the cup of the 1960s and 1970s enlightenment. The lesson being if one sticks with the core of the Faith, one is safe, if one thinks they can outsmart God, they are doomed.
Yet as Christ promised the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church. In the last few years we have seen a resurgence of orthodoxy in the Church to counter the Dictatorship of Relativism that our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has prophetically warned us is occurring in our modern world. This term makes the hair stand on the neck of most liberals, for numbers bare out the truth in Pope Benedict’s statement.
As I noted before, all of this is made manifest in ordination numbers. 64 to 6 and 14 to 4 stand out. What does this mean? In 2006 when writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, I noted that even though the Diocese of Rochester had more Catholics than the dioceses of Lincoln and Omaha combined, Rochester had 6 men studying for the priesthood while Lincoln and Omaha had 64. That same year of 2006 Denver had 14 young men ordained to the priesthood (eleven in May and three earlier in the academic year,) while Los Angeles had four; a staggering statistic when one considers that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has 4,300,000 Catholic residents compared to 385,000 Catholics for the Archdiocese of Denver. Los Angeles and Rochester are led by two of the most liberal prelates in the Church, while Omaha, Lincoln and Denver are led by three of the more conservative bishops in the US, a revelatory statistic to say the least.
Younger liberals might be forgiven if they mistakenly believed the canard told by their elder comrades that 1950s Catholic leaders and especially bishops were all right wing conservatives who had no patience for the ideas of liberals, but possessed the patience of Job for fellow conservatives. In his memoirs published shortly after his death, the late Senator Edward Kennedy wrote that his famous father the former Ambassador to England Joseph P Kennedy would often socialize with Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston. Senator Kennedy wrote that his father always called the famous prelate by his first name.
In a revealing account the late Senator spoke of an incident in which brother Bobby, the future Senator from New York, heard a controversial conservative priest at a Boston lecture, whose views about Protestant salvation were deemed very conservative. After Bobby’s father made a phone call to “Richard” the priest was promptly booted from the Archdiocese. Senator Edward Kennedy surmises that because of this incident, his brother Bobby unwittingly played a part in bringing about Vatican II. As one can clearly see from this example, the right wing Catholic hierarchy may not have existed as vividly as it did in some liberal’s imagination.
Catholics who dismiss out of hand the miraculous, including those who write about it, such as writers like Michael Brown of Spirit Daily, might want to give this a second thought. While no one wants their faith reduced to having to explain every crust of toast that looks like the Blessed Virgin Mary, the opposite is true as well. The faithful should never be embarrassed at God’s grace and blessings, which are occasionally revealed to us through miracles and apparitions.
The Pulitzer Prize nominated Brown (who was nominated for the prestigious prize in the late 1970s while writing for a newspaper detailing the toxic waste dumped in upstate New York’s Love Canal) spent a great deal of time researching The Last Secret , a book about the history of Marian Apparitions. He used libraries around the world, including the largest collection of works on Marian Apparitions housed at the Marianist, University of Dayton. Though a Pulitzer Prize nominee for the scholarship displayed in researching the Love Canal tragedy, his book The Last Secret, using the same methodology, received scant attention in the Catholic intelligentsia, a lesson to ponder during these troubled times. While we are on the subject, perhaps it would be a good time to ponder the Two Pillars vision of Saint Don Bosco, maybe just maybe Pope Benedict is this faithful pontiff of which the famous saint spoke. Perhaps even as we live, the Holy Father is commanding the ship ( metaphor for the Church) through the Two Pillars.
Perhaps during this Easter Week, it is fitting to reflect on the words of one of our many Jewish friends, one in particular from Cleveland, Sam Miller. His defense of Catholicism made the rounds on the internet some time ago. Perhaps now is a fitting time to read his thoughtful words. Reading Mr. Miller’s words reminds us why some in the mainstream media hate Pope Benedict XVI, his superior intellect. The secular left and the religious left hate those who they think aren’t intelligent (just ask Sarah Palin,) but even worse than that sin is the sin to be smart and not think as the secular or religious left thinks, which is why they have always had it in for Pope Benedict XVI. The reason so many hate the former Alaska Governor is that most know they would never have the guts that she displayed, the guts of bringing a Special Needs child into the world.
One must keep in mind that nearly 90% of the unborn who are diagnosed with Special Needs are aborted. The left defends abortion about as vehemently as most parents defend their own children. Regarding the militant left, it has and always will be about them; for as much as they masquerade that they care about the less fortunate; it has always been a smokescreen hiding their own self absorption.
I will conclude this article with a few of thoughts. First off, my childhood parish was hit with one of the worst Abuse Scandals, while I was in Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. Sadly, my parish saw at least three abusers pass through and they all were the same, miscreants who molested boys and wanted to change the Church to fit with their relativistic views. One of these abusers was our pastor and his first order of business was to whitewash our beautiful church interior. He spoke of bringing our small town in to the “modern era.”
He was not alone, the overwhelming majority of abusers wanted to change the Church. Fortunately I was not abused, but I grew up with people who were. My friends and I will never forget our childhood pastor’s sexual innuendo and hi-jinks, which I will not go into for this setting. I take the Abuse Scandal very seriously, my childhood friends have had to for most of our lives. Most of us are still faithful Catholics, sadly we were given an insight into this diabolical madness that fortunately few were privy to, which is why I refuse to be lectured to by those who never lived through it. We saw what happened when evil tries to take over. In a nutshell, these dark forces of the Dictatorship of Relativism, will never make my childhood friends and I believe that changing the Church that Christ started is the way forward, when in reality it is the road to destruction.
Unfortunately during the 1970s, the Church didn’t always listen to herself, but often to modern, secular psychology who said these perverted men could be rehabilitated. These secular forces said celibacy was the problem, though they never said this about abusers in Protestant churches (which is rarely reported,) or those working for the government, whose numbers dwarf anything seen in the Catholic Church. For a better understanding of this diabolical madness, read this article by Father Dwight Longenecker. In addition, I have written three articles which highlight the rise of the Dictatorship of Relativism which includes; The Constuct of Rebellion, If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion; Left It In Tatters, and The Coming Open Rebellion Against God.
Finally, now is the time for the faithful to quit wringing their hands and sobbing that the New York Times and the mainstream media doesn’t like us; and instead give them and their minions a piece of our mind. The Church’s faithful need to speak up and follow the admonition of Jesus and Saint Paul with regard to spiritual self defense (Luke 22:36,) (Ephesians 6:10-20.)
We have survived 2,000 years of folks not liking us and surprise, surprise; this won’t be the last time. The reason they don’t like us is because we exist in the face of their relativistic ways, and they can’t stand it, which also proves that The Tide is Still Turning; for if it weren’t we would as loved as the liberal churches are in the eyes of the mainstream media. This is the time to remember Christ’s words that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church He started. We should continue to pray for the victims of Abuse, the Church in general, and Pope Benedict in particular, as he defends us against the buffeting winds brought on by the Dictatorship of Relativism.