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posted by awelborn

I’ll have a comment on this, if you folks don’t beat me to my points in your comments:

Benedict the Ecumenical by Michael Sean Winters, in The New Republic.

(Just one quick point: There is a veritable army of Straw Men coursing marching through this piece, so watch it. What is the evidence that the "approach" of Benedict to these issues is problematic to anyone? What is it in the writings of the Bad Guys noted in this piece that sets them apart from Benedict’s approach? In using the Levada – SF example, Winter fails to note that First Things published an explanation of his decision (this was about the domestic partner benefits) from…Archbishop Levada himself.  In the SF Catholic Charities adoption business (which is problematic for a number of reasons, of course) – why does Winter omit mentioning that in the most recent twist, the declaration that CC stop placing children with gay couples has come from, er…Levada? Where is it in Ratzinger’s writings any difference in his understanding of pastoral application of teachings than he’s evincing in the present?  Okay. Your turn.)

When the College of Cardinals elected Joseph Ratzinger Pope a year ago, right-wing clerics and commentators hailed the incoming pontiff as one of their own. Neocon writer George Weigel rushed an obsequious, fawning biography into print, modestly titled God’s Choice. Father Joseph Fessio SJ, the top editor at Ignatius Press, promoted his friendship with–and ideological proximity to–Ratzinger on any cable show that would have him. Father Richard John Neuhaus’s online diary read, "How sweet it is." But the joke has been on them. On the issue these American Catholic conservatives seem to care about most–the fight against societal acceptance of homosexuality–Pope Benedict XVI has been far less strident than Ratzinger the cardinal, and that has sent the right-wingers into unexpected fits of apoplexy. 

Benedict has hardly retreated from the culture wars. To the contrary, he teaches that the "Truth" (with a capital T) is accessible to the Christian and found within the bosom of Catholicism. There is no love of ambiguity in Ratzinger’s heart, nor will there be in his teachings as Pope. In the 1990s, he was shocked by some of the theological ruminations he heard from bishops, especially those from Asia, which he thought obscured the distinctiveness of Catholicism’s claims. And Benedict believes the secularization of European thought and culture has severed that civilization from its own roots. Benedict’s worldview remains steeped in his academic Augustinianism; his view is dark and, consequently, often paternalistic, defensive, and stark.

And yet, unlike many conservative Catholics in the United States, Benedict does not see combating the acceptance of homosexuality in society as the most important piece of his agenda. The reason has much to do with his new role. As doctrinal warden, Ratzinger enforced orthodoxy. But now, as a pastor, that is only one piece of his job. And Ratzinger has made it clear that, however much he insists on Christian Truth, the teachings of the Church should be applied with gentleness and an understanding of a person’s lived experience.

Benedict’s approach can be seen in last autumn’s Vatican document banning most gays from seminary and ordination. The text came from one of the Vatican’s dicastries, or departments, and it was rendered as a "prudential judgment," not as a doctrinal claim. Indeed, there was almost no theology in the document. Nonetheless, it echoed many of the right wing’s fears about the effects of homosexuality on culture and suggested there was a link between homosexuality and the recent clerical pedophilia crisis, a line that Weigel and Neuhaus have pushed for years. But Benedict did not issue the document in his own name, nor even approve it "in forma specifica." He merely ordered its publication. Thus, the text carries more weight than, say, the guidebook to the Vatican museums, but many bishops have felt free to interpret the text in a way that guts it of its clear intent. And Benedict has said not a word about these more liberal interpretations. 

Benedict’s unwillingness to crack down on homosexuality has caused consternation across the right. "Among those who greatly admired Cardinal Ratzinger and were elated by his election as pope," Neuhaus recently wrote in First Things, "there is a palpable uneasiness." In his distress, Neuhaus harkens back to 1968–a year that neocons always seem to harken back to–when Pope Paul VI issued his famous birth control-banning encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Then, too, the Pope decided that there would be no punitive action taken against theologians who dissented. In the neocon worldview, this tolerance of dissent led to a sea of moral chaos in the ensuing years, as if, with just a little more preaching, Catholic couples everywhere would have foresworn recourse to the pill.

The sense of betrayal many American conservatives feel toward Benedict can be seen again in their reaction to his appointment of then-Archbishop William Levada to take Ratzinger’s old job as head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office. Neuhaus says the appointment "occasioned widespread puzzlement…. Levada, for all his considerable gifts, did not distinguish himself in his teaching, and his seeing to it that others taught, the Church’s moral doctrine during his ten years as archbishop of San Francisco, a city commonly called the gay capital of the world." Does Neuhaus really think anyone in San Francisco or elsewhere fails to know the Church’s views on homosexuality? How would endless repetition have advanced the Gospel? More important, when Levada arrived in San Francisco in 1995, the city was in the middle of the aids epidemic. Was the most pressing pastoral need of that city’s gay community to be hit over the head repeatedly with condemnations? The suggestion is obscene.

When San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown enacted a law in late 1996 requiring all organizations that contract with the city, including the Catholic Church, to provide health benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees, Levada balked. The Church was not going to be forced into blessing same-sex relationships by the conferral of such benefits. The conservatives saw a battle coming. But Levada avoided such a conflagration by negotiating a change in the law so that an employee could designate any person legally domiciled in his household–an aunt, a same-sex partner, whomever–to receive the health care benefit. As Levada pointed out, the Church is in favor of universal health care, and this extended health benefits to thousands of citizens. It was casuistry in the best sense of the word, stretching the law to accommodate a real-life conundrum.

If promoting Levada to Ratzinger’s old job caused puzzlement, the right wing went ballistic when Benedict chose Utah bishop George Niederauer to replace Levada in San Francisco. Niederauer was, according to Neuhaus, "gay-friendly," and he had opposed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Like many other bishops, he took the mildest possible interpretation of the document about gays in seminaries, and he specifically contradicted the neocon line that homosexuality bears responsibility for the clergy’s sex-abuse crisis, calling that position "seriously mistaken." When Niederauer gave his first major interview after arriving in the City by the Bay, I confess I worried for Neuhaus’s health. Niederauer told the San Francisco Chronicle he had seen Brokeback Mountain and found it "very powerful." Smelling salts for Father Neuhaus.



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Mark Shea

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:53 pm


The only person I’ve seen “apoplectic” about Benedict is Andrew Sullivan, who has dredge up every smear he can think of to arraign Benedict, not just as an enemy of homosexuals, but as a Jew-hater as well.



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Tony A

posted April 10, 2006 at 2:54 pm


This Michael Sean Winters article is brilliant. Many of us predicted this would happen when Benedict was elected, and that the hard-core catholic right (the acolytes of Neuhaus, Weigel, and Novak, and those think the church should become a subsidiary of the US Republican party) has not been fully content with Benedict. My only quibble is that Winters places too much emphasis on the perceived discontinuity between “Ratzinger” and “Benedict”. Those who criticized this so-called rigid documents did not not apply the principle of hermeneutics – odiosa restinguenda sunt (hard or harsh matters are to be interpreted as narrowly as possible). I hope Benedict keeps up the good work.



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Rich Leonardi

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:06 pm


That a dissenting Catholic like Tony A. finds this straw-man-riddled screed “brilliant” should tell you all you need (roughly) to know.



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Tony A

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:20 pm


You know, Rich, your way of arguing is pretty sad. You seem to think the catechism mandates support for the Bush admistration (a shudder went through my spine writing that) and that every time they deviate from church teaching is simply a matter of “prudence”. How convenient that is for you. You have never once responded to a single theological point. Now I’m a dissenter. On what issues, pray tell? Name one. Cough up. Stop hiding behind cheap name calling and actually make an argument based on reason.



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Other Marc

posted April 10, 2006 at 3:41 pm


The most important issue to me is homosexuality? News to me, and yet I was elated with Ratzinger’s election. Might have had something to do with reading his writings, specifically “The Spirit of the Liturgy” and “God and Man” (or, something like that). Also, The Ratzinger Report was a portrait of a man who acutely understood the problems facing the Church and their source, and he understood these problems 20 years before his election. His clear thinking and articulate, accessible way of communicating orthodoxy are the reasons I welcomed his election.



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Rosie M. Banks

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:07 pm


This recent string of TNR articles on the “theo-cons” says more about the mindset of the editors of TNR than anything happening in reality.
Winters isn’t completely off with this. Weigel’s book WAS fawning, or it might be better to say that he was attempting to shape the reception of Ratzinger’s election in a way consonant with the purpose of the group he is a part of.
Last week, Neuhaus wrote on the FT blog that spead “Centessimus Annus” taught that justice spreading democracy and capitalism around the globe. There are going to be clashes as these sorts of faultlines between the Vatican and American neo-cons/theo-cons/whatever become more apparent.



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paul

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:13 pm


unlike many conservative Catholics in the United States, Benedict does not see combating the acceptance of homosexuality in society as the most important piece of his agenda.
Yowzer! Straw man indeed.
And speaking of strawmen:
You seem to think the catechism mandates support for the Bush admistration
No, Tony. I believe Rich, and those who are in agreement with Rich (like me) just expect people to adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church on all matters and not just when it is convenient. For example, we tend not to disagree with the Church on dogmatic matters like, oh, I don’t know, starving women to death.
At any rate, that was a pretty pathetic article. I just so love it when people flippantly use a term like “neocon” indicating they haven’t the slightest idea of what it means.



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Charles A.

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:15 pm


That Neuhaus, Weigel, and Novak are considered ‘hard-core catholic right’ is also strange. Not a trad or a Thomist in the trio. Come to think of it, what’s the ‘US Republican party’ or the Bush admin. doing in support of the right side of the Key Culture War issue mentioned..?



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Frank Sales

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:28 pm


An idiotic piece. Some seem to think that to support a leader requires unqualified support for everything he does. Neuhaus was an enthusiastic supporter of John Paul II as well, calls him “the Great”, but would still freely point out what he perceived as missteps by the Vatican. Absurd to say with either JPII or Benedict that he, Weigel et. al. feel that the “joke is on them”. Idiotic.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:45 pm


Dale Vree is at least as apopletic about Benedict as Sullivan – if not more so. Neuhaus adopted a smug “we orthodox are very disappointed in Pope Benedict, so watch out” tone which, while not apoplectic, contained dark hints of a “we resist you to the face” relationship with the Holy Father. Winters is absolutely correct, however, that there was considerable thoughtless apoplexy throughout conservative Catholicism over Levada and Niederauer – especially the latter. Those who pretend otherwise must have amnesia.
However, Benedict, released the pseudo-ban on gay priest document, and Levada made the requisite noises against gay adoption, so all is forgiven, at least for now.



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Dan

posted April 10, 2006 at 4:47 pm


A very similar Fr. McBrien article appeared in the Tidings a few weeks ago. Like the Winters article, the McBrien article argues that conservatives are dissatisfied with B16 and as purported support for this claim cites Fr. Neuhaus’s “Gays and the Priesthood” article and the fact that B16 has not issued a Pat Robertson-like denunciation of homosexuality. In other words, the Winters article is a rehash of an article that appeared weeks ago in the free newspaper that sits at the back of Catholic churches. Such is the quality of The New Republic’s coverage of the Catholic Church.



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CBM

posted April 10, 2006 at 5:12 pm


The Winters article is senseless and poorly researched as may have already pointed out. Though I’ve never met Fr. Neuhaus I have read and heard enough since the contested FT piece to know that he is certainly not “uneasy” with our Holy Father. Mr. Winters, the Pope is the Pope and you aren’t. I’m not sorry about that fact but I am sorry for you and all who do what you: set up and tear down from RJN to Cardinal Mahony.



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Mike

posted April 10, 2006 at 5:22 pm


Well, I had no idea I was supposed to be disappointed in BXVI’s papacy until reading this article. It’s also news to me that homosexuality was the #1 issue I am concerned about.
I, for one, am very impressed with Benedict’s first year as pope, and I, too, was a Cardinal Ratzinger fan. Can someone point out how his teaching has become significantly different since he was elected pope?
In my opinion, he has been a wonderfully orthodox teacher who has the amazing ability to speak to people from all backgrounds and from all sides of the spectrum.
As for results:
Let’s see who our bishops are in 3 years. Let’s see how the US Seminary visitation turns out. Let’s see if he addresses liturgical abuses during his pontificate. Let’s see if he makes strides toward improving the poor catechesis prevalent in the Church. Let’s see if the Church in Europe begins to grow.
That said, even if he does not solve these problems to *my* satisfaction, that does not mean that he will have been a failure. He’s a MAN, not a god. It’s not like he has magical powers that can solve everything that’s wrong with the Church. He’s been chosen by God to uphold the teachings of the Church, and he’s doing his best.



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Will Barrett

posted April 10, 2006 at 5:42 pm


Patrick there was also thougtful criticism and concern about those two appointments. They certainly caused some faithful Catholics to scratch their heads. I heard one professor at the JPII Institute mention that the Levada appointment made them worry that Benedict was a bit naive. The appointment certainly had them scratching their heads — this from a faculty made up of a number of people who are friends with Benedict.
There were also legitimate concerns about Levada because of his handling of abusive priests.
Neuhaus has clarified his comments, at least he did in person, and he certainly has great confidence in this Pope. But certainly raising questions about silence in the face of potential rejection of the document on priestly ordination is legitimate — but no where near the disappointment that Winters hints at.
And Patrick also seems to adopt Winters’ premise that Weigel, Neuhaus and Novak are primarily concerned about homosexuality. That is bunk of course.
Winters asks, “Does Neuhaus really think anyone in San Francisco or elsewhere fails to know the Church’s views on homosexuality?” But of course that isn’t the question, right? Nor is Winters right to simplify the view of Neuhaus and others about 1968 to the idea that
“with just a little more preaching, Catholic couples everywhere would have foresworn recourse to the pill.” Everyone new the Church’s position on birth control and basically everyone knows it on homosexual sex, right? But do people understand it? Have they had it explained to them in a way that puts forward the internal logic of the teaching? It isn’t enough to know that the Church teaches something. They need to be taught why the Church teaches something with charity and love and compassion. Patrick’s comments seem to grant Winter’s assumptions and arguments. I can’t see how any honest reading of the Church or Neuhaus, Novak, or Weigel could do that.
Finally, Winters says that “Weigel and Neuhaus have pushed for years” the idea that “there [is] a link between homosexuality and the recent clerical pedophilia crisis.” I guess if you think of 2002 until now as “for years” then that is true. But it is sloppiness like that combined with the straw men and bad assumptions that make this another example along with Damon Linker’s piece of the shoddy arguments in TNR lately.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:14 pm


“And Patrick also seems to adopt Winters’ premise that Weigel, Neuhaus and Novak are primarily concerned about homosexuality. That is bunk of course.”
I haven’t read Winters’ article in toto because I am not a subscriber, so I cannot say what I think about Winters’ article. Knowing Winters, I would likely agree in part and disagree in part. I, for one, do not necessarily think that Neuhaus is primarily concerned about homosexuality as such when it comes to their political and/or theological agenda. I do think that it is true that the homosexual issue – more than any other issue by far – was the primary driver in his seeming disappointment/disenchantment with Benedict a few months back – if one judges by Neuhaus’ writings. As I have never met Neuhaus and have no contact whatsoever with the JPII institute, but you do, I will take your word that Neuhaus is no longer handwringing about Banedict, Leveda, et. al. That certainly was not the case a few months ago.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 10, 2006 at 6:18 pm


I think Winters’ piece stretches a bit much. I really don’t see the difference between Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict XVI that Winters’ apparently sees. But I do have a question: is it really true that Benedict has been even a little disappointing as Pope to some of his most enthusiastic supporters during his Cardinal days? Have there been perhaps overly enthusiastic initial expectations among those considered most orthodox that have been tempered some? I haven’t noticed it myself; but then I haven’t been paying all that close attention to it. Just curious if there’s a sense that Benedict has been all that the orthodox have hoped for.



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Tommy from Michigan

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:30 pm


I’ll keep mine brief. The guy doesn’t understand the distinctions of the two offices and is making broad generalizations based upon skinny facts. Tabloid stuff.



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Jared Black

posted April 10, 2006 at 7:56 pm


Another oversimplification Winters makes is that Weigel et al. “suggested there was a link between homosexuality and the recent clerical pedophilia crisis.” That entirely misses the point. What they have suggested is not a link between the two, but that it was primarily a homosexuality crisis and not a pedophilia crisis at all, and they have repeatedly backed this up by pointing out that the majority of the victims were technically teenagers, not children. This doesn’t change the basic thesis of the Winters article, but it does demonstrate the author’s inattentiveness to the opinions about which he is supposed to be providing insight.



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Will Barrett

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:15 pm


You can read the full article I believe by searching for the title on Google News and clicking on the first link to the TNR piece (for some reason the whole thing comes up this way as I am not a subscriber either).
Try going here:
http://news.google.com/news?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=benedict%20the%20ecumenical&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wn
And click on the first link.



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Eileen R

posted April 10, 2006 at 8:49 pm


Jimmy, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I guess I had pretty realistic expectations of what Benedict would govern like, judging on his character, writings, and the culture of the hiearchy. I haven’t been disappointed, and have deepened my own faith from what he’s preached.



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Jack Smith

posted April 10, 2006 at 9:14 pm


To add to Amy’s list, Cardinal Levada, as Archbishop of San Francisco, also led a march and prayer rally against Mayor Newsom’s granting of same-sex marriage licenses through the streets of San Francisco. He was also a strong supporter of Courage – among other things, paying for ads in the diocesan paper for the group out of his own budget, and securing chaplains for the group.
On the other hand, as to what people know about the Church’s teaching in San Francisco, I’ve never once heard a homily in a parish explaining the church’s teaching on homosexuality, but I’ve heard plenty whitewashing it. The jesuits and two or three “welcoming” parishes absolutely defy it, as do many high school theology faculties, while most pastors won’t go near the subject.
To know that the church says something is bad by way of news reports is hardly formation.



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 10, 2006 at 9:28 pm


There’s a reason Weigel and Neuhaus have pushed the idea there is a link between what Winter calls ‘the pedophilia crisis’ is, it isn’t a pedophilia crisis at all, but a homosexual crisis.
The JJ College report to the bishops documented that 82% of abuse cases involved homosexuals and teen age boys.
There were two pedophiles I can name: Goegan and Porter. The rest were homosexuals: Birmingham, Shanley, Paquin and a long list of others.
But what are fact when you have an aganda?



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Fortiterinre

posted April 10, 2006 at 10:06 pm


Amy,
I am interested in seeing your follow-up, because I don’t entirely understand the brouhaha so far. The biggest mistake Winters makes seems to be assuming that a newly elected Pope has “an agenda” of policy changes that he has to accomplish before the next consistory. But I suspect several people across ideological spectrums are surprised that homosexuality hasn’t been “combatted” by BXVI more.
Ferde Rombola,
You seem to be ignoring the fact that of the 82% of the victims who were male, about 3/4 of them were aged 15 or younger, as in not able to drive, as in junior high school age, as in they were children in appearance and capability. I myself am sure that the minority of victims who were older WERE victimized by what you call a “homosexual crisis,” I agree with you there. But a homosexual crisis simply doesn’t explain why so many middle schoolers were molested; that simply isn’t what homosexuality IS.



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Bill

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:45 pm


Unfortunately, too many people in the Church or out of it; in the media or not of it; seem to look upon the Catholic Church as just another political entity. Fortunately for the world, and for us, this is simply not the case. The Pope will speak for The One whom he represents and those of us who believe in Christ’s word won’t have to worry about the “political” ramifications of his words.



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amy

posted April 10, 2006 at 11:56 pm


I would also add that one of the major reasons people were surprised at the Levada appointment is that he’s not a theologian, while some of the other names being thrown around in speculation were better known on that score.



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Maureen

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:33 am


Maybe Benedict thinks head of the CDF is a largely penitential office.
Heck, maybe Benedict thinks it’s wasteful to put a theologian in charge of the CDF. They’ve got staff for that.
But probably he’s just a “promote from within” kind of guy, and since Levada was on staff and associated with the congregation for so long, it was an obvious choice.



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Mary Kay

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:30 am


Maureen, LOL at “Maybe Benedict thinks head of the CDF is a largely penitential office.”



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:15 am


Fortiterinre:
The John Jay Report states 82% of abuse cases were between teen aged boys and homosexual priests. I didn’t say that. The Report did. That’s what I referred to.
Where do you get your numbers? Is the JJ Report inaccurate?
F.



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Fortiterinre

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:55 am


The John Jay report does NOT say that 82% of the victims were teenage boys aboused by homosexuals. It says that 82% of the victims were male and doesn’t attempt to determine what priest is a homosexual and what priest is a pedophile or ephebophile.
My numbers are from the John Jay report, the largest abuse category was 13-15, second was 10-12, and third was 15-17. The MAJORITY of victims were males who were too young to drive.
The 15-17 victim group certainly is a significant number, between one fourth and one-third, but not the majority of victims.



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Rich Leonardi

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:59 am


Stop hiding behind cheap name calling and actually make an argument based on reason.
There’s nothing cheap in calling someone who dissents from core social doctrines concerning abortion and euthanasia — as you do — a “dissenter.” And as Paul mentions above, inserting President Bush into this thread is just a straw man diversionary tactic.



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Mike

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:05 am


Fortiterinre and Ferde:
Both reports are probably correct. I would suspect that most of the abuse occurred between boys aged 12-15, since that is generally the age range of older altar boys and older boys at K-8 parochial schools, and to whom who parish priests have the greatest access.
This does nothing to debunk the idea that the problem is more of a homosexual issue than a pedophelia issue, however, since it means that many, if not most, of these boys are sexually mature. It does not mean that they are abusing 6-year-olds.
People on both sides are simply twisting the numbers to their advantage.



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Tony A

posted April 11, 2006 at 11:05 am


Leonardi,
How dare you? I most certainly do not dissent from these core teachings. How dare you make such an unfouded calumnous accusation?



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Fortiterinre

posted April 11, 2006 at 2:00 pm


Mike,
You wrote, “This does nothing to debunk the idea that the problem is more of a homosexual issue than a pedophelia issue, however, since it means that many, if not most, of these boys are sexually mature.”
This is simply not true. An adult male who preys on a ten year-old menstruating girl cannot validly be categorized as “heterosexual, no other specification needed.” The fact that the girl has reached what you call “sexual maturity” has nothing to do with the seriousness of the adult’s disorder.
An adult male who preys on an eleven year-old boy has has experienced orgasm before (what I assume you mean by “sexual maturity) cannot validly be categorized as “homosexual, no other specification needed.”
The problems with homosexuality are well known: multiple partners, STD’s, anti-social behavior (sex in public places) etc. Homosexual priests DO engage in these acts, it’s a largely ignored and hidden part of the scandal I think.
But they DO NOT go after 11 year-olds who are “sexually mature,” anymore than immoral married men try to starts affairs with 11 year-old girls. The social and psychological immaturity of the perpetrator is attracted to the social and psychological immaturity of the victim. Ignoring this ignores the seriousness of the issue of CHILD sex abuse.
13 year-olds are NOT substitutes for 18 year-olds, whether they are boys or girls. They are chosen by their offenders precisely because of their age and immaturity.



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 11, 2006 at 3:44 pm


Okay, the last time I looked 13-15 and 15-17 are teen age years. I maintain most of the abuse, probably 3/4ths of it, was by homosexual priests and bishops. Half of the rest was male/female relationships.
Pedophilia was nowhere near as rampant in terms of the number of priests, though it was probably a greater percentage of the total due to the predatory nature of pedophiles.
F.



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Mike

posted April 11, 2006 at 4:12 pm


Fortiterinre-
I am not in any way trying to downplay the severity of the abuse, however there is a significant distinction between pedophilia (attraction to pre-pubescent children) and ephebophilia (attraction to adolescents). They are different disorders.
I am not talking about 10- or 11-year olds.
A heterosexual man can feel attraction towards a 15-year-old sexually mature female, and that is a significant difference from being attracted to a 7-year-old girl.
If the man does not act out on the former in any way, I would argue that he is not a pedophile. I would argue that even if he does not act out, if he is sexually attracted to 7-year-olds, he is a pedophile.
A heterosexual man who goes after teenage girls is a heterosexual with a poorly formed sexuality, conscience, a disregard for the law, and enjoys the idea of dominating another person. In either case, acting out upon such an attraction is gravely wrong, but in the case of a true pedophile, the sickness is much more intrinsically rooted.
I would argue along a similar vein for homosexuals. This is even more relevant to the priest abuse victims, since most of the victims are male.
I do not dispute that priest abusers prey on the weak and vulnerable. But it must be understood that the majority of their victims are post-pubescent. Most homosexuals have their first experiences as teens, and many others experiment during those years. Many of the boys who are abused are sitting ducks for the priests who abuse them. They are confused and unsure about their sexuality, and the priests abuse their trust.
Yes, these priests have serious problems. Whatever their inclinations are, they are called to control them. However, the root disorder in the VAST majority of cases is homosexuality. The priesthood itself is not condusive to those with deep-seated homosexual tendencies because of the compromising situations in which a priest or seminarian finds himself.
Regardless of the age or sex of the victim, however, the Church calls priests to be truly celibate. It is the failure of many priests to heed that call that has caused the problem.



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Jackie

posted April 11, 2006 at 6:25 pm


Just a comment on the appointment of Levada: I think Benedict is going to reorganize the Curia so that the CDF is the top dicastery, with the Pope as the actual “head” of the CDF. Levada would merely be the one who manages things on a day-to-day basis. For that, Benedict does not need a stellar theologian – he IS one. This information is not anything new – it’s been on other blogs. However, the head-scratching over Levada, whose reputation as a theologian in not stellar, would seem to be an overreaction. Benedict is not a naive man. He spent plenty of time trying to correct theological missteps John Paul made (wanting to make Mary a co-redemptrix; the Assisi problem, etc.). He knows what’s going on.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:02 pm


We have a serious spat going on between Tony A and Rich Leonardi. I rather think it is quite serious. Rich is making very serious allegations against Tony. Tony disputes these allegations as unfounded lies. I’d like to know how Rich knows Tony’s stance as a supposed dissenter on core issues like abortion and euthanasia. I think Rich’s credibility and integrity, not to mention his reputation as a moral authority, are at stake here. I don’t know anything at all about Tony’s conformity to the Church’s core teachings on abortion and euthanasia, but I think it is incumbent upon Rich to back up his serious allegations with some kind of evidence.



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Ferde Rombola

posted April 11, 2006 at 8:41 pm


BTW,
“After all, the abuse crisis is a homosexual issue, not a pedophile issue, involving adolescent boys.”
— Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz
Interview with Touchstone



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Fortiterinre

posted April 11, 2006 at 10:28 pm


Ferde and Mike,
I think we are all starting to repeat ourselves.
Lots of priests defrocked for male sexual abuse got married after leaving the priesthood–what women would marry them I don’t know, but I don’t think their root disorder was homosexuality when they are functioning in these marriages.
Boys don’t complete adolescence biologically until the mid-to-late teens, the 15-17 group. When I look at a teenage boy I can usually if he looks old enough to drive; the 10-14 group simply looks different physically; they haven;t completed development, sometimes they have barely started it, and they simply don’t look anything like sexually mature adults.
Remember that I am AGREEING with you both that the 15-17 year-old victims WERE victimized by homosexual priests; some offenders have said they targeted their victims because they thought they might be “gay.” This could be typical molester minimization of responsibility, but it still reveals that these molesters were homosexual.
But a homosexual molester attracted to adult homosexuals and near adult minors simply isn’t going to be aroused by the 10-14 group, and this group was the MAJORITY of the John Jay tabulations. When the Jay Report came out, I expected the older teen ratio to be the majority; I was wrong.
What the John Jay report revealed was that the abuse problem was WORSE than just homosexual priests preying on older teens; that in fact priests were similar to scout leaders and teachers and others who preyed on pimply kids beginning adolescence, fifth graders and sixth graders YEARS from high school.
An example of the homosexual scandal is when the chancellor of a diocese gets beaten up by a male prostitute in a public park in the middle of the night (true story, BTW). That’s NOT what the John Jay report revealed; it revealed something WORSE than homosexuality in the priesthood.



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mj

posted April 12, 2006 at 12:14 am


It is my understanding that Mary as Co-Redemptrix means that Mary suffered with the
Redeemer. “Co” meaning “with”, not “equal to”.
I have come across seemingly two similar requests by the Blessed Mother when she appeared to Catherine LaBoure as well as Ida
Peerdeman in Amsterdam.



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