Good Friday Morning! It’s a sad week in America, as we all mourn the loss of Senator John McCain. Apart from his Senate legacy, his military career will place him among the most famous and well-regarded veterans in a generation. He was a throw-back Senator, pre-baby boomer, when character and service to one’s country were paramount.
I didn’t agree with McCain on everything, but he was the first person I ever voted for in a Presidential race. I have no regrets there. I’d recommend a piece in US News and World Report from 2008 when McCain discussed his time in a POW camp.
This week I’m covering the current scandal in the Catholic Church and the lack of accountability there. Links follow. I’ve also updated the next section to reflect all the places I was published the past week.
Where you can find me this week
Make sure to sign up for the Conservative Institute’s daily newsletter. You can also go to their Facebook page. You can join Ricochet here. And I do recommend their ever-growing network of podcasts, which you can find on all popular podcast platforms. They have a show for every topic you can imagine, and the list continues to grow.
Conservative Institute: What to make of Cohen’s plea deal
Michael Cohen, the one time lawyer for Donald Trump, cut a plea deal with federal prosecutors in the SDNY. It’s an interesting decision on his part, and I walk through why he’s not the most credible person in the world. Put another way, you can think Trump did all the things Cohen says, but it’s also equally true Cohen’s one of the worst people to prove the allegations.
Ricochet: The Return of Eugenics to the US (subscription not required)
The main point of this piece is to get people thinking and debating now the contours of the next eugenics debate. It’s closer than you think, and the technology is advancing quickly. In this piece, I try to make the technology of CRISPR easy enough to understand, using Jurassic Park as a means of explaining the ethical dilemma of editing the human genome.
Conservative Institute: Democratic socialism is an oxymoron
We spend a lot of time describing why socialism doesn’t work and why its proponents are wrong. Less time gets spent on defining why socialism and democracy are incompatible systems. Mutually exclusive, or oxymoron is the best way to describe the relationship between democracy and socialism.
The Catholic Church and Accountability — or the lack thereof
If you haven’t been following the news stories on the Catholic Church, I could forgive you for that. It’s not easy to follow, both because it’s gut-wrenching, and because the media has started carrying water for Pope Francis.
It started on the most brutal of all stories, the grand jury documents from Pennsylvania. The NYT reported:
Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand juryon Tuesday.
The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.
It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.
The sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church for more than 15 years, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002. But even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks. The Pennsylvania report comes soon after the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.
It is, without question, the most explosive case in the Catholic Church since the earlier sexual abuse scandals in 2002 and 2010.
And it’s important to note: since the turn of the century, this is the third significant wave of sexual abuse and rape by Catholic Priests to come out. No changes are getting made after each one of these rounds of abuse stories. The world may be reeling from #MeToo, but the Catholic Church keeps getting hit and doing nothing.
But where this new scandal pales in comparison to the previous ones: this one goes all the way to the feet of Pope Francis. The Catholic News Report first posted the 11-page letter that accused Francis:
In an 11-page written testament, a former apostolic nuncio to the United States has accused several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse, and has claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI but chose to repeal them.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, 77, who served as apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, wrote that in the late 2000s, Benedict had “imposed on Cardinal McCarrick sanctions similar to those now imposed on him by Pope Francis” and that Viganò personally told Pope Francis about those sanctions in 2013.
Archbishop Viganò said in his written statement that Pope Francis “continued to cover” for McCarrick and not only did he “not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him” but also made McCarrick “his trusted counselor,” claiming that the former archbishop of Washington advised the pope to appoint a number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinals Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Newark.
And the problem is that this isn’t just some scandal within the church. Francis and his supporters in Rome are using the American media to manipulate coverage to make it benefit them. Francis gets favorable coverage from American media because he’s perceived as a liberal in the church.
So when this new sex abuse scandal started rocking the church, the spin began. And the news agencies lapped it up.
- The New York Times characterized it as Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce.
- Wire services like Reuters reported: Conservative media move to the front line of battle to undermine Pope Francis
- NBC News joined in by saying: Clerical sex-abuse scandal exposes ‘war within the Vatican.’
And on and on and on. This isn’t a sex abuse scandal with a liberal Pope, you see, it’s just conservatives pouncing on a chance to attack Francis. And the liberals in the Catholic Church are using this as a chance to leap towards Francis’s defense (and when I say liberal here, I mean Cardinals in the church. All liberal church-goers in the punditry class I’ve read are aghast).
Nevermind the fact that there are credible allegations of Catholic Priests raping children. Protecting the “Woke Pope” is the new job of the liberal American media.
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) August 31, 2018
The problem with that plan is that it ignores the reality of the legal situation. Another state like Pennsylvania is waiting to happen. Missouri, New York, Illinois, and Florida are all looking at suing the Catholic Church in their states. And an editorial in the Catholic Reporter called for an open church investigation into all 50 states in the US.
The Catholic Church is at a crossroads, whether it realizes it or not. It’s either going to deal with the rampant problem of sexual abuse in the church or get torn apart brick by brick, as lawyers find the cracks in the building. This scandal will split the church apart; it’s just a matter of how at this point.
Which brings us to the real issue at hand: the complete lack of accountability in the Catholic Church.
Francis and his backers are trying to turn this into a “conservatives vs. liberals” fight in the church. The accusations might be coming from the right, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be investigating the validity of these claims. Francis’s answers aren’t precisely denials in what has happened here.
They’re relying on a media that with the two previous Popes, both considered conservative, were castigated for their actions during the scandal. Now here we stand at the 3rd wave and the media is cozying up to Francis. Is that because Francis is right? Or because the media has an ulterior motive?
Let me answer this for you. In 2015 and 2016, Hilary Clinton’s campaign openly wanted to face Donald Trump in the general election. The American media proceeded to give Donald Trump $2 billion in free advertising and froze out all other Republicans. No one considered Clinton was the worst candidate in history and was a born loser in that regard.
The media has a motive in helping Francis. They view him as an ally and want to change the church. So they’re skating past accusations of child rape to do so.
If Jesus stood before these journalists and Francis’s backers, they’d call Him a conservative detractor.
And the worst part is that there’s no correction happening in the church. No Paul is going up to Peter to explain why Peter’s actions are wrong. The Church is trying to cover this problem up, just as they’ve been doing non-stop since the 1980’s.
The Catholic Church can’t run forever. Eventually, they’ll have to pay, and in more ways than just money.
I’d also say this to smug Protestants and Orthodox Christians; this is about you too. There’s nothing special about the Catholic Church in dealing with these issues. In the era of #MeToo and now the Catholic Church, you can bet that if there’s a scandal to be had in your denomination, it’s about to come out.
This isn’t about Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. It’s about the church as a whole coming to terms with a deep rot within it, and how to cleanse that rot. Evangelicals are fond of saying President Trump is draining the swamp in DC. That’s a pleasant distraction from the festering and rotting wetlands in their own backyard.
The stakes are high, as Matthew Schmitz, editor of the Catholic magazine First Things, put it:
Pope Francis must resign. That conclusion is unavoidable if allegations contained in a letter written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò are true. Archbishop Viganò, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States from 2011 to 2016, says that Pope Francis knew Cardinal Theodore McCarrick had abused seminarians, but nonetheless lifted penalties imposed on Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI.
No matter what Francis does now, the Catholic Church has been plunged into all-out civil war. On one side are the traditionalists, who insist that abuse can be prevented only by tighter adherence to church doctrine. On the other side are the liberals, who demand that the church cease condemning homosexual acts and allow gay priests to step out of the closet.
And if Francis’s job is on the line from this, other churches and denominations will topple too. If the Pope can’t survive this scandal, what excuse does your local denomination have in defending itself?
Accountability is coming, whether the church as a whole wants it or not. It’s better to go ahead and get it over with now. Otherwise, you face the death by a thousand cuts, the current choice of the Catholic Church.
It should tell Christians something when media that’s usually hostile to them in every way starts suddenly defending one of its most significant leaders on sex abuse charges. It should say even more when those leaders accept that secular coverage.
Links of the week
‘Conservatives Pounce,’ Again – Kevin D. Williamson, National Review
Cardinal Cupich: Pope Francis Has to ‘Get on with Other Things’ – Alexander Desanctis, National Review
Jeffrey Toobin: Trump’s Criticism Of Antifa Is … Racist? – Allahpundit, HotAir
Communism sent millions to their deaths – so why is it cool to wear it on your t-shirt? – Daniel Hannan, The Telegraph
Where are the mavericks in the Democratic Party? – Michael Graham, CBS News
Is This the Stupidest Book Ever Written About Socialism?: The left-wing hosts of the insanely popular Chapo Trap House podcast have no idea what they’re talking about, and their glib new book proves it. – Bill Scher, Politico
Does Our Cultural Obsession With Safety Spell the Downfall of Democracy? – The New York Times Review of Books
Cuomo Received $25,000 From Weinstein Lawyer’s Firm as He Suspended Probe – Capital and Main
America Soured on My Multiracial Family: When my wife and I adopted our daughter from Ethiopia in 2010, we did so full of hope. In the years since, we’ve faced ugliness that has robbed us of our optimism—and left us fearful for the future of our country. – David French, The Atlantic
Satire piece of the week
John McCain swiftly kicked out of Heaven’s Officer Club – Duffel Blog
HEAVEN — The soul of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was tossed out of the Heaven Officer’s Club just hours after he entered the bar for angelic military officers, where witnesses say he was sliding shirtless across the bar top while shouting “carrier landings!” or as his fellow naval aviators simply described it, “just being John at happy hour,” Duffel Blog has learned.
McCain, 81, passed away over the weekend, though sources say his soul refused to slip the surly bonds like some mere mortal and instead allowed an A-4 Skyhawk to strap itself to him so he could tear-ass through the stratosphere, doing aileron rolls as he busted the aircraft’s service ceiling by some 4o or 5o thousand feet before catching a three-wire on the flight deck of Heaven.
Thanks for reading!