Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Truth

A figure no less than conservative Peggy Noonan has, as Rocco Palmo said over at Whispers in the Loggia, "broken from her ilk's talking points of the last week" and written a brutally honest piece that blows all this talk about the Church being "attacked" out of the water:

In both the U.S. and Europe, the scandal was dug up and made famous by the press. This has aroused resentment among church leaders, who this week accused journalists of spreading "gossip," of going into "attack mode" and showing "bias."

But this is not true, or to the degree it is true, it is irrelevant. All sorts of people have all sorts of motives, but the fact is that the press—the journalistic establishment in the U.S. and Europe—has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on this issue. Let me repeat that: The press has been the best friend of the Catholic Church on the scandals because it exposed the story and made the church face it. The press forced the church to admit, confront and attempt to redress what had happened. The press forced them to confess. The press forced the church to change the old regime and begin to come to terms with the abusers. The church shouldn't be saying j'accuse but thank you.

Without this pressure—without the famous 2002 Boston Globe Spotlight series with its monumental detailing of the sex abuse scandals in just one state, Massachusetts—the church would most likely have continued to do what it has done for half a century, which is look away, hush up, pay off and transfer.

In fact, the press came late to the story. The mainstream media almost had to be dragged to it. It was there waiting to be told at least by the 1990s, but broadcast news shows and big newspapers weren't keen to go after it. It would take months or years to report and consume huge amounts of labor, time and money—endless digging through court records, locating victims and victimizers, getting people who don't want to talk to talk. And after all that, the payoff could be predicted: You'd get slammed by the church as biased, criticized by sincerely disbelieving churchgoers, and maybe get a boycott from a few million Catholics. No one wanted that.

An irony: Non-Catholic members of the media were, in my observation, the least likely to want to go after the story, because they didn't want to look like they were Catholic-bashing. An irony within the irony: some journalists didn't think to go after the story because they really didn't much like the Catholic Church. Because of this bias, they didn't see the story as a story. They thought this was how the church always operated. It didn't register with them that it was a scandal. They didn't know it was news.

It was the Boston Globe that broke the dam, winning a justly deserved Pulitzer for investigative reporting. They could have gotten it for public service.
She has spoken the truth. People need to stop being defensive about the press "attacking" the Church and thank them for giving us the opportunity to reform.

Sadly, the Supreme Coward said nothing today indicating any intent to do anything substantial. Even if you think he couldn't be blamed for anything before, he certainly can now for his defiant, stubborn inaction and the shameful, audacious, self-serving defensiveness by his cronies in the past week.

And then the comparisons to Christ! Christ let himself be condemned for the greater good even though he truly was innocent. He didn't protest, He didn't get defensive, He didn't shirk the blame or responsibility even though it wasn't His. The Pope is far from such total innocence, and yet he is doing all those craven things. And people dare to compare his "sufferings" to Christ!?

It would be Christlike if he had taken the fall for his Church, for the bride and children his celibacy is supposed to emphasize, even if he believed himself totally innocent. But no. His defiant attitude is rather much more like that of another Biblical figure, saying, "
I sit a queen, and am no widow; and sorrow I shall not see." But woe to thee, O Babylon, for in just one hour is thy judgment come!

We need to keep pushing, and we need the media to keep stirring up furor to accomplish that.


NR said...

I disagree with you. É claro que a comunicação social, cada vez mais pobre, em termos financeiros e de cultura, não está interessada na verdade. Está interessada em vender. E só os escândalos vendem, independentemente de serem, ou não, verdade. A pedofilia não é uma problema da Igreja, é um problema do Homem, da humanidade. E bem grave. Mas quando se mistura homossexualidade, pedofilia, clérigos católicos e religião, não se quer resolver aquele problema mas, antes, outro bem maior, chamado Vaticano. A Imprensa não é inocente, não sabia? nunca leu Oscar Wilde?

Tony said...

I don't know that A Sinner can read that...Can he?

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Another Tuga, eh? How'd you come upon this blog?

Tony said...

To be honest with you man...I think the news coverage has been a mixed blessing. A double-edged sword.

On the one hand: Yes, this is a good opportunity for the Church to face the facts, to fess up to errors of judgment and the sins of Her children; And yet on the other, much of the reporting has been, as Bp. Dolan said, unfair, and not intent upon the Church's institutional reform but its devastation.

I'm always hesitant to adhere to a philosophy of means justifying the end, so I suppose that's why I have such a hard time accepting everything you've been saying lately. I can't accept the dumb press simply because it helps the Church to buckle down. If the Church leadership mans-up, terrific! But I would have preferred hype-less reporting with less disambiguated innuendo, viz. integrity. All these imbeciles clamoring for the Pope to resign, with their ridiculous internet polls and puerile verbal abuse are only sowing seeds of hate and anxiety in people, so that when and if successful progress is made and genuine leadership is shown by the clergy, they'll STILL be held in contempt.

Also, I'm not terribly impressed with your blatant disrespect towards John Paul II in your last post, or towards Benedict XVI in this one. Feel free to defend your words though. I'm still not convinced Benedict has shown cowardice.

I recommend you go to my blog and listen to Archbishop Thomas Collins' Chrism Mass Homily I link to. Let me know what you think.

A Sinner said...

The media has perhaps been Hyperbolic at times, but Christ himself was known to use hyperbole. It isn't dishonest, it's just necessary to stir up strong emotions in people.

It isn't "ends justifying the means," as far as I can tell the facts themselves have not been falsified. Only the subjective "innuendo" or "insinuations" might be "biased." But people are outraged! And the defensiveness is just as "biased". Because there is no way for subjective emotions like that, based on the facts either way, to be neutral.

You know that, to negotiate, you need to set a price HIGHER than what you actually expect. If you ask for 1000, maybe you can hope for 500. But if you just start by asking for 500...then the most you can hope for is 250, if you see what I mean.

Sure, the Pope isn't going to resign. But maybe by calling for something as extreme as resignation...they can at least express how serious they are, how outraged they are, and maybe he'll do at least something.

As for "disrespecting" the Popes...I simply DONT have any respect any more for either of them as men right now, knowing what we know now about their inaction and naivitee.

You render under Caesar what is due unto Caesar, and in that sense I "respect" the office of the President. But do I respect Barack Obama? Not at all, because he supports the murder of babies, he's a horrible horrible man.

Likewise, I'll respect the Papacy, and obey it and accept its infallible decrees, etc...but I am under NO obligation to respect the corrupt men who hold it.

Would you condemn Dante for putting his Pope in hell (even before he died)?!?

I am convinced that the administration today has shown itself worse than the Popes of the Pornocracy. Because at least they were MEN. Sure they fought and had orgies, but at least they were men. It is much worse to be passively negligent, naive, dithering, weak, and indecisive. "Be ye hot or be ye cold..."

We'll see where JPII's canonization goes now. I might be forced to reconsider then. But, at the very least, I'll say that if someone is "personally holy" but lacks the intestinal fortitude to step on toes and shake things up...then, like St Celestine V, they should resign. Better a really good bad Pope than a really bad good Pope.

Even a canonization is not a judgment on a Pope's administrative decisions, and there have been some really naive and incompetent ones in the past few decades. Contemptibly so.

A Sinner said...

Also, Marco has made a translation of NR:

"It's obvious that mass media, ever poorer, financially and culturally, isn't interested in the truth. It's interested in selling. And only scandals sell, independently of them being true or not. Paedophilia isn't a problem with the Church; it is a problem with Man, with humanity. And a quite grave one. But when you mix paedophilia, homosexuals, Catholic clergy and religion, you don't want to solve that problem, but rather a bigger one, called the Vatican. The Press is not innocent, or didn't you know? Have you never read Oscar Wilde?"

And I can only respond like Peggy Noonan said: all sorts of people have all sorts of motives, but that's irrelevant.

Who cares what they're "really" interested in!? If they have the facts (and they do) then they have the facts. There is no getting around that, that's shooting the messenger.

As far as I can tell, none of the important objective facts have been falsified.

Now, you may find certain editorials about what should be done or about how culpability should be allocated to be wrong...but they're editorials.

People are entitled to their opinions! Including wanting the Pope to resign. You can't get mad at someone's opinion. You can only believe it is wrong and argue for the opposite.

The way some Catholics are taking this all personally and getting all defensively angry simply at opinions they disagree with...shows the sort of twisted emotional investment they've placed in the institution of sinful men.

People who disagree (who "support" the Pope) have also been publishing editorials. Both sides are expressing their feelings reacting to these newly uncovered facts (and reacting to the reactions), which is everyone's right.

But the facts are simply the facts, and they've been true. There is nothing "unfair" about having different opinions about how much responsibility or action the Pope should take.

For example, my opinion is that I don't want him to resign, but that his reaction has been gravely deficient and disappointing, that it shows how out-of-touch the Vatican and bishops are, how the institution seems dedicated to self-preservation, spending more energy on DEFENDING the Pope than on PROTECTING THE CHILDREN.

All this taking the posture of the "victim" is to me the proof of extreme cowardice.

If they were secular politicians, they'd never survive if they couldn't stand the mudslinging.

They can't have it both ways. They say they want the Church to be a voice in the Public Square, part of the political discourse...but then seem to want special exemption from the rules of the game of political discourse (which in our day and age involves mudslinging)

In fact, the implication that seems to be emerging is that the Pope needs to be "defended" by his cronies because he is a delicate man who might get his feelings hurt. Boo-hoo. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

If the Pope wants to concentrate on his personal holiness or theology...then he should go be a monk or a professor. But if he wants to be a leader, then he needs to lead. If you're going to be a political figure, then you need to be hardened like a politician and not phased by the mudslinging. It's just part of the territory. You don't cry "foul," you fight dirty in return. And if you can't stomach that idea (maybe even for moral reasons)...then maybe that world isn't for you.

tony said...

"As far as I can tell, none of the important objective facts have been falsified."

Like the accusation that Benedict was in any way responsible for the mismanagement and inefficacy of bishops in dealing with sexual abuse? DUH. Yes it has! Certain people don't want to hear it, and bulldoze through anyway.

Tony said...


A Sinner said...

I've replied to your comments in this post: