Saturday, April 10, 2010

News of the World

Two big stories yesterday:

  • Lech Kaczynski, the president of Poland, died early this morning in a plane crash near Smolensk, along with 88 others. Kaczynski has been the most consistently strong voice for freedom in Eastern Europe in recent years and has actively and successfully resisted some of the mischief emanating from Moscow. The purpose of his trip makes the death especially bitter, as he was traveling to the area for an observance of the 70th anniversary of one of the great atrocities of World War II, the massacre of some 20,000 Polish prisoners of war at Katyn. It's a horrible thing all the way around.
  • Meanwhile, John Paul Stevens has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Stevens, like David Souter and Harry Blackmun, was a Republican appointee who moved the Supreme Court to the left. Gerald Ford put him on the court in 1975 and he's been a reliable leftist vote ever since. President Obama will certainly name someone who is equally reliably leftist to replace him, so his departure won't necessarily move the needle much. The better question is what Obama will do -- will he appoint someone who won't cause a fight (like, say, Elena Kagan) or someone who will (like his buddy Cass Sunstein). Given the way things played out with the Obamacare vote, it's possible that he might go with someone like Sunstein -- if the composition of Congress changes substantially in 2011, there would be no chance for a true theoretician like Sunstein to get through, so the time might be now. Place your bets in the comments section. Meanwhile, this list of contenders that the Washington Post has put together has a really good punchline at the end. Really good. It's worth clicking the link to find out.

19 comments:

Gino said...

i'm placing my bets on an openly gay judge or some sort of physical disability judge.

or maybe a mental disability judge.
nah... he already did that one.

my name is Amanda said...

That is shocking and horrible. As if that country hasn't already endured enough tradegy during the last few centuries.

I am skeptical that *any* of his noms for the Supreme Court wouldn't cause a fight, or the predictable rash of conspiracy theories on a certain major news network.

There was also this little snippet of news yesterday: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/vaticancityandholysee/7573321/Text-of-1985-letter-from-future-Pope-Benedict-on-California-sex-abuse.html

Mr. D said...

Thanks for pointing that out, Amanda. I have now changed my position and think Pope Benedict should be killed and the Catholic Church abolished, with all proceeds awarded to Jeffrey Anderson & Associates. It's the only way.

my name is Amanda said...

Oh yes, that is *exactly* what I meant by that.

For goodness sake.

Mr. D said...

I know you didn't say that, Amanda. But I'm so crushed by the news that I have done a complete 180. My faith is shattered.

Gino said...

you should start your own breakaway church.

Mr. D said...

you should start your own breakaway church.

Good idea, Gino. Lucrative. And then I can start a holy war against Fred Phelps.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
in re. the article Amanda cited, and your seeming ongoing defense of the current Pope, I would add this article: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_6fd9e4bd-fcfc-50d6-ab3f-2d14c95219fd.html

It tells the story of Bishop Manuel Moreno of Tuscon who, like Weakland in Milwaukee, was viewed as having serially mishandled some really horrific sexual abuse cases in his diocese. However, evidence that is coming out now shows that Moreno struggled with Ratzinger and his CDF for years in his efforts to defrock two local priests. These stories are coming from the Arizona Daily Star, which isn't exactly the liberal fish wrapper that you like to characterize the NYT as.

We also have the long and painful unwinding of Fr. Maciel's legacy in Mexico (who, admittedly, Ratzinger has finally stopped providing cover for), Boston, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Austria, Bavaria, where then Archbishop Ratzinger of Munich participated in the decision to return a priest whom he had sent to therapy for pedophilia, back to pastoral work within days of beginning treatment. (That priest was later convicted of molesting boys in his new parish). And of course, the new allegations, with backing doc, out of Oakland. God only knows where the next shoe is going to drop, but Australia and Poland are on my short list.

Correct me if I am wrong, but your position seems to be that the Vatican, the CDF and Ratzinger cannot be blamed for any of this, and it all comes back on the local Diocese' and Bishops. I am not here to defend Weakland, Moreno, or any number of Bishops who didn't aggressively address cases of clergy pederasty. But if you think that the Vatican and the CDF aren't directly implicated in the ongoing cover ups and CYA, I want some of what you are smoking.

Your defense of Ratzinger up till now seems to be that he can't be held responsible for any of this because A)he kept his name out of all correspondence (Plausible deniability. An old Chicago politics tactic: don't sign anything but legislation and pay checks.), and B)all the damning evidence is coming from the NTY, or other mainstream media venues, and we all know they can't be trusted. Hell, you even took issue with an Anonymous commenter for being from New York. But now that these stories are being broken by the Telegraph and the Arizona Star, and Ratzinger left his signature on some docs, that defense isn't looking too strong.

You seem to think that any criticism from a Catholic is some sort of apostasy and even that we are enjoying this. So shoot the messenger, in spite of the fact that we are being inundated with evidence that shows that until the very recent past, when confronted with the grave misdeeds of members of the clergy, the initial reactions of the Church hierarchy all the way up to the Vatican and the Popes was to CYA first and worry about the victims secondarily. And there is mounting evidence that Ratzinger seems to have been involved in CYA since his earliest days as a priest in Bavaria. As the evidence mounts, I have to wonder how much longer your ultramontane defense can continue. I realize that by saying that, I am a lesser Catholic in your eyes. So be it. Obviously, the hierarchy isn't going to clean the Church up on their own, so it is up to the laity to attempt to force the change.

Regards,
Rich

Gino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gino said...

i'm liking much of what rich just wrote.

now, if only he would be just as passionate about those who offer legal cover for those who would kill children as well as diddle them

Mr. D said...

Rich, so many assumptions in your comment, and so much bullshit, too. Sheesh. I'll try to take this one by one.

Your defense of Ratzinger up till now seems to be that he can't be held responsible for any of this because A)he kept his name out of all correspondence (Plausible deniability. An old Chicago politics tactic: don't sign anything but legislation and pay checks.)

I never said that. Never. What I am arguing is that there is an undeniable piling on going on here. I'm not defending the practices of the Church, which were pretty much indefensible until about 2002.

B)all the damning evidence is coming from the NTY, or other mainstream media venues, and we all know they can't be trusted. Hell, you even took issue with an Anonymous commenter for being from New York. But now that these stories are being broken by the Telegraph and the Arizona Star, and Ratzinger left his signature on some docs, that defense isn't looking too strong.

The article from the NYT was pretty much boilerplate out of Jeffrey Anderson's office. That's not unusual in the news media these days, because they don't like to print much that counters the narrative. I get to do that if I choose. And there are big gaps in the Times reporting. But it's not my position that because the Times wrote something, it's axiomatic that it's wrong.

You seem to think that any criticism from a Catholic is some sort of apostasy and even that we are enjoying this.

No, Rich. That's not it at all. I'm in the middle of writing a series about it but I haven't come to the conclusions I have about all this yet. But that statement is wrong, wrong, wrong. I don't think it's apostasy at all, and in any event I'm not the one to say who's an apostate or not. We've had this discussion before, you know, and you know my position on the matter. I reserve the right to be critical of things I consider unfair, especially in my own blog, thank you very much.

More to come -- coming up against the comment limit for Blogger.

Mr. D said...

So shoot the messenger, in spite of the fact that we are being inundated with evidence that shows that until the very recent past, when confronted with the grave misdeeds of members of the clergy, the initial reactions of the Church hierarchy all the way up to the Vatican and the Popes was to CYA first and worry about the victims secondarily.

In other words, the Church hierarchy was full of sinners and acted the way sinners do, especially sinners in a bureaucratic structure. This surprises you why?

Up until about 2002, when it became too much to deny, the Church officials behaved quite poorly. I don't dispute that. No one seriously disputes that. Here's what bothers me -- you know quite well that while there is a hierarchy, it's also quite decentralized. You also know that archbishops wield enormous power in the hierarchy and they certainly have the ability and the motivation to solve problems like these at the local level. In the case of Murphy, which I'm paying attention to because I'm from Wisconsin, there's ample reason to believe that Weakland and his predecessors could have done more, much more, than was done.

I have a lot more to say about what I think has happened, but I'm not going to say it in the comments section. But I am going to call complete and utter bullshit on your last statement, to wit:

As the evidence mounts, I have to wonder how much longer your ultramontane defense can continue. I realize that by saying that, I am a lesser Catholic in your eyes. So be it. Obviously, the hierarchy isn't going to clean the Church up on their own, so it is up to the laity to attempt to force the change.

The part in bold is bullshit, dude. Complete and utter bullshit. You don't know what I think about your beliefs and I surely don't know the condition of your soul, nor would I even hazard a guess. But I do know that po-faced moral posturing of the "I know you think I'm a lesser Catholic" sort is, well, in case I didn't make myself perfectly clear, bullshit, and it doesn't become you. You and I are both sinners and we have plenty to answer for.

Meanwhile, Gino makes an excellent point.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
maybe I am having trouble with my snark meter, but you have seemed pretty dismissive of anyone who would affix blame to Ratzinger, including Amanda, below. And your entry on "The matter of Lawrence Murphy" contained this observation about Maureen Dowd:

* Likewise, I don't much care what the cynical, blowsy Maureen Dowd has to say, either. She may claim to be nominally Catholic, but there is nothing in her background or her writings that suggests she understands the first thing about the Church.

You claim not to know about others beliefs, but what am I to make of that. Is Dowd an exception? It would seem that you've hazarded a guess in her case.

Then you cap it off by agreeing with Gino that I am somehow morally culpable for abortion in the U.S. (And it's not the first time you have taken that position). That is certainly your prerogative to do so, but don't then get offended when someone actually takes what you write seriously.

And please believe me that I am not offended when you guys do that. I am pretty used to it. I am NOT a one issue Catholic and am personally pretty convinced that liberal positions are a lot closer to the teachings of Jesus than Conservative ones.

Regards,
Rich

Mr. D said...

Rich,

Dowd has cast her lot with the secularists. That's her prerogative. It's my prerogative to call her out on it.

No, you are not personally morally culpable for abortion in this country. What I am arguing is this: we as Catholics do have a reponsibility to do what we can to stop abortion. We can't do it by fiat, but we can do it by winning the hearts and minds of people of good will. Your support of politicians and politics that oppose that effort complicates matters, but it doesn't make you responsible for what they do. Maybe you can work on the hearts and minds of the politicians you support and change their ways. If that's your approach, I wish you luck with it. My view -- it's not going to work.

As seems to be the case lately, your last paragraph is the offensive one:

And please believe me that I am not offended when you guys do that. I am pretty used to it. I am NOT a one issue Catholic and am personally pretty convinced that liberal positions are a lot closer to the teachings of Jesus than Conservative ones.

Are you arguing that I am a one issue Catholic? Based on what evidence? Again, I call bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Mark,
That statement was NOT meant as a reflection on you at all. It's just a reaction to my experiences, which are that I have been informed by at least 5 uber-Catholics in the last 10 or 12 years that I can't be a Catholic and: a) be a Democrat, b)vote for Al Gore, c) vote for John Kerry, or d) vote for Barak Obama. I have also been informed by about as many uber-Liberals that I am not a Liberal because I am Pro-Life. My point is that no single issue is going to push me one way or another. I know what I believe in, and can live with it. Not sure how you construed that to mean that it was directed at you. I'll just write it off to you and me talking past each other this week.

Regards,
Rich

Mr. D said...

Not sure how you construed that to mean that it was directed at you.

Here's a hint:

And please believe me that I am not offended when you guys do that.

Here's the thing, Rich -- we are both Catholics and we are facing a tough decision in figuring out how to deal with these horrible events, which have taken place a long time ago but have been coming to light over the past 20 years. They keep coming, which outlines the scope of the problem, but the many, many positive steps the Church has taken to fix the matter on a going forward basis gets lost in the tumble of allegations and countercharges that are part of this.

So the question is this: how do you clean it up? Via press conferences and news stories? With some sort of "truth commission?" Through litigation? And when does the Church get to tell its side of the story, which includes the context of how the decisions were made? And who bears the greatest responsibility for the sins? The perps? The local hierarchy? Or the Vatican itself?

You have your view. I have mine. I'm sharing mine as I can, but it takes time to share my complete view because (a) it's not something that I can easily explain and (b) I'm still reacting to what is a fluid situation. That's not satisfying, I'm sure. But it's the best I can do. Faith is a struggle, dude.

Gino said...

i'm not just talking about your personal vote,rich.

its the extent of your support. but for socialistic policies being closer to Jesus' teaching?
you gotta show me some scripture that backs up taking by force to redistribute to the politically favored.

i imagine its near the verse that says something along the lines of instrinsic evil is not very intrinsic if the evil doer is passing out other people's money?

there are reasons why i dont accept a political brand for myself. this way, i can call an ass an ass, and not feel compelled to defend him because he wears the team colors.

and speaking of teams...
are you on board with the releases of alex brown and adewale?
something tells me they blew it big with these two.

J. Peterson said...

I read on a blog that if Jesus was talking about socialism, that it would only able to be done by a heart that was pure.

Mr. D said...

JP, I like that. A lot.