Why Does Congress Allow a Pedophilia-ridden Church to Control Women’s Rights?


If you are, like me, confused about the answer to this question, please raise your hand….or better yet….ask your Congressperson and Senator.  And ask the President.

Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women’s rights?

I am talking, of course, about the Catholic Church and specifically about the hierarchy….not the good people of the Catholic faith. 

The Church whose leadership, in case we didn’t already know this, has now been proven to have purposefully hidden an epidemic of pedophilia and–to protect priests, not born children–reassigned serial sex offenders to other parishes to offend again.  The kind of people who, if they were not priests protected by the hierarchy of the Church would not be allowed by US law to come anywhere near children or schools?

According to the newest revelations reported in the New York Times:

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit. [emphasis mine].

The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.

The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.

As many as 200 deaf children molested.  The Pope himself as Cardinal–and as the Church’s chief doctrinal enforcer–more worried about the possible scandal to the Church than the abuse of born children.  As a mother, I am so sickened I can barely type.

You know that doctrine that they enforce?  The one that makes women lower on the totem pole than a fertilized egg?  The one that in Nicaragua has a woman whose life is threatened with cancer, hospitalized at 8 weeks pregnant, refused either an abortion or cancer treatment because the egg, embryo, fetus is so much more important than that woman’s life (or the future of her 10-year-old daughter)?  You know the doctrine that says they will excommunicate the mother of a 9-year-old girl in Brazil because she insisted that her daughter, pregnant with twins as a result of rape by her step-father (rape of a then-8-year-old girl) be allowed an abortion?  The one that talks incessantly about the “sanctity of life” (until after you are born)?  The Church that supports organizations that threaten to remove the social services they provide to all poor people in the District of Columbia because they find offering insurance benefits to married same sex couples so offensive?

The Church that refuses to provide even preventive reproductive health care to women while using federal dollars because it “offends their morals?”

The Church of “abstinence-only” programs that have resulted in countless teens across this country obtaining sexually-transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies?

I ask again: Why is that Congress allows a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws about women’s rights?

And I am talking about deals cut over the past several years with the consent of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other leading Democrats including:

  • The 11th hour vote on the Stupak Amendment last fall in the health reform debate allowed by Speaker Pelosi after closed door meetings with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  • The midnight-rewriting in 2008–the night before a vote–of the original reauthorization bill of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops–aided in this case by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN)–worked long into the night with Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA) and his staff–with the blessing of the Speaker–to:
  • deny HIV-positive women access to contraceptive supplies to avoid unwanted pregnancies (because these women knew already they would not live to raise any child born); r
  • restrict integration of HIV prevention and family planning services, even though both unintended pregnancies and HIV infection are catastrophic public health problems in Africa and both result from unprotected sexual intercourse;
  • re-insert into that bill abstinence-only-until marriage policies despite the fact that the Government Accoutability Office, the Institutes of Medicine and countless other analysts had proven these programs only served to leave people vulnerable to HIV infection.
  • I am talking about an HIV epidemic in which women now make up the majority of those infected and in which women and girls face the highest rates of new infections.  I am talking about policies that consigned untold numbers of women to death and continue to do so.

    I am talking about the Church that is invited into decision-making bodies on teen pregnancy, HIV prevention, comprehensive sex ed, by this Administration, in which the needs of “faith-based” organizations continue to take precedence over the health and rights of women, over pro-choice and women’s rights groups representing the majority of women in the United States, and over public health evidence and human rights in shaping public health policy.

    I am talking about a Church which the male-dominated media goes out of its way to protect.

    And I am offering here but a few examples of things about which I could easily write a book.

    When will this stop?  When will we actually–not just rhetorically–care more about science than ideology?  About women’s rights over a misogynistic male organization that can not even keep its hands off of children.?

    Only President Obama and the Democratic Leadership in both the House and Senate can provide those answers and only you can make them do so.

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    • liberaldem

      Why does this happen? It’s very simple: The Catholic Church is a very powerful political lobby. It is an institution that, like other institutions, begins to protect its own interests first, last, and always.

      It’s long past time for this institution to admit that it has failed its parishioners by sheltering pedophiles from facing civil investigation and prosecution.  Letters of apology and individual repentance by priests who have molested children aren’t enough.  Priests who sexually and/or emotionally abuse children fail on so many levels-physically and emotionally injuring innocents, damaging or destroying the faith of those children and their families when the larger church fails to adequately punish abusers.

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • waterjoe

      Logic 101:  The bad actions of actor have no bearing on the validity of actor’s message. 

      Democracy 101:  A legislator can consult whomever he or she wants.

      Put the two together: a legislator who disregards the advice of someone solely because of the advisor’s past bad acts is acting illogically. 

       

      • bj-survivor

        By your “logic,” if the SEC consults Bernie Madoff, ignoring his past acts, because he was very successful for a very long time, then no one should question such consultation.

         

        Waterjoe, you have shown yourself to be a pedophile-apologist…Are you proud of that?

    • drewalpat

      “Abstinence makes the Church grow Fondlers”

      • bj-survivor

        Dude, you owe me a new keyboard. :D

      • wendy-banks

        *chuckles* So true!

    • colleen

      The bad actions of actor have no bearing on the validity of actor’s message.

      This isn’t a single ‘actor’, an individual or even a minority of individuals. The decidedly non-democratic (and indeed anti-democratic) institutional hierarchy of the Catholic church decided as a matter of institutional policy to protect it’s pedophile priests (and Bishops etc) from civil law and exposure, to enable them by reassigning them to communities where they often had unimpeded access to children (and in several cases and certainly this latest case DISABLED children). They consistently chose to protect the pedophiles, ignore secular laws and silence the victims and they literally sacrificed children in order to protect the reputation of the church and avoid adverse publicity. In every case they choose the institutional reputation over the lives and well being of children. And they did this for many decades and, as is becoming obvious, in every state in the union and nation where the Catholic church has a presence.
      Likewise this isn’t a matter of “past bad acts” but, rather, a constantly unfolding global scandal. Just this month and every day there are new reports from the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland and now Spain of new cases being discovered. And in the US the Church’s sole response to pedophilia as a legal issue and a crime is to avoid changes in the statute of limitations that might serve to help their victims hold pedophiles responsible for their crimes.

      The reason a legislator should not be consulting an entirely male hierarchy whose notion of upholding the ‘dignity’ of women is to treat us like disposable livestock and do whatever they can to deprive all women, Catholic or not, of access to abortion AND effective contraception, is because said legislator might want to be reelected.

      The problem for the church hierarchy is a considerable erosion of their moral authority, even amongst their laity. You might believe that these folks care about children but it’s undeniable that their actions demonstrate a very different set of priorities. The problem for women and gay men and any children in their care is that The Church (and the rest of the religious right) hope to regain moral authority by doubling down on their demonization and dehumanization of women and gay men and pretending that secular laws don’t apply to them or their institutions.

      • elyzabeth

        I read the open letter from the Vatican to the bishops of Ireland where a sex scandal had occurred.  The Vatican’s solution to sexual abuse?  Clearly, Ireland did not spent enough time devoted to Adoration of the Holy Eucharist.  Build more churchs devoted to Adoration of the Eucharist.  Devote the year to Prayer in Adoration of the Holy Eucharist. 

         

        The solution to pedophilia was sooo obvious!  How did we not see it?

    • amanda-marcotte

      I find the official belief that women are subject to men and that our purpose is baby-making and we have no right to reject it to be very, very, very immoral and cruel.  The pedophilia scandals are in fact connected with the church’s structure and teaching.  Sex abuse follows hierarchical thinking like night does day.

    • crowepps

      Logic 101:  The bad actions of actor have no bearing on the validity of actor’s message.

      When the actor’s message is “we should make the decisions because we are more moral than you”, evidence that they are NOT more moral but actually LESS moral removes entirely any justification behind their assertion that they should make the decisions.

    • saltyc

      You three.

    • ack

      Your sense of indignation is palpable, and relatable. I can understand that the Catholic cognitive dissonance related to the unfolding scandals prevents people from leaving the church in droves. I cannot understand why legislators work to accomodate the Church’s leadership when time and again they have disregarded the health, needs, and rights of children in their care, especially on an issue that the Church frames as protecting the health, needs, and rights of “unborn children.” It’s sickening.

       

      I would also find the fact that the Church has been one of the leaders in the fight against same-sex marriage ironic, if it weren’t so horrific. Their condemnations of “unnatural sex,” calling it an “abomination” shows how they refuse to acknowledge the reality of their own recent history. A truly abomidable sex act is the rape of a child.

       

      I think the pedophilia scandal casts a very particular light on those who insist that Catholics who use contraception, or don’t believe in the illegality of abortion, aren’t really Catholic. A core belief of Catholicism is supposed to be protection of the vulnerable. In my opinion:

       

      If the Pope doesn’t defrock priests for sexually abusing children, and the leadership chooses to hide those offenders instead of removing them from positions where they are free to abuse again, then the church itself is no longer Catholic. If the church would choose to remove services for the needy in DC in order to avoid giving benefits to same-sex spouses, then the church itself is no longer Catholic. You cannot claim the infallibility of the Pope when the Pope does not follow the church’s most basic beliefs. You cannot substitute the protection of fetuses from abortion for the protection of born children from institutionalized rape.

       

      This has never been about the law of God vs. the law of the Land. It has been about public perception. And from everything I learned as child in the Catholic church, Jesus would be more than ashamed of them.

    • paul-bradford

      I am talking, of course, about the Catholic Church and specifically about the hierarchy….not the good people of the Catholic faith.

       

      Talk about a pat on the head!  Do you think we “good people of the Catholic faith” are brain dead?  It isn’t as if the sex abuse scandal has been going on without our notice.  It isn’t as if we didn’t cringe with embarrassment with the comments made last year by Archbishop Cardoso and Cardinal Re with respect to the nine year old Brazilian girl who procured an abortion.  Do you think we missed the comments made by Pope Benedict about condom use in Africa?  Do you think we need your help to realize how badly we impoverish ourselves by disqualifying half our membership from episcopal authority?

       

      We maintain our communion with the Church for a reason — and the reason isn’t because we’re stupid or malicious.  Please show a little curiosity on this point.  We notice, even though this has slipped your attention, that despite all her warts and despite all the warts she’s manifested over the centuries, the Church is still a force for peace, justice and compassion and we feel a duty to participate in the mission of the Church.

       

      You imagine that the Church intends to deprive women of their rights.  I know that to be wrong.  A constituent element of the mission of the Church is to promote the dignity of women and to assert that a woman’s dignity is equal to that of a man’s.  The Church strives to respect the dignity of EVERYONE.  You see a denial of rights.  I see the Church taking up a position of advocacy for millions of vulnerable young people and pleading their case to those who have it in their power to provide what these young people can not possibly live without.

       

      The teaching is as simple as it is consistent: everyone must respect everyone else’s human rights.  No one has a right to discriminate and to deny an individual her/his rights.  A woman has a right to bodily autonomy and so does her unborn child.  It is not permissible to respect the rights of one and deny the rights of the other.  Everyone has a right to live.  Everyone has a right to the means that will enable them to live.

       

      This teaching doesn’t originate in the Church.  It can be perceived by believer and non believer alike through thoughtful and heartfelt consideration.  You deny yourself the opportunity to make this consideration when you focus on the faults of the Church.  This is what the “good people of Catholic faith” are on about.

      • crowepps

        Illinois Dangerous ‘Presumed Consent’ Organ Donor Bill

         

        Posted on March 6, 2010 -By Warner Todd Huston

         

        Illinois State Senator Dale Risinger (R, Peoria) has offered a bill in Springfield that drives our society further along the path of making parts of the human body a commodity, undercutting the sacred status of human life.

         

        SB 3613, the Presumed Donor bill, amends the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act to define all Illinois patients as “presumed donors” unless they specifically avail themselves of the opt out clause. In other words, unless you tell the government that in the case of your presumed brain death you don’t want your body parts cut out and donated to other patients, they will be cut out and given to others.

         

        http://www.stoptheaclu.com/2010/03/06/illinois-dangerous-presumed-consent-organ-donor-bill/

        The horror, the horror! Someone else might use YOUR body parts without your permission! This bill will lessen autonomy, lead to possibly getting inadequate medical care in a coma and put lives at risk! And yet this site has LOTS of pro-life stuff about how women have an obligation to do exactly that.

    • offred

      Right now the Church is a victim of its leaders’ culture of secrecy. Sunlight will disinfect, the truth will set it free.

       

      Millions within the Church work tirelessly and humbly for the most vulnerable and the poorest of the poor. They do this not because a bishop told them to do it, but because Christ told them to.

    • elyzabeth

      “Church is still a force for peace, justice and compassion”

       

      Hmm, I remember watching a debate about that very topic last year.  The Catholic Church had its ass handed to it by Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens.

       

      I haven’t seen much “cringing” among the laity.  The newspaper in my mom’s diocese (she’s Catholic) ran a column where priests were ranting about how unfair the media was to the Church, since teachers and doctors and counselors and what-nots also sexually abuse children.  The Church is clearly a victim here.  Wide-spread cover ups and institutionalized abuse aside, secular society is only picking on the church because because they are afraid of the Truth and Holy Esoteric Arbitrary Magic Supernatural Superior Morality.  They also blamed society’s acceptance of gays for the rampant pedophilia.  Those are mainstream Catholic beliefs.  I can only assume that most church-goers are in lock-step with that. Otherwise, why would they show up each week and give them money?

       

      Cover-ups of of every flavor of sexual abuse from the top down is not “a wart.”  The fact that the Pope has been preaching that condoms increase the spread of AIDS in Africa is actually killing people.  Killing people is not “a wart.”  That case in Nicaragua where the Catholic authorities are denying a cancer-stricken woman treatment is not “a wart.”  When the Pope visited Uganda and failed to speak against the “Death Penalty for Gays” bill, he passed up an opportunity to save lives, because gay lives don’t matter to the Church. 

       

      Paul, you live in country where secular society can protect you from all the bad things your institution is doing.  Most of the world is not so lucky.

       

      “We maintain our communion with the Church for a reason — and the reason isn’t because we’re stupid or malicious.  Please show a little curiosity on this point.” 

       

      No, you Catholics are footing the bill for all the maliciousness.  You might not be stupid, but you are willfully ignorant.  The Catholic Church is not a force for good in the world, and I see no reason to be respectful or courteous about it.

      • paul-bradford

        Hmm, I remember watching a debate about that very topic last year. The Catholic Church had its ass handed to it by Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens.

         

        Elyzabeth,

         

        Thank you for directing my attention to the debate that took place in London last October.  I wasn’t aware of it until now but, thanks to You-Tube, I also have had the opportunity to watch — as you so delicately put it — “the Catholic Church [having] it’s ass handed to it”.

         

        The advertised debate question was “Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world?” but all four debaters seemed compelled to wrestle with the question, “Is the Catholic Church a force for evil in the world?”.  I don’t know about you, but I would expect the Church to lose that debate even if they weren’t being opposed by two excellent speakers such as Hitchens and Fry.

         

        The question I ask myself every day is, “Why continue associating with an organization that has as much wrong with it as the Church does?”.  The answer is that the Church is on to something that even its leaders don’t fully understand.  The Church gets an awful lot wrong — and her wrongs were highlighted in the debate; but it gets the big thing right and that is that there is one message of universal love and that message applies to every human being and encompasses every aspect of human life.  There’s no discrimination in love, no partiality, no exclusions, no limitations.

         

        People categorize — male/female; Pro-Life/Pro-Choice; Catholic/non Catholic; liberal/conservative — but love encompasses all.  That’s what the Church teaches in spite of itself, and that’s the message we need to receive and the message we need to transmit.

    • waterjoe

      The gist of the post was that legislators, including “pro-life” legislators should not listen to the bishops’ conference because of the bad acts of bishops who protected pedophiles.  What is not established is why the information provided by the bishops on abortion and health care reform is somehow “tainted” by the bishops’ actions in the clergy abuse crisis.

      Pointing out the leap of logic that occurs when a person argues that the Catholic bishops are not to be consulted on abortion just because of their actions regarding pedophile priests is not apologizing for pedophilia or the actions of the bishops.  It is merely pointing out the fallacy of the argument.

      Consider this:

      The Mormon church collects substantial geneological data because of its belief in baptism for dead ancestors by proxy.  The validity of this belief does not somehow pollute the geneological data they collect.  Someone could think that the belief is silly, heretical, sinful, and even disrespectful to other religions, but still have good reason to use the data if she wanted the information.  The same situation occurs when anti-abortion legislators consult the bishops on abortion.

      Consider another example.  For some who post on this website, President Obama’s issuance of the executive order was a travesty and an act against women.  Does that mean that the posters should never again consider the President as having something worthwhile to say such as in health care, jobs, education, etc.?  Of course, it doesn’t.

       

      • bj-survivor

        Wow, yet more pedophile-apology from waterjoe. I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked!

      • colleen

        Consider another example. For some who post on this website, President Obama’s issuance of the executive order was a travesty and an act against women. Does that mean that the posters should never again consider the President as having something worthwhile to say such as in health care, jobs, education, etc.? Of course, it doesn’t.

        If, like 2/3rds of the US Bishops in 2002, Obama had been engaged in covering for and enabling pedophiles working for the US government or, like 19 of the US Bishops, he had himself been a man who sexually abuses children, I doubt that many people would regard him as any sort of moral authority or even someone who was minimally trustworthy.
        The real question (and one I hope that is occurring to those who actually care about children) is why anyone would entrust children to the care of the Catholic church.

    • julie-watkins

      priests were ranting about how unfair the media was to the Church, since teachers and doctors and counselors and what-nots also sexually abuse children; The Church is clearly a victim here.

      Even if it’s true that the Catholic Church is “targeted”*, there’s a difference. School teachers are employees and there’s accountability. If there’s abuse & whatever organization is trying to hide it — if/when word gets out voters are going to vote accordingly … so the systemic problems are less than if it’s in a church. (I think there’s also been some scandals in non-Catholic christian churches, & other faiths as well. They don’t have the centuries of abuse & breath of the problem, since the Catholic Church has the largest/longest hierarchy).

      .

      * I don’t thing “targeted” is the right word, if there’s a sense of “here’s another scandal, and it’s going to be brushed aside again. I have to keep hammering until someone get’s a clue.”

    • julie-watkins

      Since I consider “enforcing nature’s sexism”, no matter how sincere your motivations are, to be sexist, you haven’t convinced me that the problem with the Catholic Church is “warts”. Even despite pedophile priests and cover-ups, the systemic sexism and classism of your church’s core beliefs about nature means it’s work for peace, justice and compassion is compromised and they could do much better. (As for organized churches, etc. : some do and some don’t share the problem.)

      .

      It’s impossible to believe ZBEFs are “vulnerable young people” without being sexist/classist.

    • jodi-jacobson

      Or I don’t know….mystified, appalled, not sure even how to put it.

      All of the above.

      An institution acts as an institution for decades to hide, deny, and also perpetuate over and over the rape and molestation of children–for years–and you compare this to whether or not people agree with the Mormon Church on its ideas about collection of geneological data?

      The differences are profound: The Mormons are a) not seeking to change law–last time I looked–US law to comport with its ideological stance on the collection of geneological data; b) the collection of geneological data is a statistical and technical issue not one of basic human rights to bodily integrity, freedom from coercion, freedom of religion and freedom to choose whether, when and with whom to have a child; c) the USCCB and the Vatican have no idea what pregnancy, childbirth and being a woman means; d) the USCCB and the Vatican have abdicated their moral authorities in many areas.

      A more apt example or question: Do you ask the Taliban to inform/advise you on whether or not women should vote/drive/be seen in public/go to school…..

      Honestly….read your post.  You are apologizing/making excuses for serial pedophilia by people in authority!

       

       

    • crowepps

      We maintain our communion with the Church for a reason — and the reason isn’t because we’re stupid or malicious.  Please show a little curiosity on this point.

      You don’t seem to grasp that your communion with the Church and the reasons for it are irrelevant to most people.  At this time representatives of your Church, representatives with whom you state you disagree, are demanding and being granted undue influence in the formulation of laws which affect every citizen in this country.  To protest that influence is not ipso facto motivated by a lack of respect for the Church or by hosility to its heirarchy and laity, but rather a matter of insisting on the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of conscience.

      A constituent element of the mission of the Church is to promote the dignity of women and to assert that a woman’s dignity is equal to that of a man’s.

      Certainly the Church is attempting to “promote the dignity of women” by its own definition, which is that the purpose of women is to serve others and the highest calling a woman has is to have children.  Unfortunately, women disagree with the Church’s definition.  We think we are entitled to dignity even if we choose to be ‘selfish’ and childless.

      Everyone has a right to the means that will enable them to live.

      Really?  If this is true I’m going to ditch my sometimes mind numbing work and go home and do something more fulfilling.  From whom should I be expecting the monthly stipend that will ensure that I will continue to have “the means that will enable [me] to live”?  Will it come straight from the Vatican, is the local parish going to support everybody who applies to it or is the government going to handle things?

    • crowepps

      What is not established is why the information provided by the bishops on abortion and health care reform is somehow “tainted” by the bishops’ actions in the clergy abuse crisis.

      I was not aware that the bishops had actually presented any factual information about abortion and health care reform.  The only product of those consultations that I was aware of was a reiteration of their religious positions that “abortion is evil” because “women’s purpose is to reproduce” and “the only purpose of sex should be procreation”  which are religious tenets and/or personal opinions, not ‘information’, and irrelevant since federal law already bars federal funds from being used for abortion.  Perhaps their goal was, as elsewhere in the world, to eliminate those rare abortions still allowed funding in cases of incest, rape or risk to the life of the mother.

       

      I would not bar the provision of  real information from  any organization on the basis that it’s representatives were ‘immoral’ – there was, for instance, valuable information about the impact of health care reform presented by the groups of women religious who work in the field and who therefore had real factual knowledge to impart.

       

      The problem is that the bishops were NOT providing data or information, but rather attempting to use the presumption that they are experts on morality and a suitable and necessary guide to lawmakers in legislating same.  Putting aside the unconstitutionality of imposing by legislation one particular minority religious view on a religiously diverse nation, for THAT role, as experts on evaluting morality, they are disqualified themselves based on the revelations of their past ‘bad acts’, and the bishops are not suitable and necessary guides but instead manifestly, ludicrously unfit.

    • paul-bradford

      Everyone has a right to the means that will enable them to live.

       

       

       

      Really? If this is true I’m going to ditch my sometimes mind numbing work and go home and do something more fulfilling. From whom should I be expecting the monthly stipend that will ensure that I will continue to have “the means that will enable [me] to live”?  


      crowepps,

       

      Are you even trying to understand me?  I didn’t think I needed to spell out for you that, for most people, the “means that will enable them to live” is remunerative employment.  But, since you brought the topic up, I would add (and the Church would also add) that children, the disabled and the elderly deserve to be granted the “means that will enable them to live” even if they can’t work.  Poverty is injustice.  Working to eradicate poverty is working to eradicate injustice, and to sow the seeds of peace.

       

    • jodi-jacobson

      leaving untold, countless numbers of children abused, raped, molested, and facing a life of feeling betrayed, turning to therapy, some to suicide, many to be uncompensated in any way by the Church….how does this “eradicate injustice and sow the seeds of peace?”

       

      How does diverting the health care debate for nearly a year with distracting, dishonest, and utterly incomprehensible arguments about abortion, so that possiblities like a public option and much broader coverage for all people coming on line sooner eradicate injustice and sow the seeds of peace?  I remain unconvinced, for example, that the USCCB wanted a public option because it would have cut into their hospital revenues….

       

      These are nice theories and i understand they are the underpinnings of Catholic teaching, but they are not principles fostered or promoted–and certainly not evident in the behavior of leadership either of the Vatican or the USCCB.

    • crowepps

      You’re the one who insists that a zygote, by its mere existence, is entitled to “a right to live” that gives it preemptive control of the body of the woman upon whom it’s battening and the unique right to cannibalize her body in order to grow its own.

       

      If I had that right as a zygote, I don’t see any reason why my mere presence isn’t sufficient to continue to entitle me to whatever I need.  After all, I exist and I’m human and I have unique DNA, and therefore, ipso facto, everybody else must be obligated to provide me with whatever is necessary to keep me alive.

    • ahunt
    • colleen

      I would add (and the Church would also add) that children, the disabled and the elderly deserve to be granted the “means that will enable them to live” even if they can’t work. Poverty is injustice. Working to eradicate poverty is working to eradicate injustice, and to sow the seeds of peace.

      Well, certainly not if the folks involved care about the GLTB community or the reproductive and civil rights of women. Here’s a great example of what you and your Bishops mean by common ground:
      http://www.pressherald.com/news/diocese-penalizes-homeless-aid-group_2010-03-23.html

      I must say Paul, your attempt to sell the absurd notion of the church’s deep concern for the poor, for justice and for children in this thread in particular literally sickens me. You really are so very warped.

    • paul-bradford

      I consider “enforcing nature’s sexism”, no matter how sincere your motivations are, to be sexist

       

      Julie,

       

      You’d be surprised to know how much I think about you, and about your concept of ‘nature’s sexism’.

       

      To my way of thinking, viability is a myth.  None of us are, or can be, viable.  We all depend upon the beneficence of other human beings in order to survive.  You focus a lot of attention on the ideal of mothers ‘choosing’ to bring their pregnancies to term rather than being forced.  I feel as you do.  We all ought to feel as if we’re ‘choosing’ to do the things we do that sustain other people’s lives.

       

      The unborn depend upon all of us, in one sense, to respect their lives if they are to be born; but they depend, in a particular way, upon one particular individual whose vital contribution can’t be provided by anyone else.  This ‘particularizes’ the choice for life.  Let me explain:

       

      The world’s poor depend upon my generosity in order to survive.  It would be mortally unjust for me to ‘choose’ to turn my back on them and refuse to do my share.  But this injustice isn’t a ‘particular’ injustice.  I can neglect my duty and comfort myself with the idea that someone else will take my part on.  The poor actually do suffer, and do die, and the cause of their deaths is a lack of support from the prosperous people of the world — but we have no mechanism for particularizing how any particular individual’s death is related to any particular individual’s ‘choice’ to keep her/his money in her/his pocket.

       

      To care about justice is to care about motivating other people, prosperous people, to do their share to help the poor.  It would be a sin for me to neglect my duty.  It would be a sin for you not to advocate for the poor and remind me to do my duty.  My failure to be generous is linked to the loss of human life.  It’s my fault.  But no one can ever say, “You, Paul, caused so-and-so to die” (even though it’s true.)  The trouble is a lack of particularity.

       

      Advocating for the poor involves pleading with the rich to ‘choose’ to be generous.  Advocating for the unborn involves pleading with their mothers to bring their pregnancies to term.  It’s as much of a sin to keep your money in your pocket as it is to abort a child — but you’ll never be able to know which particular person died as a result of your sin.  Of course, it’s as easy to put your duty to the poor out of your mind as it is to put your duty to the unborn out of your mind.

       

      Sexist?  I suppose so.  I certainly take the attitude that the fathers of the unborn have a duty to their children as much as the mothers do. 

    • ahunt

      Paul, awhile back, I charged you with being enamored of maternal stereotyping…and your response was to point out that you were the first to acknowledge that some women should not become mothers.

       

      Here is an example of our disconnect:

       

      We all ought to feel as if we’re ‘choosing’ to do the things we do that sustain other people’s lives.

       

      The unborn depend upon all of us, in one sense, to respect their lives if they are to be born; but they depend, in a particular way, upon one particular individual whose vital contribution can’t be provided by anyone else.

       

      IOWs…women ought to feel the stereotypical tender maternal emotions upon discovery of pregnancy, but if not…they should behave as if they do.

       


      • crowepps

        Just add this to the long, long list of ‘oughts’ that the moralists have compiled.

         

        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be ‘good’.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to reserve sex for marriage.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be generous.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to obey the master.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be happy with what they possess.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be sober.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be faithful to their spouse.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to be parents.
        • People ‘ought’ to WANT to believe in God as defined by the moralist and The Truth about His commandments as outlined by The Faith.

         

        And since people ‘ought’ to want all of those things, and moralists know what humanity really ‘ought’ to be like if individuals would just stop stubbornly insisting on behaving like individual people, then moralists have a clear duty to legislate, coerce, guilt-trip, threaten, punish or kill anyone who willingfully refuses to want what the moralist knows would be better for them.

         

        I read a book many years ago about how to deal with relationships and conversations that are ‘crazy-making’ and the part that struck me the most strongly was “if you really loved me then you wouldn’t WANT to” see your friends, go to the game, call your mother, abandon mom home alone while date girls, etc.

         

        As I understand it, the idea is that the other person is not only obligated to do only what the crazy-maker wants them to do, but in order to be ‘worthy’ also has an obligation to actually PREFER it.  For the crazy-maker it’s not enough to direct every instant of another person’s actual life, they have the need to extend it to monitoring and controlling the others actual thoughts and emotions as well.

         

        Paul, awhile back, I charged you with being enamored of maternal stereotyping…and your response was to point out that you were the first to acknowledge that some women should not become mothers.

        This was never a valid defense against an accusation of stereotyping, since the reason he agrees some women should not become mothers is not that they may have something more important to do but because he thinks they’d be lousy mothers.  They won’t fill the role according to his stereotype and having been labeled defective are exempt.

      • paul-bradford

        women ought to feel the stereotypical tender maternal emotions upon discovery of pregnancy, but if not…they should behave as if they do.

         

        ahunt,

         

        Help me out here.  What sort of ‘tender emotions’ do you suppose I had when, after hearing about the earthquake in Haiti, I donated money to a relief organization?  I truly, honestly believe that — without outside financial aid — people in Haiti will die unnecessarily.  Consequently, I believe that there is a causal link between my financial sacrifice and somebody else being able to live.  To put it another way, there is a causal link between my financial selfishness and somebody else dying.  This isn’t about some grandiose notion I have about myself, it’s what I believe about the way human beings are dependent upon each other.  If you neglect your duty to others they might, in actual fact, die so it’s very, very, very important not to neglect your duty.

         

        If I neglect my duty to support the poor somebody else might be able to ‘pick up the slack’.  I’ve still — if you allow me to use this word — committed a sin, but death would be averted by someone else’s action.  Now, the day may come when technological advances make it possible for somebody else to ‘pick up the slack’ and nurture an unborn child that is rejected by her/his mother.  Unborn lives would be saved by this technological advance; but at this point we only know one way to preserve the lives of the unborn, and that is through the physical sacrifice of their mothers.

         

        This seems to you to be about maternal feelings.  It seems to me to be about justice.

         

    • crowepps

      Paul, any possibility of convincing people of your point gets lost at the instant you start talking about ‘sin’.  Sin is a religious concept peculiar to Christianity and different Christian churches have different definitions of what is and is not a ‘sin’.

       

      Reproduction is a complicated and chancy process, and you cannot impose a neat and tidy certainty on it by philosophically deciding how it ideally ‘should’ work or how people ‘should’ feel about it or by looking down from on high and sorting the behavior of the people in the trenches actually dealing with the complexity of it into two tidy groups of ‘obedient to God’s will’ versus ‘sinners’.

      Advocating for the poor involves pleading with the rich to ‘choose’ to be generous.

      Actually Christianity requires that the Christian give away all of their OWN wealth, property and earnings to the poor without reserve and depend entirely on God for their and their family’s future sustenance.

       

      There is no exemption in the Gospels which allows the burden of providing for the poor to be outsourced to someone else whom the Christian believes can better afford it.  There isn’t any provision for paying a ‘professional Christian’ to subsitute for you with the sick, the prisoner, the widow or the orphan either.  You’re actually supposed to do it yourself.  Christ’s message is a radical one and very difficult to fulfill, which may be why so few people actually are able to live it.

       

      This is precisely why I have a problem with your belief that ‘respect for life’ can be outsourced to pregnant women by encouraging them to believe it’s their ‘moral duty’ to demonstrate that respect on behalf of everybody else.  Shifting the focus of ‘respect for life’ to that small percentage while letting everyone else continue in their selfish lack of respect for all the other lives at risk in every other situation is exactly equivalent to believing that one’s personal spiritual requirement to care for the poor is fulfulled by getting someone ELSE to pony up the dough that can be used to hire a professional to do the work.

      • crowepps

        Isiah, Chapter 58

        …3 “Why, when we fasted, did You not see?
        When we starved our bodies, did You pay no heed?”
        Because on your fast day
        You see to your business
        And oppress all your laborers!
        4 Because you fast in strife and contention,
        And you strike with a wicked fist!
        your fasting today is not such
        As to make your voice heard on high.
        5 Is such the fast I desire,
        A day for men to starve their bodies?
        Is it bowing the head like a bulrush
        And lying in sackcloth and ashes?
        Do you call that a fast,
        A day when the Lord is favorable?
        6 No, this is the fast I desire:
        To unlock the fetters of wickedness,
        And untie the cords of the yoke
        To let the oppressed go free;
        To break off every yoke.
        7 It is to share your bread with the hungry,
        And to take the wretched poor into your home;
        When you see the naked, to clothe him,
        And not to ignore your own kin.

        8 Then shall your light burst through like the dawn
        And your healing spring up quickly;
        Your Vindicator shall march before you,
        The Presence of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
        9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer;
        When you cry, He will say: Here I am.
        If you banish the yoke from your midst,
        The menacing hand and evil speech,
        10 And you offer your compassion to the hungry
        And satisfy the famished creature —
        The shall your light shine in darkness,
        And your gloom shall be like noonday.

      • paul-bradford

        Paul, any possibility of convincing people of your point gets lost at the instant you start talking about ‘sin’. Sin is a religious concept peculiar to Christianity and different Christian churches have different definitions of what is and is not a ‘sin’.

         

        crowepps,

         

        You’ve had enough conversations with me to know that I try pretty hard to screen out all the ‘religious talk’ and, instead, try to use language that we all can accept.  I figured, given all the posts I’ve made here, I could use the word ‘sin’ once in a while without using the word any more than the typical liberal/humanist/secular/atheist poster does.  Obviously, I was wrong.

         

        That said, I find myself very interested in your ‘take’ of proper Christian behavior.  I want you to realize that when I post here, I’m not writing about how Christians ought to behave.  Quite frankly, I don’t give the matter that much thought.  I write about how people ought to behave.

         

        I think people ought to remember the poor.  By that I mean that we ought to advocate for those who depend on others.  I’m particularly concerned about the educational needs of indigent girls in Central America.  That’s too broad for me to respond to effectively so I concern myself with girls in Honduras.  That’s also too broad so I support one particular girl’s school — The Marie Poussipin Center in Guaimaca.  

         

        But understand this —  I’m not particularly interested in whether I’ve discharged my responsibility to the poor.  I’m not interested in getting a chance to wear a gold star on my forehead like a good do-bee.  Nor, frankly, am I interested in an everlasting gold star to carry around in Paradise.  I’m interested in the educational needs of indigent girls in Central America.  That means it matters to me whether YOU help out.  There’s still an enormous need.  You could support the Poussipin Center or some other school in Central America.  Or maybe somebody else will read this post and they will think — hey, I’ll help out.  What counts is that girls get educated.  Who gets credit is immaterial.

         

        I’m also interested in the unborn.  What matters to me is that they live until they’re born.  Am I doing enough?  Who really cares?  I want more to be done — that’s why I ask you, crowepps, to become more sensitive to the ageist language you use and to better appreciate the moral dimension of abortion.  Maybe you could save a life that way.

    • ahunt

      Dovetailing here:

       

      ‘respect for life’ can be outsourced to pregnant women by encouraging them to believe it’s their ‘moral duty’ to demonstrate that respect on behalf of everybody else.

       

      …and this cannot be accomplished without the idealization of romanticized maternal responses as the standard of womanhood. Don’t you see, Paul? Moral duty absent social reward has no traction.


    • colleen

      To care about justice is to care about motivating other people, prosperous people, to do their share to help the poor.

      That’s probably the most shallow and useless understanding of justice OR concern for the poor I’ve seen in a good long time and particularly coming, as it does, from a guy who self reports an annual income of 100k.

      Justice would be seeing that those members of the Catholic hierarchy who covered for and enabled men they knew to be pedophiles held accountable in civil courts for their actions and their priorities..
      Justice will be seeing the disgusting Bart Stupak primaried out by a pro-choice women.
      You know, some of the people molested as children demonstrated for justice and accountability in front of the Vatican this week. The police arrested them and after they were released from being jailed for asking for justice and accountability from the Vatican the abuse survivors pointed out that they, the victims, had spent more time in jail than their molesters.

    • crowepps

      Certainly unmarried mothers don’t seem to receive much honor for fulfilling their ‘life-affirming moral duty’ to complete their pregnancy unless after they have finished doing so they promptly severe their connection to the life they have sacrified to create and allow the baby to go to a ‘good family’ (defined as one with a resident man).

    • colleen

      unless after they have finished doing so they promptly severe their connection to the life they have sacrified to create and allow the baby to go to a ‘good family’

      The young women I know report to me that even then they aren’t treated with basic decency and respect much less honour and particularly not if they look to a CPC for help.
      There’s a reason some of those taxpayer funded boondoggles get one client a month. word gets around.

    • crowepps

      “Christian groups report that there are 132 million orphans in this world. If so, every available resource needs to be freed up to care for these children — meaning singles as well as couples. There are 100 million single persons over 18 in the United States alone — one-third of the population. I think it’s safe to estimate that at least a third of all adults in a typical U.S. church are single. Why is it verboten to mobilize the unmarried so they too can nourish and bring up children?

       

      I’m not picking just on the Southern Baptists. Several years ago, I was interviewing a professor at a Catholic college who also told me singles should not adopt. In fact, he said, children would be better off staying at orphanages than being adopted by a single mom or dad.

       

      http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2009/09/adoption_single_christians_nee.html

      Bolding added

    • ahunt

      Meeeeeoooow!

       

      And yet, and yet….all will be right with the world if women will simply and joyfully embrace their moral duty.

       

      That no one else can/will be similarly compelled is proof of the unique and crucial obligation of women to lead by example. Because that just works so well.

    • julie-watkins

      In my comment which you replied to I was commenting on your post–I even quoted phrases. Nevertheless (& unsurprizingly), you replied about “sexism” rather than whether or not core beliefs compromised stated goals (though my subject was “compromised”, not “sexism”). Rather, you go back to previous discussions:

      You focus a lot of attention on the ideal of mothers ‘choosing’ to bring their pregnancies to term rather than being forced.

      Yes

      I feel as you do.

      No. This:

      We all ought to feel as if we’re ‘choosing’ to do the things we do that sustain other people’s lives.

      is not equivalant to the first statement. ‘Choosing =\= ‘Choosing the right choice’. You are not ‘for choice’ if your approval is conditional. Paul, it’s hard to respect the opinions of someone who keeps saying red is blue.

      .

      I’m wondering, since you often write how you disagree with your church’s hierarchy, do you tithe or just donate to individual un-cringeworthy programs?

    • elyzabeth

      “To my way of thinking, viability is a myth.  None of us are, or can be, viable.  We all depend upon the beneficence of other human beings in order to survive.”

       

       “The unborn depend upon all of us, in one sense, to respect their lives if they are to be born; but they depend, in a particular way, upon one particular individual whose vital contribution can’t be provided by anyone else.  This ‘particularizes’ the choice for life.”

       

      The line needs to stop at our bodies.  By that thinking, if a stranger needs a kidney donation, and for some reason, you are the only match, are you compelled to donate?  Your answer would have to be yes, but can you at least respect the reasoning behind why many people would choose to keep their organs?  I realize that my example will never occur outside of a soap-opera, but do you see where I’m going with this? 

       

      Beneficance is a grayer area than you acknowledge.  Your church spent the last 2000 years worshipping a guy who was so mind-boggling generous that he “selflessly gave his body so others might live.”  How can you just casually ask that of so many women, as if any other alternative is mind-blowingly selfish?

       

    • emma

      Advocating for the poor involves pleading with the rich to ‘choose’ to be generous.

      Private charity is never going to be sufficient to address rampant poverty on a global scale. That’s not to mention that the idea that the vast majority of the world’s population should be reliant on the generosity of a few is rather repugnant, and a very odd conception of ‘justice’.

      Advocating for the poor involves pleading with the rich to ‘choose’ to be generous. Advocating for The Undead the unborn involves pleading with their mothers to bring their pregnancies to term.

      I’m uncomfortable with this. I get the sense that you’re comparing pregnancy to a person with more than they need writing a cheque for a charity. The latter requires five minutes of someone’s time and some money they don’t need, while the former requires giving up one’s body for nine months, and risking one’s health and even one’s life. Then there’s loss of income, educational opportunities, and so on and so forth – and that’s bearing in mind that women are, on average, far less economically privileged than men.

      Sexist? I suppose so. I certainly take the attitude that the fathers of The Undead the unborn have a duty to their children as much as the mothers do.

      That’s such a copout.

    • wendy-banks

      You hit the nail square on the head on that one. :)

    • prochoicegoth

      viability is a myth.

      So is it safe to assume that you’re inside a womb, hooked up to another human being at this moment, Paul? Viability is the ability to thrive and survive WITHOUT being inside of or connected to another person. But then again, you also believe women are nothing more than walking incubators, so this train of thought of yours doesn’t surprise me much.

      • crowepps

        There are various points in fetal development where various structures or the body develop.  Most of us understand that, and grasp the fact that a fetus which does not yet have lungs, or a liver, or kidneys, or a brain, is nonviable.  It will never attains viability if something goes wrong and those organs do not correctly develop.

         

        Some who romanticize pregnancy and assert their belief in a 4-week from conception ‘teensy perfect baby’ swimming around in there are sure everything is all present and accounted for right from the beginning (fingernails!!) and all it needs is the necessary time to grow larger.

         

        They do not seem to grasp that viability is something which any individual fetus finally achieves when all these complicated physiological processes WORK correctly and all the various parts and pieces develop on schedule so that at approximately two-thirds of the way through the pregnancy the fetus finally has everything necessary to survive without total life support.

    • princess-rot

      I have said some version of this to Paul before; that it is not possible for women to right all the world’s wrongs by “leading by example” or anything else. It’s classic patriarchy, only in romantic language: women are simultaneously disempowered and powerful, pure and impure, madonna or whore… pick your flavor, it’s all the same.

    • paul-bradford

      Right now the Church is a victim of its leaders’ culture of secrecy. Sunlight will disinfect, the truth will set it free.

       

      Well said, offred

    • crowepps

      one message of universal love and that message applies to every human being and encompasses every aspect of human life.  There’s no discrimination in love, no partiality, no exclusions, no limitations. … That’s what the Church teaches in spite of itself,

      Golly, Paul, if that message is what’s so important to you, why not become a Buddhist?  Instead of people having to tune out the Church leaders and find that message on their own where it’s buried under a ton of dogmatism, superstition and hysteria about sex, Buddhists actually FOCUS on  that message.

    • crowepps

      Mr. Geier, now 59, said that between the ages of 14 and 15, starting around 1965, Father Murphy molested him four times in a closet at the school. The priest, a hearing man fluent in sign language, said that God wanted him to teach the boy about sex but that he had to keep it quiet because it was under the sacrament of confession.

       

      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/us/27wisconsin.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1269694950-GXawfDbYjmQtS0iBQ2pXkA

      For that alone Father Murphy should have been ejected from the Church in the most public way possible.

    • paul-bradford

      Instead of people having to tune out the Church leaders and find that message on their own where it’s buried under a ton of dogmatism, superstition and hysteria about sex

       

      crowepps,

       

      From time to time, when I express to people the pleasure I feel at having discovered a life giving message in Catholicism, they will say, “Well, I’ve found that very same message in Buddhism, or Judaism, or Hinduism, or humanism, or in something else.”  How do you expect me to respond?  I’m certainly not going to attempt to dispute their claim!  What I usually do is try to work out some sort of common language we can use to talk to each other about what is important.

       

      Most people, these days, seem to understand what I’m talking about when I claim that all of us are inherently lovable if we can be viewed through the lens of forgiveness and acceptance.  If they’re interested, I can elucidate this point using Catholic theology; but I tend to think that would be asking them to ‘jump through hoops’ in order to share what’s really meaningful about life.  Of course, tossing around words like ‘love’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘acceptance’ and so forth only gets you so far — the goal is to actually share an experience of these things.  I’m certainly not going to object to sharing a spiritual experience with a Buddhist.

       

      Please allow me to continue with this point.  If I’m appreciating the inherent lovability of a Buddhist, and s/he is appreciating the inherent lovability of me, we’re not really concerned about the Catholic/Buddhist dichotomy.  To the extent that ‘Catholic’ and ‘Buddhist’ are words people use to put other people into categorical boxes and to cut us all off from each other the words themselves are self defeating.

    • paul-bradford

      [T]he reason [Paul] agrees some women should not become mothers is not that they may have something more important to do but because he thinks they’d be lousy mothers.

       

      crowepps,

       

      That’s not what I said, and that’s not what I mean.  There are some women who have the talent and drive to succeed in an engrossing and time consuming career.  These women might, had they elected another course, been wonderful mothers; but having chosen their path, they find themselves considering whether it would be fair to a child for them to try to balance the demands of motherhood and high powered career.  I applaud those women who respect the limitations of time and energy and decide to forgo motherhood.

       

    • colleen

      it’s what I believe about the way human beings are dependent upon each other. If you neglect your duty to others they might, in actual fact, die so it’s very, very, very important not to neglect your duty.

      and offering up one of your kidneys or part of a lung, Paul? If you neglect that duty someone will die.

      Or is difficult, painful and increasingly dangerous physical sacrifice only reserved for women. Do you realise how often you try to sell the notion that writing a check is the equivalent of the sort of bullshit you expect from women?

      Considering the subject of this thread, it must require enormous contempt for your audience to claim that the real problem is that women don’t believe they should sacrifice their lives for zygotes because you wrote a check to aid the victims of an earthquake.

    • ahunt

      So you are not requiring that women feel anything but the moral obligation to give birth?  Women do have to  want to do so? Just checking.

    • colleen

      Of course, tossing around words like ‘love’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘acceptance’ and so forth only gets you so far

      Particularly in a thread where the subject under discussion is the multi-generational, global physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children by the Catholic church.

    • paul-bradford

      and offering up one of your kidneys or part of a lung, Paul? If you neglect that duty someone will die.

       

      colleen,

       

      There would probably be people who would say nice things about you if you gave up one of your kidneys or part of a lung.  Of course, there are also some snide jerks out there who would ridicule you.  As long as we are determined to remain children we can always focus our attention on the approbation (or criticism) that comes to us when we perform acts of love.  On the other hand, if we want to attain some degree of maturity, we will move the focus away from ourselves toward the person whose life is saved by the kidney, or the lung, or the check, or the choice to bring a pregnancy to term.

       

      To tell you the truth, colleen, I think it’s damned stupid to pay too much attention to the sacrifice.  It makes much more sense to pay attention to the benefit.  I’m actually more interested in the perspective of the person who requires the benefit than that of the person who makes the sacrifice.

       

    • paul-bradford

      So you are not requiring that women feel anything but the moral obligation to give birth? Women do have to want to do so? Just checking.

       

      ahunt,

       

      The ‘requirement’ is that an unborn person be allowed undisturbed residence inside a uterus for nine months.  We’re all obligated to respond morally to that unborn person.  The mother’s obligation is to continue the pregnancy.  The father’s obligation is to do his part to assure that the child will be supported after s/he is born.  You and I, as members of the society, have the obligation to make certain that mother is supported in her ability to continue the pregnancy, and that the child has access to the health care s/he needs.

       

      I’m not at all bothered by the fact that mothers make their own pregnancy decisions.  What bothers me is that there are many people (many on this very ‘site) who encourage mothers to make their determinations based on what is likely to make them happy, rather than on what they need to do to meet their obligations to their child.  I’m no happier about the fact that the fathers of unborn children are often more focused on their own happiness than they are about the needs of their child.

       

      The fact that many women actually do feel tender maternal feelings (or that many men feel tender paternal feelings) doesn’t change the moral equation.  

       

    • colleen

      I think it’s damned stupid to pay too much attention to the sacrifice. It makes much more sense to pay attention to the benefit.

      is that one of the 17 people who die in the US every day because there aren’t enough donated kidneys would be able to live. Hell,unlike impregnanted women you wouldn’t even be forced to shoulder the medical expenses and really, that sort of surgery is less dangerous than a pregnancy. So, once again, why aren’t you contacting UNOS and offering up a kidney? It’s much easier than what you and your Bishops demand of women, Catholic or not, with our consent or not and irregardless of our personal beliefs.

      Likewise the little girls and boys who have been and are being sexually, emotionally and physically abused by the Catholic church certainly did not wish to be sacrifices to the false piety of a corrupt, immoral church. Why not consider justice for them rather than avoid the subject as you’re so obviously doing.

    • ahunt

      Paul, upthread, you stated that people ought to feel that they are choosing the things they do to sustain other people’s lives.

       

      Now, you appear to be insisting that an unwillingly pregnant woman is to carry to term based on the moral obligation to the fetus, feelings be damned.

       

      How does that work exactly?

       

      Remarkably sanguine view of human nature…just maybe?

    • princess-rot

      They’re all for getting women to sacrafice bodily autonomy, fitness, mental health, and happiness in pursuit of the “all life is sacred” dealio, but when the possibility arises that men’s body parts could be used without consent, the deal’s off. I’d just want to say to such people; “Well, Mr. X shouldn’t have got himself into that brain-dead situation by driving. He knew the risks of the road but he decided to open his legs and get into that auto anyway, so he should have to give up his liver so someone else has a chance. The sick person is innocent and deserves to live. He blew his.” The irony is sublime, isn’t it?

    • mariethereseloughlin

      I grew up – in the now notorious Goldenbridge Industrial School (St Vincent’s) Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland, in the mid fifties/sixties. I had a miserable childhood there. The floggings and cruelty meted out daily to young defenceless children by religious and staff does not bear thinking about at all. One never gets over it. The damage inflicted at such an early age has left gargantuan psychological indentations on the brains and psyches of countless victims-survivors of Goldenbridge and other industrial schools of that nature. In saying this, though, one has just got to get on with life as best as one can, irrespective of the pain of the past. Survival of the fittest must kick in otherwise one could flop and cave in and where would that leave one, nowhere, except down the deep Swannee. Albeit, sadly to say, suicide, along with all manner of dysfunctions pertaining to social habitation and living, in general, took control of very many inmates and they died -when only in their thirties, forties and early fifties. I went to a commission to inquire into Irish institutional abuse, some years ago, to tell to the state appointed professional experts – of the dreadful existence I had in GB industrial school. I personally wanted it recorded so that it would go down in the annals of Irish history. I specifically want/ed to let school children and adults of tomorrow learn all about the horrendous lives thousands of defenceless children had in that hell-hole of a gulag. I was so infuriated at the way the religious played down the slave-labour task of rosary-bead making at the commission; of which very young children were compelled to reach a daily quota of sixty decades, that I consequently put my anguished frustrated genuine thoughts down on paper. The religious, you see, had tried to use the argument that this (profitable work, monetarily speaking, for mostly their benefit) was basically in keeping with industrial school training and that the young children had enjoyed the bead-making work immensely. It was so untrue. The religious saw it only from their own standpoint. They were blinded to the fact that they may have broken any rules. They were so callous about the whole beads affair. So lacking in empathy towards us. What else could they say, I suppose, they were desperately trying to protect themselves. We were, after all, child prisoners and were in the child prison to serve sentences. They were kindness incarnate for having opened up their penitentiary refuge to children from the lower levels of life. We were mostly, in their eyes, offspring of fallen penitent women.

    • mariethereseloughlin

      I grew up – in the now notorious Goldenbridge Industrial School (St Vincent’s) Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland, in the mid fifties/sixties. I had a miserable childhood there. The floggings and cruelty meted out daily to young defenceless children by religious and staff does not bear thinking about at all. One never gets over it. The damage inflicted at such an early age has left gargantuan psychological indentations on the brains and psyches of countless victims-survivors of Goldenbridge and other industrial schools of that nature. In saying this, though, one has just got to get on with life as best as one can, irrespective of the pain of the past. Survival of the fittest must kick in otherwise one could flop and cave in and where would that leave one, nowhere, except down the deep Swannee. Albeit, sadly to say, suicide, along with all manner of dysfunctions pertaining to social habitation and living, in general, took control of very many inmates and they died -when only in their thirties, forties and early fifties. I went to a commission to inquire into Irish institutional abuse, some years ago, to tell to the state appointed professional experts – of the dreadful existence I had in GB industrial school. I personally wanted it recorded so that it would go down in the annals of Irish history. I specifically want/ed to let school children and adults of tomorrow learn all about the horrendous lives thousands of defenceless children had in that hell-hole of a gulag. I was so infuriated at the way the religious played down the slave-labour task of rosary-bead making at the commission; of which very young children were compelled to reach a daily quota of sixty decades, that I consequently put my anguished frustrated genuine thoughts down on paper. The religious, you see, had tried to use the argument that this (profitable work, monetarily speaking, for mostly their benefit) was basically in keeping with industrial school training and that the young children had enjoyed the bead-making work immensely. It was so untrue. The religious saw it only from their own standpoint. They were blinded to the fact that they may have broken any rules. They were so callous about the whole beads affair. So lacking in empathy towards us. What else could they say, I suppose, they were desperately trying to protect themselves. We were, after all, child prisoners and were in the child prison to serve sentences. They were kindness incarnate for having opened up their penitentiary refuge to children from the lower levels of life. We were mostly, in their eyes, offspring of fallen penitent women.

    • mariethereseloughlin

      Subsequently (some few years ago) I the good fortune to encounter a very highly intelligent American, (Seattle based, editor of butterfliesandwheels.com & co-author with Jeremy Stangroom of three fine books) Ophelia Benson, who edited two articles about daily life in Goldenbridge. It was a very cathartic experience. I thank Ophelia from the bottom of my heart for having so much empathy for people who grew up in similar circumstances as me. The two articles can be accessed through butterfliesandwheels.com articles section.
      ‘Goldenbridge housed on average two hundred children, which included infants and babies; a good percentage of them were infants, babies and toddlers. I remember clearly, at 6:30 in the mornings, when I was eleven years old or thereabouts having to go to St Joseph’s babies/infants dormitory. I had to dress the toddlers. It was normal for some of them to have slept in their own excrement. When I took them from their destroyed beds, I found it so upsetting as they were always covered from head to toe in excrement. They were shivering and were all colours of the rainbow as they stood there waiting to be cleaned. I had to use the clean corners of the destroyed sheets. The only place to get water was from a very small toilet bowl.’

      See: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com articles The Secret Rosary Bead Factory’ Also: ‘Goldenbridge II’ at same source.

      Industrial schools, (not to be mistaken with residential schools) were dispensed with in 1933 in Great Britain. Yet, they were still flourishing in Ireland in the 70’s. Children incarcerated in Goldenbridge by the judicial system, all had numbers. I was lucky in having had the luxury of two! Prisoner: 155 & 39.

      In the aftermath of the sordid child abuse vis-à-vis industrial schools – which culminated in the ‘Ryan/Laffoy Report I noticed that the British were far too engrossed in their own political fees scandal to cotton on too much to anything across the Irish sea, of the ilk of the fall-out of the damning Ryan/Laffoy Report.
      The clerical child sex abuse scandal came on board, afterwards, with the former One in Four leader, now Amnesty International Director, Colm O’ Gorman, at the helm. The Ferns Report was the result of an inquiry into clerical sexual abuse of children in the diocese of Ferns, Wexford.
      Those involved in the latest Murphy Report learned valuable lessons from survivors of Goldenbridge, such as Christine Buckley, Bernadette Fahy and Carmel Mc Donnell-Byrne, who were at the coal-face of it all.
      The trio, invariably so, were the most prominent GB figures  who had laid out groundwork for the Ryan Report.
      Thank you!

    • mariethereseloughlin

      There were lots of young boys who spent all or most or some of their young lives in boys industrial schools, such as Artane, Daingean, Letterfrack and Ferryhouse etc, in Ireland. They were horribly sexually abused by the religious and others throughout their incarceration period in these Dickensian, gruesome and morbidly depressing institutions, run mostly by the Christian Brothers.
      Alas, the media has not seen fit to write extensively about them in the past two weeks., despite the fact that they too come under the banner of child clerical sexual abuse.
      So, in order to redress the balance, somewhat, I would like to do them the honour, through the medium of RH Reality Check – in mentioning them a little. Their whole lives were mostly stolen from them – they had no parents to go home to for comfort when they were being sexually abused by those who were purportedly acting in loco-parentis. They had to split themselves and resort to being nice to their perpetrators in order to survive.
      Some of these boys knew nothing about the outside world and could not even distinguish between the Sisters of Mercy in black robes and Christian Brothers in black robes, when they eventually went to stay with the latter in boys only institutions from the age of ten years onwards. The women in black and the men in black were indistinguishable in their eyes.
      Survivors like Mick Waters/Andrew Brennan/Angry of ultimatedisposal.com have been in the background for more than a decade highlighting mostly boys industrial school institutional clerical sexual abuse and that too of abuse in some parts of Great Britain.
      If it was not for the above mentioned, the survivors voices would not be mostly heard – as the majority of them, unfortunately, do not possess writing skills that would enable them to express themselves properly on paper or in the blogosphere.
      The Irish bishops went to Rome to not only discuss the Murphy Report, but that too of the all important Ryan/Laffoy Report. But one would think, judging by the media coverage of late, that it was all only about the Murphy Report. It is in my estimation rather unfair

    • mariethereseloughlin

      Geraldine Mc Donnell also has an opinion that I thoroughly second.
      The Irish Times, Friday, March 12, 2010 (Letters to the Editor)
      Madam,
      Why has clerical abuse taken such precedence over institutional abuse when many of the reformatories and industrial schools were managed and staffed by members of religious congregations?
      Over 165,000 children were incarcerated in more than 200 institutions by comparison with small pockets of survivors of clerical abuse throughout the country.
      The most vulnerable children of society incarcerated in these hell-holes were not only subjected to sexual abuse, they endured sadistic and brutal violence, constant starvation, emotional abuse, had to work like slaves from morning till night.
      They also faced repeated assaults on self-esteem, evil name-calling, repeated isolation and loneliness?
      Many survivors of institutions were deprived of a basic formal education, leaving with minimal skills or no academic knowledge.
      It is important to remember that bishops had total control over these religious-run institutions.
      We have been silenced long enough.
      It is high time that survivors of institutional abuse were treated with the dignity they justly deserve instead of been kept in the dark all over again while clerical abuse is the topic of debate every single day.
      It is very upsetting for survivors of institutional abuse to be put on the back burner again, particularly when they were vindicated in the Ryan report ? that seems to have vanished into black abyss never to be seen or acted upon again.
      I hope that we strive to understand the psyche of survivors of institutional abuse once and for all before we have a huge catastrophe?
      I feel if something radical is not done soon to understand our deep pain we will have a huge suicide problem on our hands.
      Yours, etc,

      CARMEL McDONNELL-BYRNE,

      ******************************

      Marie-Therese O’ Loughlin

    • mariethereseloughlin

      I remember, years ago, a person fighting desperately hard – via Irish online abuse groups, to bring to the attention of the media – systematic abuse of children in a Kinderheim in Germany. He was such a lone voice crying out in the wilderness. My heart used to go out to him – as I felt, then, that he was just beating his head against a brick wall, and nobody was really listening. Well, it seemed like that to me, anyway. There was not a single thing Irish survivors could do to help his lonely campaign, as the alleged abuse obviously occurred in a different jurisdiction. I sincerely hope that in the wake of all that is now coming to the fore in Germany – that there will be some consideration paid to those past abuse victims of the kinderheim in question that he so valiantly fought. The Statutes of Limitations for sexual abuse in Germany should be revisited to deal with all past clerical and institutional sexual abuse cases.

    • mariethereseloughlin

      I lived in Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, for many years and went to visit the infamous paedophile Father Brendan Smyth’s grave in nearby Kilnacrott Abbey, not very long after he was buried there. I remember being mortified at the time, because of the fact that not only was he buried in the wee hours of the morn by his Norbertine Belgian order community, in order to deflect the media, who had arrived only to discover that the concrete over him was rock solid hard – – but also because he was buried in consecrated ground. Having not being defrocked by the Vatican – it was – naturally, his priestly privileged right. (The same was applicable with Father Sean Fortune, of Ferns Diocese in Wexford.) It beggars belief!

    • crowepps

      I think people ought to remember the poor.

      So did Christ.  As matter of fact, all the way back to the very earliest scripture, and in all the other holy books, peop0le are reminded that they ‘ought’ to remember the poor.

       

      Why is it, then, that individual people and society in general so often ignore the poor?

       

      Why is it that people conclude that if people are poor then it must be their own fault – a result of their own “poor choices” or because they ‘probably’ are lazy, substance abusers, stupid, etc.?

       

      This would be an excellent question to research and track down answers to, because all too often exactly the same TYPE of response dismisses the needs of women who need abortions – a result of their own “poor choices”, probably are promiscuous, substance abusers, stupid, etc.

       

      I did very much like your sentence “I’m not interested in getting a chance to wear a gold star on my forehead like a good do-bee”.  You must remembger Miss Barbara too!

    • crowepps

      The women are supposed to change their feelings, of course, so that they are no longer unwilling. How that’s going to keep them from losing their jobs or enable them to pay for prenatal care/delivery or provide food/shelter for the children they already have is beyond me.

    • colleen

      I write about how people ought to behave.

      Apparently you think that in a thread where the topic is the multigenerational emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children in their care by the Catholic church people ought to engage in ridiculous displays of false piety and ‘concern’ while desperately trying to change the subject.

    • crowepps

      become more sensitive to the ageist language you use and to better appreciate the moral dimension of abortion.  Maybe you could save a life that way.

      I don’t use ‘ageist language’, Paul, you do.  You’re the one who insists that pregnant women have an obligation to ‘the very young’ which surpasses by far the obligation of anyone else to any person who’s already born and therefore NOT ‘very young’.  Two minutes after the baby is born, no one is ‘obligated’ to provide so much as an injection of bone marrow because the baby has aged out of the population that ‘is entitled to whatever it needs to live’.

       

      I do ‘appreciate the moral dimension of abortion’ which is just what we tend to discuss here in our posts.  The fact that I don’t agree with your take on that doesn’t mean it is not part of my reasoning at all.  In addition, I fail to see how my ‘appreciation’ of that aspect of the question is going to save any lives, since my failure to join you in your propaganda campaign to guilt-trip girls and women about what they ‘ought’ to feel and do is not a factor in anyone deciding to have an abortion.

    • ahunt

      The women are supposed to change their feelings, of course

       

      But not to warm, nurturing maternal thoughts, crowepps…but rather, to the grim, joyless, rigid mental discipline obliged by adherence to “moral obligation.”

       

      Oh wait….

       

       

    • crowepps

      the grim, joyless, rigid mental discipline obliged by adherence to “moral obligation

      Oh, geez, that reminds me so much of what it was like living with my mother that it gives me cold chills.

    • ahunt

      Oh, geez, that reminds me so much of what it was like living with my mother that it gives me cold chills.



      So I’ll behave myself, and instead:

       

      I’m sorry, crowepps.

       

       

    • crowepps

      Addressing crowds in St Peter’s square during a Palm Sunday service, the pope did not directly mention the scandal spreading though Europe and engulfing the Vatican, but alluded to it during his sermon. Faith in God, he said, led “towards the courage of not allowing oneself to be intimidated by the petty gossip of dominant opinion”.

       

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/28/pope-benedict-sexual-abuse-scandal

      I’m not sure if he’s talking about the ‘petty gossip’ of those who complain they were victimized or the ‘petty gossip’ of the ‘dominanet opinion’ of the rest of us who are stating that the Church has betrayed Christ by ignoring them and trying to shut them up. Either way, you’ve got to wonder what planet he’s living on.

    • crowepps

      I’ve got to say, though, that I am totally baffled by the total lack of empathy for children exhibited by people who seem to really, truly believe that after they’ve managed to throw up enough roadblocks and barriers to prevent someone who really, really doesn’t want to be pregnant from getting an abortion, because she doesn’t ‘deserve’ one, and who believe that this woman should be denied because her reasons are selfishness and promiscuity and the moral failings of a potential ‘murderer’, etc., that they just can’t grasp that their stereotypical women needing an abortion is is NOT anyone who should have a helpless baby in her power for even a moment.

       

      They just never seem to make the connection that either: a) This woman be allowed to have an abortion because she should NOT have a baby, or b) Their stereotype of women who want abortions is pretty much false and therefore ‘bad character’ can’t be used as a reason to deny the need.

       

      And, please, withhold the bumper sticker slogan about ‘aren’t you glad YOUR mother didn’t have an abortion?’ because the answer is no, I’m not.

       

      Having missed out on the ration apparently served up in the ‘happy family’ of smug self-satisfaction about how special and marvelous my existence is for the universe, and having had a life that contained on balance pain that did not balance the pleasures, I’d just as soon have missed the whole thing.

    • colleen

      this morning (and indeed whenever the Pope says something about the scandals) I hear the attitude of someone nostalgic for 1470 or so when the Church had the power to punish heresy with a good old fashioned Inquisition that would make people forget about a little quirk like the institutionalized abuse of children very quickly and for a very long time.

    • crowepps

      Certainly the repeated reports that victims and their parents were threatened with excommunication if they broke the secrecy imposed by the Church have a whiff of ‘burn the heretics’ about them.

       

      ‘The problem isn’t that Father X is at it AGAIN in the confessional, the problem is that the parents of the kid he felt up are talking about calling the cops. Put the real effort into shutting THEM up and quickly move Father X to a parish a couple states away where they need help with the youth program.’

    • emma

      And, please, withhold the bumper sticker slogan about ‘aren’t you glad YOUR mother didn’t have an abortion?’ because the answer is no, I’m not.

      Having missed out on the ration apparently served up in the ‘happy family’ of smug self-satisfaction about how special and marvelous my existence is for the universe, and having had a life that contained on balance pain that did not balance the pleasures, I’d just as soon have missed the whole thing.

      Could not have said it better myself.

    • walt

      I am sure most of the posters here, as well as the author of this article, realize that in addition to being the leader of the Catholic Church, the Pope is the head of state of Vatican City – an independent country. If the representatives, or indeed the leader of any other country – say Communist China, or Saudi Arabia – had as much public influence in enacting legislation that affects all Americans, how acceptable would that be? Could you imagine the uproar if French diplomats were meeting with Senate committees & writing amendments to bills on their way to being voted on? Since the Vatican is a state headed by a religious leader, perhaps Iran would be a more apt analogy. Could you imagine the uproar if Ayatollah Khameni were to meet w/Congressional committees and have a direct influence in the legislative process? I’m just askin’.