Capital Punishment, SCOTUS Success

The Press Release from the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation explains:

Release Date:  June 29, 2015

Contact:  Kent S. Scheidegger

(916) 446-0345

SUPREME COURT REJECTS LETHAL INJECTION CHALLENGE

In a decision announced today, the United States Supreme Court rejected a challenge by three brutal murderers to Oklahoma’s lethal injection process. The murderers claim that the three-drug protocol used in executions may cause extreme pain and is therefore unconstitutional.

The case of Glossip v. Gross involves the state’s effort to carry out executions of condemned murderers in an environment where death penalty opponents have intimidated drug manufacturers into refusing to supply states with the drugs most commonly used for the lethal injection process. As a result, Oklahoma has been forced to switch anesthetics twice in recent years. Last year because the preferred anesthetic, pentobarbital, was no longer available, Oklahoma substituted another anesthetic, midazolam, for its execution protocol.

The California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation had joined the case to encourage a decision rejecting the murderers’ claim, arguing that the Eighth Amendment does not allow torturous methods of execution but also does not require completely painless ones. Defendants who claim that a particular execution protocol may create an unintended risk of pain should be required to present alternative protocols that present substantially less risk.

Writing for the Court’s 5-4 majority, Associate Justice Samuel Alito states, “Because it is settled that capital punishment is constitutional, ‘[i]t necessarily follows that there must be a [constitutional] means of carrying it out.’ … Holding that the Eighth Amendment demands the elimination of essentially all risk of pain would effectively outlaw the death penalty altogether. ” Justice Alito also notes that “the prisoners failed to identify a known and available alternative method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain, a requirement of all Eighth Amendment method-of-efficacy.”

In their petition to the Supreme Court, the Oklahoma murderers cite the January 15, 2015, execution of Charles Warner, for the rape and murder of an 11-month-old girl. The state used midazolam, which the murderers claimed caused a painful execution. As evidence they noted that during the execution process, a news reporter quoted Warner saying, “my body is on fire.” The report actually said that Warner made this statement while receiving a saline solution, prior to receiving any execution drugs. When the drugs were administered, the Associated Press reported that Warner became unconscious and stopped breathing seven minutes later with no signs of physical distress.

The three petitioners are Richard Glossip who hired a co-worker to beat his employer to death with a baseball bat; Benjamin Cole, who murdered his nine-month-old daughter by bending her in half backward because her crying interrupted his video game; and John Grant, who was serving 130 years for four armed robberies when he pulled a female prison food-service supervisor into a closet, put his hand over her mouth, and stabbed her 16 times with a shank, killing her.

The Foundation introduced a scholarly amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief arguing that Oklahoma has been forced to select alternative execution drugs because of a restriction on the availability of preferred drugs by European death penalty opponents. Overturning the enforcement of a lawful sentence due to the actions of foreign governments is an assault on the sovereignty of the United States. The CJLF brief also notes that the petitioners’ claim that Warner’s execution was painful because of his “on fire” statement is further evidence of deception by defense lawyers and death penalty opponents. The Foundation’s brief cites a 2014 Associated Press report that prior to his execution, Ohio murderer Dennis McGuire told guards that his defense attorney counseled him to make a show of his death that would, perhaps, lead to abolition of the death penalty.

“The death penalty is supported by the vast majority of the American people. Justice in these horrible cases must not be obstructed by conspiracy to cut off the needed drugs. The Supreme Court affirmed today that states can take the necessary measures to defeat that obstruction of justice,” said Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger.

Retrieved June 29, 2015 from http://www.cjlf.org/releases/15-09.htm

New York On Slide

Back into the bad old days of rampant street crime, as this article from City Journal reports.

An excerpt.

Twenty-three prior arrests, including menacing someone with a machete five years ago, and this madman is still walking the streets? Seeing a passerby’s video of Sook Yeong Im, a pretty young Korean tourist, lying on the 40th Street sidewalk after crazy career criminal Frederick Young, 43, had twice slashed open her arm with his viciously honed weapon—exposing muscle fiber and sending blood spurting everywhere—brought back in an instant the knot of fear New Yorkers carried in their stomachs in the pre-Rudy Giuliani era, when out-of-control crime was killing not just one person every four hours, 365 days a year, but also was killing Gotham itself. That the assault occurred in Bryant Park at 11:30 on a sun-drenched early-summer morning, as the victim was looking for a seat after her yoga class, seemed to unravel just about every gain that the tireless efforts of thousands over 20 years had achieved to make New York once more the capital of the world. Suddenly, it seems we’re back to Son of Sam or the Wild Man of West 96th Street.

Start with Bryant Park. Who that had not seen it a quarter-century ago would believe that this lush, cosmopolitan oasis behind Carrère and Hastings’ gleaming white marble New York Public Library, with throngs of tourists and businesspeople lunching at its smart cafés or on its freshly painted Parisian chairs, was once a no-go zone, with drug sellers openly plying their trade in broad daylight on the packed dust that had once been a lawn, and with muggers lurking in the bushes, ready to prey on any tourist too uninformed to keep out? Along with MTA, Transit Authority, and Transit Police heads Robert Kiley, David Gunn, and William Bratton’s clean-up of the subways, the city’s lifeblood, by washing off the omnipresent graffiti and chasing out the bums and pickpockets in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dan Biederman’s Bryant Park Corporation’s astonishing transformation of despoiled park into a gleaming commons at the very center of the capital of the Twentieth Century during the same period were the two pre-Giuliani signs that what human failing had spoiled, human effort could redeem. These were the first luminous demonstrations that New York did not have to die.

Behind both accomplishments was a theory, propounded by Manhattan Institute scholar George Kelling and political scientist James Q. Wilson. Dubbed Broken Windows, the theory held that, when city authorities allow public spaces to turn into theaters of disorder, dysfunction, and dirt—where dope sellers, graffiti vandals, and prostitutes of every description go about their business without interference, while bums and madmen panhandle aggressively, pee on the street, blast radios, jump turnstiles in the subway, and smear filth and litter everywhere—then honest citizens will stay away out of fear and disgust, and the evil-intentioned, seeing that nobody cares to protect public order, will feel emboldened to commit serious crimes, not just these so-called “victimless” crimes, whose real victim was the city itself. But clear out the rubbish, clean up the graffiti, spruce up the space, arrest the petty criminals, and get the madmen into medical care, and urban vitality will return. Meanwhile, serious crime will go down, because criminals will know that the authorities are watching them, that cops can stop and question them and search them for weapons on probable cause, and that lawbreaking will send them to jail. In Bryant Park and in the subways, the theory had its first real-world test. And Eureka! a modern miracle….

Now Mayor Bill de Blasio has done away with much of that. Stop-and-frisks are down 95 percent from their 2011 high. Broken Windows policing is again under attack from enlightened opinion in the academy and mainstream media, which also has once again embraced what is now most emphatically the myth of omnipresent American racism. De Blasio himself leads the chorus in slurring the NYPD as racist oppressors, warning his biracial son not to give them any excuse to brutalize him. And cops are afraid to do their jobs, since they have no support from City Hall. So no wonder shootings are up for two years in a row—a first since the pre-Giuliani era—with four more just this afternoon. No wonder Gotham has had 19.5 percent more murders in the first five months of this year than in the corresponding period last year. And after vilification from City Hall and the mainstream media for recent Broken Windows arrests, and being ordered to cut way back on stop-and-frisks, no wonder cops didn’t want to put their careers on the line to mess with Frederick Young—an obviously crazy black man, muttering to himself and carrying something suspicious in a garbage bag. And you can expect more senseless, needless crimes like what happened to Sook Yeong Im, along with ever-growing fear in the streets, until de Blasio is out of City Hall.

Retrieved June 25, 2015 from http://www.city-journal.org/2015/eon0624mm.html

 

Pope Francis’ Encyclical

I have not read the full encyclical yet, but have been following the various commentators and this article from Crisis Magazine is the best I’ve read so far, acknowledging the obvious strengths of the encyclical but also noting its weakness.

An excerpt.

The case of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Laudato Si’ can be seen as tragic. This is not because it is the terrible document that some say it is; it is because so much of it is so good, and because it had the potential to be a truly great encyclical. Like a tragic hero, who is so admirable and so promising but who, through a combination of circumstances and his own flaws, comes to a bad end, Laudato Si’ is unlikely to be the positive force it should have been. Instead, it represents a missed opportunity to be a game-changing reflection and guide for Catholics and for the world, because particular elements have obscured and muffled its often-eloquent expression of Catholic social thought. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to highlight some of what the encyclical has to offer….

Some readers will no doubt take exception to various dimensions of Laudato Si’ that have been presented positively here, though it is hoped that many others will see value in them. But why have the issues and questions presented here been virtually absent from public discussion of the encyclical? The answer is no secret, and hinges on two features of this encyclical that effectively “poison the well.”

First and most obvious is Francis’ forceful and unequivocal embrace of anthropogenic global warming, the most hotly debated scientific question of our time. This was guaranteed to overshadow everything else; the media would have you believe that Laudato Si’ is “the climate change encyclical” even though only small portions of it directly address this topic. Moreover, according to a recent Pew poll, only 47 percent of American Catholics share the Pope’s view on this scientific claim; since it is not treated as a contestable question, the encyclical’s calls for “discussion,” “dialogue,” and “ideas” can only ring hollow among those who disagree, and a hostile reception to the entire document is practically assured

Second, and also widely treated, is the matter of economics and politics. Commentators on left and right appear to have agreed to understand this encyclical (and, in fact, most communications from Pope Francis) as “socialist” and “anti-capitalist” or anti-market. The fact is that for all such talk, very little “smoking gun” language can be found in Laudato Si’. It is more a matter of selective interpretation. Yet, one cannot place all the blame on the interpreters. Although Francis speaks in favor of business, overtones of particularly unsophisticated aspects of leftist ideology can be sensed throughout the encyclical, not so much through what is said, but through how things are said and, especially, through what is left unsaid.

One of these common errors of the ideological left is a tendency to identify some of the worst aspects of modernity, including its materialism, with “capitalism” or markets, even though socialism is an explicitly materialist ideology and hardly has a stellar track record. The Soviet Bloc was infamous for both its environmental degradation and its disempowering statism (to say nothing of its dehumanizing apartment blocks), but one gets no sense of an awareness of this from Francis. Indeed, Roger Scruton has noted many cases in which even milder forms of centralized statism—such as that in the E.U.—have contributed to environmental harm and compromised human safety.

Retrieved June 24, 2015 from http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/the-tragedy-of-laudato-si

Garry Wills

I have been reading his books recently and include these among those I am enjoying immensely: Bare Ruined Choirs, Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion (1972), Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (2000), Why I Am a Catholic (2002), The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis (2015).

I think that he is a must read for the incisive perspective he brings to the obvious failures of the institutional Catholic Church through history; while retaining a deep devotion to the Church of the Apostle’s Creed; a stance very congruent to that which I have reached since my conversion and baptism in 2004.

The Great Story of the Catholic Church is within her founding by God, her teaching by saints, and her transcendent ideas standing as a sign of contradiction to the world.

The sad story of the Catholic Church is within the satanic influence of too many of her leaders leading to sinful governance, the corrupted teaching of enemies within and without, and a too often alignment with the world; all of which Garry Wills addresses admirably.

Saint John Fisher

The history of monarchy–though I assume there are exceptions–is largely a history of tyranny, so whenever I am tempted to a romantic vision of the arguably great historical heritage of England, whose blood is mingled within me with Russian and German, I am reminded of this saint (as well as St. Thomas More) whose story is noted today, his feast day.

From Saint of the Day:

John Fisher is usually associated with Erasmus, Thomas More and other Renaissance humanists. His life, therefore, did not have the external simplicity found in the lives of some saints. Rather, he was a man of learning, associated with the intellectuals and political leaders of his day. He was interested in the contemporary culture and eventually became chancellor at Cambridge. He had been made a bishop at 35, and one of his interests was raising the standard of preaching in England. Fisher himself was an accomplished preacher and writer. His sermons on the penitential psalms were reprinted seven times before his death. With the coming of Lutheranism, he was drawn into controversy. His eight books against heresy gave him a leading position among European theologians.

In 1521 he was asked to study the question of Henry VIII’s marriage. He incurred Henry’s anger by defending the validity of the king’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon and later by rejecting Henry’s claim to be the supreme head of the Church of England.

In an attempt to be rid of him, Henry first had him accused of not reporting all the “revelations” of the nun of Kent, Elizabeth Barton. John was summoned, in feeble health, to take the oath to the new Act of Succession. He and Thomas More refused because the Act presumed the legality of Henry’s divorce and his claim to be head of the English Church. They were sent to the Tower of London, where Fisher remained 14 months without trial. They were finally sentenced to life imprisonment and loss of goods.

When the two were called to further interrogations, they remained silent. Fisher was tricked, on the supposition he was speaking privately as a priest, and declared again that the king was not supreme head. The king, further angered that the pope had made John Fisher a cardinal, had him brought to trial on the charge of high treason. He was condemned and executed, his body left to lie all day on the scaffold and his head hung on London Bridge. More was executed two weeks later.

Comment:

Today many questions are raised about Christians’ and priests’ active involvement in social issues. John Fisher remained faithful to his calling as a bishop. He strongly upheld the teachings of the Church; the very cause of his martyrdom was his loyalty to Rome. He was involved in the cultural enrichment circles as well as in the political struggles of his time. This involvement caused him to question the moral conduct of the leadership of his country. “The Church has the right, indeed the duty, to proclaim justice on the social, national and international level, and to denounce instances of injustice, when the fundamental rights of man and his very salvation demand it” (Justice in the World, 1971 Synod of Bishops).

Quote:

Erasmus said of John Fisher: “He is the one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning and for greatness of soul.”

Retrieved June 23, 2015 from http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1423

Environmental Encyclical & the Latin Mass

They are well connected in this great article from Crisis Magazine, noting the political— and soon to be forgotten—nature of the former and the increasing interest in the ancient beauty of the latter.

An excerpt.

It was my intention to offer a fulsome commentary and critique of Laudato Si. However, as I commenced my third and closest reading of the document, I found myself overwhelmed by its voluminous nature, meandering and mixture of solid proclamation of Christian teaching with incoherent detours into all manner of political controversy.

My principal concerns with Laudato Si are its limited focus on Jesus vis-à-vis rival isues and how he is interpreted when he is mentioned. Francis barely makes mention of the name of the Lord until 70 pages into the document, where, in paragraphs 96 through 98, the pope deploys references to the Gospels in an attempt to paint the Lord as exhorting his followers “to recognize the paternal relationship that God has with all his creatures” (para. 96). While it is surely true, as Francis says, that Jesus “lived in full harmony with creation” (since, as the Logos, he caused creation), there is really no basis to support Francis’ implication that the Lord connected sanctity and redemption with one’s treatment of the environment.

The pope’s citations at paragraph 96, for example, to passages in Luke and Matthew wherein the Lord mentions birds, are hardly grounds upon which to cast Jesus as an “environmentalist.” In Luke 12, the Lord is preaching about judgment and salvation, simultaneously warning his listeners of God’s wrath and reminding them of his solicitude, for “you are worth more than many sparrows” (Lk. 12:7). Similarly, the reference to Matthew is taken from the Sermon on the Mount in which the Lord speaks of our dependence on God, urging us to put away anxiety and frivolous concerns because man is more “important” to God than the birds of the air (Mt. 6:26). (Ironically, such passages are best employed against environmentalists who devalue human life in favor of lesser animals.)…

And yet, while the spotlight presently shines on the encyclical, another document, far less noted by the secular world, continues to work its power within the inner life of the Church, Summorum Pontificum.

At the beginning of this month, more than 350 people, mostly young, approximately a third of which were priests and seminarians, gathered in New York for the four-day Sacra Liturgia Conference. Here came clergy low and high, academics and lay people, to discuss the recovery of the Sacred Liturgy and to participate (actively of course) in the liturgical and devotional life of the Church. On the last day, the Solemn Feast of Corpus Christi, a long line marched in a magnificent Eucharist procession through the streets of the Upper East Side that culminated with the celebration of Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, offered by Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago.

About a week later, Rome hosted the fourth Summorum Pontificum Conference. Like Sacra Liturgia, this conference was marked by presentations from Roman Cardinals, clergy and laymen, all of whom offered worship to God according to the ancient rite of the Church.

Finally, on June 12, 2015, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, penned a remarkable piece for L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper. This piece appeared shortly after the Cardinal sent a letter to the Sacra Liturgia organizers in which he stated that Pope Francis, upon appointing Sarah to the prefecture, asked him to continue Benedict XVI work on the Liturgy.

Retrieved June 22, 2015 from http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/which-papal-document-will-renew-the-earth

Israel & Judaism

Israel is the home of Judaism and Christianity and as such it is vital that Catholic strategic support upholds the freedom of our mutual ancestral home; and this article from Caroline B. Glick in the Jerusalem Post notes an important strategic decision Israel needs to make now.

An excerpt.

Over the past two decades Israel has managed to destroy its regional reputation.

With our own hands, we have twice shown our neighbors they have little reason to tie their fates to ours. We are unreliable.

In 1994, Israel betrayed the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza who had helped us fight against PLO terrorists for decades. Open season on our Palestinian allies officially began in July 1994 with the entrance of thousands of PLO terrorists – led by Yasser Arafat – into Gaza and Jericho. Arafat’s henchmen did not limit their murderous wrath to the Palestinians who saved countless Israeli lives by working with the Shin Bet and the IDF. They killed Palestinians who sold their lands to Jewish buyers. Palestinians who simply enjoyed normal work relations with Israelis found themselves targeted as suspected “collaborators.”

Six years after Israel betrayed its Palestinian allies, we abandoned our allies in south Lebanon.

After 18 years of fighting shoulder to shoulder with the IDF, Israel left the soldiers and commanders of the South Lebanese Army and their families to face Hezbollah alone.

In its helter-skelter withdrawal from the security zone in south Lebanon on May 31, 2000, Israel left most of the SLA soldiers and their families behind. Those who managed to cross the border to Israel were treated shamefully by the Israeli bureaucracy.

We caught a glimpse of the suffering we caused those who remained behind during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. As IDF soldiers returned to Lebanon they were beset by the families of SLA soldiers who seized on their return to make a run for the border. Men, women and children sprinted across fields to the newly returned IDF units with whatever they could carry.

When we returned to Lebanon that summer, no Lebanese militia offered to fight at our side.

And indeed, after we betrayed our allies, it was hard to imagine a situation where anyone would again agree to fight alongside us. And yet, thanks to the demise of the Syrian and Iraqi states, Israel has a chance to undo the damage. We can rebuild our credibility with our neighbors by helping the Druse in Syria.

Twice in the past 90 years, the Syrian Druse had the potential for independent action. In 1921, when the French established their mandatory rule in present-day Syria and Lebanon, they divided the territory into six “independent,” or autonomously ruled, “states.”

The Druse received a state of their own centered in Jebl Druse – the Druse Mountain. The area under their control stretched across the Syrian side of the tri-border area with Israel and Jordan. The Druse state existed until 1936, when the French reorganized the mandate and set up a central government in Damascus.

The possibility of establishing a Druse state arose again, fleetingly, in 1967. During the Six Day War, then-labor minister Yigal Allon put together a plan to establish a Druse state, again centered on Druse Mountain. He tried but failed to convince then-defense minister Moshe Dayan to send the IDF units that had just taken over the Golan Heights south to Druse Mountain rather than eastward toward Damascus.

In 2007 the transcripts of a series of taped memoirs Allon recorded a year before his death in 1980 were made public. Of his plans regarding the Druse, Allon explained, “I had visited Sweida [the capital of Druse Mountain] several times and I dreamed a dream of a Druse Republic that would stretch across southern Syria…that would be in military alliance with Israel. I had great expectations from the Druse in Israel, that were already serving in the IDF. I believed they could serve as a bridge between us and the other Druse.”

Today Allon has a strategic heir in the government of Israel – and he is a Druse.

Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara is probably the most powerful Druse in the world today. The Druse of Syria and Lebanon take him seriously. We should too.

Retrieved June 19, 2015 from http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/printarticle.aspx?id=406531

Police & Crime Wave

An important article concerning the nexus in the Wall Street Journal by Heather Mac Donald, the best chronicler on criminal justice issues in the country today.

An excerpt.

I recently observed in these pages that violent crime is rising sharply in many cities. Having spoken with police officers and commanders, I hypothesized that the growing reluctance of cops to engage in proactive policing may help explain the spike in violent crime. The past nine months have seen unprecedented antipolice agitation dedicated to the proposition that bias infects policing in predominantly black communities, a message echoed at the highest reaches of government and the media. Officers in urban areas are encountering high levels of resistance and hostility when they try to make an arrest.

Faced with the prospect of ending up in a widely distributed video if an arrest goes awry, and possibly being indicted, officers tell me that they are increasingly reluctant to investigate suspicious behavior. St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson last fall called the relationship between decreased enforcement and increased crime the “Ferguson effect.” I noted that if it continues the primary victims will be the millions of law-abiding residents of inner-city neighborhoods who rely on police to keep order.

A sharply critical response from some quarters greeted the article. It belonged to a “long line of conservative efforts to undermine racial equality,” wrote Columbia University law professor Bernard Harcourt in the Guardian, decrying the article as “crime fiction” intended to undermine “the country’s newest civil rights movement.” Charles Blow of the New York Times called me a “fear-mongering iron fist-er” who was using “racial pathology arguments” and “smearing the blood running in the street onto the hands holding the placards.” The article was part of a “growing backlash against police reform,” an attempt to “shame people who dare to speak up about police abuse,” wrote journalist Radley Balko in the Washington Post.

The police came in for criticism as well. Officers who are not doing what Mr. Blow calls “normal police work” simply because of protests against police brutality are acting unprofessionally, it was said—Mr. Balko called it being “too afraid or spiteful to do their jobs.”

Other writers challenged the focus on the multicity crime rise. Not every city was seeing a crime increase, some critics said—or at least not an increase in every category of crime. And whatever the increases, crime is still much lower than it was 20 years ago. In any case, critics argued, it was premature to draw conclusions about the significance or the possible causes of the crime rises; crime is predominantly a local phenomenon and naturally fluctuates over short periods.

These criticisms speak volumes about how activists, members of the media and many academics understand crime and policing.

It is true that violent crime has not skyrocketed in every American city—but my article didn’t say it had. It has gone up in enough places, though, and at startling-enough rates, to warrant close attention. Law-enforcement officials share that opinion. Police chiefs in New York and Los Angeles—the two cities paradoxically singled out by criminologist Franklin Zimring to dismiss the significance of the crime increases—have implemented extraordinary, manpower-intensive initiatives to quell gun violence. It is also true that a half-dozen months or so of rising crime are not going to wipe out the 20-year crime drop overnight. But as I noted, if that downward trend is now reversing itself, the reversal will happen in such increments as we are now seeing.

To be sure, crime fluctuates over short periods, and usually in response to local conditions. Ordinarily, the longer the span of data one has for assessing trends, the better. But in the present environment of nonstop animosity toward police nationally, with officers’ self-professed reluctance to engage reflected in a documented drop in stops and summonses, it is not too early to flag what might be going on. The claim that we are living through an epidemic of racist police killings rests on slimmer statistical evidence than the recent crime increases do.

Police are not backing off from what Mr. Blow and others presumably think of as “normal police work”: responding to 911 calls for emergency assistance. Officers continue to rush to crime scenes, sometimes getting shot at in the process. They are, however, refraining from precisely the kind of policing that many in the media, along with legions of activists, have denounced over the past year: pedestrian stops and enforcement of low-level, quality-of-life laws (known as “broken windows” policing).

Retrieved June 16, 2015 from http://www.wsj.com/article_email/explaining-away-the-new-crime-wave-1434319888-lMyQjAxMTI1MDE5NTExNzU3Wj

Priests & Sexual Abuse in the Church

A very important article about it from Catholic Culture, and the author’s book, The Faithful Departed, is a absolutely must read.

 An excerpt.

 Last week in this space, I argued that by setting up a tribunal to judge bishops accused of neglect in sex-abuse cases, the Vatican has finally addressed the second of three related scandals. Now let’s address the third scandal.

The first scandal, as you may recall, was the sexual abuse of young people by clerics. That scandal was addressed by the Dallas Charter, which established a “zero tolerance” policy for abusive priests. But the implementation of that policy has been marred by the second scandal: the negligence of many bishops. A “zero tolerance” policy has little value if the Church leaders ultimately responsible for enforcing that policy are not reliable. Thus the need to hold bishops accountable, as the Vatican tribunal will do. But the third scandal has not yet been addressed.

The third scandal, as I explain in The Faithful Departed, is the widespread homosexual activity within the clergy.

For more than a decade now, we have been incessantly reminded that homosexuality and pedophilia are not related. That’s true if you’re talking about true pedophilia: the disorder characterized by an attraction to young children. But the scandal that has ripped through the Catholic Church has not been, primarily, a matter of pedophilia. True, there have been some priest-pedophiles, and their cases understandably drew the greatest publicity. But the vast majority of the cases that emerged from diocesan archives involved priests who preyed on adolescent boys.

Most of the victims of clerical abuse were male teenagers. Now who is more likely to go on the prowl for male teenagers: a heterosexual man or a homosexual man? To ask the question is to recognize the answer. Despite the intellectual gymnastics of the John Jay report, the problem is evident to anyone who looks at it objectively.

”A scientific examination of the crisis makes it abundantly clear that priests with homosexual conflicts present a risk to Catholic youth,” writes Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist who has worked with many troubled priests. He continues:

Dr. Paul McHugh, the former chairperson of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and a member of the first National Review Board, identified the homosexual predation of American adolescent males as the primary issue that needed to be discussed and analyzed. To be clear: pedophilia was not the central issue; homosexuality was.

The US bishops once recognized the role of homosexuality in the sex-abuse crisis. In 2002, when St. John Paul II summoned the leadership of the US bishops’ conference to Rome to discuss the emerging scandal with Vatican officials, the final statement that emerged from that meeting made a subtle allusion to the issue. The statement called for examination of the American seminaries, “with particular emphasis on the need for fidelity to the Church’s teaching, especially in the area of morality, and the need for a deeper study of the criteria for suitability of candidates for the priesthood.” At the time, that statement was generally understood as a reference to complaints about homosexual influence in seminaries.

Over the years, however, concern about homosexuality in the priesthood has dropped off the American bishops’ agenda. A Vatican directive issued in 2005, that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries, is now routinely ignored. A priest who is guilty of homosexual activity may continue in active ministry, as long as his misconduct involves only adult partners.

Retrieved June 16, 2015 from http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otn.cfm?id=1094

 

 

Vatican Sexual Abuse Tribunal

While this is very good news from Vatican Radio, it would have been even better news had it been done by Saint Pope John Paul II.

An excerpt.

Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has created a new Vatican tribunal section to hear cases of bishops who fail to protect children from sexually abusive priests. The head of the Vatican press office, Fr Federico Lombardi, made the announcement during a briefing on the work of the Council of nine cardinals which met with Pope Francis at his Santa Marta residence from Monday June 8th to Wednesday June 10th.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors presented a five point plan to the Pope and his closest advisors at this week’s meeting, including the establishment of a “new judicial section” to examine all cases of bishops accused of abusing their office and failing to report crimes committed by priests in their care. The new office will be set up within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which will be mandated to judge all such cases connected to the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

Fr Lombardi said Pope Francis will appoint a Secretary and some permanent staff for the new department, which will have a five year period to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of these new procedures. The move marks an important step in the ongoing process to hold Church leaders accountable for the actions of abusive priests – something that abuse survivors have insisted is essential to both the healing and prevention efforts..

Also under discussion at the Council of Cardinals meeting this week was the ongoing financial reforms, presented by Australian Cardinal George Pell who heads the new Vatican Secretariat for the Economy. He spoke of three new working groups which have been set up to examine income and investments, another to manage human resources and a third to evaluate the effectiveness of the Holy See’s information technology systems.

Retrieved June 15, 2015 from http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-approves-abuse-of-office-proposals-for-bishop

 

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