Ronald Reagan and James Dean

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Highlights from the Dark, Dark Hours presented by General Electric Theater on December 12, 1954, 12 years before Reagan ran for Governor of California, and just a little over 9 months before Dean’s death in a car crash.  Hattip to the Atlantic.  Juvenile delinquency was a hot topic in the Fifties and in this morality play we see punk nihilism, magnificently portrayed by Dean, up against stolid decency ably portrayed by Reagan.  This was made just after Reagan made the jump to television after his career as a leading man in Hollywood waned.  Dean of course would go on to make the immortal Rebel Without a Cause which would be released after his death.

Continue reading...

One Response to Ronald Reagan and James Dean

Blind Girl Saw Invisible Powers That Permeated the Vatican and Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

At a time when so many are down on the Church, it’s interesting to see through the eyes of a young girl — a blind girl who had mystical vision.

Let’s back up and say this comes from a book by a medical doctor named Dr. John Lerma, who specializes at the Houston Medical Center Hospice in tending to patients as they near death.

Dr. Lerma has had tremendous experiences with these patients — documenting the many who see angels or deceased loved ones and have glimpses of the eternal as they approach the threshold.

But what we’d like to focus on today is a different kind of supernatural experience that occurred when a ten-year-old girl named Sarah who had been blind since birth as a result of atrophic optic nerves was taken to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This was an Easter Sunday nearly two decades ago.

“I marveled at the multitude of loving sounds that Bernini’s dramatic design was exuding,” recalled Sarah nineteen years later as she lay dying of cancer. “As I walked through the towering, ornate door of St. Peter’s Basilica, I was drawn by an alluring vibration toward the chapel to my right.

“What I was allowed to hear was beyond awe.

“The vibrations and frequencies, now a part of my entire being, were the remnant echoing sounds of sadness replaced by utter joy and exuberant love from the statue where Jesus was heard to be lying on His mother’s lap after being crucified. I knew I was now standing in front of Michelangelo’s most honored statue, the ‘Pieta.’ Feeling some unfamiliar loving force take hold of my hand, I took hold of my mother’s and followed with total faith. I told my mom not to worry and to trust me, as there was an angel leading us to our next spiritual experience.”

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Blind Girl Saw Invisible Powers That Permeated the Vatican and Pope John Paul II

Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Given some of the discussion on John Henry’s post yesterday about the timeline of the abuse scandal, I wanted to do a bit more digging into what the actual statistics of the scandal are.

At the NY Times website, Ross Douthat had written:

There’s no way to be completely certain about this, and clearly there was abuse in the church, and horrid cover-ups as well, going back decades and centuries and more. But the John Jay data suggest that something significant really did shift, and escalate, in the years around the sexual revolution.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s?

  • This is the kind of work that is extremely helpful.

    What would be interesting would be to check the level of supervision in young clergy, and the living associations of older priests. A cleric living in a house of several clergy might have fewer opportunities to engage in addictive behavior. In addition, the community life in a pre-conciliar rectory may have helped some guys steer clear of potential addictions or problems later in life.

    Today among priests I know in many dioceses there is a renewed understanding of the need for support, community, formation, and the spiritual life. This has probably contributed to the better health of clergy over the past few decades and the generally high levels of satisfaction within the priesthood.

    A caution about attributing too much to the alleged moral decay of the 60’s and 70’s. Many outwardly moral people have stumbled on serious immoral trespass in their hidden lives. Addictions can trip up the most moral, the most talented, and the most admired persons. We need look no further than professional sports or musicians or actors to many talented and disciplined people fritter away their lives.

  • In addition, the incidence of abuse of females did not change as dramatically as did the incidence of the abuse of males

    Anyone got an explanation for that one?

  • I remember listening to a tape by Father Benedict Groeschel a number of years ago entitled something like The Real Scanbal in the Church. I didn’t put it in quotes because I am unsure that this was the title. He seemed to date serious problems with a homosexual underground of sorts in the seminaries back in the early fifties.
    Just mentioned as a point of corroboration…

A Second Victimization

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote another New York Times editorial condemning the Church. It’s not worth reading; it’s the same stuff about the Vatican is not the Church, but the real Church are the ones helping the needy (i.e. the ones doing what Kristof likes-except for obviously Mother Teresa b/c she didn’t like contraception) and the Church needs to expand its ideas on women and contraception in order to avoid the sex abuse crisis. For example

That story comes to mind as the Vatican wrestles with the consequences of a patriarchal premodern mind-set: scandal, cover-up and the clumsiest self-defense since Watergate. That’s what happens with old boys’ clubs

That’s not interesting. We’ve heard it before. What is interesting is his blog. He himself comments on the article.

One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them. Likewise, ordination of women is no guarantee of popular support: mainline Christian denominations have been ordaining women, and still losing ground to more conservative Evangelical denominations.

Continue reading...

9 Responses to A Second Victimization

  • Too bad he never met a Catholic who could’ve converted him.

  • Just a slight correction: Kristoff is actually an outspoken opponent of abortion, which actually makes the junk he peddled in his column all the more disappointing.

  • I don’t see what’s so objectionable about the portion you quoted. He didn’t say any of the stuff you attribute to him unless you decide to read only every other word of every other sentence.

  • restrainedradical:

    What’s objectionable is that he knows that he wants to see happen will do very little to actually make children safer-yet continues to connect it to the sex abuse scandal and admits it by saying that he knows that women can be abusers as well.

  • He admits no such thing. You inferred it, improperly. Women can be abusers and the presence of women can make children safer.

  • What is objectionable is that he wants the church to okay gravely immoral contraception and that the Church is an institution founded by men.

    My experience outside of the church ie public school system and many different Protestant denominations is that the presence of women do not make men more moral. Admitting women to ministry in Protestent cirles leads quickly to heresy.

  • restrainedradical:

    I’m pretty sure you didn’t read the column but just the quoted portion (or every other word of the quoted portion…not sure which you took the time to read). This is what he said:

    “That old boys’ club in the Vatican became as self-absorbed as other old boys’ clubs, like Lehman Brothers, with similar results. And that is the reason the Vatican is floundering today.”

    Now compare

    “One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them.”

    So we went from “Boys club is the reason” to “I’m puzzling whether it would make much of a difference.” It is proper to infer that he is admitting that the thesis advancing by his column is not true; that at the very best his thesis would be “Admitting women would help decrease the liklihood of this problem.” That’s a big difference to admit/acknowledge.

    So he’s already admitted that he doesn’t believe in the thesis he advanced, that he failed to mention in his column that women are also abusers and he failed to admit that admitting women had not helped make other denominations relevant (which is not what the column suggests).

    He then puts in the throw-away paragraph. He makes 3 assertions: it would attract more priests (which is not relevant to the crisis), that for mystical reasons women would magically produce democracy and transparency, and that women could change the Church’s teaching on contraception. it is not till the very last two words of the paragraph that he remembers what the column is about and adds “and child abuse,” suggesting that women are more against child abuse then men (which also is given no support).

    He’s not looking to child abuse. All of the goods he discusses are irrelevant or marginally connected to the issue. Combined with the doubts and stats he admitted in the first paragraph I quote, the inference is proper. He knows his connection isn’t strong but he wants to promote contraception & women priests so he does so anyway, taking advantage of the emotional reaction to child abuse in a way that he ought to apologize for.

  • Working on the issue-spotting, I see, Michael. ;-).

    The instrumentalization of abuse victims to serve as Exhibit A in the argument why the public schools, excuse me, Catholic Church needs to be radically redesigned in the author’s image, is one of the more unsavory aspects of the coverage of the scandals. I think this is an error often made in good faith; people are not that good at sorting out the differences in their sincerely held beliefs. Nevertheless, the fallacy on display is often:

    1)Abuse is bad,
    2)I think these Church teachings are bad,
    3)The correlation of bad things happening in an institution with bad teachings implies causation (regardless of what the evidence shows)

    And, of course, a similar thing happens to defenders of the Church, where the syllogism often runs:

    1) The Church is good;
    2) The liberal media is bad;
    3) Ergo, the bad liberal media is wrong when it says bad things about the good Church.

    Throw people on each side reasoning in this manner, and truth quickly becomes a casualty. I think your post is perceptive insofar as it captures the mask slipping a bit as Kristof questions the assertions he has casually made in arguing for his preferred reforms. At the same time, I am not sure this is morally blameworthy as much as it is a mental blindspot. People really aren’t that good at thinking rationally; at least not for long and not on that many topics. I usually use MSNBC and Fox News as my primary examples of that, which, for some reason, some people find only half-persuasive.

  • It might be more persuasive if you used CBS, NBC, ABC, NY Times, WAPO, CNN and MSNBC as opposed to Fox. 😉

Value Added Tax Will Not Solve Budgetary Woes

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

There has been a fair amount of useless discussion among pundits and Obama administration officials about a Value Added Tax, a National Sales Tax, the mainstay of the crumbling welfare states in Europe.  I say this discussion is useless, because Congress would never pass it, as the 85-13 vote in the Senate on an anti-Value Added Tax non-binding resolution indicates.

Today in the Washington Post Robert Samuelson explains why a VAT wouldn’t solve our budgetary woes:

The basic budget problem is simple. For decades, the expansion of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — programs mostly for the elderly — was financed mainly by shrinking defense spending. In 1970, defense accounted for 42 percent of the federal budget; Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were 20 percent. By 2008, the shares were reversed: defense, 21 percent; the big retirement programs, 43 percent. But defense stopped falling after Sept. 11, 2001, while aging baby boomers and uncontrolled health costs keep retirement spending rising.

Left alone, government would grow larger. From 1970 to 2009, federal spending averaged 20.7 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). By 2020, it could reach 25.2 percent of GDP and would still be expanding, reckons the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of President Obama’s budgets. In 2020, the deficit (assuming a healthy economy with 5 percent unemployment) would be 5.6 percent of GDP. To cover that, taxes would have to rise almost 30 percent.

A VAT could not painlessly fill this void. Applied to all consumption spending — about 70 percent of GDP — the required VAT rate would equal about 8 percent. But the actual increase might be closer to 16 percent because there would be huge pressures to exempt groceries, rent and housing, health care, education and charitable groups. Together, they account for nearly half of $10 trillion of consumer spending. There would also be other upward (and more technical) pressures on the VAT rate.

Does anyone believe that Americans wouldn’t notice 16 percent price increases for cars, televisions, airfares, gasoline — and much more — even if phased in? As for a VAT’s claimed benefits (simplicity, promotion of investment), these depend mainly on a VAT replacing the present complex income tax that discriminates against investment. That’s unlikely because it would require implausibly steep VAT rates. Chances are we’d pay both the income tax and the VAT, making the overall tax system more complicated.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Value Added Tax Will Not Solve Budgetary Woes

  • As for a VAT’s claimed benefits (simplicity, promotion of investment), these depend mainly on a VAT replacing the present complex income tax that discriminates against investment

    And there’s the rub. I would have no objection to the VAT if it replaced income tax. But it never has – both the income tax and VAT have grown ever larger in European countries. The VAT simply allows a government addicted to spending to expand even further, like a junkie obtaining a new supplier.

  • A VAT wouldn’t replace the income tax, but it would replace income tax increases, which is the only other plausible source of the extra revenue we need.

  • If a political climate existed to pass a VAT BA, and if the Democrats can’t do it with the majorities they command now I find it difficult to imagine such a political climate, I guarantee you that the VAT taxes would ever increase, that the politicians would spend every cent raised in new spending and that reckless borrowing would continue. At least that has been the experience in Europe:

    “One trait of European VATs is that while their rates often start low, they rarely stay that way. Of the 10 major OECD nations with VATs or national sales taxes, only Canada has lowered its rate. Denmark has gone to 25% from 9%, Germany to 19% from 10%, and Italy to 20% from 12%. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation recently calculated that to balance the U.S. federal budget with a VAT would require a rate of at least 18%.

    Proponents also argue that a VAT would result in less federal government borrowing. But that, too, has rarely been true in Europe. From the 1980s through 2005, deficits were by and large higher in Europe than in the U.S. By 2005, debt averaged 50% of GDP in Europe, according to OECD data, compared to under 40% in the U.S.

    Thanks to the recession and the stimulus, U.S. federal debt held by the public has now reached about 63% of GDP and is headed higher, but the OECD forecasts that the 30 wealthiest nations will see debt burdens “exceed 100% of gross domestic product in 2011.” Debt levels in France, Germany, Spain and Italy are expected to have increased by 30 percentage points of GDP from 2008 to 2011. Greece has a VAT rate of 21%, but its debt as a share of GDP is 113%.

    The very efficiency of the VAT means that it throws off huge amounts of revenue that politicians eagerly spend. The VAT thus becomes an engine of even greater public spending. In Europe, average government spending was about 30.2% of GDP when VATs began to spread in the late 1960s. Today, those governments are more than 50% larger, with spending of 47.1% of GDP on average. By contrast, U.S. government spending (federal and state) rose to 35.3% from 28.3% as a share of GDP in the same period.”

  • I don’t think it’s likely but a VAT along with an income tax cut might be political feasible. You can probably massage the numbers and sell it as a net tax cut.

    I’d love to replace all or part of the income tax with a VAT but I have no faith in the government getting it right. I’ve become convinced that ever-increasing bureaucracy is what will bring America down.

  • If a political climate existed to pass a VAT BA . . . I guarantee you that the VAT taxes would ever increase, that the politicians would spend every cent raised in new spending and that reckless borrowing would continue. At least that has been the experience in Europe.

    Actually this *hasn’t* been the experience in Europe. It’s true that VAT rates has tended to go up after its introduced; however, this increase in revenue has been at least partially offset by reductions in taxes elsewhere. Thatcher, for example, raised the VAT to offset decreases in the income tax while simultaneously cutting spending. The same thing happened in New Zealand in the 1980s, Canada in the 1990s, and (to a lesser extent) Australia in the 2000s.

  • The very efficiency of the VAT means that it throws off huge amounts of revenue that politicians eagerly spend.

    This argument would apply equally to any kind of tax simplification, including the Flat Tax, the Fair Tax, the Reagan tax cuts, etc. It would also apply to income tax cuts to the extent that they are justified on supply side grounds.

Mormon Bad Boy

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

God can use a thunderstorm.  Or Porter Rockwell.

Mormon Proverb

One reason why I have always loved history is that it is so often wilder and more colorful than fiction.  A very colorful part indeed of American history is that which records the events of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, and in that history no portion is more colorful than the life of Orrin Porter Rockwell.  Throughout his life legends began to cluster about him and it is not easy to keep fact and fable in his biography separate.

Born on June 28, 1813, in Belchertown, New Hampshire, he was one of the earliest followers of Joseph Smith, being baptized into the church in 1830.  Powerfully built, he served as a bodyguard for Smith.  In 1838 he may have attempted to assassinate the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, after Boggs issued an order calling for the expulsion of the Mormons from Misssouri or their extermination.  The order was prompted by the Missouri Mormon War of 1838.

Rockwell was held in jail for eight months, but no grand jury would indict him due to lack of evidence.  Rockwell defended himself with such statements as “I never shot at anybody, if I shoot they get shot!” and “He’s alive, ain’t he.” in reference to Governor Boggs.  After his release from jail, Rockwell traveled to the house of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, a town built by the Mormons, arriving there on Christmas Day 1843.  A Christmas party was underway and Rockwell looked like a dirty tramp, his hair grown out during his imprisonment and his clothes and his body unwashed.  Smith purportedly made the following prophecy upon seeing Rockwell:  “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that you — Orrin Porter Rockwell — so long as ye shall remain loyal and true to thy faith, need fear no enemy. Cut not thy hair and no bullet or blade can harm thee.”  Rockwell wore his hair long thereafter until he cut it to make a wig for a woman who lost her hair from typhoid fever.

Rockwell was a Danite, a secret Mormon organization dedicated to carrying out acts of violence on behalf of the Mormon religion.  In 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were indicted for treason against the state of Illinois, the culmination of ever growing tension between Mormons and non-Mormons in Illinois.  On June 27, 1844 a mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Illinois where the Smiths were being held and murdered them.  Rockwell had been away on a mission for the Mormon church at the time, and wept like a child according to witnesses when he learned of the death of Joseph Smith.

In the chaos that ensued after the death of Smith, the Mormons often engaged in battles with mobs of non-Mormons.  On September 16, 1845 Rockwell was hastily deputized by the Sheriff of Hancock County Illinois, Jacob Blackenstos.  Blackenstos was a non-Mormon but was friendly to the Mormons.  He was being chased by an anti-Mormon mob led by Frank Worrell, who had been in charge of the militia unit that failed to protect Joseph Smith when he was murdered.  Rockwell took out his rifle and stopped the mob by shooting to death Worrell.  Worrell thus became the first man killed by Rockwell, a total that would grow to 40-100, no one is certain, by the end of Rockwell’s life.

Continue reading...

7 Responses to Mormon Bad Boy

  • Articles like this are why I love the internet. Great work.

  • I’d be interested to know if Rockwell had many run-ins with Episcopal Bishop Daniel Tuttle, a predecessor of Bishop Katharine Schori as presiding TEC bishop.

    Based in Salt Lake City, he once thrashed a stage driver for swearing in the presence of a woman. Ranchers and miners flocked to see the fighting cleric, according to David T. Courtwright’s history _Violent Land_.

  • Here’s another American legend.

    In 1972, the movie “Jeremiah Johnson” was released. It was loosely based on the life of John Johnston. If you want the real story, read Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson by Raymond W. Thorpe and Robert Bunker.

  • There won’t be any accounts of exchanges between Bishop Tuttle and Rockwell unless Tuttle broke the law. Rockwell was a lawman and pioneer; but theological discourse didn’t ever appear to be on his plate.

    On minor error above has Rockwell away on a mission when Joseph Smith was killed. He was instead waiting at home in Nauvoo, Illinois as were the rest of Smith’s bodyguards as they had been directed to be by Smith.

    The so-called Danites were a short-lived group during the Missouri period (1833-38)that was disbanded when Church leaders learned of it.

  • “There won’t be any accounts of exchanges between Bishop Tuttle and Rockwell unless Tuttle broke the law. Rockwell was a lawman and pioneer; but theological discourse didn’t ever appear to be on his plate.”

    Isn’t that the truth Alma!

    “On minor error above has Rockwell away on a mission when Joseph Smith was killed. He was instead waiting at home in Nauvoo, Illinois as were the rest of Smith’s bodyguards as they had been directed to be by Smith.”

    That could well be. I used this account for my statement that he was away on assignment:

    In researching Rockwell I found a great deal of contradictory material. A lifetime could be spent attempting to get everything straight in his story.

    “The so-called Danites were a short-lived group during the Missouri period (1833-38)that was disbanded when Church leaders learned of it.”

    That is open to debate.

    From the Utah History Encyclopedia:

    There is incontrovertible evidence that a few “rough-rider” type minute men were appointed by Brigham Young as early as l847 to act as lawmen in the new Mormon settlements on the plains, and later in the Salt Lake Valley. This was necessary in the absence of any civil administration. Handy with their guns and with a knowledge of frontier life, these men were on call for Indian uprisings and immigrant problems such as the July, l849 arrival of the California gold-seekers into the valley. Brigham’s “Minute-men” were kept busy in this period when stealing, rustling and murder increased as travelers entered the territory. Local residents who committed crimes were dealt with by their bishops and not the “Minute Men”.

    The name “Danite was applied to four or five of these early lawmen by the Eastern Press because of an earlier semi-religious organization begun in Missouri in l838 by Dr. Sampson Avard. This early group disbanded almost before it started when the motives of Dr. Avard became suspect and he was excommunicated from the Mormon Church. However, the ideas he promulgated persisted with some for several decades in the Utah Territory. Based on the biblical scripture, Genesis 49:l7, non-Mormon “Gentiles” who persecuted the Mormons were to be punished by losing their possessions.

    It is unknown how many of the Utah period so-called “Danites” had been members of the original Missouri organization. What is known is that there were never “70 Destroying Angels” appointed by Brigham Young. The number seventy came from the Church priesthood calling of the “Seventy”.

    After Sir Richard Burton’s visit to the Salt Lake Valley in l860, the Eastern press most prominently identified as “Danites” William Adams “Bill” Hickman, Orrin Porter Rockwell, Ephe Hanks, Robert Burton, and Lot Smith. All had taken a prominent part in the war against the U.S. Army troops in l857-58, and had been appointed by Brigham Young. These men served with honor during the Mormon War and also the later tumultuous Camp Floyd period.

    Orson Hyde, an apostle in the Church and one who had benefited from the protection given by lawman Bill Hickman in Winter Quarters in l848-49, failed to later discourage Hickman’s gang in l860 for depredations committed against the U.S. Army at Camp Floyd. Hyde contended that Hickman probably “had a revelation to act as he did.” This lawless period should have ended with the official announcement by Brigham Young on 9 September l860, that said, “…if the Lord wants any stealing done he would reveal it to me as soon as to Bill Hickman or others.”

    There continued to be isolated incidences attributed to the “Danites” in Anti-Mormon books and press articles until the railroad came to the territory in l869. By then the original territorial lawmen were mostly dead, retired, or had been replaced by a new group of sheriffs and policemen with civil rather than religious powers. However, the name “Danite” continues to excite readers and historians of the early Utah period, even though the evidence of excessive wrong doing outside the law, appears to be greatly exaggerated.

    Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton”

    Anti-Mormon writers have attributed all sorts of nefarious actions to the Danites. I find the history lacking to support these allegations.

  • It is difficult to sift the myth and legend out of accounts of Porter Rockwell because so many people think that a story worth telling is worth telling better.

    It is true that Brigham Young appointed “minute-men” or Mormon Marauders as they became known in the 1857 war. But history notes that they were under strict orders from Brigham Young not to shed blood. They were able to stop the US Army from entering into the Salt Lake Valley without the loss of any human life.

    The idea of a lawless society with Brigham’s destroying angels was good fodder for newspaper and dime novel sales, but the reality was that Brigham Young governed about 50,000 people in over 300 communities with a handshake and a smile. A lot of sayings attributed to him didn’t find their way into reports of his comments that were published weekly. Consider this statement: “I am sorry that some of our brethren have been killed by the Indians, but am far more sorry that some of the Indians have been slain by the brethren. I have often said, and I say again, if any person is to be killed for stealing, let that one be a white man, and not an Indian, for white men know better, while Indians do not.”

    My own great-great grandfather was a member of the Danites in Missouri; but this group was so short lived (except in folklore) that Mormons have ever after been embarrassed by its presence in history.

    One book on Rockwell was written by a journalist named Schindler. He found the material so contradictory that he provided alternate accounts for many of the stories. It makes for interesting citations since you get opposite readings on the same page.

  • Fascinating.

    What little I know of the early Utah days of the Mormons comes from a pair of truly enjoyable books I read as a kid by Catholic author John D. Fitzgerald: Papa Married a Mormon and Mama’s Boarding House.

    Fitzgerald is more famous for his (much more heavily fictionalized) Great Brain books, but these two, written more for adults, are a less fictionalized biographical account of Fitzgerald’s parents: his father was a Irish Catholic who fell in love with and married a Mormon girl — a marriage which was not blessed by either church for a number of years. The two books tell about his family’s life in a small Utah town, living in between the calm Mormon community and the wild west Gentiles.

    Though given that they’re so enjoyable (and have to do with history) I’m guessing they may not be news to Don…

Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Karen L. Anderson of Online Christian Colleges wrote a timely piece on the many myths, misconceptions, and outlandish lies told about Catholics:

With nearly one quarter of the U.S. population Catholic, they make up a huge part of society and the largest Christian denomination. Yet with so many, how is it they are so misunderstood and characterized by films, television shows, etc.?

Failing to do the proper research explains a great deal of it. With a simple search on the internet, we were able to find many interesting answers to the top 15 misconceptions about Catholics. They are both from official sources, reporters, academics, and more.

1. Priests Are More Likely to be Pedophiles : The most dangerous of all myths concerning Catholics, this can lead to many negative and unfair consequences. Recently in a book entitled Pedophiles and Priests, an extensive study – and the only one of it kind – took a look at the pedophile statistics of over 2,200 priests. It found that only 0.3% of all Catholic clergy are involved in any pedophilia matter, guilty or not. This number is actually very low and according to Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit, who reports that children are more likely to be victims of pedophile activity at school with nearly 14% of students estimated to be molested by a member of the school staff.

2. Everything in “The Da Vinci Code” is True : Even author Dan Brown himself doesn’t agree to this. In this free film from Hulu, Mr. Brown admits to writing his novel as a step in his own spiritual journey. As he confesses to being swayed by his extensive research, the experts behind the research weigh in with facts. Simon Cox is the author of “Cracking the Da Vinci Code” and tells more about his work in this documentary. If you don’t have 90 minutes to view it, you can get the real story behind Opus Dei, the villain organization in the novel, from ABC news.

3. Women Are Oppressed in the Catholic Church : Although women are still not eligible to become priests as explained by Pope John Paul II, they were still acknowledged as valued members of the church as far back as 1947. In a Papal Directive from then Pope Pius XII, he expressed his admiration of women “to take part in the battle: you have not sought to do so, but courageously you accept your new duties; not as resigned victims nor merely in a defensive spirit.” Also, in 2004 then Pope John Paul II historically appointed two women theologians to the International Theological Commission and named another as the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics

  • The dificulty in the myths in the article are not the fact that they are misconceptions of the Roman Catholic Church. The turly sad part is that many so called members of our Church add to these misconception by 2 basic means. They do not correct these myths when asked by friends or others who are inquisitive either from lack of knowlegde or feeling this is not their right to do so and the second most problem and perhaps the worse is that many so called “catholics” beleve the crticisms are correct.

  • I would also say 9, 12 and 15 are odd; never heard them before….

  • #1: The book looks only at data since 1982. As we’ve seen in another recent TAC post, we have far more incidents prior to 1982. The John Jay study, which goes farther back, concludes that a shocking 4% of priests were reported to have sexually abused children. The second link you posted says that 1-5% of teachers sexually abuse or harass children. Harassment is more common than sexual abuse so the prevalence among teachers is probably less than 2.5%. But then you have to take out the women teachers who are must less likely to sexually abuse students. It also might to useful to compare the prevalence of sexual abuse of boys only. Priests are more likely to abuse boys and teachers are more likely to abuse girls. Bottom line is that you need more data but it’s certain that among pedophiles, priests are outliers. Even if abuse isn’t any more prevalent, why boys instead of girls? I think it’s entirely possible that the priesthood attracts sexual deviants.

    #3: And some black slaves were allowed to sleep in the master’s house. Crumbs do not disprove oppression. If we’re going to completely honest with ourselves, I think we have to admit that the Church denies women opportunities that are open to men. We don’t have to get all defensive over that fact. Christ denied women opportunities that he gave to men.

    #5: The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, not Jesus.

    #8: I’m unclear of what you’re saying here. Catholics were once required to abstain from meat on ALL Fridays. Catholics must still abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent but in the US, bishops allow Catholics to give up something else on Fridays outside of Lent.

  • RR,

    #3. She never claimed nor said that.

    #5. I corrected her post, thanks!

  • You can always count on restrained radical to bash the Church for no apparent reason.

  • Is the reason not apparent? I’m a closet Episcopalian. Which reminds me… there’s an interesting piece in the New Yorker on the debate over women bishops in the Church of England. Full article requires a subscription.

  • I think that a lot of these misconceptions come from different places. The Dan Brown stuff is probably more common among evangelicals and conspiracy-types, two crowds that probably don’t have much in common. Ditto for the claim of oppressing women, which would come from feminist atheists and faithful Protestants.

    The supposed conflict between faith and reason in #4 is the one that irritates me the most. It’s so patently wrong! I attended a lecture on data visualization (of all things) last week, and the instructor went off on a tangent about the persecution of Galileo. For whatever reason, we get tarred by the same brush as evangelicals about science, then tarred by evangelicals about Mary. Oh well. As Chesterton said, if you’re being accused by everyone of every possible error, you may be perfectly correct.

  • Yes Pinky, Chesteron really had a unigue use of words and as far as 9 is concerned ,they probably never heard of Hilaire Belloc..”wherever the Catholic sun doth shine there’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I always found it so Benedicamus Domino “

  • Number 9 was news to me. Wine is even part of our sacramental life, unlike those denominations that use grape juice. I’ve never heard a stereotype about a sober Irishman, a teetotaling Italian, or a Mexican refusing beer, so I don’t know where the myth of Catholic avoidance of alcohol comes from.

  • Too often Catholics get lumped together with puritan Protestant Creationists. And too often it’s Catholics who do it.

    Catholics can drink, smoke, believe in evolution, dinosaurs, the big bang, aliens, believe that you can be born gay, reject intelligent design, and celebrate Halloween.

    Here’s a couple others:

    Catholics are anti-sex or Catholics believe sex is purely for pro-creation.

    Catholics believe being gay is a sin.

  • Catholics believe engaging in homosexual sex is a sin. Whether people are in their “being” gay, that is that it is genetically determined, is far from scientifically proven. But if so, it would be like alcoholism. There would be a genetic predispostion to sin which in itself would not be sinful but which, through grace, could be overcome.

2 Responses to Five Years

Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Monday, April 19, AD 2010

As I’m a week and a half from law school exams, I don’t have the time to do this justice but there’s an important case involving a group I’m involved in at law school that was argued in front of the Supreme Court today. In sum, the school banned the CLS (Christian Legal Society) because it wanted the Christian Legal Society members to be…well, Christians. The school defends itself on the idea that allowing any discrimination is intolerable and would open a slippery slope to racist groups (no, seriously-read the article and the questions of Sotomayor & Stevens. Glad that Obama appointment is doing well for Christians).

So pray for a just result that will protect the rights of Christians to assemble.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

  • Well, if the article you linked was right, no, it is not about whether or not they are to be Christian. You could allow gays to join and still be Christian. There are Christian gays (as TAC should know). If the point is no gay can join, I would argue such group was antithetical to Christianity.

  • Of course, I am sure you will say it is not about allowing gays to join — but yet, I know many “Christians” who say to celibate Christian gays they are “advocating a lifestyle” by pointing out their orientation.

  • While I’m certainly sympathetic with the CLS (and was an active member when I attended law school several decades ago), I’m not sure I agree with its legal theory in this case. What I want to know is whether or how its freedom to associate is actually impaired by failing to secure “official” status. Does a failure to secure school financing and benefits actually mean it is “banned”? If so, is its practical ability to meet encumbered?
    I can appreciate the state’s interest in being unwilling to accord its impramatur upon groups that discriminate based on religion, race, etc., even if the application of such a limitiation to a bona fide religious group does seem ridiculous, but laws/rules are always imperfectly drafted, either underinclusive, overinclusive, or both. This one appears overinclusive (and is probably both), but my reaction is that this imperfection does not render it constitutionally infirm without a showing of First Amendment harm. This stands in contrast to laws granting churches an exception from general religious discrimination prohibitions, which quite possibly are constitutionally required precisely because a law that would prevent a church from favoring its own adherents for various church positions would presumably encumber the church from freely exercising its religion. I’m just not sure that disqualifying the CLS from receiving school financing and benefits is quite the same thing.

    All that said, I certainly could be wrong and fully expect to be flamed with enthusiasm.

  • That was my first question as well, Mike.

  • Well I helped found the Christian Legal Society at the University of Illinois Law School back at the dawn of time when I was a law student. Without official recognition we wouldn’t have been able to hold our meetings in classrooms, put up notices of our meetings on law school bulletin boards or receive funding from the Student Organization Resource Fund. I think the lack of these would have constituted a penalty to the group. I think the best tactic however is to argue that the Christian Legal Society is being singled out for enforcement of these regulations.

    Here is a transcript of the oral argument:

  • One analysis of this case claimed that if the court found against the CLS, then by the same reasoning a state-supported school could not give official sanction to a gay-rights group that excluded people opposed to the gay-rights agenda. So if the CLS loses, maybe its members could sign up en masse for the gay-rights club, bringing their friends along with them. Discussion on college campuses would probably not become more civil, but it would be more varied and interesting.

  • The same thing is true today as it was for Don (however many years ago that was. I won’t inquire 😉 ) Other groups would have a significantly easier time having groups then would Christians. I think this is where Alito’s questioning in the argument was going-groups like for gay advocacy are not going to have a problem while Christian or other religious groups will not be permitted, allowing those other groups to have state-sponsored advantages over the Christian groups. That’s where I think that’s where the constitutional question comes in.

    I would love to make that argument stronger, but unfortunately I won’t be tested on CLS v. Martinez in the next two weeks.


    The article makes it perfectly clear that CLS was banning those who are practicing homosexuals, not homosexuals trying to live out a Christian life. There is no evidence that CLS discriminated against Christians with a homosexual orientation in this case or in general. While I’m sure some Christians have mistreated our brothers, I see no basis why you should accuse CLS of this behavior unless you have some evidence other than the fact that CLS tends to contain conservatives and therefore fall under your presumption of evil?


    That’s not a bad idea.

  • “One analysis of this case claimed that if the court found against the CLS, then by the same reasoning a state-supported school could not give official sanction to a gay-rights group that excluded people opposed to the gay-rights agenda. So if the CLS loses, maybe its members could sign up en masse for the gay-rights club, bringing their friends along with them. Discussion on college campuses would probably not become more civil, but it would be more varied and interesting.”

    Having read the legal briefings for this case, this is more or less what’s at stake. Pure and simple the administration of Hastings College (the school where this took place) is saying that this will indeed be the case – the only problem is, it seems to only be enforced in the case of the Christian group. We’ll see how this unfolds…

  • I know many “Christians” who say to celibate Christian gays they are “advocating a lifestyle” by pointing out their orientation.

    Why are they pointing it out, Henry?

  • “It is so weird to require the campus Republican Club to admit Democrats, not just to membership, but to officership,” Justice Antonin Scalia said.

    Funny that he mentions that. When I was in law school, the president of the Federalist Society was a Democrat. The president of CLS was suspected by everyone to be a closeted homosexual.

    Interesting case but I don’t know if it’ll make any practical difference. I didn’t join CLS because it was too Protestant for my comfort. I don’t see practicing homosexuals joining, much less get voted into leadership positions.

  • Michael Denton:

    See Art Deco.

  • HK:

    I have a feeling that the two of you are disagreeing on what is meant by “pointing” with Deco taking to pointing as something along the lines of “I’m gay and you need to accommodate that” (think of the “coming out” promotions which obviously connote acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle) as opposed to acknowledging a struggle with sin which you’re thinking of. I’ll let the two of you discuss that if you wish.

    Of course, this is a digression and has nothing to do with the idea that Colleges must force Christian groups to accept practicing homosexuals (i.e. non-celibate) in order to get official status.

Personal Sin, Shared Reparation

Monday, April 19, AD 2010

Mark Shea has an interesting post at National Catholic Register in which he answers a reader question which goes in part:

One of the priests at our parish spoke about the pedophile scandals and how we should confess our sins (and he said it like that – sounding like it implied we should as a group ask for forgiveness as Catholics for these terrible crimes) and seek forgiveness for allowing this to happen. Even though I think that these are horrible, awful, abominable events, and pray for both those who have been damaged by these sins, and as difficult as it is, those people who committed these sins, don’t exactly feel responsible for doing this myself so am having a hard time wrapping my head around repentance for the sins of others. I have sinned in a multitude of other ways but do I need to carry the burden of other people’s sins as well? Do I need to ask forgiveness for this myself? Are we supposed to ask forgiveness as Catholics even though we individually didn’t have anything to do with it?

Mark’s reply is worth reading in its entirety, but I think the key passage is:

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Personal Sin, Shared Reparation

  • “even though most of us hold no personal culpability in the sins themselves”

    I agree to that to a certain extent. But these Priest that offended came of a culture and society on many levels we endorsed or were silent about befor they even entered the Church. That is one reason why I sometimes find the timeline of abuse cases interesting. What was happening then that caused this

  • I had an physically abusive father and one of physiological tricks is to make the innocent feel guilty or responsible. It’s all your fault, why would anyone want this apart of their family? I believed that my sins is what contributed to the passion of Christ but false witness to my guilt would be a sin that convicted

  • Very good piece.

    I would go a step further though, because I am sure that more people knew about the abuses than we let on. I read a chilling account of an old monsignor warning a parish dad not to let his son on a fishing trip with Fr. Newpriest. The father explained to his disappointed son, “Father does bad things to little boys.” Neither the father nor the monsignor did anything actually to stop the priest though! I also know from the anecdotes of relatives that there have been priests that people – even many people in the parish – “felt weird” about, or thought they were “off” somehow. Of course, I do not expect people to go to the police over such intuitions… Still, it makes one wonder.

    I grew up and was an altar boy in a parish with a priest who is currently serving time in prison for child sexual abuse. He is serving time because, among other reasons, our bishop handled the case well. He never touched me, or any of my friends as far as I know, and I do not feel personally responsible for his sins.

    But I do feel responsible for having prayed so little for priests – even though I know that they are under constant spiritual siege, more so than most of us. I feel somewhat responsible for not having believed a friend of mine when we were kids and he told me that an older boy in the neighborhood invited him to sinful activity. I do feel responsible for being so materialistic, so hedonistic, so lax. I wonder whether, for all my ranting, I don’t bring down the body of Christ more than build it up.

    We have a lot of spiritual housecleaning to do here in the House of God – and that’s each of us, not just our bishops.

Why the Fiscal Lunacy?

Monday, April 19, AD 2010

One of my favorite living historians is Victor Davis Hanson.  I have read every book he has written and most of his articles.  Trained as a classicist and historian of antiquity, he has written on a broad range of topics, from the hoplites of ancient Greece, ancient Greek agriculture, a searching examination of the Peloponnesian War, the farming crisis of the 80’s, the history of warfare and culture, the teaching of the classics and the debacle of our non-policy on immigration, and I have been astonished at how skillfully this man writes and with what intelligence, and very dry humor, he cuts to the essence of whatever subject he addresses.  He moonlights as a pundit on current events and in that capacity I have found a recent column of his intriguing on the question of just why the Obama administration is hellbent on compiling such huge annual deficits.  Here is a portion of the column:

We are going to pile up another $3 trillion in national debt in just the first two years of the Obama administration. If the annual deficit should sink below $1.5 trillion, it will be called fiscal sobriety.

Why, when we owe $12 trillion, would the Obama administration set out budgets that will ensure our collective debt climbs to $20 trillion? Why are we borrowing more money, when Medicare, Social Security, the Postal Service, Amtrak, etc. are all insolvent as it is?

What is the logic behind something so clearly unhinged?

I present seven alternative reasons — some overlapping — why the present government is hell-bent on doubling the national debt in eight years. Either one, or all, or some, or none, of the below explain Obama’s peculiar frenzied spending.

1) Absolutely moral and necessary?

The country is in need of massive more entitlements for our destitute and near to poor. Government is not big, but indeed too small to meet its moral obligations. Deficits are merely record-keeping. Throwing trillions into the economy will also help us all recover, by getting us moving again and inflating the currency. And we can pay the interest easily over the next 50 years. Just think another World War II era — all the time.

So big spending and borrowing are genuine efforts of true believers to make us safe, secure, and happy.

2) “Gorge the beast”

The spending per se is not so important, as the idea of deficits in general will ensure higher taxes. Nationalized health care, cap and trade, new initiatives in education, more stimulus — all that and more is less important than the fact that huge defects will require huge new taxes, primarily from the upper-classes. I see no reason why the total bite from state income, federal income, payroll, and health care taxes cannot soon in theory climb to 70% of some incomes (e.g., 10% state, 15.3% FICA, 40% federal, 3-5% health care). In other words, “redistributive change” is the primary goal. This aim is premised on the notion that income is a construct, if not unfairly calibrated, then at least capriciously determined — requiring the more intelligent in the technocracy to even out things and ensure an equality of result. After all, why should the leisured hedge-funder make all that more after taxes than the more noble waitress?

So big spending and borrowing mean big deficits, and that means taxing the greedy and giving their ill-gotten gains to the needy.

3) Big Brother?

Or does rampant borrowing for government spending reflect our despair over the inability of millions to know what is best for themselves? For democracy to work, all of us must fully participate. But because of endemic racism, sexism, class bias, and historical prejudices, millions of Americans do not have access to adequate education and enlightenment. Therefore, a particular technocratic class, with requisite skill and singular humanity, has taken it upon themselves to ensure everyone gets a fair shake — if only government at last has the adequate resources to fix things. If it proves problematic for one to register and vote, then there will be a program to make 100% participation possible. If some of us are too heavy and too chair-bound, we can be taught what and how to eat. If some of us do not study, we can adjust academic standards accordingly. In one does something unwise, like buying a plasma TV rather than a catastrophic health care plan, then we still can ensure he is covered. In other words, an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-moral guardian class requires resources to finish the promise of participatory America. After all, why would we allow the concrete contractor to “keep” 70% of his income only to blow it on worthless things like jet skis or a Hummer in his garage or a fountain in his yard — when a far wiser, more ethical someone like Van Jones could far more logically put that now wasted capital to use for the betterment of the far more needy?

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Why the Fiscal Lunacy?

  • The rationale for the “stimulus” is rooted in Keynesian economics. The problem with this one as opposed to previous ones is rather than using the stimulus to kick start a stalled economy, combined with Obama’s other policies such as Gov’t takeover of major parts of the economy such as Fannie & Freddie, AIG, GM etc, health care reform, Cap & Trade etc. together they are going to have the opposite effect. The Federal Gov’t now owns 80% of the mortgages in the US. So it is a double whammy. There is, and will be will be no “recovery”.

    The current “recovery” is a dead cat bounce. Bernanke and Geithner’s pronouncements that the “recession” is over is the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace for our time” speech right before Germany invaded Poland. We are in the eye of a hurricane right now and the second half is going to be worse than the first because the Fed is out of bullets. The next shoe will be the collapse of the dollar (brought about on purpose) and the introduction of a regional (Amero) or international currency (SDR’s). Anything denominated in dollars will be bought out out for pennies on the dollar.

    Obama is just a tool of the gang that surrounds him to tank the economy on purpose to bring about the NWO. Obama isn’t smart enough to think this stuff up on his own, but then the same could be said for Bush who lost it with me after telling America to “go shopping” after 9-11. In reality, this has all slowly been taking place since the end of WW 1. We’re just lucky enough to be there for the climax.

  • Given that 53 cents of every dollar of income taxes goes to support current and past military misadventures, I think that VDH needs to reexamine the real cause of America’s fiscal insolvency.

    It’s also worth pointing out that Obama, whatever else he is doing, is set to lower the deficit from Bush’s time in office.

  • “It’s also worth pointing out that Obama, whatever else he is doing, is set to lower the deficit from Bush’s time in office.”


  • Given that 53 cents of every dollar of income taxes goes to support current and past military misadventures

    Why not go one better and use Maryland sales tax revenue as your denominator?

    I was not aware that any portion of my New York State income tax payments were devoted to ‘past and present military adventures’. (Though I rather do like the idea of Gov. Patterson calling out the National Guard to arrest the state legislature and stuff them in the Albany County Jail, now that you mention it).

    About 5% of Gross Domestic Product is devoted to military expenditure. (A decade ago, the proportion was about 3.5%). Prior to the recent federal spending binge, about 14% of all public expenditure was devoted to the military. If you wish to apportion debt service costs among other other sorts of expenditure, perhaps 16% of public expenditure was so devoted. That would be, ahem, the sum of costs for maintaining the military, not the costs attributable to ‘past and present military adventures’. (Unless it be your contention that military expenditure itself is illegitimate).

  • We must live in the United States of Topsy Turvy Land. The projected deficit for 2010 (Obama’s second year in office) which was three times as large as Bush’s last deficit *may* turn out to be only 2.5 times as Bush’s last deficit and somehow we’re to consider Obama to have fixed Bush’s mismanagement? Nevermind that Obama’s own budget initiatives project ever increasing deficits YoY.

  • So wj’s citation was an assertion made by the Obama administration that still leaves the deficit higher than it was when Bush was in office.

    Next time you might want to read the sources before linking to them.

  • As I understand it, Obama inherited the 1.3 trillion dollar deficit from the Bush administration, and so it is misleading to attribute the ballooning deficit to his policies alone, which is all I intended to say. If you look at the CBO forecast (and I acknowledge that many deny the accuracy of the CBO), Obama’s budget *will* lower deficit’s longterm. Of course, I am not a supporter of Obama, and it is not terribly important to me whether is is moderately more or less fiscally insane than Bush; but it is fair to point out that the current deficit problem is not *entirely* due to his own recklessness.

    Art Deco: what about this analysis is wrong:

  • That figure includes the Pentagon budget request of $717 billion, plus an estimated $200 billion in supplemental funding (called “overseas contingency funding” in euphemistic White House-speak), to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, some $40 billion or more in “black box” intelligence agency funding, $94 billion in non-DOD military spending (that would include stuff like military activies funded through NASA, military spending by the State Department, etc., miilitary-related activities within the Dept. of Homeland Security, etc.), $123 billion in veterans benefits and health care spending, and $400 billion in interest on debt raised to pay for prior wars and the standing military during peacetime (whatever that is!).

    What is wrong is that this fellow pads the payroll in various ways by adding the budgets of the intelligence services, the space program, veterans hospitals, and the federal police; and pads it further by attributing the entire charge for service on the federal debt to military expenditure, as if there were no domestic expenditure whatsoever. He then further manipulates his figures by expressing these charges as a ratio of federal income tax revenue, even though north of 40% of public expenditure is by state and local governments and most federal expenditure is financed out of Social Security taxes and bond sales. But you knew that.

  • Thank you gentlemen. This thread, thus far, is a classic example of what robust combox debate should be!

  • One thing I like very much about VDH is that he is not only a professor, but a farmer. He and his brother run a California raisin farm that has been in the family for 4 generations. So his great store of academic learning is balanced by the fact that he is familiar with the ordinary, down-to-earth concerns of farming folk.

    The difference between military spending and spending on social programs is that I see defense spending as a legitimate function of the federal government. Obamacare is another matter entirely. I certainly think provision should be made for those unable to obtain healthcare for themselves. I don’t believe the federal government should be in the business of providing it for all of us, whether we want it or not.

The Timeline of Abuse

Sunday, April 18, AD 2010

One of the more oft-heard responses to the recent outbreak of coverage on the abuse scandals in the Church is the following: ‘when is the Church going to respond to this and protect children?’ This question is entirely sensible. We have heard about these scandals in the past, and yet fresh stories of abuse are appearing on a weekly basis. Moreover, the responses of many in the Vatican, as in several other incidents in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, has been disheartening. At the same time, I think it is important to point out for those concerned about the abuse of children (as opposed to the competency of the Vatican press office), that the crisis phase of the abuse scandal has been over for the better part of twenty years in the U.S. (and notice the recent reporting has focused on incidents at least that old). The following graph summarizes the annual reports of abuse by priests in the United States over the last fifty-five years (for those who are curious about post-2004, there were six reported incidents in 2009):

Source: the John Jay Report, h/t Ross Douthat.

Continue reading...

32 Responses to The Timeline of Abuse

  • Does this graph have a source?

  • “…in recent years, the bishops enacted… mandatory training for all individuals who deal with children in every diocese in the country.”

    Knowing the farce of past “training” schemes such as diversity training, I no longer care to volunteer for any such parish or diocesan activities.

  • The stats need to be adjusted for the decline in vocations (abuses per active priest is a better measure) but the decline in abuse probably remains even after an adjustment.

    Celibacy and other issues obviously were not the cause. And it’s possible to address problems like abuse without reform in these controversial areas. But they could help and the fact that priests don’t have children or motherly instincts can’t be ruled out as an ingredient in creating an environment ripe for abuse.

  • The stats are especially relevant since with all the publicity about abuse I believe victims of abuse are much more likely to come forward today than they did in the past.

  • Does this graph have a source?

    Apologies, Jason. The post has been updated to include the source.

  • The stats need to be adjusted for the decline in vocations (abuses per active priest is a better measure) but the decline in abuse probably remains even after an adjustment.

    The number of priests has declined by about a third since 1965. That is only of modest significance in explaining the above.

  • OK, this is probably a dumb question, but if the incidence of abuse peaked in 1980, why was 2002 such a crisis? Because it sounds like the Church was already handling the problem (or it was going away for other reasons). Was it just that there were some bad pockets and a need for uniform standards for bishops to follow?

    I’m having trouble putting together this graph with what I (fuzzily) remember from then.

  • I’ve taken the diocesan training, and although it’s difficult to sit through parts of it, it’s a worthwhile exercise. Much of the advice is common sense, but the insight into the mind of the abuser was particularly helpful. (The training I took used interviews with convicted abusers and victims.)

    The training, combined with everything else I’ve ever read about abusers, leads me to believe that there’s not much merit to restrainedradical’s conjecture above. Given that there are plenty of abusers with children and some molesters are women, it seems hard to lay the blame on the lack of children/motherly instincts.

  • Karen LH,

    Your question was basically the reason I wrote this post; everyone seems to be very confused about when the abuse took place because there was a significant lag between most of the abuse and the reporting on it. 2002 was a crisis primarily because that is when we finally found out about the abuse that occurred over the preceeding 40 years, and particularly the horrific actions of some bishops that moved abusive priests from one parish to another.

    In 2009-2010, there has been new coverage of scandals in Ireland and Germany (my understanding is that most of these cases are older also), but nothing has really happened in the U.S., aside from shaky attempts to argue Benedict (or his delegates) didn’t punish two abusive priests (who were already removed from active ministry) enough while he was at CDF. However, the abuse statistics above are almost never indcluded in the newspaper coverage of the scandal, and so many people are confused about the timeline.

  • Just to clarify, pedophile priests would exist regardless. But I think it might be possible that abuse cases would’ve been handled differently had parents and women had a say.

  • It’s possible, restrained. Counter-factuals are impossible to prove one way or the other, and so people generally rely on their prior intuitions when evaluating the plausibility of a suggestion. I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on this. On the one hand, certainly, women generally seem to be less likely to abuse children in this way; on the other hand, the higher rates of abuse in the public school system than Catholic institutions suggests that having a high percentage of women does not necessarily prevent abuse.

  • “Just to clarify, pedophile priests would exist regardless. But I think it might be possible that abuse cases would’ve been handled differently had parents and women had a say.”

    I rather doubt that. I was talking to Female Judge that grew up during this time period about this. SHe is a non Catholic. She told me that she quite understands why this happened. Sexual Abuse and scandal were viewed differently back then as to society as whole. He was kept quiet and yes woman were involved in that too.

    I see that in the black church where sadly this also rampant. Thught there is still male dominance black women are often the backbone and exert great power and influence. That attitude of “not airing our dirty laundrey in public” still prevails and it appears to me to be very accross the board as to genders

  • If a man would make a good, healthy husband and father, then he would make a good candidate for the priesthood IF that is his vocation. Also, a man should have had good, healthy personal relationships with both sexes, mature in quality…years ago, I don’t think it really mattered. New research shows that many young Priests involved in this sex scandal had been actively engaged in homosexual relationships before entering the seminary and even during their vacation time while in seminary…as far as pedophilia, although this was a very small percentage of the overall sexual abuse, it’s still way too much and hard to understand how these men made it to ordination…where was the discernment of other seminarians, teachers, superiors, etc? I think the requirements are stricter now…

  • Let’s remember that this graph likely does not represent a picture of the whole abuse story, but only reports gathered from victims alive at the time of the Jay Study. It is a snapshot from 2002-04. We would expect a bell curve in any event. I think we also get the downward trend from 1980 onward because of the application of psychological screening to seminary candidates. In other words, good for Vatican II.

    We have good reason to suspect that an important limitation of the Jay Study is the upcurve in reports prior to 1980. Many victims had died by 2002, and the culture, both church and secular, mitigated against children reporting abuse at the time and adults reporting later.

    We have no way of knowing, but I suspect that actual abuse was fairly high all through the ages. The horrific stories that do come to us prior to 1950 may well be the tip of the iceberg. No comfort to the victims, to be sure. But it is a feather in the cap of those who trumpet that the Church is doing a great deal to stamp out abuse. They are right, and in the US, we have a thirty-year track record to show it.

  • I am willing ot bet records were kept but it would be interesting to see the rate of abuse allegations involving Lay Catholics that had contact with children in this time period.

    Something the laity seems not to want to go into

  • So is your claim, Todd, that the graph represents a real fall-off in abuse since the 1980 high, but that appearance of an increase in abuse from 1960 to 1980 is an illusion?

    Certainly, it seems clear that there must always have been some amount to abuse in the Church — just as there has always been some about of abuse in families. It is a sin found in many places and times, and there’s nothing magical about the time before the 60s that would have prevented it entirely.

    However, it seems entirely believable that the slipping moral standards in the wider society, increasing prevalence of pornography, lax formation, lax discipline and a period that was unquestionably one of great uncertainty and turmoil in the Church would have increased the amount of abuse during those decades by a factor of five or ten, which is what the graph seems to indicate.

  • but only reports gathered from victims alive at the time of the Jay Study

    What, is everyone who was alive before 1950 dead now?

  • “However, it seems entirely believable that the slipping moral standards in the wider society …”

    Possibly. In my parents’ generation, the extremes of alcoholism and drug abuse were seen as immoral. By the time a person gets to be a drunk, I’d say the addiction has overtaken any attempt at abstinence.

    As for the abuse of children, we know it happens most often in families, and families are their own mini-cultures. We might say that there’s a certain moral domino effect: less respect for authority, and more sex, drugs and rock-n-roll leading to the rape of children.

    Maybe you have a point. It seems we also have increased slavery in the world these days, so maybe lots of sins are making comebacks.

    As for a five to tenfold increase because of a general permissiveness? I find it hard to believe. Sex predators still operate in secret. None of their “permissive” practices were accepted at all in society.

    If there had been a study commissioned in 1980, I suspect, we’d see a bell peak in 1960. And so on down the line.

    Bottom line I agree with you that the institutional management of clergy and seminary candidates was very poor prior to 1980. But given that some notable “moral” bishops have been implicated–cardinals like Brady and Law, I get the sense that this is more sex addiction than moral failing. Which isn’t to say that addicts shouldn’t take moral responsibility–that’s basic 12 Steps.

    A final thought experiment (which might be verified by someone with raw data): redo the Jay Study and eliminate the reports in which either the priest or victim has died since 2002. I suspect the peak would move a few years into the 80’s.

  • I suppose how much one is willing to believe abuse increased due to a lax and sex-saturated culture is widely open to conjecture. I’m hesitant to assume that simply be looking at the graph we have a much better ability to forecast a backward trend than the John Jay folks did.

    I could believe a pretty big increase because of a sex-saturated culture and chaos within the ranks of the Church. Clearly, abuse of children and teens is something which happens at the margins, among a small statistical minority. In this regard, a small change to the large majority might significantly increase or decrease the size of the tail. On the majority side, the difference between 94% of priests not abusing and 97% of priests not abusing isn’t that big, but it’s a large delta in the number of abusers.

  • “As for a five to tenfold increase because of a general permissiveness? I find it hard to believe. Sex predators still operate in secret. None of their “permissive” practices were accepted at all in society.”

    Roman Polanski seems to get a lot of respect for a guy who drugged and raped a 13-year old girl.

    Do you really believe that a group like NAMBLA could have had any type of public presence prior to 1960?

  • “I suppose how much one is willing to believe abuse increased due to a lax and sex-saturated culture is widely open to conjecture.”

    I think so. I would say that the instances of priests having sex with adults might be influenced more by social norms. Clergy preying on needy counselees is pretty creepy in its own right, but there you have, theoretically, consenting adults. The Jay Study didn’t touch clergy overstepping with anyone other than minors.

    The root of the abuse might center around this question: is sex with children primarily sexual or is it primarily about power and control? Rape and sexual abuse of women and children has long been the custom of victorious militaries–many centuries and many cultures, not just the modern day. Is this about soldiers who have been celibate during long campaigns, or is it more likely about the humiliation of the defeated?

    I don’t think there’s any single answer to any of this. Just count me as suspcious of all the ones trotted out a single easy answer: celibacy, the 60’s, homosexuality, power issues in the hierarchy, etc.

  • A sex-saturated culture is a problem, to be sure.

    Let’s not forget the underlying cause of that – a willful abandonment of Catholic teaching on sexuality, beginning with the angry revolt of progressive radicals against Humane Vitae.

    Paul VI said that the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. He specifically meant the corruption of the liturgy by subversives and rebels, but it is also related to the sex crisis – the degradation of tradition is what leads to a lax moral atmosphere, one of “experimentation”, i.e. carelessness, and in some cases, I believe a deliberate attempt to destroy the Church – a goal that her enemies have held since the beginning, through the Protestant deformation, the French Revolution, communism, and finally the “sexual revolution.”

  • On being presented with a “letter of dissent” to sign and send to the Vatican upon the publication of Humane Vitae, by Cardinal James Francis Stafford:

    “I could not sign it. My earlier letter to Cardinal Shehan came to mind. I remained convinced of the truth of my judgment and conclusions. Noting that my seat was last in the packed basement, I listened to each priest’s response, hoping for support. It didn’t materialize. Everyone agreed to sign. There were no abstentions. As the last called upon, I felt isolated. The basement became suffocating. By now it was night. The room was charged with tension. Something epochal was taking place. It became clear that the leaders’ strategy had been carefully mapped out beforehand. It was moving along without a hitch. Their rhetorical skills were having their anticipated effect. They had planned carefully how to exert what amounted to emotional and intellectual coercion. Violence by overt manipulation was new to the Baltimore presbyterate.”

  • The graph comports with what I’ve noted about local stories about abusers. My archbishop made the statement to me that “In my day [in the seminary], if you did your studies and folded your hands in chapel, you were going to get ordained. It’s not that way anymore.”
    Has every last abuser been eliminated? No. That’s not possible, any more than it is possible to eliminate sin. Schools, whether Catholic, public or otherwise, have what paedophiles seek, i.e. children and teenagers, and they are naturally going to try to be there to satisfy their sinful desires. The institutional barriers are now in place to try to eliminate them before they get to the kids, but some will still slip through. The anti-Catholic media continues to headline the (alleged) cases that do occur, while burying short stories about accused public school teachers on the back pages of the third section. If there isn’t a new accusation, they can always write up a story about how the victims reject any efforts to apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again as “too little, too late.”

  • Re “smoke of Satan”: it is too simplistic to apply this to dissenting theologians only; Marciel Maciel was the very embodiment of Satans smoke if anyone was, and certain high ranking cardinals too willing to take his money (and Dzieswz as well) give off a waft of burning flesh, no?

  • WJ,

    “Smoke of Satan” is Paul VI’s phrase, and a cardinal close to him told us exactly what it meant. It’s not “too simplistic.” It’s just what he said.

  • I wish that more parents had believed those children who came home and did say what was happening, but many parents did not. At that time, it was common to tell a child who complained at all about Priests (or Nuns) “oh, no, Father (Sister) wouldn’t do that” or if the the child was believed, “you better not tell anyone!” So many issues that are vebalized today were never discussed years ago. But if those parents had believed their children or defended them if they did believe what their child said, had stepped forward, the individual Priests would have been stopped sooner and fewer children would have suffered! But there were and still are, people who are afraid of Clergy and/or how things “look” and worry if they will somehow be blamed or their child may be blamed and people who like the Priest will turn against them and their child. It’s all so sad but we need to be wary of all Media Reports and defend our Catholic Church while admitting we, as a whole, are not perfect, we love our Church.

  • I get the feeling that many commenters forget or do not know that sexual predators tend to be arrogant, clever, extremely manipulative people, especially those who successfully abused many victims over long periods of time. I am not surprised that such people can conceal their tendencies and activities, or justify what comes to light, or convince friends and superiors that they “have changed their ways,” whatever lie is necessary. There is a reason they are called predators. Think of a predator in nature, the skill, the patience, the perseverance. Think of a skilled hunter. I think too many look on these criminals and members of NAMBLA as merely sickos or something like sexual geeks, and that is a mistake. They are dangerous, clever deviant criminals.

  • How much could these trends be explained by changes in the total number of children under the supervision of priests? In 1980, the tail end of the Baby Boomers were in high school. The *number* of students in Catholic schools would have still been very high, even though the *percentage* had declined since 1965. Whatever those numbers may look like, one should certainly keep them in mind when observing trends like those seen in the above chart.

  • Pingback: Was Something Different in the 60s and 70s? « The American Catholic
  • These statistics, which appear to date the abuse events, not their reports, are comforting to those of us wishing to put the problem behind us. In my (local) experience, however, these data are hard to believe. Anecdotal evidence, of course, is of limited validity. But I remember MY PASTOR in 2002 or so reading us a letter from our Ordinary (Maida) to the effect that the problem had been solved many years before, here in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The irony: the priest who read this to us was later convicted of raping boys in our parish AT THAT TIME. Also a similar event occurred at a neighboring parish in the intervening years. Further, a visiting priest from the Philippines, who was ordained there after being convicted of rape during Seminary here in Detroit, has been preaching in my current parish within the past year. So in my area the problem does NOT appear to be behind us.

    Now to my point: As I watch the current media feeding frenzy, unjust as it appears toward the Holy Father, it strikes me that it presents some rare opportunities to the Church. First, while the NYTimes authors themselves may never be appeased, they can influence untold numbers, and the Church could take the opportunity to make a much more compelling case.

    She could take this opportunity to make it clear to every reasonable bystander that she has taken this problem seriously, and has responded with justice to the perpetrators and enablers, and also that she has put sufficient countermeasures in place to prevent and correct future episodes.

    In her defensiveness, I don’t think that she has made her case. If abusive priests have met justice, this may or may not be clear in the press. But in the case of episcopal enablers, I think it’s clear that NO justice has been served. Without such justice, I don’t Holy Church will ever appear to have taken this matter seriously.

    Finally, this would also be an opportune time for Holy Church to make its case to an over-sexualized culture, that mandatory commitments of lifelong celibacy actually enhances personal holiness in any way, let alone that it benefits the Church. We all know that this claim is seen as absurd by innocent bystanders, and that it is highly counter-intuitive. Unenlightened people think it is obvious that this is a source of the problem, and wonder how the value it adds could possibly offset the ‘seven demons’ that it seems to have let into the Church.

    Clearly, now is the time for the Church to step up and make its case to a skeptical world. Can she rise to the occasion?

    Roamin’ Catholic

  • The decline in numbers does seem comforting to me. However, what if later on we find out of other cases that occured in our times? It seems like in several of these cases the abusers threatened the victims to keep it all a secret. It was only decades later that many of them were revealed, and i think the lag in time has to do with shame over such secrecy (though by the time several cases popped up and the media got involved in it, people found it much easier to speak out against the priests, whether falsely or in truth). Could such a thing happen? could much more abuses be going on now that we do not know of? I hope this is not the case, but I worry that it might be.

Alexander Hamilton's Dying Wish, Holy Communion

Sunday, April 18, AD 2010

Like many intellectual men in Revolutionary America and Western Europe, Alexander Hamilton bought into the Deist ideas of a Creator, but certainly not a Creator who needed a Son to rise from the dead or perform miracles, and certainly not the continuous miracle of the Eucharist. Most leaders of the American Revolution were baptized Anglicans who later in life rarely attended Sunday services, the exception being George Washington.  The first President was the rare exception of a Founding Father who often attended Anglican-Episcopal Services, though he occasionally did leave before Holy Communion, which many intellectuals in the colonies (and most of England) decried as “popery.”

Hamilton was a unique man, who unlike many of the Revolution was not born in the colonies, but in the Caribbean and was born into poverty at that. He was practically an orphan as his father left his mother and she subsequently died from an epidemic. At a young age Hamilton showed so much promise that the residents of Christiansted, St Croix (now the American Virgin Islands) took up a collection to send him to school in New England. As a child, Hamilton excelled at informal learning picking up on what he could from passersby and those who took the time to help him. In August of 1772,  a great hurricane hit the Caribbean. Hamilton wrote about it in such vivid detail that it wound up being published in New York.

It was at this point that the residents of Christiansted answered the local Anglican pastor’s request and enough money was raised to send Hamilton to school in the colonies. While in school, Hamilton would excel and wound up in the Revolutionary Army as a young officer. By the time of Yorktown, General Washington thought enough of the 24 year old to have him lead a charge on one of the redoubts of Yorktown. It was here that the “Young Americans” and their French counterparts on land and sea, overwhelmed the British and the world turned upside down.

Continue reading...

12 Responses to Alexander Hamilton's Dying Wish, Holy Communion

  • Thanks for an excellent and engrossing essay, Dave. There’s always something new to be learned from history, especially when written from a Catholic perspective.

  • Very interesting.

    A few minor points:

    Hamilton is the only non-President on US currency

    Franklin, Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, and Salmon Chase.

    Hamilton was a self made man.

    The local community paid for his college education then he married into wealth.

    I disagree with your point about money:

    Hamilton was a strong advocate of agriculture and manufacturing subsidies. Of course the vast majority of people don’t like taxes. But Hamilton and others understood that taxes used for the general welfare were necessary. Those who understand it best often come from disadvantaged childhoods. Hamilton, Obama, Clinton. People from relatively more advantaged backgrounds like the Tea Partiers have a more difficult time comprehending the struggles of the poor.

  • As Thomas DiLorenzo in his book Hamilton’s Curse points out:

    “Hamilton complained to George Washington that “we need a government of more energy” and expressed disgust over “an excessive concern for liberty in public men” like Jefferson. Hamilton “had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived,” wrote Hamilton biographer Clinton Rossiter.

    Hamilton and his political compatriots, the Federalists, understood that a mercantilist empire is a very bad thing if you are on the paying end, as the colonists were. But if you are on the receiving end, that’s altogether different. It’s good to be the king, as Mel Brooks would say.

    Hamilton was neither the inventor of capitalism in America nor “the prophet of the capitalist revolution in America,” as biographer Ron Chernow ludicrously asserts. He was the instigator of “crony capitalism,” or government primarily for the benefit of the well-connected business class. Far from advocating capitalism, Hamilton was “befogged in the mists of mercantilism” according to the great late nineteenth century sociologist William Graham Sumner.”

    Hamilton the first of the “Rockefeller Republicans” or “Big Government Conservatives.”

  • Sorry for the monetary error Restrained Radical, I mede the necessary correction.

  • Sorry for the monetary error Restrained Radical, I made the necessary correction (it is awful early in the morning!)

  • Far better for the world if Hamilton had stayed in it and Burr, a true blackguard, had departed it.

  • Thanks Dave great stuff as always!

  • Speaking of Hamilton and Burr, the Creative Minority Report posted a funny account that mentions them in response to the news that George Washington, Hamilton and others failed to return library books:

    “Dueling for Dummies”: what a hoot!

  • Pingback: The Duel « Almost Chosen People
  • Given that Obama’s grandmother was a bank president and he attended a prestigious private school in Hawaii, I have a difficult time seeing his upbringing as “disadvantaged,” unless you wish to argue that simply being of mixed race automatically places one in the ranks of the disadvantaged.

    People from relatively more advantaged backgrounds like the Tea Partiers have a more difficult time comprehending the struggles of the poor.

    My, tea party haters really need to get their memes straight. One day we’re being characterized as ignorant trailer trash, and the next we’re folks with all sorts of advantages and no sympathy for the poor. It might behoove you to simply attend one yourself and take a good look at the country instead of mindlessly repeating whatever the media line du jour is about the tea partiers. When I went to one, the great majority of people struck me as utterly ordinary; neither toothless hicks nor BMW-driving swells.

    I did not know the details of Hamilton’s last hours. Thank you for a very interesting and informative post, Dave.

  • Donna, thank you for your kind words. I think you succinctly described the way critics of Big Government are described in the Mainstream Media. It does appear critics are either described as the toothless characters one saw chasing Ned Beatty in Deliverance, or a modern version of Mr Howell, upset that more taxes are being heeped upon Lovie and him.

    In truth the alternative “Coffee Party,” that the mainstream media seems to smitten with is indeed the new elite. Gone are Mr & Mrs Howell and their Polo Club Membership. Instead the new elite holds Cocktail Party fundraisers in cosmopolitian neighborhoods in spring, or a large Cape Code home in Marth’a Vineyard in the summer. For the Heinz-Kerry Yachting crowd, maybe a little gnosh in Monaco for the fall.

  • Pingback: Rank and File Conservatives & Conservative Intelligentsia United In Outrage Over Mosque Near Ground Zero, Not So With Same-Sex Marriage « The American Catholic

Cardinal Newman-Development of Doctrine-Seventh Note-Chronic Vigor

Sunday, April 18, AD 2010

The final installment in my series on the Seven Notes, I would call them tests, which Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman developed for determining whether some aspect of Church teaching is a development of doctrine or a corruption of doctrine.  We began with Note Six-Conservative Action Upon Its Past, and I would highly recommend that any one who has not read the first post in the series read it here before reading this post.  We then proceeded with an examination of the First Note-Preservation of Type here,  the Second Note-Continuity of Principles here , the Third Note-Power of Assimilation here , the Fourth Note-Logical Sequence here and the Fifth Note-Anticipation of Its Future here.  This post will deal with the Seventh and final note-Chronic Vigor.

Newman notes that a sign of a corruption of an idea is that it is relatively brief:

While ideas live in men’s minds, they are ever enlarging into fuller development: they will not be stationary in their corruption any more than before it; and dissolution is that further state to which corruption tends. Corruption cannot, therefore, be of long standing; and thus duration is another test of a faithful development.

Newman contends that heresies, the classic corruption of an idea, are always short:

The course of heresies is always short; it is an intermediate state between life and death, or what is like death; or, if it does not result in death, it is resolved into some new, perhaps opposite, course of error, which lays no claim to be connected with it. And in this way indeed, but in this way only, an heretical principle will continue in life many years, first running one way, then another.

Corruption of an idea is therefore distinguished from the development of an idea by its transitory character.

Newman on the Seventh Note:

Continue reading...

One Response to Dawkins Downfall

On the Crucifixion of the Pope

Saturday, April 17, AD 2010

Michael Liccione has written an outstanding piece over at What’s Wrong With the World about the recent escalation in attacks on Pope Benedict in relation to the scandals, with Dawkins and Hitchens demanding that the pope be arrested and tried in an international court:

With whatever degree of justice, the scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI himself.

The complaint is not that he abused anyone himself during his long career, but that he was criminally negligent in failing to take due action, as an archbishop and then as the Curia’s most powerful official, against many of the priestly perps who came to his attention. Some of the better-known enemies of the Church, such as Richard Dawkins, now propose to arrest the Pope for that and put him in the dock, presumably at the International Court of Justice. The interest of such a ludicrous proposal does not lie in its legal plausibility, which I am unqualified to judge and is probably academic in any case. Its interest lies in the challenge it poses to explaining the irrationality behind it.

I believe myself qualified to discuss that, not only as a lifelong Catholic who has spent much of his professional life serving the Church, but also as a victim of molestation myself, in my early teens, at the hands of a priest-teacher of mine. My abuser died years ago; I have not seen fit to sue the Church; indeed my experience was one of the factors that led me to reject progressive Catholicism and ascribe to what is generally understood as orthodox Catholicism. I understand, of course, why many victims have rejected the Church, even religious belief generally, and have lived very troubled lives. How could anybody not understand that? But the generalized furor, among people who are neither victims nor loved ones of victims, strikes me as positively irrational. My way of explaining that can only issue in a statement of faith. But I believe that’s just what’s called for, if only at the end.

What’s irrational about the furor? [continue reading]

Continue reading...

One Response to On the Crucifixion of the Pope

  • Bingo:

    “The rage stems, in my long experience, from a free-floating bitterness about prior issues people have with the Church. Those issues are themselves mostly about sex and power among adults, such as celibacy, women’s ordination, and the authority the Church claims for her teaching generally. Maureen Dowd is one prominent purveyor of that attitude, but her distinctive style of thought—if it can be called thought—is not worth a digression here.”

    Those who love the Church wish to see the predator priests and the Bishops who protected them punished. For those who hate the Church this is merely another weapon in their ongoing war against the Church.

2 Responses to Scarborough Fair

  • Ah yes Don, another great piece of music that demonstrates your ability to recognise a great era in music…the umm….70’s wasn’t it?? 😉

    And you also show immense taste in selecting our own kiwi lass, Hayley Westernra from Christchurch NZ to give the encore. I have been following her progress since early this decade when she emerged as a thirteen year old (I think) demonstrating huge talent even then.
    I think she is now 20 or 21, and has sung with such impressarios as Andrea Bocheli et al. She is a wonderful singer and a fine young woman. Her mother is her manager, and she is very family oriented.

    Kudos to you. 🙂

  • Actually Don the Simon and Garfunkel version came out in 68, the ballad Scarborough Fair of course being around since the 18th century.

    I didn’t realize she is a kiwi Don! What a small world it truly is. I think she has a huge career ahead of her.