What’s driving the media feeding frenzy? Could it be money?

Want to know what is driving the media rush to attack the Church and Pope Benedict over the clerical abuse crisis.. again?

Hell’s Bible (aka The New York Times)

A Frenzied Pace for Lawyer Behind Vatican Suits
By MONICA DAVEY
Published: April 27, 2010

ST. PAUL — Jeffrey R. Anderson, the lawyer [TA DA!] whose pursuit [read: pogrom.  What's the best word?  Pogrom? Jihad?  Crusade?  War?  Campaign?] of the Roman Catholic Church has been perhaps the loudest, is the center of his own tornado. As employees race in and out of his ornate offices, Mr. Anderson is planning a news conference in Los Angeles about an abusive priest, answering calls from the family of a victim of another from Florida, and preparing a lawsuit in Milwaukee naming the Vatican and the pope as defendants. And this is only a Monday. [And he is set on making monnnneeeeey.]

Mr. Anderson, 62, has been filing suits against priests and bishops since 1983 and, at least once before, against the Vatican itself. But a new wave of accusations reaching ever closer to Rome has emerged in recent weeks, helped along, in part, by Mr. Anderson’s discovery of previously undisclosed documents. Now he is receiving new calls and pressing new cases, with more court filings and news conferences, at an almost frenzied pace.

His critics call him a headline chaser and a self-promoter. And even some in the legal community refer to his role as co-counsel in so many abuse cases around the country as “the Jeff Anderson franchise system.”  [Do they have special jackets?  Caps?  Signs?  "Millions and millions awarded".]

Mr. Anderson is unapologetic: “Yes, I am driven. Yes, I am obsessed. Yes, I am. Maybe I’m even manic about it,” he said in an interview that filled the rare gaps between everything else whirling around him. “But it has little to do with their theology. It has everything to do with what they’re doing to kids.”  [And making monnnneeeeey.]

He turns loud, outraged, profane when he talks about individual cases. He cries a lot when he describes victims. He rarely stops to eat. He is extremely impatient, hyperfocused. In his own words, “A.D.D. untreated.”

David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called him “a ceaseless ball of energy.”

But Jeffrey S. Lena, a California lawyer representing the Holy See, said that while Mr. Anderson had performed an important function — “He has forced some dioceses to acknowledge that there had been shortcomings” — his legal maneuvers against the Vatican tended to operate from a misreading of the how the church is organized. [Indeed.  But that isn't necessarily what this is about.  It isn't really about "the Vatican".  It's about the monnnneeeey.]

Mr. Anderson views the church as a purely “top-down” structure, Mr. Lena said, whereas much power is actually exercised locally by bishops without the direct involvement or knowledge of the Holy See.

For his part, Mr. Anderson sees it differently. “The reality is that we and others have been studying the hierarchical structure of this institution for a quarter of a century, and every single case demonstrates that control is at the top,” he said, adding that this central question is one that “ultimately will be heard in a courtroom.”  [Wanna bet?]

He will not say how much he has made from his pursuit of the church (he says he does not know).  [Uh huh.] But he insists that the cases, which number more than a thousand (he says he has not counted), have never been about the money.  [Uh huh.]

Yet in 2002, he estimated that he had at that point won more than $60 million in settlements from Catholic dioceses, and he acknowledges that in the most complicated cases, he may receive as much as 40 percent of a settlement or judgment.  [Let's see... that's about $9,600,000?  No?   $14,700,000?  No, again.  $24,000,000!]

Mr. Anderson drives a Lexus, leads his small firm from a former bank building replete with chandeliers, dark leather and marble, and co-owns with his wife a Victorian inn that promises “the ultimate experience in luxury, privacy and romance.”

“I don’t care what people think,” said Mr. Anderson, who is built like a high school wrestler and whose gravelly voice regularly crescendos into impassioned monologue. “If I had done this for money, I could have stopped doing this a long time ago. I could have chosen to not work 18 hours a day today, and gone and enjoyed whatever money I’d earned. I could have stopped pouring it into initiatives across the world right now that I’m funding and financing — that I’m pouring into what I consider the child civil rights movement.”  [I'm convinced.]

As for the news media, Mr. Anderson fully acknowledges his efforts to pursue attention — not for himself, he says, [of course not] but for his clients. “There’s not an interview I refuse,” he said after completing a telephone interview with a South African radio station. He said he considered it “a moral imperative” to make public whatever he learns; it is the only way, he says, to protect other children.
 
Mr. Lena said the suit Mr. Anderson filed last week naming Pope Benedict XVI among the defendants was “over the top” and rife with exaggeration. The suit was on behalf of a former student at a Wisconsin school for the deaf, where the Rev. Lawrence Murphy is accused of abusing boys for almost two decades.

The New York Times was working on a different article last month when a reporter contacted Mr. Anderson[Ummmm.... YAH! and guess what happened then!] He [Anderson] provided documents about the Murphy case describing how efforts by Wisconsin church officials to subject Father Murphy to a canonical trial and remove him from the priesthood were halted after he wrote a letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, asking for a cessation of the trial.  [And now there are more cases!]

“It shows,” Mr. Lena said, “how you can both create a media frenzy, and then capitalize on it. Jeff is very, very good at creating intense media interest, and then shaping a narrative for the press to write their stories around.” He added later: “He serves these media events up like nice little meals for reporters to chow down on, and they do.”  [The New York Times bellies up to the trough every time.]

One huge hurdle to Mr. Anderson’s latest case against the Vatican and his previous one, filed in 2002, is that the Holy See has been recognized as a foreign sovereign and, as such, is generally immune from lawsuits in American courts.

But Mr. Anderson’s 2002 case, involving a priest in Oregon who, Mr. Anderson says, had previously been accused of abusing boys in Ireland and Chicago, has so far been allowed to proceed. Much is at stake on both sides if the Supreme Court, which could soon decide whether to hear the case, allows the suit to continue.

Mr. Anderson — once a hippie, a shoe buyer, an advertising executive (he lasted one day before quitting) and onetime law school washout — was raised Lutheran. He brought up three children with his first wife in the Catholic Church. And though he was once a “dedicated atheist,” he says he is deeply religious now, but not in any particular church. [That's like, "I'm not religious, but I think I am a spiritual person."] He has, by the way, sued over abuse in other faiths: Lutheran, Baptist, Mormon and so on.

As an alcoholic who quit drinking around his 50th birthday, Mr. Anderson says his experience helps him understand the pope’s comments in recent weeks about efforts to protect children. Denial, he says, is a powerful force.

And thus begins one of Mr. Anderson’s singular monologues, which his critics would call both disrespectful and inaccurate.

Tell me one thing, Pontiff, you’ve done,” he began. “One act — not words — one act. Have you removed one bishop? Have you disciplined one cardinal? Have you disclosed one secret? Have you changed one protocol that requires secrecy?

“He’s a dear man,” he continued. “He’s a wise theologian. But when it comes to this issue, he is as sick when it comes to understanding child abuse and his role in it as I was as a practicing alcoholic.”  ["sick"?  Did he compare the Pope to a drinking alcoholic?]

Rachel Donadio contributed from Rome, and Laurie Goodstein and Jack Styczynski from New York.

Classy guy.

I think this article was Hell’s Bible doing damage control for its own frankly wretched reporting… and their own role in the pogrom.

As you watch cases from long ago trickle out one by one, remember this article.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Clerical Sexual Abuse of Children, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to What’s driving the media feeding frenzy? Could it be money?

  1. torch621 says:

    If he’s so concerned about protecting kids, why doesn’t he pour all those millions into orphanages, schools and shelters like the Catholic Church does, instead of into cars and fancy offices.

    Oh right, it’s all about the monnnneeeeey! *to borrow a phrase from Fr. Z

  2. beez says:

    Not to complain or criticize, Father, but 40% of $60 million is $24 million. And, I would bet that that is only his PERSONAL take. His office has probably taken much more than half of all the settlements in “other costs.”

  3. Joseph says:

    I just read of an interview with a psychiatrist a Reinhard Haller and the Austrian broadcaster (ORF), who acts as legal expert in child abuse cases, who claims not only that every second child abuse claim is false, but also 99.7% of all cases are found outside the Catholic church. I am sure those figures can be found more or less in other countries as well.
    But what I would like to know here for myself, how far flung are those molesters? In all the dioceses I have ever lived, I know only of a single case.

  4. Mike says:

    In one Md. parish that I used to belong to, two priests were suspended because of allegations. One was charged.

  5. Magpie says:

    Zenit posted a fascinating two part interview with Catholic psychotherapist, Gerard van den Aardweg. It helps put into context how and why cases were dealt with as they were.

    Part 1: http://zenit.org/article-29052?l=english

    Part 2: http://www.zenit.org/article-29066?l=english

  6. Peggy R says:

    His theme song:

    The best things in life are free
    But you can keep em for the birds and bees.
    Now gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    That’s what I want THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want.

    Money don’t get everything it’s true.
    What it don’t get I can’t use.
    So gimme money THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    A little money THAT’S WHAT I WANT
    That’s what I want, ye-ye-yeh,
    That’s what I want….etc

  7. Titus says:

    This guy is a walking testament to the inadequacy of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

  8. Titus says:

    And, I would bet that that is only his PERSONAL take. His office has probably taken much more than half of all the settlements in “other costs.”

    Actually, as sick as this guy is, that’s probably not the case. It would be hard to calculate his personal income from the cases, because he gets paid a salary and profit sharing from all his firm’s receipts. When attorneys talk about taking a share of a settlement, they’re invariably referring to the amount paid to the firm. 40% is already an above-average contingency fee (“normal” is 1/3) and if this sort of litigation is (as it sounds) the bulk of his firm’s work he’d have a hard time paying his associates and other overhead if he were personally shaving that sort of chunk out and then getting some other slice for his firm. That would just be a very, very odd arrangement.
    [/lawyer commentary]

  9. Andy Milam says:

    Fr. Z.,

    Wasn’t this the same Counselor Anderson that stuck his nose in the HLI conference in 1997?

  10. Nan says:

    When this guy was divorced from his first wife, he sent his daughter to a therapist who was a former Catholic priest. The therapist molested her. That’s what’s driving him. He blames the church for the molestation.

    Someone who lives in the same suburb as he does told me that everyone thinks he’s strange.

  11. Leguleius says:

    I agree that this is a very half-hearted attempt by Hell’s Bible, which, I must confess, I have read every day for 37 years, to paste a fig leaf on their otherwise tawdry reporting. The column by the Public Editor last Sunday was rather telling. Most of the criticisms that were voiced to him (the anonymous source of the material used and the lack of context) were handled in today’s paper. You may note that, in an article ostensibly about the proposed extension of the statute of limitations in New York, there is a throw-away line at the end that there is “little evidence” that there is any more abuse amoung the Catholic clergy than among other denominations, or even the public in general. If that had been mentioned in the substance of these other articles, it might have added a bit of balance.

  12. EXCHIEF says:

    His 18 hour days persecuting (er, make that prosecuting) the Church may continue to make him rich–that is until he keels over dead from a heart attack.

  13. Geremia says:

    Even though Eccles. 10:19 says “All things obey money,” we can’t go judging Mr. Anderson’s intentions.

  14. Will Elliott says:

    The cover story on last week’s Houston Press (http://www.houstonpress.com/2010-04-22/news/the-man-who-sued-the-pope/) was about a Houston lawyer who believes he got Cardinal Ratzinger elected Pope. He claims “the cardinals elected Ratzinger Pope to give him the immunity that would enable him to avoid answering any questions concerning his knowledge about and handling of sex abuse cases in Houston’s St. Francis De Sales church in the mid-1990s.” No doubt the Press ran this story to capitalize the buzz the recent NYTimes stories have generated.

  15. DHippolito says:

    I find it quite interesting that you all want to focus on “media frenzy” and “greedy lawyers” without confronting the fact that the Church put itself in this position by rerfusign to confront the moral decay among those priests and bishops who have dragged God’s name and their vocations in the mud. Was Fr. Tom Doyle warning the American bishops “for the money”? How about Leon Podles? Jason Berry? Michael Rose? Stephen Brady? Rod Dreher (yes, the ultimate obscenity among “orthodox” Catholics)?

    If you people were as concerned about God’s standards of righteousness as you are babout your own arrogant groupthink and sense of entitlement, God might actually use you for His purposes — instead of as an example of what happens to people when Church becomes God.

  16. avecrux says:

    Sorry DHippolito, but that is not the case.
    Anderson says “If I had done this for money, I could have stopped doing this a long time ago. I could have chosen to not work 18 hours a day today, and gone and enjoyed whatever money I’d earned. I could have stopped pouring it into initiatives across the world right now that I’m funding and financing — that I’m pouring into what I consider the child civil rights movement.”
    OK – so tell me… how, exactly is making libelous claims against the Pope going to promote children’s civil rights?
    He asks for “one thing” the Pope has done… does the reporter even stop to point out ANY of the things the Pope has done – to lend a voice of journalistic integrity to the piece? No. The reporter just lets the statement stand uncontested.
    Here in the US, there is no doubt that in 2010, the Catholic Church is the safest place for children. Do you know what someone has to go through today simply to volunteer at a Catholic Church? Child safety education, fingerprinting, background checks… What other organization is investing that amount of resources into child safety and mandating compliance by everyone in contact with children?
    I have a suggestion for Mr. Anderson. If he wants to promote children’s civil rights, why doesn’t he start suing abortion providers? First of all – they kill lots of children on a daily basis. Secondly, they are involved to this day in the cover up of molestation, incest, rape – just examine the undercover reporting done at clinics who nod and wink at the 30 year old who brings his 14 year old “girlfriend” in for repeated abortions. Oh – and let’s not forget that the abortion industry consistently fights parental notification laws – so that school counselors who cannot even give an 8th grader some Motrin without a signed permission slip can take her without parental consent – even across state lines – to kill the child in her womb… yes, even if the child was conceived in rape.
    Get real about who the criminals are.

  17. Titus says:

    Father,

    Here’s an example of what people think about molestation cases that don’t involve priests: they think the penalties are too harsh: http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/our-sex-offender-laws-are-crazy/

  18. Grabski says:

    DHippolito The point is that the coverage is extremely biased and that the problem has largely been cleaned up. The John Jay report showed two interesting facts which are missing from the coverage: Abuse accusations and abusers peaked in the early 1980s and are down some 94% since then.

    Read it slowly: down 94%. Since JPII and Card. Ratzinger insituted reforms. See that in the media?

    Also, the John Jay report shows that just 10% of abusers were ordained since 1980; ie, the JPII era. Since 1990? 2.3%. The 1960s alone account for over 25%; ie, the VII generation.

    Do you know how many abuse accusations were made in 2009? I believe it was six; not in the NYT coverage. Think there’s an agenda there?

    There’s a reason that this context is left out of the reportage. JPII and BXVI have gotten a hold of a very big problem.

    Should there be bishops punished? Besides Weakland, Daneels, the Irish bishops, Ryan, Zieman; yes, more bishops should’ve been disciplined. The road to hell is famously said to be paved w/ the skulls of bishops.

    But the current story is not the story of abuse. There’s an agenda that actively hides that. There’s an agenda that actively puts the misrule of Weakland (Murphy) and Cummins (kiesle) onto Benedict.

    Mr Anderson is certainly out for money. He’s out to bankrupt the church. He’s working on revenge. And the NYT and rest of the MSM share and promote his agenda.

    PS Try to rewrite your last sentence so that it’s intelligible.

  19. stgemma_0411 says:

    This guy is the reason there has to be tort reform and there needs to be a law against frivolous lawsuits.

  20. John V says:

    Another variation on the theme by Kenneth Woodward at Commonweal.

    Some snippets:

    “The New York Times isn’t fair. In its all-hands-on-deck drive to implicate the pope in diocesan cover-ups of abusive priests, the Times has relied on a steady stream of documents unearthed or supplied by Jeff Anderson, the nation’s most aggressive litigator on behalf of clergy-abuse victims. Fairness dictates that the Times give Anderson at least a co-byline.”

    “It’s hard for a newspaper to climb in bed with a man like Anderson without making his cause its own.”

    “As executive editor, Keller is now responsible for front-paging journalistically questionable stories that attempt but never quite manage to make the pope personally complicit in the clergy-abuse scandal. He apparently thinks that Jeff Anderson has handed over the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.”

    “I am not suggesting that the scandal is merely media-driven, as some at the Vatican have argued. There would be no stories if there had been no history of abuses and cover-ups in the first place. But I am saying that the Times has created its own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new. They haven’t. Until they do, I remain a dissenter in the pews of the Church of the New York Times.”

  21. AnAmericanMother says:

    Titus,

    In this sort of plaintiffs’ work (high profile specialty claims with low likelihood of prevailing), 40% has become the norm, and I’ve seen as high as 50%. Plus expenses.

    Probably his legal staff are fungible contract laborers (especially in this down market for recent law graduates) with one office manager who runs everything and gets a decent salary. So his share of the take could be quite high even after being funneled through the PC.

    [ /cynical lawyer commentary ]

  22. Huxtaby says:

    Sorry, just nipping down a rabbit hole! If the Church was as “top down” as their research has found why don’t the rank and file clergy obey Rome in all things? Just a thought!

  23. haleype says:

    What is at the heart of controversies such as these is whether the Church has a right to discipline its own and, whether the Church has the means to do so. Not many would say the Church does not have a right to discipline its own (what sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them and what sins you shall retain, they are retained) but I’m afraid many would say the Church is not set up to do so for acts outside the bounds of the confessional.

    We all know that the Church has its own code of canon laws but does the Church have the machinery to execute those laws in a timely fashion? The key clarifier here is “timely” and in the case of clerical abuse, it would seem that Justice delayed is Justice denied. Pope Benedict XVI is, I think, trying to speed up the process but people like Jeffrey R. Anderson will give him no credit and give the entire Church a black-eye in the process.

    Who is the real culprit in this campaign to discredit the Church and its pastors? He’s been around for a long, long time and he has a distinct hatred for God and His Church. He’s been banished from heaven for his self-pride and refusal to serve and he will do anything in his power, which is considerable, to blemish Holy Mother Church. His name is Lucifer and he goes about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

  24. @Grabski — that’s precisely the sort of information that judicious journalism should include, especially when citing opposing litigators like Anderson. Isn’t that the point of journalism–present some balance?

    Rod Dreher has, justifiably, come under criticism here, but one point he’s made helps here with Anderson et al: therapeutic moralistic deism. Anderson is, as Fr. Z says, one of the “spiritual but not religious” crowd, so therefore Anderson’s concerned about how all this religious/spiritual stuff (since it really is all a cafeteria of choices for those folks) helps him feel better. Therefore, prosecuting the Church with several aggressive (and aggressively myopic and wrong-headed) lawsuits constitutes “therapy.” It certainly allows him and his supporters to feel moralistic. All sorts of people engage in similar projects for similar reasons–but they aren’t aided by the NYT’s sloppy journalism. Talk about postmodernism…

  25. Re: Nan’s backstory on what’s driving the guy

    That makes a lot of sense. Payback of money; payback of emotional satisfaction at sticking it to molesters; revenge on the churches who didn’t protect kids like his; a way to avoid the horrible pain of not having sussed out the danger to his own kid.

    A nice little tangle of dark emotions, more than sufficient to drive a man to overwork, and to make him overlook the times he’s not being fair or is going after the innocent. Only if he keeps his anger going can he stay ahead of the despair.

  26. Golly, talk about eating your own (or biting the hand that feeds, choose your favorite metaphor). So, Hell’s Bible, smelling blood in the water, goes on a month-long feeding frenzy, thanks to bait provided by a fat-cat lawyer. Having gnawed that carcass down to the bone, the Times, still not fully sated, and hungry for one more morsel, then turns on said fat-cat lawyer. The next sound you hear will be a loud, sonorous belch from the Times.

  27. Rob Cartusciello says:

    When this guy was divorced from his first wife, he sent his daughter to a therapist who was a former Catholic priest. The therapist molested her. That’s what’s driving him. He blames the church for the molestation.

    Mr. Anderson has more than a few axes to grind, but we would never have heard of him had the hierarchy not given him so much ammunition for his attacks.

    “Tell me one thing, Pontiff, you’ve done,” he began. “One act — not words — one act. Have you removed one bishop? Have you disciplined one cardinal? Have you disclosed one secret? Have you changed one protocol that requires secrecy?”

    Mr. Anderson does not understand this Pope. As has been said repeatedly on this blog, Pope Benedict has instituted broad reforms of the system. He also publicly disciplined Fr. Maciel. There is more work to be done, but it is a blatant falsehood to assert that he has done nothing.

    [Anderson] provided documents about the Murphy case describing how efforts by Wisconsin church officials to subject Father Murphy to a canonical trial and remove him from the priesthood were halted after he wrote a letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, asking for a cessation of the trial.

    Wow! It has been repeatedly demonstrated that Pope Benedict did not send such letter, and that the trial was never suspended. Indeed, the only thing that stopped the trial was Fr. Murphy’s death. However, if you repeat a lie long enough, it will start to become the truth.

    For his part, Mr. Anderson sees it differently. “The reality is that we and others have been studying the hierarchical structure of this institution for a quarter of a century, and every single case demonstrates that control is at the top,” he said, adding that this central question is one that “ultimately will be heard in a courtroom.”

    American lawyers, as well as most Americans, simply do not understand the way in which the Church operates & is governed. Nor do they take the effort to learn. Insisting that things are a certain way won’t make them so.

  28. TravelerWithChrist says:

    The first thing that popped to my mind – he says he’s got enough money (but isn’t using it to help children); it’s not money anymore.

    Now he wants the ‘everlasting fame’ here on earth because, I suspect, he doesn’t think he’s going to get it, or want it, in heaven.

    We must pray for him…

  29. JohnE says:

    “Yes, I am driven. Yes, I am obsessed. Yes, I am. Maybe I’m even manic about it,” he said…

    Hmm, obsessed? Or perhaps also possessed?

  30. Grabski says:

    upstate crunchy I’m a crunchy myself (radical right wing hippie, actually), and own Mr Dreher’s book. Having said that, hard to take his views on the church too seriously, as he continues his search for fulfillment. I think he went from protestantism to Catholicism and has now moved onto Orthodoxy; hardly the sort of c.v. to give the average Catholic a reason to take him too seriously on matters of church.

  31. DHippolito says:

    avecrux and Grabski, your responses point out the truth of Christ’s words: Take out the plank in your own eye (in this case, the Church’s, not yours personally) before you help your neighbor take out the splinter in his eye.

    Does the fact that “greedy lawyers” exist mean that their clients do not have a case, as you seem to be suggesting, avecrux? Does the fact that “media bias” exists mean that sometimes, the media can be right about some things — as was the Boston Globe when that newspaper broke the story in 2002? Was that also a case of “media bias”? Was your initial attitude different then than it is now?

    You people whine about “media bias” and “greedy lawyers.” What you would have done during the days of Nero and Diocletian, when the Church was persecuted? What would you be doing if you lived as Christians in the Middle East or China today? This is the United States of America, people — not Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Ireland under Cromwell or England under Elizabeth I. Get over yourselves, already, and get a grip.

    As far as my last sentence goes, Grabski, I stand by it. If you can’t read, that’s your problem. But since you can’t, let me translate: If Catholics like you displayed as much anger over the destruction of the innocent, the soiling of vocations and the soiling of God’s reputation that simultaneously occurred during the clerical sex-abuse crisis as you do against “greedy lawyers” and “media bias,” then perhaps God would find you fit vessels for His use. Why? Because you would be focused on God’s righteousness instead of your own group identity. Instead, He is using you and people like you to show what happens when group identity becomes an idol in its own right.

  32. Grabski says:

    DHippolito Thanks for the interpretation of your sentence. It was incoherent. (still is a bit)

    How do you know the anger that we have over Weakland, Bernardin, Ryan, Zieman, Mahoney, Hubbard, Cummins et al. That’s not the point. That’s for another day.

    The point is that the media are not presenting facts, they are shaping a Narrative to be used in court to strip the church of its assets. That Narrative is that BXVI is an enabler of abuse. That Narrative is false and dangerous to the Church. And it is libelous.

    The Church is suffering for the abuse that happened in the wake of the ‘spirit of VII’. Read the John Jay report for the data.

    But the fact is, you are not able to counter my points on the false narrative. It’s not an ‘idol’; rather, it is shining the light of the truth. We will take our lumps for what was done in the far off past. But to blame BXVI requires pushback.

    You seem to have drawn an opinion of me from YOUR assumptions; That’s known as ‘prejudice’. I pointed out that Jeff Anderson has an agenda that goes well beyond money, and that the NYT and MSM are helping push his story line. It is an existential threat.

    I’ll denounce Weakland and Cummins et al. I somehow doubt you’ll denounce Anderson.

  33. Drusilla says:

    First – I am an adult survivor of horrific child abuse. The Catholic Church was not involved but the Baptist church was. I was a child in foster care w/ a Baptist family, my foster-father a Baptist minister. I suffered horrific abuse, including on-going sexual abuse. Other children suffered too. Those who mediated God to me and had a responsibility to care for me either failed to do so or actually harmed me. I tell you this because I want you to know that I’ve got a unique perspective on the child abuse scandal. (I write about many of my experiences on my blog.)

    Second – I’ve worked in law and also have a unique perspective on what lawyers do.

    It’s an atty’s job to represent his clients and to try to find sources (deep pockets), even novel ways to sue so as to get his clients justice and the best award possible. If media attn will help, then one uses the media. One sues sovereign nations hoping that this time the courts will say sovereignty doesn’t count. It is the judge’s responsibility to dismiss frivolous suits and reign in excessive judgements. It is the jury’s responsibility to weigh the evidence and return a true verdict and, when the finding is against the defendant, to decide what is a fair award (though the judge often can alter the award).

    Anderson is visible. He could decide to stop taking such cases but (and it’s a big BUT), the abuse is real – the abuse actually happened. We hate what it’s doing to the Church and especially to our Holy Father. But there are possibly more than 10,000 victims, in this country alone. How many are there throughout the world? Should he stop seeking justice? What price would you set as acceptable repayment for the abuse any child has suffered? What price would I? No amount is big enough and anyone who might be involved must be exposed. It’s horrid. It’s painful. And it reminds me of asbestos which, again, actually killed people and is still going on and attys are still looking for deep pockets and someone to hold responsible. Thar’s what attys do.

    Would it be fair if the media was honest? Of course. But, the abuse is real. So the Church is rooting out the problem and the Holy Father suffers. We can blame Anderson and, if the abuse had never happened, I would. The abuse has happened. In some parts of the world, I’m sure it still does. Just remember, the victims still suffer. Just remember, that as strong as the desire to protect our Holy Father and the Church from being crucified, the victims have been nailed to the cross next to us. And some of us have been hanging there for a long, long time. Suffering is inseparable from what it means to be a Christian.

  34. Grabski says:

    Drusilla Thanks for making my point for me. To get the best award, Anderson is using the media. His objectives? To poison the jury pool by creating a falso narrative. Also, to increase the supply of abused by ‘temporarily’ ending the statute of limitations. Now, we have such statutes to ensure fairness to the accused. But once a faked Narrative has been established, then fairness is not needed.

    Hence, there is a need for a pushback against the media and lawyers of the ilk of Mr Anderson. When he is pushing a narrative he knows to be false, to benefit his own wallet, he needs to be stopped.

  35. DHippolito says:

    Grabski, I didn’t address your points on Anderson because too many Catholics have used “media bias” and “greedy lawyers” as an excuse to avoid confronting the moral filth in their midst. Too many Catholics have an excessively sentimental view of the priesthood and episcopacy. They’re willing to view themselves as second-class citizens, spiritually speaking (when they’re anything but in God’s eyes), so they can give excessive deference to authorities who, by their actions, don’t deserve it.

    As far as Anderson goes, if you want to do something about him, then file a formal class complaint to the legal agency responsible for his professional ethics, whether local or national.

    I’d like to you read a response from “Leslie” over at the National Catholic Register set of blogs:

  36. DHippolito says:

    Here’s the response from “Leslie” (I posted too soon):

    Here’s the problem which how the Church has handled this. . . Even if the crimes were not involving the rape of children, what the priests have done is commit a mortal sin—breaking their vows, having sex outside of marriage, and often practicing sodomy.

    In order to be forgiven, they must “repent” of their sins and ask for forgiveness. One who continue to commit the same atrocities has not repented. Further, I know of no cases where the priest involved has asked forgiveness from his victims prior to being tried in a secular court.

    The real crime is that the Church leadership has allowed these men to continue saying the mass, hearing confessions and acting as the intermediary for God. A mortal sin is believed to be so grievous that it separates the sinner from God—at least spiritually.

    Therefore, these men were not qualified to say the mass and consecrate the host, this was known by the leadership and excused.

    This seems to point to a loss of confidence in what the Church teaches regarding sin and the Catholics of the world must ask why there are two sets of spiritual law. . . shouldn’t priests be held to a higher standard?

  37. PostCatholic says:

    We can’t choose our enemies. We’re therefore wise not to have any.

  38. Grabski says:

    DHippolito As predicted, you won’t denounce Anderson or media bias, which is the point of this article.

    The poing of this article is not the misdeeds of the clergy, but rather the intentional creation of a false narrative, to be used to the personal benefit of the ‘leakers’, Mr Anderson and his ‘source’, Abp Weakland.

    And as I’ve said, we were let down by our VII bishops, like Weakland, Cummins, Ryan, Ziemann, Daneels, et al.

    But media bias, the narrative and its impact on the church today is the topic, not the bishops. As I said, that’s a topic for another day.

    Not every discussion needs to center on the past misdeeds of the bishops. We can discuss the challenges we face right now that flow from those misdeeds. One challenge is in fact media bias, being used to create a false narrative to condemn the church in the court of public opinion, to delegitimize the Pope, to ‘temporarily’ undo the statue of limitation to increase the supply of true and false claims, all meant to allow the stripping of our assets.

    You don’t want to fight that; OK, don’t.

  39. DHippolito says:

    Grabski, I have no problem with what you’ve said. I’m not a fan of media bias nor greedy lawyers. Who is? So what can Catholics do about the situation? They can contact the professionial legal association responsible for monitoring Anderson’s ethics (a point that you simply glossed over).

    But the fact is that lay Catholics have far more influence over what happens in their own churches and chancelries than in courtrooms, law offices and editorial meetings. The mark of a truly moral individual is rising above blind group identity to challenge those who share that identity when they behave unethically. That’s why I emphacise what I emphacise.

  40. Grabski says:

    DHipolito I don’t see it as an either/or, rather a both/and.

    And I do condemn and work to expose in my small circle the Rembert Weaklands, the Mahoneys, the Bernardins, the Daneelses, the Ziemans, the Ryans.

    The entire, spirit of VII lot of them.

    And I condemn liars like Jeff Anderson and the NYT.

    BTW, what’s with the ‘group identity’ mumbo jumbo?