Some people say there is no such thing as a stupid question.

I beg to differ.


How bad is the liberal media when it comes to the Catholic Church?

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation‘s radio page as this poll…

The question….I am not making this up….

Should the Pope be charged with ‘crimes against humanity’, over the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?

It’s that "alleged" that makes this particularly smarmy.

At the time of this writing, here are the results:

We could start another poll.

Should the editors of ABC in Australia stop being bigots?


Readers… please follow the results.  

BLOGGERS… post and get involved.


On The New Humanist there is a similar but more elaborate poll.  Perhaps their readers are more literate than those who frequent the Australian site?

The question on The New Humanist: Do you think the Pope should face legal action over the Catholic child abuse cover-ups?

The way they have the poll box set up is REALLY clunky.  You have to scroll for results.

The only two somewhat acceptable answers are 3 and four, but even they are problematic, as you can discuss in the combox, below.  Note the language they use and what they avoid.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in POLLS. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Dr. Eric says:

    I voted “no.”

  2. torch621 says:

    Posted a blurb on my own blog.

  3. worm says:

    Just voted. We have actually lost ground since your posting. 78% yes 22% no.

  4. irishgirl says:

    Just voted ‘no’.

    Oy-how idiotic people can be…not just ‘stupid’.

    And it was just two years ago that the Holy Father was greeted warmly for World Youth Day in Sydney!

  5. pcstokell says:

    Wait – what?? Australia still has Catholics?

  6. Jono says:

    worm, we’ve gained that back and gained slightly more from when Fr. Z. took the screenshot. Nobody should lose heart.

  7. Jaybirdnbham says:

    Voted no. And when I get to work this afternoon I can vote no on each of the computers in my dept. :-)
    The cynical part of me is thinking that once the no’s start to outweigh the yes’s, the website is going to get rid of the poll since it will no longer show what they want it to show.

  8. nzcatholic says:

    Just voted No, Down here in New Zealand not a day seems to go by when the world section of the papers doesnt have a picture of the Pope and some out of context headline. Ive decided that I no longer read the articles as they are written by people who have no understanding of the Church and I simply get mad. Why waste anger, I just offer a little prayer for those who are going to read the articles , for the Pope and take consolation in the truth that the walls of Hell shall not prevail against the church and that the church has always suffered some kind of prosecution.

  9. Erik P says:

    cast my votes…

  10. Christina says:

    I’m just stunned. That’s all. Barely had enough wits about me to vote.

  11. acmeaviator says:

    Is it a sin if I break the poll? hehe

  12. Peter in Canberra says:

    yes there are still a few faithful Catholics in Australia, but it is mostly mission country! LOL
    Poll is now 73.5 yes, 26.5 no.

  13. wanda says:

    Voted NO! If anyone would like to, visit the Cardinal Newman Society’s Web Site and join in the prayer campaign for our Holy Father. The goal is 1,000,000 prayers for Pope Benedict.

  14. Joseph says:

    Over at the there is a writeup about the Hitchens@Dawkins monkies trying to hatch a plot to have the Holy Father arrested, when he goes for the visit in fall. Nobody saw that yet?

  15. JohnE says:

    Need a link to the Humanist poll.

  16. DLPalmer says:

    Father Z, I believe this is linked to the story about Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens wanting to arrest the Pope during the State Visit to Britain:

    I hope that we have huge turnouts for the visit – there will certainly be a lot of protesters about.

  17. acmeaviator says:

    The “arrest the Pope” campaign is in full swing at Huffington Post, BBC, Times Online, etc. At first I laughed but now I’m not so sure. Maybe we need a lay “Swiss Guard” to dominate attendance at any events.

  18. LarryD says:

    Voted, and I linked to your post at my blog. Expect about 37 more visitors today. ;-)

  19. pattif says:

    acmeaviator –

    Brilliant idea. Where do I sign up?

  20. Henry Edwards says:

    Is it a sin if I break the poll?

    Perhaps not the same, but reminds me of when I found a copy of a book by Bugnini in a pew before Mass one day. Afterwards, I asked the priest whether it would be a sin if — instead of wondering who left it there — I simply took it out back and tossed it in the dumpster. He replied … No, more likely would gain you an indulgence.

  21. esquiress says:

    They’re putting Roman Polanski and the French officials who harbored him on trial for crimes against humanity next right? Right?

    I’m just going to sit back with my gin and tonic and listen to the crickets…

  22. Actual rapists are victims of society (and celibacy, no doubt), so there’s no point arresting and trying them. Besides, Polanski is an Artiste, and the French and Swiss officials are Brave Defenders of Liberty and Art.

    Whereas the Pope tells people that child rape is bad, and tries to support celibacy. So obviously, he’s the villain here.

  23. Jaybirdnbham says:

    I’m getting a strong suspicion that the Australian poll is rigged and that the “no” votes are not being counted. It’s now 80% yes and 20% no. That’s just fishy.

  24. B.C.M. says:

    We’re losing serious ground on the ABC poll. Serious ground. And we didn’t have much to begin with.

  25. aeneas says:

    If the Australian poll is rigged against the Pope, we can rig it in his favor. Using Internet Explorer, vote, then delete cookies etc. (tools/ internet options/ general) and then refresh the page. (Ctrl R)

    You then can vote again and again and again using the above method!!!

  26. Ulrich says:

    we were at 21-79, know: 20.8
    the enemy votes, too.

  27. Susan says:

    Something is fishy with the Australian poll. I just voted no – the current results are Yes: 79.1% and No: 20.9%.

  28. Susan says:

    Okay – I just voted no again, and now it tells me the results are no: 20.8% !!! with Yes still being 79.1%

  29. Ulrich says:


  30. Ulrich says:

    u have 2 clear your cookies. they set some to control if u ve already voted

  31. Ulrich says:


  32. Ulrich says:


  33. acmeaviator says:

    I have my AutohotKey script running – so pray for me I guess lol. I’m not really sure what the moral position is on autoclicking polls. With automated cookie clears and page reloads I’m getting in 4-5 “no” votes a minute and it looks like an impact of .1% per 3 minutes of run time. No way I’ll get us to parity before they close the poll :(

  34. Ulrich says:

    hey, how to install thos? I’d love to help.

  35. Ulrich says:

    do you have to delete the cookies, too?

  36. Ulrich says:

    sorry for flooding this box, but: what is the source code?

  37. acmeaviator says:

    Autohotkey is a free program – I use it to automate a lot of my work (I’m the CIO for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington). One of the utilities it installs is a script recorder. Basically you start the recorder and click through the task then stop recording. Edit the script in notepad and use a loop command. When you run the script it will just loop the series of clicks you recorded. In this case you want to start recording, click “no”, click “vote”, click tools, click clear all current history (if using firefox), click clear now, click ok, click refresh, stop recording. You will need to edit the “sleep” times in the script to allow the page to load fully and for the poll to reset.

  38. B.C.M. says:

    This strikes me as dishonest. How can we claim to have the moral majority, when those who are voting, may be doing so dishonestly, and solely in order to win this. If the enemy is cheating, then he is cheating. That does not give us license to cheat.

    I have voted. Once.

  39. deborah-anne says:

    Voted no. Let there be no mistake. Hitchens and his cohorts have been putting this together for sometime. They have been laying in wait. And now the beast has pounced.

  40. acmeaviator says:

    I appreciate your concern – but imho this is quite simply spiritual warfare in the digital age:)

  41. Laura says:

    People, the polls aren’t the issue. Trying to ‘out click’ someone isn’t going to undo the damage done to the Vatican. This is all just a distraction and all too much noise.

  42. Folks… help move those polls.

  43. acmeaviator says:

    Fr. I’m not sure if you approve of my methods – but now that I have them down I’ll be using them on every poll you link here:)

  44. SeanMc says:

    We won’t win these polls, because generally the pople who bother to vote in a negative fashion tend to be the ones with a vehement opinion; ‘normal’ people tend either to click disinterestedly or move on withour bothering.
    I have been involved, well, fighting, on the Yahoo forum in the UK for the past week or so, where Yahoo has just been rehashing the Press Association’s stories in the most amazingly biased and ridiculous way. It’s acting like a rabble rouser doing its best to whip up fury and venom, and it is very depressing and very wearing. You try to reason with the posters, but this issue has managed to gather the radical gay community, the fundementalist Protestant community, the Radical Atheists and the just plain loony element together in a red haze of hate and bile against the Pope, but also against the church in particular and, to a degree, people of faith in general. There is no appeal to reason with these people. They do not want to hear anything that contradicts the plainly misleading and inaccurate articles or their own preconceptions. When you read phrases such as ‘hang the chief pervert and all his pedophile scum’, you realise that sanity has taken a vacation and there is nobody at home but the clanking pots and pans. However, interestingly, the main topic of their bile is not necessarily the pope, just wild rants at faith in general and catholicism in particular – which means the church must have been doing something right somewhere!
    The good news is that the whole furore is not getting a huge amount of coverage on the mainstream UK TV or radio media, who whilst being critical and questioning, are less wildly so.
    We just have to keep steadily fighting our corner and take strength from God, the church and each other. Most of the general population has enough of on its plate to get really wound up with this issue, and we just have to keep making our voice heard and let the truth slowly come out to the surface once the screaming has died down. Good luck and God Bless All.

  45. acmeaviator says:

    ABC poll has moved up 1.2% in the last 30 minutes. If we can get a few more people trained on AHK we will own these polls.

  46. At least the ABC poll was more direct and simpler to answer.
    Of course, with all the “pointy headed” intellektuals at “The New Humanist” (barf!) we had a “nuanced” approach…
    Yeah, opinion polls are gonna determine the objective moral teachings of the Church and will determine if Pope Benedict XVI is guilty of “crimes against humanity”; NOT.
    I don’t care if we have three people around here us who actually believe and attempt to live the teachings of the Church…”where two or three are gathered”…I know it’s important to witness to our Faith and to give good example, but if the majority decides to reject God and His revelation, I certainly am not joining them. Too bad for them.

  47. acmeaviator says:

    I agree with your post Sean – I’ve been “fighting the good fight” on the Huffington Post. I agree it can be terribly disheartening – especially if you forget where it is you are posting lol. That being said I have a small group of “fans”, and every once in a great while I’ll actually get a few agreeing posts before the “evil villain in a frock” posts come back in a flurry.

  48. acmeaviator says:

    23% on ABC!

  49. SeanMc says:

    …..I should have added that we may not win – but we can at least try!

  50. Ulrich says:

    ahk is fun …
    can you do have two instances of ahk at the same time? we also do need halp for the “human”ist site …

  51. acmeaviator says:

    You can run multiple instances, but it gets tricky fast. You would open 4 browser windows, resize them so they all fit on your screen, then record a script for each window. Pretty complex for this kind of “fun” stuff. We are up to 24%, up from 20.8% an hour or so ago. One thing that helps a lot is running your autoclickers on a netbook or second computer and just checking in on them from time to time. The ABC poll moved down the page about 40 pixels when they changed the “now playing” photo above the poll so you can’t just let them run without some babysitting.

  52. acmeaviator says:

    Lol – well it’s moving now! 24.7%!

  53. Ulrich says:

    thx for your great help.
    I have already deactivated all images ;)

    Ok, so I’ll have to use one single instance.
    And thank you very very much!

  54. Ulrich says:

    thx for your great help.
    I have already deactivated all images ;)

    Ok, so I’ll have to use one single instance.
    And thank you very very much!

    Do you know how to build loops?

  55. acmeaviator says:

    25%! Yeah at the top of the script type “loop {” and at the end of your script add the closing “}” You can also “loop x” where x is a numeric value indicating total loops to be executed.

  56. mvmattke says:

    Father Father!

    If it’s possible, help shifting this brazilian poll. This is the most important brazilian newspaper:

    Scrolling down you’ll see three polls:

    The third one says:

    Em sua opinião, os escândalos de pedofilia na igreja podem prejudicar a imagem do papa Bento 16?

    That is:

    In yout opinion, the scandals of pedophily in the church will damage the image of Pope Benedict XVI?

    Yes has 73% (33.522 votes) so far…)
    No has 27% (12.392)

    A lot of Brazilian people read yout blog and your readers are very effective in shifting polls. So,if possible, it’d be of great value your help :)


  57. mark1970 says:

    I tried to vote on the Australian Broadcasting Company’s pole but I couldn’t register a vote.. for some reason it said I’d already voted.

    With respect to the Richard Dawkins “arrest the Pope” news story, for months, he (Richard Dawkins) has been involved with a “Protest the Pope” campaign in the UK. The propose of this campaign is to protest against the Pope’s visit to the UK later this year, particularly the visit being subsidised by the British government. Professor Dawkins claims on his blog, that he realises that the chances of something like this really happening are low. He’s hoping that the affair will cause the Papal visit to be cancelled, or at least make the British government feel so uncomfortable about it that they refuse to pay for it.

    So it sounds like the entire “arrest the Pope” business is, at least from his perspective, a smokescreen to try to gen the visit to the UK cancelled.

  58. mvmattek: Okay, I voted “no” in Portuguese…that was strange! I have some “inkling” of it but still…glad to help out!

  59. mark1970: That’s interesting.
    If Dawkins and Hitchens had some credibility, it would be scary.
    Both of them are either complete psychopaths, lunatics, or drunks…talk about ‘megalomania’.
    And as for drunks, Hitchens seems to have quite a reputation (and I’m not passing on gossip here, the media in the UK seems to have him ‘pegged’)…Dawkins needs to “get a life”). Don’t these two wunderkinds have anything better to do than pick on poor old Pope Benedict?
    Aren’t they wasting their atheistic time span on nothings?

  60. emily13 says:

    I just had the same experience as mark1970. Clicked the link and it said I had already voted…

  61. Kate says:

    For the first poll, it’s the same with me, couldn’t vote. Clicked the link and it said I had already voted.

    The second poll allowed me to vote.

  62. Scelata says:

    Mark1970, although I had never been to that site before it also told me that I had already voted.
    IS it possible that the fix is in?

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

  63. Charliebird says:

    yeah, me too….said i already voted and was like 73 to 27 when I checked it

  64. The Digital MC says:

    Couldn’t vote in the first poll. Was told that I had already voted when I clicked on the link.

  65. mvmattke says:

    I’ve never been to that site too, and it told me I had already voted…

    nazareth priest: thanks for your support!

  66. Dauphin says:

    Same with me… it says I’ve voted already.

  67. Nerinab says:

    Apparently I’ve already voted, too! So frustrating.

  68. ghp95134 says:

    A friend used her computer (with my assistance), but she got the same result before she could even select a response! I tried it on my other off-site computer and couldn’t vote; got the following:
    Yes 73.5%
    No 26.5%

    Vote You’ve already voted!

    It sounds like anyone voting NO is getting the same results now.


  69. VEXILLA REGIS says:

    I was also told I had already voted. Either: the GayBC has flagged my email address because of previous non PC comments or,someone has “stolen”my email address and voted in my name, or their system is suffering a glitch.
    The GayBC has a fanatical following of Lefties,Homosexuals,Pro-Abortionists and Greenies who would be ever hostile to the Church. Beyond that it has a following of people who loathe its politics and principles, but listen to it to get away from pop music and normal commercials.
    I have emailed a complaint to the management – we shall see what reply I get.P.S. There are many good ,faithful Catholics in Australia, we just need MORE good faithful Bishops.

  70. It’s saying that I voted too, and I’ve never even been on the website before! I think someone’s got it rigged.

  71. ghp95134 says:

    Vexilla Regis,

    My friend attempted to vote from her office computer — she has an entirely different IP address (mine is a federal agency, hers is a private company); still, when the page opened up, she was not provided a chance to vote. Perhaps it is not a fanatical group flagging our email addresses or IP addresses.


  72. An interesting note from their view results page: “Please note: ABC NewsRadio reserves the right to remove any poll, current or archived, where we reasonably believe irregular voting activity has occurred.”

    I bet they killed it.

  73. LisaNicholas says:

    Like many others, I was told by the ABC poll that I had already voted (this happened with 2 different browsers, so it couldn’t be because of an errant cookie). I think it’s rigged. Could it be they are tracking cookies from the WDTPRS web site? If they are worried about “irregular voting activity,” they may have heard about your poll alerts, Padre!

  74. Mitchell NY says:

    I went to the website and upon pulling it up or trying to it says “You’ve already voted”. This is not true. I did not vote. I wonder if somehow people who link through this page are denied a vote. Not computer savvy, I do not know why it would say that. But for sure I did not cast my vote and somehow am not allowed.

  75. spock says:

    It says I voted too. I didn’t. Spock is on the verge of attaining emotions ……

    Tried “FireFox” and “Epiphany” web browsers. Neither worked ….

  76. Norah says:

    I too was told that I had already voted before I had a chance to click “no”.

    Amazing isn’t it. The media has been flooding the world with anti Catholic and anti Pope stories containing untrue claims about sexual abuse coverups and surprise, surprise people vote that the Pope should be tried with “crimes against humanity” because of the sexual abuse coverups.

    There is a wider problem here than that affecting just the Catholic Church and the Pope. This unelected body has demonstrated that it can manipulate people’s opinions even when the evidence they provide contradicts the claims. I now have a fear that an unbalanced person, inflamed by the media claims, could do something to the pope . God forbid that anything would happen but if it did the media would refuse to acknowledge the blood on its hands and say that it was the pope’s/the Church’s actions which brought a violent response. The media could carry out this policy of disinformation with anyone, any government or any institution of which they disapproved to obatain a desired result.

  77. spock says:

    When I use the base web address ie :

    Under the “RADIO” menu at the top and go to “NEWSRADIO”, I get the same address as Father Z cited above.

    But the poll question is changed to:

    Should artists ‘appropriate’ original works?

    So it seems the question has changed and voting on the question we wanted is over.

    Missed it by that much ….

    Agent 86

  78. paulbailes says:

    I also get the “You’ve already voted” message from the ABC.

    What makes this doubly disgusting is that my taxes pay for this (Australian) government-funded organisation.

    Still – we should keep things in proportion: a bunch of secular humanists can only be expected to say nasty things about the HF, however untruthfully; which pales by comparison with the *Vatican’s* own outrages against tradition (i) purported and untruthful suppression of the TLM 1969-2007 (ii) continued purported condemnation to eternal hellfire for Abp Lefebvre (which is what maintenance of the “excommunication” entails, and what some WDTPRS-ers would seem to believe is actually the case).

    My experience as a sinner is that God is His mercy gives you back in this life what you dish out unfairly through others to Him, as a kind of hint that you need to mend your ways. My advice to the HF would be to lift the remaining sanctions against tradition and traditionalists, offer the TLM in public as well, and see what good happens as a result. The worst that could possibly happen would be a Via Dolorosa, but no Catholic could ask for anything more could they? At the very least, the HF will be sure to have some firm and loyal friends as a result.


  79. They took the poll down it seems. They didn’t want the racist, anti-Catholic, hate speech to loose so they took it down as soon as they saw Catholics showing up.

  80. Heather says:

    They probably caught on when they saw how many votes were being referred by this site.

    In the future, I recommend using this service which will conceal the site referrer.

  81. Zyphane says:

    Father, how does the word “alleged” make that first poll question smarmy? It shows that the connection of the pope to these “cover-ups” are allegations, not facts. It *is* poor journalistic practice to fail to list the source of an allegation, however. Also missing is any mention of the pope’s supposed personal involvement in these cases. One couldn’t hold him guilty of “crimes against humanity” merely for being the head of an organization.

    The question would better read, “Should the Pope be charged with ‘crimes against humanity’, over allegations from various media outlets, such as the New York Times, that he was personally involved with cover-ups of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?”

  82. sadimgnik says:

    There has been some (quite heated) discussion of yesterday’s webpoll .. Most particularly, there are concerns that the poll was ‘rigged’ – especially after the poll was locked (which means those trying to vote get a “you’ve already voted” response). Perhaps I can explain….

    The somewhat over-the-top arguments of Richard Dawkins in recent days, calling for the Pope’s arrest on ‘Crimes against Humanity’ charges, have been getting some coverage here for the past couple of days.

    So, ABC NewsRadio (*) decided to put a poll on that issue online. You have already noted the use of ‘alleged’ … and dismissed it as a weasel-word. It is not. It is meant to draw attention to the fact that the allegation is just that … allegation, and has not been tested in a court.

    But whatever you think of the question, you had the right to respond. Which lots of people did. In record numbers. So many, in fact, that when I checked the results, it was obvious that the poll had been hijacked.

    A quick glance at the logs showed signs of mass-voting by both sides … so rather than take the poll off-line, I merely locked it, until I had a chance to examine the logs in detail.

    These, by the way, are the results …


    (Because people voting from the same office can show up as the same domain I’ve only looked at double-digit multiple votes.)

    Multiple Yes votes
    total 2785 multiples out of 7122 votes = 4337 ‘genuine’ votes

    Multiple no votes
    Total 869 multiples out of 2562 votes = 1693 ‘genuine’ votes

    Therefore – ‘genuine’ vote = 6030 votes

    yes = 71%
    no = 29%

    I am disappointed that some respondents here assumed some form of bias (or worse, evil intent) on our part on this issue.

    It is unfortunate, but the vote clearly went for ‘Yes’.


    Online journalist / web producer at ABC NewsRadio

    (*) These coments are entirely my own. I am NOT speaking on behalf of my employer. I don’t have the right to do so – and nothing I say should be construed as representing the ABC.

  83. Putting the Pope on trial could be useful – assuming that its a fair trial, the evidence would get out and the truth would become known.

    The question is, who would give Sancte Pater a fair trial? Also, would even the fairest, most objective of juries issue a verdict that would truly settle the matter?

Comments are closed.