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[links] Link salad oversleeps, is late for work - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-04-15 06:27
Subject: [links] Link salad oversleeps, is late for work
Security: Public
Tags:culture, links, personal, politics, religion, science
Britain Closes Airspace as Volcanic Ash Spreads — Talk about an apocalyptic headine.

Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again — What? Rational thought about psychoactives? Time for another battle in War on Drugs!

Musings on SETI and Nearby Brown DwarfsCentauri Dreams on one of my favorite topics.

The Pope, the Church, and skepticismBad Astronomy on the Catholic Church's ongoing protection and coverup of pedophelia, specifically how atheists and skeptics might or might not respond. Some good thinking here.

Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated — Who are the Tea Party, really? I like this: Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits. Others could not explain the contradiction. Also, keep your government hands off their medicare, Socialists!

Uninformed Limbaugh Wonders ‘Where Was The Union’ At Non-Union Mine Disaster — Wait. "Uninformed" and "Limbaugh" in the same sentence? I call liberal bias!

?otD: Do you find this day taxing?



4/15/2010
Writing time yesterday: 0 hours (day off)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 8.5 (overslept)
This morning's weigh-in: n/a
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 3/10 (fatigue)
Currently reading: [between books]

Post A Comment | 21 Comments | | Link






jordan179
User: jordan179
Date: 2010-04-15 13:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The eruption is likely to mean that the next year or two will be even colder than would have already been the case owing to the solar minimum we've entered. Unfortunately, one effect of this will be to convince people that we don't need to worry at all about global warming. Most people believe what is convenient, and they have difficulty distinguishing short-term from long-term climatic effects.
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dionysus1999
User: dionysus1999
Date: 2010-04-15 14:10 (UTC)
Subject: Up your alley, Light twists matter
Materials science courtesy of the University of Michigan.

http://michigantoday.umich.edu/2010/04/story.php?id=7725&tr=y&auid=6209626
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-15 14:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There needs to be a distinction made between what has happened in the past and what is "ongoing." I have been background checked and fingerprinted every time I've gone anywhere near children as a church volunteer. There is no "ongoing" problem in the church. There is an issue of investigating past mistakes and making amends to those who have been hurt. The Catholic church was not the only organization hiding and covering up sexual abuse in the 1950's, and we still have a hard time with that in society in general nowadays.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-15 20:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As I understand the reportage n problem, this isn't a problem that ended in the 1950s.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100415/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_predator_priests;_ylt=ArDVVk0R0CD2szAhk.DE1aOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFpZGw3dm5sBHBvcwM0MARzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX21vc3RfcG9wdWxhcgRzbGsDYXBpbXBhY3RwcmVk

It's been an active issue as recently as the 1990s, not the 1950's, and given the long term priority the hierarchy has placed on protecting the Church's reputation over actually remediating the victims or dealing with the alleged perpetrators, specifically under the direction of Cardinal Ratzinger, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason now to assume goodwill or any recent change of policy. These cases by their nature take years or decades to come to light, especially with the policy of swearing victims to silence.

Speaking as a victim of (non clergy) childhood sex abuse myself, I didn't admit to anyone but my therapist until I was in my late 20s. And I didn't have the seal of the Church hanging over my head, just the shame and intimidation forced upon me by my abuser.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-15 20:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"there doesn't seem to be any particular reason now to assume goodwill or any recent change of policy."

How would you know?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-15 20:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Note I say "assume". I don't know, I assume, and I assume because I haven't seen any change in policy. Absent other evidence, in general the best predictor of future behavior in any person or insitution is prior behavior.

What I have seen absent a publicized or otherwise visible change in policy is press counterattacks, denial, claims of victimization and Jew-baiting. I've specifically seen statements that Cardinal Ratzinger (an infamous micromanager) had no direct involvement, until letters have begun appearing over his signature in recent weeks as part of legal discovery processes. This "deny everything" process is classic "cheat and retreat" institutional damage control behavior, as visible in virtually every political scandal of the past decades. It doesn't fill me with confidence that there's been a change of policy, which to my knowledge hasn't been announced.

But yes, assumptions, as stated, not knowledge. Are you aware of a change in policy in how these accusations are handled either with respect to ecclesiastical or civil procedure? It's certainly been underreported if so.

Note that I'm not anti-Catholic, any more than I'm generally out of touch with any religious impulse. I am, however, strongly pro-child.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-15 21:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, the church has responded comprehensively to the sex abuse scandals starting in the early 00's. On a whim, I checked out the archdiocese of Portland, since this is local to you and you could physically walk in and ask questions if you wanted. I was very surprised to find exactly the information we are looking for on their front page:

http://www.archdpdx.org/

Click on "what the church has done to stop sex abuse"

Also, I am positive that if you call the diocese main number, representatives of the diocese or even the archbishop himself would be happy to talk with you more about it and answer any questions you have.

Have you heard the pope's recent comments pertaining to the scandal? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/15/pope-priests-penance-sex-abuse

This does not fully address the situation, but I think begins to get at what you are looking for. The thing about the Catholic church that people consistently fail to understand is that it doesn't function like a political organization or any other secular organization. It responds slowly, often to a fault, but it does respond. Just usually not before people have become bored with a topic and the newspapers stop printing stories. You can probably expect a more satisfying response from the Vatican in time--but maybe not for a while.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-15 21:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My home archdiocese has a page o' information, also. There is a link to some Catholic responses to media coverage:

http://www.aodonline.org/AODOnline/AODOnline.htm

The news media have been pretty quick to report on some stupid and insensitive things said by some priests and bishops, but churches all over the country have been talking about this. It's just not very newsworthy when a bishop somewhere says something wise and sensible.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 12:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Granting everything you say for the sake of discussion, do you believe there should be civil or criminal accountability in the hierarchy for these past actions?
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-16 12:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Granted for the sake of discussion strongly implies that you don't agree. Since what I have given you is objectively verifiable information, I think we may have a problem reconciling our perceptions of reality, here. Did you check out the links?

To answer your question: Civil or criminal accountability is a matter of law. If someone in the church hierarchy has broken the law, then of course they should be accountable. Why wouldn't they, ever? I am very puzzled about where the idea comes from that the church is somehow above the law. What is creating that perception?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 13:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Granted for the sake of discussion strongly implies that you don't agree. Since what I have given you is objectively verifiable information, I think we may have a problem reconciling our perceptions of reality, here. Did you check out the links?

Actually, that was a shortcut for "I haven't had time to follow this up yet, but I still want to ask this question." My apologies for the sloppy wording.

I am very puzzled about where the idea comes from that the church is somehow above the law. What is creating that perception?

Among other things, the Church's own written policies about suppressing evidence of abuse and transferring priests away from jurisdictions where the alleged crimes took place.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-16 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, okay, I got you.

I honestly am not sure what you're talking about with regard to the policy. Can you be more specific? Sometimes it is confusing because there is a history of a number of different individuals/diocese/incidents we could be referring to, here. I linked to an example of the Church's current policy above, which is the most draconian, intolerant policy you could possibly craft regarding child abuse by clergy--upon receipt of creditable allegations of child abuse, the priest is dismissed immediately and everything reported to the authorities as soon as possible.

I am not aware of what the policy may have been in the past. I think it is safe to say the past policy was inadequate and did not go as far as it should or could in protecting children.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 15:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I take your point about change in policy, but my question stands about accountability for past acts. ("Past" in this case being as recently as 2005, not the 1950s.)

As recently reported in the press, Cardinal Ratzinger's internal document (from, I believe the 1980s) on how to handle these cases including a form of a statute of limitations, swearing the victims to secrecy without reporting to civil or criminal authorities, and transferring priests out of jurisdiction. This was all done explicitly to protect the reputation of the Church, and consciously placed that reputation above the needs of the victims.

At a minimum, the jurisdictional issue is still active. See this story for a current instance:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/14/AR2010041404100.html

"A priest who admitted to abuse in Los Angeles went to the Philippines, where U.S. church officials mailed him checks and advised him not to reveal their source."

And here:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/06/india.minnesota.priest.abuse/?hpt=Sbin

That's flight to avoid prosecution, for example. Not to mention obstruction of justice. All wrapped around the core crimes. And all of which very much places the interests of the Church above the law (to answer your question as to where I got that impression), as well as above the interests of the victims. The point of my earlier question was that even granting that thing are right today, where is the accountability for this past behavior by the current senior authorities in the Church?
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-16 16:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"As recently reported in the press, Cardinal Ratzinger's internal document (from, I believe the 1980s) on how to handle these cases including a form of a statute of limitations, swearing the victims to secrecy without reporting to civil or criminal authorities, and transferring priests out of jurisdiction. This was all done explicitly to protect the reputation of the Church, and consciously placed that reputation above the needs of the victims."

I have not heard of this document, though I have been following the news.

Of course it is against the law to aid and abet a fugitive from justice. Anyone who does so should be prosecuted. There are many cases in the link you provided and I looked at them all. We do not have a difference of opinion on justice here, but I think there is a difference in perspective. For clarity, let me talk about the size of the church. According to this web site, http://cara.georgetown.edu/bulletin/
the Catholic church has more than 400,000 priests worldwide, and 1.147 billion members. 17% of the population of the entire world. These priests and believers are divided up into over 200,000 parishes around the world. In addition, the leadership of these parishes are made up from people from every country and culture in the world, and they speak all of the possible languages of those respective countries and cultures. To say that these disparate parishes have different cultural perspectives on sexuality and abuse would be a profound understatement, and it is at the local, diocesan level that the most successful discipline and response would be enacted.

Is it possible that what you see as deliberate and sinister malfeasance is actually a combination of human error and poor judgment? None of this is offered as any kind of excuse for any negligence that results in the harm of a child, but I do think it provides perspective that you are talking about an organization the size of all of China.

One last comment is that although a headline such as "Predator priests shuffled around the globe" can be very sensational, each of these cases has very specific details and circumstances, and there is nothing to indicate that there is any policy, action, individual, or group common to all of them. Instead, there seems to be a patchwork of factors including questions about whether the allegations are true, sneaky behavior on the part of the priest, attempts at counseling and rehabilitation, old fashioned denial, etc.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 17:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And my source:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/aug/17/religion.childprotection

The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.

They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to 'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'


Also this:

Lawyers point to a letter the Vatican sent to bishops in May 2001 clearly stating the 1962 instruction was in force until then. The letter is signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the most powerful man in Rome beside the Pope and who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the office which ran the Inquisition in the Middle Ages.

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 17:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
On another note, I'm clear on the scope of the Catholic church, and how the vast majority of both parishioners and priests have nothing to do with this issue. My original question to you is about executive responsibility and accountability, not about the breadth or depth of the issue. To my mind, covering up one incident of abuse is one too many. An institutional policy of swearing victims to secrecy and threatening all involved with excommunication only compounds that, and adds a pretty clear layer of executive responsibility.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-16 18:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I read the document, Jay, and I disagree with your interpretation. It is pretty clearly a procedural document for handling internal disciplinary action against a priest who gets involved with a parishioner, and it includes a great deal of totally opaque language and references many other documents which are not provided. What they are calling "secrecy" is what we would call privacy, confidentiality, or discretion. Note that the secrecy clause also protects the identity of the accuser. It would hardly be appropriate to deal with such accusations in an open and public manner. Nothing in the document states that the civil authorities cannot be involved if a crime is committed. And the penalty of excommunication for breaking the oath of secrecy does not apply to the accuser, only the accused and the judges and other priests involved. The document would explain some of the otherwise inexplicable lack of response of the church in some cases, if the church used the internal disciplinary process as its only remedy, and tried to prevent civil authority from becoming involved. But remember they are talking primarily about a "crime" within the church which has not been a crime in the US and Europe for a very long time--relations between consenting adults. Using this as a sole remedy for child sexual abuse would be a tragic mistake.

I agree with the quote at the end: 'If this document has been used as a justification for this intimidation then we possibly have what some commentators have alleged, namely, a blueprint for a cover-up. This is obviously a big "if" which requires concrete proof.'

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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-04-16 19:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wanted to add that I think I was not clear on my point about the size of the church, above. I did not intend to point out that the overwhelming majority of priests and parishioners are innocent, which of course is true but irrelevent. What I was trying to highlight was that there is no need of conspiracy theory to explain why several dozen or so cases may have gone terribly wrong. In an organization of 1 billion, all it takes is a cocktail of human error, bureaucratic inertia, a repressive prevailing culture, and a devious perpetrator and you have all the makings of a sexual abuse scandal.

It is becoming clear to me, however, that what many critics want is not individual accountability, but condemnation and punishment of the institution itself--preferably taking down as many high-ranking church officials, popes, and saints as possible. That is a pretty tall order.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-04-16 22:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It is becoming clear to me, however, that what many critics want is not individual accountability, but condemnation and punishment of the institution itself--preferably taking down as many high-ranking church officials, popes, and saints as possible. That is a pretty tall order.

Which seems pretty bizarre to me. I've never been a fan of collective guilt in any form.
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Sputtering with Indignation
User: weirman
Date: 2010-04-15 22:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And now millions of other people are uninformed as well, believing the the mine incident is an example of union fail. It's weird to see ignorance spreading on a daily basis like that.
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ulfhirtha
User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2010-04-15 23:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's Rush for you (and his dittoheads), exploring new frontiers in self-satisfied ignorance
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