Sunday, April 20, 2008

I’ll Take the Pope Over Bill Maher

As my good friends know, I lost a daughter to the ravages of alcoholism and a life ruined in her childhood by a child molester. I spent much of my life trying to help, but basically watching helplessly as she suffered and moved from crisis to crisis. As I said at her funeral, a child molester is worse than a murderer; at least when you kill someone they are dead and can’t suffer anymore, and their families have a chance to mourn and then get on with their lives. My child was not molested by a priest, but, because of my pain, I am sure I felt more outrage at priests and at the Catholic Church than did the average person.

When a child is molested sexually, their lives are ruined, and they never get over it. For the rest of their lives they suffer from the memories, and try to escape from them in a variety of ways – all of them harmful. If that were not bad enough, the misery is passed on to family and friends; if they marry, their spouse and their children also have to suffer from this curse, which may even be passed on to future generations. The children of adults molested in childhood often witness and suffer episodes that then can affect them as adults and as future parents.

I firmly believe that a child sexual molester convicted more than once should be castrated, or spend life in prison without the possibility of parole or be executed. I do not understand why we treat such monsters with such compassion. They never change, even after years of incarceration and treatment, and the harm that they do is incalculable. The deterrence and punishment measures I advocate would apply also to Catholic priests who sexually molest children. For this reason I may surprise my friends by my reaction to the vicious and sick comments made by Bill Maher about the visit of Pope Benedict. Bill Maher is a demented person who would sink to any depths to get a laugh.

There is no doubt that the Catholic Church has been a cauldron of homosexual child abuse and that the Church hierarchy has been worse than lax in dealing with this horrendous problem. In fact, the molestation problem and its aftermath may well eventually cause the demise of the Catholic Church in this country.

However, I have personal knowledge that the Church has been trying for many years to identify and prevent homosexuals and men with homosexual tendencies from entering the priesthood. I know this because a lady to whom I was married used to interview and administer tests to priest candidates for this very reason. Therefore, while I have contempt for the abusive priests and heartsick that the Church has not been more dedicated to eliminate them, I have not lost my respect for the Church and its mission.

Hopefully, the measures that Pope Benedict has now put in place will correct this situation, and we must remember that the estimate of the number of priests accused of this atrocity is about 4%. If correct, that means that 96% of American priests, as they struggle to carry out their mission in churches, schools, hospitals, colleges and nursing homes maintained by the Catholic Church in America, are being tarred by a small minority.

Bill Maher Insults Pope

April 15, 2008 By: Fred Lucas Newsmax (Excerpt)

“Comments by HBO's Bill Maher insulting the Pope and calling Catholicism a "cult" that promotes "organized pedophilia" have stirred resentment among many American Catholics upset he would say this the week before Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States.

The comments were made on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday, Apr. 11. Maher went into a long monologue on his program comparing the Catholic church to a polygamous cult -- the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -- which was raided on Apr. 3 and whose founder, Warren Jeffs, was convicted last year for being an accessory to the rape of a teenage girl.

Bill Maher compared the Texas scandal and its latest alleged abuse with the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002.

"I'd like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult," Maher told his audience. "Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That's right, the Pope is coming to America this week and, ladies, he's single."

Catholic League President Bill Donohue responded that Maher "lied when he said the Pope 'used to be a Nazi.' Like all young men in Germany at the time, he was conscripted into a German Youth organization (from which he fled as soon as he could). Every responsible Jewish leader has acknowledged this reality and has never sought to brand the Pope a Nazi. That job falls to Maher."”

American society is falling into depths of degradation as evidenced by the growing number of fatherless children and the violent acts committed on college campuses across the country. Over 75% of black children and over 50% of white children are now born out of wedlock (we used to call them, bastards). Our television and movies compete to see how low they can sink in showing pornography, casual sex and gratuitous violence. Large numbers of teenage girls are afflicted with STDS, and an American President introduced the subject of oral sex to junior high school students. I am not a Roman Catholic, but I believe that the Catholic Church, if it can get over these scandals and get back to its roots, is one of the best structures we have of turning around these depressing trends. That’s why I am encouraged by Pope Benedict’s visit as was Peggy Noonan as she wrote:
“He was referring, of course, to what the pope did regarding what American Catholics now call, simply, The Scandal. What he did was unprecedented, historic, but also a gift. In the past, the church has been defensive about the sexual-abuse scandals, or dismissive, or full of carefully worded semi-denials. That's over. The page has been turned. In Shepherd One, on the way to Washington from Rome, Benedict called the scandal a "shame." In almost every stop he addressed it, took responsibility, said,
in essence, never again. He charged the bishops to work hard, to move strongly. At St. Patrick's: The scandal "caused so much suffering"; this church, like so many elements and institutions in society, needs "purification."

Most moving, of course, was the meeting, in Washington, with five of those who had been abused, who had told their stories, who had previously not been listened to.

Now he was holding their hands, individually, and hearing them. It seemed to me a mirror of John Paul's historic meeting, 25 years ago, with Mehmet Ali Agca. The two of them talked and prayed, alone, in Agca's cell. Agca had attempted to kill the pope; John Paul wanted to forgive him. Now here with Benedict in Washington, a church that had killed the innocence of some children asked for forgiveness.

All of this was in some ways confessional; it set a tone that might be called the new humility; it identified the church once again with the powerless and abused, and in doing so seemed to move the church back closer to what it was in its beginnings, a place of the humble and hunted.”


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At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At that Washington meeting, a news story today said that Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston also handed the Pope a book which listed the names of over 1,000 children who had been molested. It also included several other pages colored in blue, that represented those who had never come forward.

That scandal has had a dramatic impact on how people in many professions must operate. Anyone who works with children must have a CORI Check every 3 years. Employers who hire High School Students for COOP Credits must have the manager who will deal most often with that student also have a CORI Check. (That is a State Law).

I as a public high school teacher have students to occasionally "Win" some major competition. In my early days of teaching, I would rush up and give those students a big hug and share in their award.
Since things have changed, it's been about 15 years since I've ever hugged a student.

At 4:20 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

I sent out a few emails in protest to the denigrating words that Bill Maher had for the Pope and the Catholic religion. I also called for his dismissal from HBO Time/Warner. If Bill Maher ever made these kind of remarks about Islamists and their religion, they would get him, chop his head off and feed it to the pigs and he knows this. Being the slimy little coward that he is, he knows that good Catholics don't go around killing people who denigrate their religion.


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