millstone

Fire keeps falling: 'Uncle Teddy' the DC cardinal faces the reality of Matthew 18:6

Fire keeps falling: 'Uncle Teddy' the DC cardinal faces the reality of Matthew 18:6

The whole story of retired Cardinal Theodore "Uncle Ted" McCarrick has reached the stage where reporters, as well as concerned readers, simply have to ride the waves of coverage and wait to connect the hellish dots. The victims are starting to tell their stories.

But let's pause to note a significant change in the shape of the clergy abuse story that has haunted Catholic leaders in America (and elsewhere) since the mid-1980s.

Reporters who have covered this story for decades -- such as my colleague Julia Duin -- have always known that this was a tragedy on three levels, in terms of law, science and even moral theology. But it's hard to tell the bigger story, when the victims remain silent, often because of pressure from parents and clergy.

Level I: Pedophilia -- The sexual abuse of prepubescent children. These cases have received the most news coverage.

Level II: Ephebophilia -- The widespreed sexual abuse of under-aged children and teens.

Level III: The sexual harassment and abuse of adults, often young seminarians.

A bombshell report from The New York Times -- "He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal" -- opened the floodgates, in terms of urgent discussions of sins and crimes at Level III. 

Now the Times team is back with a report that, in the words of Rocco Palmo of the Whispers in the Loggia website, is "a nuclear bomb." The Times headline: "Man Says Cardinal McCarrick, His ‘Uncle Ted,’ Sexually Abused Him for Years."

With a devastating three-word tweet -- "Millstone, neck, sea" -- columnist Ross Douthat of the Times (a pro-Catechism Catholic) has pointed readers to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, verse 6:


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A rather obvious hole in Guam reporting on sexual assault cases involving Catholic priests

A rather obvious hole in Guam reporting on sexual assault cases involving Catholic priests

Trust me, I know what it's like to be a reporter who has to call people who you already know do not want to talk to you. I mean, I am so old I worked the Godbeat in the 1980s, the era of the great televangelist scandals.

But way back then, journalists had a way of letting readers know that the newsroom tried to give people a chance to respond to their critics, to tell their side of complicated stories. Reporters would call and call and call. You might even knock on someone's door.

Finally, you'd have to put a statement in the story that said something like, "Leaders of the so-and-so group declined repeated requests for interviews." Sometimes, you could even quote a source saying that they didn't want to talk.

Now, this brings us to a strange story from Guam, of all places, care of the Pacific News Center (which appears, from its website, to have a working relationship with ABC News and, thus, the Disney empire). The headline: "The Vatican failed to submit a comprehensive report to the UN by the Sept. 1 deadline." I don't do this often, but here is 90 percent of this short report:

Guam -- As sexual assault cases against the Archdiocese of Agana continue to increase, it appears that the Vatican has found itself in trouble with the United Nations.
Three years ago, the Vatican was called to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which begged the Vatican to take concrete steps to remedy decades of institutional complicity and cover-up of widespread sexual violence.
September 1, 2017 marked the deadline for the Vatican to submit a comprehensive report on their progress, but the Vatican did not submit the report.
According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Holy See was provided with committee recommendations aimed at ensuring the protection of children from sexual violence, however the Vatican has not implemented any of those recommendations. ...

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