By Charlie Johnston
I have been a little under the weather. I broke a tooth off at lunch on Wednesday and spent the next two days getting emergency dental surgery. It left me a bit woozy going into the weekend. As you probably know, I have terrible teeth. It runs in women on my mother’s side of the family. She had full dentures by the time she was 22. I am the only man I know in the family similarly afflicted – but, hey, my love of reading is also an endowment from my Mom, so I’m not complaining. Now I have a partial dental insert. Ha! I lasted longer than any of the others who got the chalk teeth in the family. Sorry I’ve been quiet all week…but it’s been a rough week. (I actually swallowed the tooth before I knew what happened. Fortunately, it did NOT bite me in the rear end on the way out).
I have been disquieted by all the states that are launching their own investigations into the Catholic Church. Given the hierarchy’s utter failure to effectively police itself – and with pretty clear signals from the top that the Vatican is not going to take it seriously any time soon – it was inevitable that this should happen. Heaven knows, if the hierarchy won’t police itself, somebody has to. The problem is that many of the top officials in the states launching investigations are committed enemies of Christianity and of the Church.
The problem for me is that I don’t believe that most of the “lavender mafia” (the homosexual schemers in the hierarchy and their fellow travelers) actually believe in God. If they did, how could they so casually dare seek to reject His commands and erect a new set of rules they prefer? No, actually they think the Church is a very powerful man-made institution. Too incompetent to thrive in most any other endeavor, they seek to wield its power while simultaneously denying the source thereof. Most of them are anti-Catholic bigots who want its institutional power for themselves.
Culturally, on the outside, you have atheist neo-fascists who want to destroy the Church’s institutional power. They, too, are anti-Catholic bigots. They fear the power of true belief – and true believers – to thwart their thrust for totalitarian power. They have become a HUGE faction in the culture. Suggestively, the lavender mafia has gone largely political, offering full-throated support for the authoritarian agenda the atheist neo-fascists count on to sweep them to power (regardless of how it violates defined Catholic doctrine). Simultaneously, the cultural warriors have dissembled about the nature and source of the horrific scandals in the Church – downplaying or completely ignoring the homosexual engine that drives the abuse. Instead, they label pedophilia as the problem, even though only 3 percent of the reported abuse involves pedophilia – and that, too, is almost entirely homosexually driven. We have atheist neo-fascists and the lavender mafia working together to destroy the Church or neuter its teachings so it is no longer a threat to the totalitarian dreams of the culture warriors.
We do not protect the Church by defending either the predators or their enablers within the ranks of the hierarchy. Neither do we defend the Church by submitting to the tender mercies of radicalized public officials who seek to destroy it – and act under the guise of protecting the innocent (a subject they show remarkably little interest in when it comes to other public institutions).
Some years back, a friend of mine who headed a regional branch of Catholic Social Services and I undertook to see how deep the sexual abuse problem went in the Church. To our mutual surprise, the striking thing about the incidence of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church was that it was significantly LESS frequent in the Church than in other major cultural institutions, such as public schools, universities, organized sports and such. That does NOT excuse it. The Church is called to be holy, to be a rock of moral virtue in all times. It was suggestive, though. Why would the culture warriors seek to focus on the area where the abuse was the least prevalent, unless they were using it as a fig leaf to cover another agenda entirely?
In 1993, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, coined the phrase, “defining deviancy down.” Basically, his thesis was that as we progressively normalize and tolerate disordered and deviant behavior, the incidence of serious assaults on the norms that make civil society possible will grow exponentially and, eventually, threaten the foundations of society, itself. Along the way, we will see a dramatic increase of deviant incidents that are still NOT among those we tolerate. We’re there.
How do you defend traditional institutions in an age when a large portion of the population just tried to slime an actual, veritable choirboy to prevent him from taking a seat on the US Supreme Court? When everything is politicized in a no-holds-barred sort of way, there are no standards and nothing is sacred. The only thing that counts is power. A society based on power alone with no objective moral foundation is bound for revolution, ruin and collapse. Ah, but in America, however ugly the battle, the forces of the great middle, those who respect faith, family and freedom, still do have the power of their numbers and voices. We want to stabilize society, to return it to objective standards of justice and morality – and tolerance. To do that, we have to be far more disciplined and far less emotional than the forces of darkness, though every bit as vigorous and energized. A few suggestions…
Though the Church hierarchy will NOT police itself, many individual Bishops (probably even a majority) are committed to doing so – committed to the faith and transparency. Encourage Bishops to fully investigate scandals in their own Dioceses, setting up independent boards, run by laymen, but including clerics, with full authority to investigate problems and publish their findings and recommendations. Set it up according to classic rules of evidence, affording everyone due process and the presumption of innocence. Leave the final decision in the hands of the Bishop (again, Christ appointed Bishops to run His Church – and I am not inclined to join the merry band of modern men who seek to contradict Christ’s commands). Of course, individual criminal behavior will be adjudicated in the temporal realm. A cleric’s spiritual calling does not exempt him from temporal accountability. Such boards, though, (provided they DO follow due process and the presumption of innocence) can be tools by which Bishops can root out the guilty and defend the innocent. Such an idea is amazingly counter-cultural in these times, but the Church, itself, was perhaps the single most counter-cultural endeavor in history.
As far as state action goes, the state does have the legitimate right to investigate abuses and crimes within the realm of its authority – and should do so. However, it should not and must not be allowed to use such investigations to persecute its enemies while protecting its allies. That, of course, is what most modern “investigations” and “prosecutions” have become. To authentically defend the Church, we can demand that when such an investigation is launched, it must investigate the crimes – not selectively choose targets. That means that it would require investigation into all major institutions. You cannot target the abuses that occur in churches while covering for the much greater incidence of abuse in public schools, universities, the entertainment industry, sports – and all the other institutions that support the atheist neo-fascists. We have defined deviancy down and the consequences infect the whole culture. It is all or nothing. That we can insist upon.
I am spending a lot of time thinking about what our next right steps are now that the ground is shaking beneath our feet, now that the cultural institutions we have relied on for fairness and justice are in deep decline or full collapse. I am thankful to a close friend for giving me the key piece for this matter. When I have a more comprehensive look on all that is before us, that is when I will publish the third part of the Ballad of the Ordinary Man – the Apostolate of the Laity. We are called to be the defenders of truth, justice, faith, family and freedom. We cannot do that by adopting the evil, soulless methods of the atheist neo-fascists. Neither can we do it by being flaccid warriors. It is time to call on the help of St. Joan of Arc, St. George, St. Patrick – and especially the Holy Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael that we may be true, aggressive and mighty warriors without sinning. Onward to the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart!