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June 27, 2005

Rick Santorum: Because he can

Well, this article written by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) three years ago is making the rounds in the blogosphere today. Of local interest, it includes this hilariously vile howler:

It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.

Ripper_1Wow ... I didn't know whether to be angry, or laugh, or throw up. That's worthy of the pathetic rambling of some drunk AM radio talk-show caller -- or maybe Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove. But instead it's the considered, published thoughts of a U.S. Senator -- someone who is referred to as "The Honorable".

Of course, we know about Santorum's weird tendency towards rhetorical free-association: "man-on-dog", anyone? This comment reveals a constellation of so many ideological neuroses that it's really hard to pick apart. So let's start with this: it's cognitive dissonance, i.e. an attempt to rationalize an opinion that's at odds with the facts. In other words, Santorum thinks: Catholic Church = good. Child rape and coverups = bad. Therefore the Church must not be wholly responsible for that bad thing that happened, and therefore there must be another culprit: Liberalism! And how conveeeeenient that the Seat of Liberalism is the "center of the storm": Boston!

So, why do Santorum, Karl Rove, and others feel free to say rotten, slanderous things about liberals -- and even putatively liberal cities? Why do dogs lick their balls? Because they can. Look, until Rick Santorum gets his hat handed to him by the voters of Pennsylvania, until liberals tar Karl Rove with all of the disgusting things he's done over the years, until liberals start sticking up for themselves in the media and at the ballot box, this will continue.

Rick Santorum needs to apologize to Boston. I want to hear demands from Mitt Romney, Tom Reilly, Deval Patrick, Menino, Travaglini, DiMasi, and all the local mayors that Santorum apologize.

And by the way, if anyone from the beautiful state of Pennsylvania is reading this: This is a matter of self-respect for you guys. Is anyone proud of this clown? (Not that many, it would seem.)

Update: Here is a fine post that points out that most importantly, Santorum has insulted and trivialized the victims of clergy abuse by treating them as a political football.

Another update: Speaking of Karl Rove and his continuing exploitation of 9/11 for power, see 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser's extensive takedown at Huffington Post:

It was only after your invasion of Iraq, that Bin Laden's goals were met. Because of your war in Iraq two things happened that helped Bin Laden and the terrorists: al Qaeda recruitment soared and the United States is now alienated from and hated by the rest of the world. In effect, what Bin Laden could not achieve by murdering my husband and 3,000 others on 9/11, you handed to him on a silver platter with your invasion of Iraq - a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Which leads me to my final questions for you Karl: What are your motives when it comes to 9/11 and are you really sure that you understand 9/11?

Thanks to Liberal Oasis for the steer.

Posted by Charley on the MTA at 02:42 PM in Massachusetts | Permalink


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» Santorum went hunting in Boston from RadicallyCentered
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The blogosphere has been humming with reaction to an article written by Sen. Rick Santorum (R - Pennsylvania) in 2002. In this article, Sen. Santorum links the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church to the relativism found in [Read More]

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The blogosphere was abuzz today with reports of a three-year-old editorial by Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Senator (who lives in Virginia) where he places the blame for the ongoing Church child molestation scandals not on the abusers, but on the l... [Read More]

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Tracked on Jul 18, 2005 10:10:01 PM


So who kicked the population of the greater-Boston metro area first, or hardest... Mitt or Santorum? Someone else?

Santorum's comments actually remind me of the comments that the religous righteous wingnuts made after 9/11 ... the Falwell crowd, claiming that America deserved it because we tolerate (!?) homosexuality, etc. Recall on Sept 13, Falwell blamed everybody from the ACLU to abortionists, pagans, feminists, lesbians, etc. for the September 11 attacks. Why should we expect anything less from the political leaders who are courting Falwell's followers?

Posted by: stomv | Jun 27, 2005 2:56:35 PM

Thanks for that link to the polls on SurveyUSA! If someone has a few moments, scroll down to teh chart that sorts them by approval ratings. Notice that the top three are Democrats, and Democrats seem to be higher up than Republicans usually. Possibly a sign that people are beginning to support their Democratic Senators more than the Republican ones?

Posted by: Russell | Jun 27, 2005 3:42:58 PM

I hate feeling like I should come to the defense of some of these people in however small a way, but I have to - in a small way.

I agree that Santorum's comments are overstated. However, they contain a grain of truth. One, of course, you've never heard about.

While it's never been reported in the traditional media, there were objective causes for the abuse and the returning of priests who abused and were "treated" back to parishes. None of this limits the culpability of the actors (abusing priests or obfuscating heirarchy) in the saga in any way, please don't take my comments for that.

Hebephilia (also known as 'chicken-hawking' - targeting boys 13-17), accounts for the overwhelming majority (95%-98% depending on source) of the cases reported as 'pedophilia' in the media, is the psychological product of homosexuality combined with a certain type of immaturity - for instance, some of these people had themselves been abused this age and their psychological development stopped in its tracks. This last happens to be a component in many non-ephebophilic homosexuals as well, so you can't really tell directly from history.

So, those "liberal" dioceses that tolerated a high count of homosexuals - more will be active and more will be ephebophilic, just due to the statistical reality.

Also, the analysis given to Bishops by psychologists at the time was that ephebophilia was a problem which was not inherently sociopathic (such as a rapist or a pedophile), but as one of the many personality deficiencies such as any of us might have, worse but not hugely worse than being actively homosexual or actively heterosexual despite the vows to the contrary. This can be characterized as a 'liberal' view of the situation, rather than a more traditional one (that "the Evil One" has obsessed these people and we need to deal with it from that perspective - thumbscrews and the like, whatever).

Since we don't do the traditional method of dealing with grave evil within the Church any more(c.f. St. Thomas' recommendation for heresy), among which used to be: excommunication, then hand them over for civil execution, then the Church accepts exactly one repentance, and if they persist in their sin or fail again, they are shriven if they express repentance, but are executed anyway. Other traditional punishments were committing them to an isolated monastery cell to live out the rest of their lives in prayer, etc. As I said - however one feels about it - we don't do this sort of thing any more, but the status quo ante was, at least, moderately effective at avoiding recidivism. I consider a traditional approach with a modern twist would have been to excommunicate them and turn them over to the authorities for imprisonment.

But, in this instance, the 'liberal' view of mistrust of the rehabilitation and confinement of imprisonment on the person, and the trust of psychological rehabilitation percluded this course of action: you don't turn someone over for imprisonment because they are insane or have diminished capacity, is the way the current of thought goes. That's why there isn't a 'guilty by reason of insanity' judgement, only a 'not guilty by reason of insanity'.

I surmise, in the minds of the Bishops and other people responsible for dealing with the priests who had the worst problems with coverups, the problem priests were flawed, fallible human beings who needed to be ministered to (I call this the sinner-in-front-of-you phenomenon), given psychological support, and who could be redeemed (an article of faith) from their sins and (and this is the objective, "liberal" Catholic flawed belief) the _effects_ of their sin, each time they expressed true repentance in thought, word and action.

So, what was done was that many of these people were sent for rehabilitation (tragically, not all were, and even those that were, it was shown they had a high recidivism rate, but not a 100% one - thus leading to more uncertainty about cases), some were moved for a time to prison ministry, hospital ministry, or sent to parishes were there were multiple Priests who could 'keep on eye' on them.

Of course, most of these others did not know what to look for, since another article of the faith is to avoid telling other, unrelated people of a person's confessed faults - especially if they seem to have actually repented. I believe to do so is known as the sin of 'calumny', so the 'not speaking ill' of someone, unfortunately, contributed a component to what is seen today as the 'coverup'.

Overall, the 'coverup' part of all this arose partly from the need to avoid general scandal, partly because there _were_ mercenary reports (probably few, in retrospect, but there were provably some reports that were retracted and some that were objectively not credible in the details) of abuse making the ability to ascertain the truth in some of these situations remarkably difficult in the face of a denial, and finally, based on the advice of psychologists that these people were no longer (or never were - vindicating the initial reports) a danger to children.

It's not a pretty story, and it's absolutely true that the actors in it did not do the best they could have, instead compounding one evil with ignorance with another evil with some good and some bad intentions alike thrown in to the mix.

Like everything involving actual humans rather than caricatures of such, it's not so completely evil from start to finish as it's made out, but rather is sick, sad and stupid. The effects of sin.

Posted by: jp | Jun 27, 2005 6:43:37 PM

JP, your comments are thoughtful and well-written, but your argument is totally illogical. First, I would like to point out that most of the abuse that is coming to light occurred in the 70's and 80's and was perpetrated by priests who were raised in the 40's and 50's - long before Boston was in any way tolerant of homosexuality. In fact, your argument implies that the generation BEFORE the "priest-pedophile" generation was more likely to be homosexual, since there would have to be more homesexuals "recruiting" to have a larger % of the total population that is gay, therefore a higher % of priests. Did I understand you correctly?

All of that is assuming that homosexuality is a "choice" that is a response to molestation or an unhealthy childhood. I strongly disagree with this characterization but I dont have the space or the energy to more than ask you read some of the psychology literature that wasn't written by Dr James Dobson. Taking your explanation of homosexuality and running with it, why would people who "choose" to be gay "choose" to be priests? Wouldnt liberal areas have more options for gay people and therefore fewer forced to closet their feelings? Also, if prayer and devout practice can "cure" homosexuality, what more can you ask of someone than to join the priesthood and renounce all flesh?

Regarding the "liberal" response to the priest scandal - cover it up and move on - this has happened all over the world, not just in Boston. Do you suggest that in Alabama, for example, a priest would be more likely to be excommunicated and executed? Are you claiming that the Catholic Church in Boston is a liberal institution? As a Boston native, I assure you, it is not. It is often the only conservative voice in the city. It is consistently and unquestioningly opposed to any tolerance of homosexuality or homosexual freedom whatsoever.

The priest abuse scandal in Boston, if it is caused by repressed homosexuality, is just a demonstration of the failure of your view that homosexuality is a choice. If despite devoting their lives to the service of God and the renunciation of worldly desires, many priests are still unable to change their fundamental sexual nature, then how can anyone be an "ex-gay"?

Perhaps many of those who tortured themselves for years trying to be something that they are not has instead allowed themselves to develop naturally and discover healthy, reciprocal, monogomous adult relationships with the support of their communities, there would have been fewer "pedophile-priests" Perhaps if society were more tolerant of gay marriage, fewer gay men would be forced into fake straight marriages and spend lives fighting their own sexual development, sometimes twisting themselves into something dark and evil like a child molester. The priests are not the product of liberal Massauchestts, but of the closeted repressed 50s that the conservatives love to rhapsodize about. If you want to see what love and tolerance can do, wait and see. It hasnt happened yet.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jun 28, 2005 7:29:43 PM

Santorum blames sodomized rape victims and their parents because they're liberal! That's what the headline should have read above the fold in the NYT or WAPO.

10 year-old victim screams out to pederast priest: molest me father! It's okay because we're in liberal Boston! That should be the Enquirer headline.

What an ass. How do I challenge him to fistfight?

Posted by: Anon | Jun 29, 2005 6:33:46 PM

You ask if anyone from PA is happy with Santorum? Personally, I don't know of any. To top this off, our legislators just voted themselves a 16% payraise.

Posted by: dddragon | Jul 13, 2005 5:34:33 PM

Sorry MA. I've posted one apology on a PA blog.

Posted by: Peter Wiley | Jul 14, 2005 7:50:26 AM

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