Tuesday, January 18, 2011

McNally: Uninformed at Best, But "Bigot" Fits Better

If it weren't for the fact that Joel McNally WAS a pretty funny writer back in the early 1970's, he'd be regarded as just another stock "anti-Catholic" character in a third-rate amateur production of some Blanshard screed. Given his demonstrated (if really, really, fading) talent, we'll actually bother with him. (Besides, he does get SOME things right.)

Let's start with a non-sequitur:

After visiting the domed Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, completed in 1436, I could only compare it to the most stunning natural site I had ever seen. I wrote the thing was like the Grand Canyon turned upside down.

Such vast cathedrals with their gold-and-jewel-laden altars are really impressive until you stop and think about how primitive the living conditions for the church’s parishioners must have been outside those walls at the time

Yah, I guess they didn't have water closets. (Neither did the cathedral.) But McNally forgets that the church was built and decorated with voluntary contributions from the faithful, who evidently believed that God deserves what they gave Him. And those were contributions to God--not the Bishop, nor the priests--that built that church.

Then there's the outright stupidity:

Listecki should not have been able to keep a straight face when he claimed the reason for filing for bankruptcy was to enable the church to fairly compensate victims. If Listecki had any interest at all in fairly compensating victims, he would not be trying to shield the overwhelming majority of the archdiocese’s $98.4 million in claimed assets from being used to pay those victims.

Umnnnhhhh, wrong. First off, McNally is arguing that the Archdiocese could continue its operations with no buildings, no phones, no staplers, and no personnel. Right-o, Joel.

Secondly, Joel, your definition of "fair" is not necessarily the best definition. It certainly is not the only one. It's ironic that you set yourself (or Jeff Anderson) as the arbiter of "fair," as you then take on the mantle of sanctimony which you so despise in others--like Abp. Listecki. You don't wear "sanctimony" very well, Joel.

Next, the sheer ignorance:

Or pretending the archdiocese does not own any of the property and assets of its schools and parishes because they are legally incorporated separately.

No pretense at all. You can look it up. So happens that in the mid-1950's (under Abp. Cousins) there was a helluva battle over changing the Diocesan structure to one of "Corporation Sole," under which the Archdiocese WOULD have 'owned all the parishes, schools, and parking lots.' The people who advocated that structure lost the battle, and parishes were separately incorporated.

Then there's the suggestion that the Church commit suicide:

Listecki also personally lobbied the Legislature to defeat a bill that would have opened a three-year window for all childhood victims to sue. Instead, the church continues to hide behind statutes of limitations to prevent justice for victims who have been reluctant to come forward for years

SOL legislation is in place for a number of good reasons, not the least of which is that it's very easy to make un-contradicted claims against people who are dead. It's also very easy to make claims against people who are aged and forgetful. It's also based on a legitimate presumption: that if you don't make a claim on time, you really didn't INTEND to make the claim at all.

Here's the stuff that McNally got right (!!!):

The church’s ruthless tactics included denying access to records, brutally attacking childhood victims personally in depositions, and repeatedly drawing out cases with every legal delaying tactic to run up enormous costs and bankrupt plaintiffs.

Whenever an expensive team of lawyers got a case dismissed on a technicality, the church would sue the victims and their families for all legal expenses.

And despite the fact that those tactics were hatched by a prominent local (D) attorney, the Church, to our shame, carried them out.

Also correct, more or less:

A large number of church officials were complicit in covering up sexual abuse by priests because they were more concerned about the reputation and the wealth of the church than about the harm to children. Many were directly responsible for horrific abuse themselves when they knowingly shifted priests with a history of pedophilia to new positions giving them access to more children.

I'll quibble with "....large (number)..." because in Milwaukee that number was probably around 10 (or less). I'll quibble with "...and the wealth of the Church..." because that was a minor concern compared to the 'reputation' issue. In fact, one could quibble with the "reputation" claim because it's not completely accurate; the Bishops were concerned about scandal--disturbing the parishioners--than necessarily 'reputation.'

But by and large, the statements are reasonably accurate--to the eternal shame of the Church.

And of course, there's the "International Conspiracy Theory"!! Beck and McNally, sitting in a tree, spelling C O N S P I R A C EEEEEEE!

All that said, it is a sham to pretend local church officials were somehow acting on their own all over the world all at the same time.

Germany, Austria, Ireland, and the US is not exactly "all over the world." And since some Bishops were ordaining homosexuals at around the same time in all those places, it is no surprise that the scandals occurred at the same time. We note that where homosexuals were ordained, problems arose. That's something that McNally seemed to miss.

But maybe linear thinking is difficult for McNally.

Then there's the Big Lie:

The Milwaukee Archdiocese fought to keep secret internal documents showing Pope Benedict himself, in a previous Vatican position overseeing abuse cases, shut down a Wisconsin church trial to defrock a priest who had sexually abused more than 200 boys at St. John’s School for the Deaf in St. Francis

Wrong, and a libel. In fact, Abp. Weakland was responsible for the delay. That's what the actual evidence shows. Ratzinger accepted Weakland's petition. We also learned that it was Ratzinger who (almost single-handedly) re-wrote Canon Law procedures to expedite tossing bad-apple priests. But let's not let the facts interfere with McNally's screed...

Back to the "Evil International Conspiracy", this time adding Nixon and Haldeman flavoring to the stew (what? no Hitler? no Mengele? C'mon, Joel, you aren't even trying!)

There is nothing unusual about wealthy global corporations trying to protect their riches by what President Richard Nixon’s corrupt Watergate aide H.R. Haldeman called “a modified, limited hang-out.” That means pinning the rap on the lowest level officials possible and limiting the financial damage to scapegoats in the branch offices.

Umnnhhhh....the blame goes where the blame belongs. Weakland, Sklba, and a few others ARE responsible under Canon Law. Nobody else is responsible unless the local Bishop forwards the case to Rome.

By the way, Joel, didn't the District Attorney KNOW about these problems? That's what Weakland said. Where in Hell was McCann during all this? (Maybe he's not 'international' enough?)

Well, there's one other truth here:

As a result, the Milwaukee archdiocese and its financially struggling parishioners will have to pay the enormous damages resulting from the church’s sex abuse scandal on their own.

But the truth-stuff ends quickly:

All that is required is to maintain the legal fiction that priests, bishops and archbishops were independent operators and were not employees of the worldwide church.

McNally says it's "fiction," and that's that, right? McNally can produce W-2's from Rome showing that the Milwaukee Bishops and priests were actually on Rome's payroll? No. So he simply asserts his own truth. That's "journalism" these days.

The biggest difference between the Catholic Church and other wealthy, multinational, profit-making corporations is the product the church markets. That’s supposed to be morality.

There's the egregious "profit-making" error, and there's the inane 'marketing.'

Altogether, McNally shoulda stuck with humor, because in general, his writing is laughable.

HT: Jo


John Foust said...

Incredibly long defense there, Dad29. So in your many decades of experience with the Church, when you heard about a priest having inappropriate relations, what did you do about it?

Anonymous said...

He sent them to 235 Main Street, Jefferson, WI for further consultation.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dad29 said...

I don't think it's helpful to expose Foust.

He does a fine job of that himself, which is why he's on my "Do Not Respond" list.

Dave said...

I wonder when Joel will be writing about the sexual abuse and coverups thereof in public schools?

Anonymous said...

But then he can make up more stories about being crank called?

I posted his DOB and SSN on B&S for giggles.

Dad29 said...

Who but a masochist would call HIM?

John Foust said...

Oh, look, here's a news item "Vatican warned Irish bishops not to report abuse".

You are so brave, Anonymous! Let me guess, you are Mickey O'Leary, the crank caller.

Anonymous said...

Still with that made up story again, John? Making up grandiose lies is a classic hallmark of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The first step to dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is to admit you have a problem.

Tomorrow your VIN and License Plate numbers go on the blogs.

John Foust said...

The crank calls are easily documented. Would you care for the police report number?

If you are Mickey, though, you'd know because the police spoke to you, and I was generous enough to tell the police that I was content with you receiving a verbal warning to discontinue the calls.

What, you have nothing to say about the abuses of the Catholic Church?

Badger Catholic said...

John, are you saying that it was the policy of the Vatican to instruct bishops to conceal abuse cases from police?

Dave said...


1) Why do you think then-Cardinal Ratzinger, once he was given the authority and opportunity, changed the procedures?

2) I also wonder if Storero was acting independently...nuncios have a tendency try to handle things "in-house" without disturbing their superiors. I may be wrong in this instance, alas...

3) I'm wondering how the US Diocese of Lincoln managed to dispose of their problem priests (only two that I know of), since Bp. Flavin had no qualms about going to the police and also getting the culprits laicized quickly. What he did sounded like what the Irish bishops were trying to do.

4) While I may disagree with you, I certainly don't condone someone harassing you with crank calls and posting your information. Cut it out, Anonymous, whoever you are...

John Foust said...

Thank you for your support, Dave.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "policy". I think anyone should be more concerned with practice. Was abuse covered up, and why did it seem to be covered-up in ever-so-similar ways?

I return to my original question. If Dad29 doesn't want to field it, I'd be glad to hear from anyone else. If you ever heard about abuse, what did you do about it?

Anonymous said...

In that paper the page facing the ones this article appeared on featured blurbs about a Civil Rights event at St. Francis parish and about the soup-kitchen the Cathedral of St. John the Evang. operates.

In another part of the same paper was a poll question about the "tone" of the right opposite an article about the GOP holding something "hostage."

John Foust said...

Looks like you've got a nut on the loose, Dad29. Think he's conservative or liberal? He's posting personal info of several bloggers he doesn't like, on several blogs. So what was in the post you zapped? He's got access to a people-search database, and that's how he wants to silence opinions he doesn't like?

Dad29 said...

No. There are TWO nuts on the loose.

You're the first and most persistent.

Anonymous said...

I guess the roach motel theory of mine is shot.


John Foust said...

You might not like what I ask, but at least I'm polite.

Anonymous said...

No, you're an annoying gnat.

That's why I'm posting your shit online, so others may relay what an annoying little fuck you are.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dad29, for condemning the actions of Anony 4:27 p.m.

What would your priest say about his/her actions? Here, let me help you out...

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:26-31)

Or, your hero, Chesterton...

"Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions."

I also thought the Good Book repeatedly warns us against giving in to anger when we are upset by other people's words or actions. But, I suppose, there is always confession...

Dad29 said...

Ah, sanctimony. Without it, Anony, you'd just be a blank slate.

John Foust said...

I bet if I started posting personal details and using four-letter words, I'd be banned.

I find it so fascinating that an Anonymous would think it terribly threatening to post easily-available personal details about someone who attaches his real name to his opinions.

I can understand the panoply of reasons why some people choose to remain anonymous online. It gives some people the courage to say things they might not otherwise say if easily scrutinized by friends, family, and other contacts. It can also foster poor behavior.

So why do you use "Dad29", Dad29?

Anonymous said...

"Ah, sanctimony. Without it, Anony, you'd just be a blank slate."

Look in the mirror, Dad29. Practice what you preach.