Libel, Damned Libel, and the Mainstream Media

The Setting

There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there’s the kind of thing reported by the mainstream media. I am referring here to three cases of sexual abuse, in neither of which is implicated the Holy Father, but both of which are constantly mentioning said Supreme Pontiff. The first is the case of the priest—Fr Peter Hullerman, sometimes referred to as “priest H.”—who sexually abused minors while serving in the Archdiocese of Munich. At the time, the archbishop of that diocese was Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). The second is the so-called Murphy Case, involving s priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, involving Fr Lawrence Murphy, who was accused (though never formally convicted) of molesting up to 200 children. The third and final case is a lawsuit one launched in Kentucky which “seeks to have the pope deposed over claims that the Holy See was negligent in failing to report abuse claims.”

It is of the utmost interest that justice be done in regards to all of the child abuse cases. People of good conscience can agree on that point in good faith, and can agree that the people who are directly involved can and should be prosecuted. The scandals themselves are widespread geographically (though everywhere involved only a very small number of the clergy—about 4% in the US by one account, and as small as 0.3% by another), and some occurred as recently as 20 years ago. Because of the sensitive nature of these cases, they ought to be dealt with both fairly and justly, being careful to separate those guilty of abuse from those not guilty, and those who actually harbored these molesters from those members of the hierarchy who were not involved in any cover-ups.

Unfortunately, this is not the approach taken by the mainstream media. These are much more interested in forming a witch-hunt, both against the Church writ large and against the Pope himself. Unfortunately, the negative effects of this media frenzy are already being felt here in the states, as people’s favorability of the Holy Father is dropping. The Holy Father, for his part, is scarcely implicated in these despicable deeds.

My Review of The Line Through the Heart

It's been up for a while now, but I only recently found the site where the ISI book reviews get published. Here, then, is the link to my review of Professor J Budziszewski's "The Line Through the Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction." The book itself was well-written; Budziszewski is fast becoming one of my favorite writers and speakers, and is also one of the most welcoming professors I've met. Here is an excerpt of the review:

Contraception and Discernment

A little more than three years ago, when I first moved to Austin, I had very few friends of my own in the area. The nearest and dearest person I knew was my brother, who at the time lived less than a mile away from my apartment complex. He was a residential assistant at the time, and so lived in the dorms and had all of the duties and responsibilities which go with that post. I spent a good deal of my free time with him at St Edward’s, but he often had to make rounds or resolve some crisis or other, and so I spent a good deal of time talking to his fellow RAs and his residents.

I remember very few specific conversations which I had, but one stands out a bit in my mind today. One of the residents had taken up riding horses—my favorite activity growing up, and a thing which I still dearly miss—and so I had frequent short conversations with her. We talked a few times about horses, but on this particular night, we talked about something else. I don’t specifically remember how we got onto the topic of birth control and religion, but we did. It actually may have been a conversation about religion—she was an Anglican of some sort—but it drifted into the realm of birth-control. At some point, she mentioned that some relatives of hers were Catholics and that they insisted that one couldn’t use birth control. They didn’t know why they couldn’t, only that they couldn’t BECAUSE THE CHURCH SAYS SO.

Abstinence, Chastity, and Sexuality

Two days and two columns from the Daily Sexan--err, I mean, Texan--about the subject of sex. I am, of course, not counting the weekly "Hump-Day" column in which Ms Mary Lingwall writes about how to have better (and often, more depraved) and sometimes "safer" sex; the explicit purpose of this column is to subvert traditional attitudes regarding sex, but I digress. Yesterday, we had Ms Anna Russo's "Who can be promiscuous;" today, we have Ms Ashley Shew's "Texas' failed sex education."

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