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Yikes! May have blogging problems! April 12, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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It looks like my main blogging computer just died of a violent myocardial infarction.  It won’t give me anything but the blue screen of death.  I may be out of commisision for an indeterminate amount of time – but I’ve said that before, and I’ve always managed to come back and continue to provide you, my dear, saintly readers, with news and opinions you’d probably be better off not having in the first place!

Hopefully, tomorrow I can migrate to a better backup computer. At present, I’m using a 10 year old Sun that is absolutely laughable with them modern intrawebs.  It looks at Youtube and says “What is that?!?!?  I don’t know what ‘Flash’ is?!? I’m lost and confused, wouldn’t you rather do some nice UNIX?”


Shocking, hideous – abuse scandal has cost $2.3 billion since 2004 April 12, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, horror, North Deanery, religious, scandals, sickness.
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My God, have mercy on us!  What a terrible, terrible statistic – the Catholic Church in the United States has paid out $2.34 billion, BILLION, in the last 7 years in abuse related costs.  This makes me feel nauseous……

The clerical abuse scandal cost American dioceses $123,703,433 in 2010, according to an annual report released on April 11 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Only 62% of those funds were allotted to settlements ($70.4 million) and therapy for abuse victims ($6.4 million); the rest was spent on attorneys’ fees ($33.9 million), support for offenders ($9.9 million), and other costs ($3.1 million).

The clerical abuse scandal cost religious institutes an additional $25,920,747 in 2010. These expenses brought the total cost of the clerical abuse scandal to American dioceses and religious institutes between 2004 and 2009 to $2,344,354,039: $2,021,302,915 for dioceses and eparchies, and $323,051,124 for religious institutes. [Dear Lord….]

So, how have we come to this sorry state of affairs?

The report found that 428 new credible allegations of child sexual abuse were lodged against 345 diocesan priests or deacons in 2010. Only seven of the 428 allegations involved those who are currently minors; the other allegations were made by adults who allege they were abused as minors. In all, 74 abuse allegations since 2004 have involved those who were minors in the year of the allegation.

Of the 428 new credible allegations, 82% involved male victims, and only 20% of victims were under the age of ten. Characterizations of the abuse scandal as predominantly one of pedophilia rather than homosexual activity are thus inaccurate.

“Two-thirds of new allegations (66 percent) occurred or began between 1960 and 1984,” the report continued. “The most common time period for allegations reported in 2010 was 1970-1974. [Hmmmm……what else was going on then, or had recently gone on?  Trying to think…….] This is approximately the same time pattern that has been reported in previous years, with most allegations reportedly occurring or beginning between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s.”

As I’ve said before, the abuse scandals were always more about homosexuality in the priesthood than pedophilia in the priesthood.  Our present day legal system makes little or no distinction between a man abusing a 8 year old girl and a man coming onto a 16 year old boy, but the mechanisms at work, and the psychologies involved are radically different. $2.3 billion is a great deal of money, so much good could have been done with it.  And who knows the damage to the souls of the abused and those of their families and friends.  One wonders how many millions of souls may have left the Church, allowing themselves to be cut off from the great Sacramental Graces, because of these abuse scandals.  It makes me wonder…….

There was an idea that floated around the Church during the mid-late 20th century that said that homosexuality was perfectly compatible with the priesthood, in spite of long practice avoiding such, at least formally.  Certainly it is likely there have always been gay priests, but I doubt ever so many, so quickly.  Look what it hath wrought.  I think homosexuality in the priesthood is at the root of very many of our doctrinal, canonical, and liturgical problems in the Church.  I think there is a disaffected minority, or majority, at work, seeking to change what cannot be changed, and to undermine what has always been some of the mightiest bulwarks of the Church.  And the cost has been horrific, beyond calculation.   And the saddest part is, there are still a number in the Church, a large number, who think homosexuality and the priesthood are just fine and dandy.  On a normal operating level, I hope the evidence will finally convince people that the Vatican (Pope Benedict, in particular) is right – it just doesn’t work.  Like women and the priesthood, I just don’t believe it is what God intended.  His natural order of checks and balances, action and reaction, seems to indicate that large scale, virtually open homosexuality in the priesthood equals massive problems. 

Anyway, that’s my ill-formed opinion. Fire away.

Non sequitir – family movies to watch April 12, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Society.
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One thing that I find increasingly distressing about our current day culture is the lack of good, wholesome, but also quality family entertainment.  While there is much that calls itself family entertainment, there is not much being produced today that has all three of the above characteristics.  And so, I have found that we must turn back to the past to find works that have merit for the present.  Below are a few recommendations for movies that I feel the entire family can enjoy:

1.  Virtually anything starring John Wayne

I have to admit, I am a John Wayne fan.  Yes, he wasn’t exactly a moral exemplar in his private life, but many of his movies are timeless classics.  I particularly value what many consider to be his best, in conjunction with John Ford and the John Ford company of actors – Ward Bond, Harry Carey Jr., etc.  The movie is The Searchers.  Some may decry the violence endemic in many John Wayne movies, but the violence in The Searchers is never egregious and is always directed towards the main plot – one man’s obsessive hatred for the Indians who have wreacked great havoc on his family.  A very liberal take on the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker, The Searchers has many elements that are rarely found in movies today – loneliness, longing, raw, naked, relentless determination, and slow character development, all intermixed with scenes of humor and action.  I highly recommend it for the entire family, and many women will find it intriguing to see the scenes between Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) and his sister-in-law, who is more than just a sister-in-law.

One of the classic ending scenes in movie history:

2. A Man for All Seasons

Robert Bolt’s take on the life of St. Thomas More, superbly directed by Fred Zinneman and acted by Paul Scofield, Leo McKern, and Orson Welles.  More’s great determination to defend the rights of the Church against the depredations of King Henry VIII and the collapse of the English hierarchy into an uneasy appeasement of Henry’s protestantizing program is displayed with great aplomb.  It’s an inspirational story of a life lived first for Christ, above everything else, in spite of loss of wealth, power, and prestige.  The female characters, especially More’s wife Alice (played by Wendy Hiller) add a great deal of depth and interest to the story line.  Highly recommended for all Catholics.  More’s struggles are set against an ‘everyman’ in the form of Richard Rich, a man who sacrifices everything good in order to obtain riches and power – the antipathy of More.

3. Becket

My family and I have been watching this recently and really enjoyed it.  Careful, though, there are a couple scenes of Thomas a Becket’s debauched life, as well as King Henry II’s, which should be perhaps screened before hand by parents and edited before children watch the movie.  Other than that, however, another great tale of persevering for the Faith in the face of the power of the state, the natural inclinations of the individual, and even against the love of friendship.  Superbly acted by Peter O’Toole and Sir Richard Burton.

The movie is worth watching for that scene alone!  Greatness – gotta love chant in a movie!  BTW, the entire movie is on Youtube.

I’ll add more at irregular intervals.  More highly recommended John Wayne movies – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (with the great Lee Marvin), Red River, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Fort Apache, McClintock!, The Sons of Katie Elder………