14 August 2011

Why is this not on page 1?

This story appeared in yesterday's issue of the State Journal-Register: Former Rochester firefighter gets 30 years for child porn.  The story was printed on page 12.  If he were a priest instead of a firefighter, it would have been printed on page 1.

This is yet another demonstration of what I mean when I keep pointing out an imbalanced treatment of the horrendous scourge that is sexual abuse.  If the media were serious about keeping children safe this story should be on page 1.


  1. Perhaps the difference in coverage, Father, has something to do with the fact that most fire departments do not have a history of covering up for the pedophiles they find among their employees. A great many (if not most) dioceses, on the other hand, have a long history of doing just that. An important difference, wouldn't you say? And maybe that's one reason an abuser priest typically is a bigger story than a firefighter who is an abuser. (The initial crime is bad. The conspiracy to cover-up the crime makes it all far, far worse.)

  2. Steve,

    Given that the firefighters have not released any statistical data regarding their rate of sexual abuse, to say they don't have a history of covering up pedophilia may or may not be accurate.

    Also, given that less than 4% of priests have been accused of sexual abuse, it seems imprudent to suggest most dioceses have a long history of "covering up."

    You comment on this story about the firefighter, but what of the story regarding Corey Feldman's claim that pedophilia is "Hollywood's biggest problem"? What of Planned Parenthood's repeated instances of failures to report statutory rape in several States? What of the case of David Norris in Ireland?

    In find it curious you make no comment on these stories which demonstrate a clear societal problem.

  3. Father, with all due respect, there's no way I could keep up with your frequent postings about how it's NOT JUST THE CATHOLIC CHURCH that is home to pedophiles. Your point--that specific point--is a reasonable one, and one that I would not contest. For the record: All abuse of children, and all sexual abuse in particular, is horrible and worthy of full condemnation on this blog and every other venue out there.

    Furthermore: As someone who was sexually abused himself as a child, please believe me when I say I take this issue--the abuse of children in any location, by anyone--very, very seriously.

    However, the point of your posts seems to me to frequently be (and I am trying to capture a thought here, not actually quoting your words, despite my use of quotation marks): "You all should not point fingers at the Church when so many other people abuse children. Don't get on our case. We have not done all that much wrong when compared to all those other groups, institutions, and family settings out there." I'm sorry, Father, but I will say it bluntly: The Church should have done FAR, FAR BETTER on this issue than all those other institutions out there (including, sadly, those dysfunctional families that enable or cover up abuse by their own members). All abuse and all covering up of abuse is wrong and destructive--I will say that again for the sake of clarity and emphasis. However, people (Catholics in particular) expected more from the Church. And if you can still write that sentence above about how you are not certain that there has been a long (decades long) cover-up in most dioceses, I am left to conclude that you have perhaps not taken the Dallas charter (and all the discussions, debate, and soul-searching that went into it) to heart. You're a very intelligent man, Father. I've read your blog for maybe four or five years now(?), and there's no way I can deny that you're smart and gifted and caring. But there's just no percentage in denying the reality that is the Church's history of covering up abuse--not just in the United States, for that matter, but in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, and other places.

    I'm not anti-Catholic, for what it's worth. I'm a practicing Catholic, someone who loves the Church even as I feel mighty ambivalent about some of its practices and doctrines. But embracing denial is not a healthy thing to do. People in positions of authority in the Church who denied that there was a serious problem with sexual abuse by clerics did the church no favors. In fact, they did it great harm. Tremendous harm, sadly.

  4. What I've been saying, Steve, is that if the media is going to point the finger at the Catholic Church, it must also point the finger wherever the sexual abuse of children is found.

    I have never written that the Chruch should not have done more and been more vigilant against sexual abuse and I have never implied that covering it up is a good idea.

    These are ideas that you bring with you when you read my posts, not ideas found in my posts.

    What we find in the sexual abuse report does not indicate a wide spread "cover up" that occured in every - or even most - dioceses. Some dioceses were certainly worse than others and a few can be seen to make up the bulk of cases.

    I've never said that the Church has not had a problem with abuse; what I have said is that the Church is not the only place where abuse has occured, and that there are places where the abuse has been done on a greater scale. Stating this in no implies that people in the Church have not sinned greatly.

    You have previously accused me of not taking the scandal and crisis to heart; in this you are most incorrect. It is because of the seriousness of it that I insist the media and society also look to other institutions.

    What I have been saying, I say again: If the media - and society - is serious about rooting out the scourge of sexual abuse, it must look to the abuse wherever it is found (Protestant denominations, public school systems, etc.) and not solely at the Catholic Church. To ignore the abuse in other institutions is not only unprofessional but also insincere.

  5. For example, Steve, why is the media and society not covering a story such as this:


    Will you put this on your blog? I will put it on mine once I return to the US.

  6. Father, I looked at the article that you have linked to here in the comment box. I, like you, find the agenda of the group mentioned (B4UACT) abhorrent, unethical, and just plain scary. However, I also think LifeSiteNews is distorting the nature of the event in its headline: "Academic conference seeks to normalize pedophilia." In whose eyes, exactly, is B4UACT an "academic" organization? Which academic libraries in the United States subscribes to the organization's "journal"? Which scholarly academic databases (the ones that academic libraries pay hefty subscription fees for; that is, databases that specialize in providing access to articles from peer-reviewed, refereed journals) regularly index articles that appear in this organization's newsletter? Just about none, I would bet. At best, one could call the group in question a "quasi-academic group" or, more accurately, a pseduo-academic group. Yes, there really are standards for groups to be considered "academic"--at least within academia. (No, one Harvard instructor who belongs to the organization does not an academic organization make.)

    The group is SEEKING to be consulted by the American Psychological Association. They want in. There is no indication at all, however, that the APA (a legitimate academic/professional organization) has any intention of validating--or even hearing at any length--the issues that the B4UACT group is pushing. So how about a headline alone the lines of, "The APA, a premiere academic organization, is deaf to agenda of pro-pedophile group"?

    Looks like a bad group there (B4UACT, not the APA). I'm not going to help LifeSiteNews make academia seem sympathetic to pedophiles when there does not seem to be much evidence to support that suggestion. Accuracy isn't something that just cable news struggles with. Looks like LifeSiteNews could work on that as well.

  7. Fair enough, Steve, but Life Site News isn't the only one with the story.

    Consider this take from First Things: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2011/08/17/how-to-normalize-pedophilia-in-5-easy-steps/

    based on a report from the Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/15/conference-aims-to-normalize-pedophilia/