Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rod Dreher on Nienstedt Story and Jennifer Haselberger Affidavit: "In the Present and Future War on Religious Liberty . . . the US Catholic Hierarchy All Too Often Behaves Like a Fifth Column"

Conservative columnist Rod Dreher, who left the Catholic church due to the disclosures about the abuse situation when the crisis broke wide open in 2002 and afterwards, weighs in on the Nienstedt story and Jennifer Haselberger's affidavit. Dreher stands with the bishops in their attacks on gay folks and women, and he agrees with them in their claim that religious freedom is under attack in the U.S. today. He reads the presidential executive order defending gay folks from discrimination in federal programs as an attack on religious liberty, as the U.S. Catholic bishops do, too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: John Corvino on Real Agenda of Social Conservatives — Dismantling the "Very Vocabulary by Which We Express and Realize Our Inchoate Longings for Intimacy"

At Commonweal, John Corvino responds to Michael Hannon's essay "Against Heterosexuality" in First Things. As he notes, it employs (a little bit of) queer theory to try to dismantle the entire enterprise of gay rights (my words and summary of Corvino's premise, not his), as it argues that the concept of sexual orientation is a social construct — and there's therefore no such thing as a "gay" person (or a straight one, either, for that matter, though the latter definition continues to stick as the default definition in this deconstructive argument, which is all about reiterating the normativity of heterosexuality in new, "queer" terms).

Gays, Churches, and Religious Exemptions to Practice Discrimination: Centrist Argument Revisited as Third Way Calls for Common Ground

The meme that just won't die in American political life: that there's some kind of "center" in which the conflicting (in many cases, irreconcilable) claims of this side and that side can meet in some sweet harmony that permits all of us to prescind from weighing those conflicting claims and determining if some of them are right and others wrong. This is a meme developed always to give cover to those who want to keep alive William F. Buckley's classic definition of conservatism as standing athwart history and yelling Stop.

Michael Sean Winters on U.S. Catholic Bishops' Response to Executive Order Forbidding Anti-LGBT Discrimination: "Bishops As Litigants Is Just Not the Image of an Apostle Set Before Us in the Scriptures"

Yesterday, with a nod to Mark Silk, I wrote that you'd expect the U.S. Catholic bishops to be reeling right now from what Jennifer Haselberger's recent affidavit in Minnesota plainly suggests: namely, that the procedures the American hierarchy have set into place from Dallas (2002) forward to deal with the abuse of children by Catholic priests are largely ineffective, since those procedures rest on the assumption that no more diligent guard can be found for the fox-harried henhouse than the fox himself. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Minnesota NPR Report on Cover-up in St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese: "Nienstedt Chose Not to Reveal the Cover-Up. Instead, He Contributed to It"

Not to be missed: Madeleine Baran's stellar four-part series "Betrayed by Silence" published today at the website of Minnesota NPR. Baran does an outstanding job of showing how deep-seated the cover-up of clerical crimes against children is in the Catholic archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, despite repeated assertions of one archbishop after another that the archdiocese was exemplary in its handling of cases of molestation of minors by priests. Here's an excerpt from the final chapter of the four-part series, speaking of the arrival of John Nienstedt in 2007 as archbishop:

Robert Blair Kaiser's Inside the Jesuits: How Pope Francis Is Changing the Church and the World — Jesuit DNA and the Papacy

Some weeks back, Rowman & Littlefield kindly sent me for review a copy of Robert Blair Kaiser's book Inside the Jesuits: How Pope Francis Is Changing the Church and the World (Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield, 2014). The book has now, I believe, appeared in print, but the copy I received was an advance reading copy, a point I mention as I start this brief review because the page numbers I'm citing are from the page proofs, and both they and the text itself may have altered somewhat when the book was published.

Alliance Defending Freedom on "Right" to Anti-Gay Discrimination: "Objections Based on Race Are a Lot Different from Objections Based on Sexual Behavior and Morality"

Attorney Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguenin as she claimed the right to refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding because it violated her faith, tells Greg Stohr of Bloomberg