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Priest Pedophilia? Blame it on Woodstock In Christianity, Faiths, Roman Catholicism on May 19, 2011 Truth2Power

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Lost in the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal and the Newt Gingrich political incorrectness implosion earlier this week was the bombshell release of a $1.8M study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Their conclusion as to why there was a wave of priest pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church?  Blame it on Woodstock.

Yes, those socially tumultuous sixties and seventies, not the fact that pedophiles, particularly those with a penchant for little boys, could line up for the only gig outside of Disneyworld that put a smorgasbord of children under their control.  Maybe they should have asked the Walt Disney Co. how they do their evaluations and screenings.

The study, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2002,” launched in 2006, was conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and funded, in part by the Justice Department. It is the follow-up to a preliminary report that the law school released in 2004.  It found that it was those wild and weird 1960′s and ’70s that set loose the wave of pedophilia in the American Roman Catholic Church, not celibacy nor the homosexual priests.  In fact, pedophilia actually dropped as more self-admitted homosexuals in the survey group donned the robes.

The study also told us that there was no way to determine a candidate for the priesthood who might be a pedophile. Pedophiles in the clergy who abused minors had no “psychological characteristics,” “developmental histories” or other mental disorders, the study found.

“It deflects responsibility from the bishops and puts it on to a sociological problem,” Robert M. Hoatson, priest and Road to Recovery founder told the New York Times.

It’s also a lot of Papal bull…

The problem of pedophiles in the priesthood stretches back centuries, in every corner of the globe. The explosion of cases here in the United States came from increased awareness, not the allegedly looser morals of a period in U.S. history.  There are cases filed against priests and the church on every continent other than perhaps Antarctica, and only possibly because molesting baby penguins is bestiality, not pedophilia.

The part of the study that I can agree with: If you’re gay or celibate, that doesn’t make you any more likely to abuse children than a straight person.

The problems with the rest of the study are huge. The Times reported:

“Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.”

Known occurrences are the key problem.  Bishops under-reported figures. A grand jury in Philadelphia unearthed dozens of cases which the Bishop in the City of Brotherly Love tasked with uncovering cases of abuse by priests in his diocese did not even know about.

Ending the hypocrisy of celibacy is not the answer to this particular problem.  Pedophiles that are already not obeying their vows aren’t likely to worry much about that, and they don’t date adult women much.

Neither is using the pedophilia as a wedge issue to drive gay priests out of the Church, as many homophobic Catholics would like to do.

The one thing that the gang from the moral accountability biz has not got around to doing, even with this report, is being morally accountable. There is a word that this report should have invoked frequently: Screening.

Clergy are in a position of authority and “ultimate” power. For those who believe in the faith and in their flavor of God, they are the agents and gatekeepers of the superhighway to Heaven. No child, fearing the call of the nuns that they will burn in Hell for failing to obey, is going to resist.   The priesthood is pedophile paradise.

You have to go through extensive background checks to work in most other jobs with children. Not so the Roman Catholic priesthood.  Hear the voices calling you, show up at a church, and a clergy-starved church is probably glad to see you.

The Roman Catholic Church really has needed to do for decades is to own up to its own poor screening practices. While no process will ever weed out 100% of pedophiles in any organization, extensive background checks, and cross-checks with evolving public protections like the Megan’s Law list, would have been proactive responses over the decades. Today, psych fitness screenings should be a must as well. The position is too powerful.

The Catholic sin-check, the confessional, is a generations out-of-date non-starter because the priests hearing confessions can only suggest curatives and absolve those confessing with minimal repentance.

The problem could solve itself at the Papal level.  If  Benedict XVI would issue a bull stating that priests will not be absolved for sins like pedophilia, perhaps it might give a moment of pause.

Don’t count on it though. This Pope has been one of the biggest obstructionist ostriches in the Church, even before his ascension.   Then Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 sent out a confidential letter telling Bishops to hold inquiries behind close doors and seal records for up to 10 years.  The Guardian in the U.K. reports:

“The letter, ‘concerning very grave sins’, was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.”

The report does not account for the numerous priests who were dispatched from the U.S. to countries where they would not be extraditable.

Other than restating the obvious, this five year, $1.8 broom has not swept pedophiles out of the church.  It seems to be a very expensive attempt to sweep the pedophilia issue under the Catholic Church’s already bumpy rug rather than achieve some real accountability.

Blaming the social conditions of the 1960′s and 1970′s? My modified hippy take:

Make progress, not excuses.

Peace, man.

My shiny two.

Schwarzenegger, DSK, and Gingrich: Do We Have Psychopaths Misruling Our World?Maverick Media / By Greg Guma

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The serial misbehavior of these men was rationalized and excused for years, but it demonstrates a perpetual problem: ruling class impunity.

In recent days the political news has been like an episode of some TV drama about high-level corruption – call it Criminal Minds meets The West Wing. The head of the International Monetary Fund – the global financial organization that sets terms for development aid — was jailed in New York for allegedly assaulting a housemaid sexually at his hotel. Meanwhile, in California news broke that the state’s movie-star governor – known as both the Terminator and the Gropinator – fathered a love-child almost a decade ago and it didn’t come out until he was about to leave office.

Then, of course, there’s the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, a poster child for bad behavior, launched last week with a series of disastrous missteps and rationalizations.

What the three men have in common, aside from wielding more influence than they can handle or deserve, is that their serial misbehavior went unchecked for years. In fact, it was rationalized as mere exuberance, frequently excused in “exceptional” people, when it actually demonstrated something else – ruling class impunity.

Ask yourself: Is it possible that these were isolated lapses in judgment? In other words, was this the only time Dominique Strauss-Kahn went after the help, or the only instance of Arnold Schwarzenegger cheating on his wife and exploiting those beneath him? Not too likely. And it’s surely not the only time Gingrich has excused his own bad behavior as a side effect of patriotism – while simultaneously trashing the basic humanity of a political opponent.

If these are patterns, why are millions so fascinated, often even seduced, by people whose behavior actually points to pathology? Perhaps we are wired to be attracted by psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, people so focused on their own central role in whatever takes place that the rest of us are sucked into their reality.

Think about entering a portal and emerging into the head of Donald Trump. What could that level of self-absorption be like? Begin by imagining a complete lack of empathy, one of the tell-tale signs of the psychopath.

Is Trump a psychopath? Well, he does score well on a 20 item checklist. And are there more psychopaths around us than we think? Not just serial killers and the violent type, but successful, powerful psychopaths who will do anything to win and affect our lives in profound ways?

The checklist, a way to help identify potential psychopaths among us, was developed by Bob Hare, a prison psychologist who conducted remarkable experiments and eventually codified his findings. Jon Ronson has provides an excellent history and analysis in his new book,The Psychopath Test.

Here’s the basic list, a collection of tendencies and an analytical tool to spot those who might be functioning psychopaths. The last two items relate specifically to criminals, but you don’t have to be caught to have “criminal versatility.” Keep in mind that having mild tendencies doesn’t make you a psychopath. But a high score – more than 30 on Hare’s 40 point scale – should be a warning sign. Personally, I give Trump and Gingrich high marks:

1.Glibness, superficial charm
2.Grandiose sense of self-worth
3.Need for stimulation, proneness to boredom
4.Pathological lying
5.Conning, manipulative
6.Lack of remorse or guilt
7.Shallow affect
8.Callous, lack of empathy
9.Parasitic lifestyle
10.Poor behavioral control
11.Promiscuous sexual behavior
12.Early behavior problems
13.Lack of realistic long-term goals
16.Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17.Many short-term marital relationships
18.Juvenile delinquency
19.Revocation of conditional release
20.Criminal versatility

In his book, Ronson follows the trail of research about psychopaths, gets to know a few, and sees how they have affected society. For example, he tracks down Toto Constant, former leader of Haitian death squads backed by the CIA, who was given asylum in the US but restricted to Queens. Although the guy was basically in hiding, he still thought he was beloved in Haiti (#2), took no responsibility for his crimes (#16), and badly imitated strong emotions. Since psychopaths don’t experience emotions that same as other people (#7), they often compensate through imitation. But not all are excellent actors. Constant even thought he would someday be called back to “help” Haiti again (#13).

Psychopaths could be the reason the world seems so screwed up. If so, humanity’s tragic flaw may be that a few bad apples – people whose amygdalas don’t fire the right signals to their central nervous systems – really can spoil the whole barrel. Prime examples include the corporate psychopaths who trashed capitalism a few years back. To dig into that group check out Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, by Bob Hare and Paul Babiak. Examining these financial terrorists, you might well conclude that the conspiracy theory about shape-shifting lizards who secretly rule the world isn’t so far off. After all, psychopaths are often social shape-shifters.

So, the question is: Do psychopaths run the country and maybe the world? Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a strong candidate. Among recent presidents Nixon, Bush 2 and Clinton could qualify. The masters of the universe at places like Goldman Sachs are solid choices. And it only takes a few to destabilize a financial system, poison a community or destroy a business. Yet some studies suggest that, percentage-wise, there are more potential psychopaths among CEOs, directors and supervisors than in the general population, or even in prisons.

Who hasn’t known a business type who was borderline, a mercurial tyrant subject to fits of rage and impulsive acts? Or followed a public figure who was charming but also irresponsible, manipulative and self-aggrandizing? The tell-tale signs of the psychopath are often ignored or excused.

In his book, Ronson recalls a meeting with businessman Al Dunlop, a ruthless executive famous for his apparent joy in firing people. Together they go through Hare’s psychopath checklist and Dunlop simply redefines many of the traits as aspects of leadership. Impulsiveness becomes quick analysis. Grandiose sense of self-worth? Absolutely, you have to believe in yourself, says Dunlop. Manipulative? Hey, that’s just leadership. Inability to feel deep emotions? Emotions are mostly nonsense, he says. And not feeling remorse frees you up to do great things.

Newt Gingrich would likely have a similar response if confronted with his own psychopathic tendencies. At the moment, he is engaging in a standard strategy – claiming redemption and re-inventing himself. In his case it’s an epic rationalization that may not work.

It is widely agreed that Newt is an opportunist and a scoundrel. But that clearly doesn’t disqualify him from becoming president. Warren Harding, the Ohio senator who became president in 1920, carried on a 15-year affair both before and during his presidency. The “other woman,” Nan Britton, gave birth to a son.

This was shortly after the end of World War I. People were disillusioned with Woodrow Wilson, and Democrats deserted the party to give Harding the biggest landslide in US history, 60 percent of the vote. That year Eugene Debs, who was in federal prison, got his best turnout, a million votes. Less than three years later, in the middle of a “goodwill” tour,” Harding dropped dead suddenly in San Francisco. He was replaced in August 1923 by Calvin Coolidge, a native Vermonter and Massachusetts governor who had been picked for vice-president in the original smoke-filled room.

Some people said Harding had been poisoned by his wife, Florence DeWolfe, a cold, snobbish banker’s daughter known as The Duchess. Rumors spread that she was trying to avoid disgrace, possibly even Harding’s impeachment. The administration had become notoriously corrupt. The Duchess fed the rumors by refusing to allow an autopsy.

It remains a mystery to this day. But Harding provided his own epitaph in advance. “I am not fit for this office and never should have been here,” he once admitted. That self-awareness suggests, despite his shortcomings, that at least he wasn’t a psychopath.

The point: if Warren Harding could become president, why not Newt Gingrich or someone equally disturbed? Just think of the future scandals and all the pathological behavior we would get to witness. Bad behavior is, after all, catnip for millions of information consumers. Can they ever really get enough?

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 22, 2011 at 5:05 am

Stay-At-Home-Dads On The Rise? Not So Fast…MS. MAGAZINE BLOG June 20, 2010 by Elizabeth Black ·

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Stay-at-home dads are all the rage in the media since this rotten economy has forced many unemployed men back in the ranks of the homestead. Judging from the plethora of Father’s Day articles celebrating stay-at-home-dads, you would think that dads across the United States are turning into Mr. Mom at an unprecedented rate.

From a profile in Michigan’s Lansing State Journal:

[For Chris Singer], raising Tessa–who has huge, Gerber-baby blue eyes, adorably chubby legs and a smile that could melt the hardest of hearts–is mission one. That means nights without sleep, trips to the library and zoo, loads of diapers, bottles, burp cloths and the conviction that he’s doing the right thing right now.

From columnist Jeff Gillenkirk in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The number of stay-at-home dads rose nearly 60 percent between 2003 and 2008 and is expected to keep rising as the economy and family roles continue to change.

Don’t be fooled. These feel-good stories are trotted out for Father’s Day, but the reality is not so rosy. It’s true enough that the tide of layoffs has hit men harder than women. But bona fide primary caregiving fathers are still rare, and a man doesn’t automatically become a primary caregiver of the children simply because he’s unemployed or underemployed. The horrid worldwide economy has simply created a larger number of unemployed/underemployed men who aren’t picking up the slack at home.

In The New York Times, author Catherine Rampell describes the more complex reality:

On average, employed women devote much more time to child care and housework than employed men do, according to recent data from the government’s American Time Use Survey analyzed by two economists, Alan B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller.

When women are unemployed and looking for a job, the time they spend daily taking care of children nearly doubles. Unemployed men’s child care duties, by contrast, are virtually identical to those of their working counterparts, and they instead spend more time sleeping, watching TV and looking for a job, along with other domestic activities.

So despite media fantasies, men getting laid off means that many moms are now acting as both the primary caregiver and primary wage earner. Slacker dads, get up off your duffs and do the right thing by supporting the mothers of your children both financially and in the homestead.

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 19, 2011 at 12:10 am

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