This is old news. Hillary has been a supporter of gay rights for quite some time. Her "gay rights are human rights" speech covered this ground in 2011. In 2008, gays within the Democratic Party generally supported her. She released this video today:
The current Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, has publicly criticized his predecessor, Roger Mahoney, and removed him from any "administrative or public duties" for his failure to act in the priest child abuse scandal.
The scandal has been unraveling for years, but, in my own recollection, this is the first time that one bishop has so directly criticized the actions of another member of the heirarchy--and not just any bishop either, but a Cardinal to boot.
Mahoney's defense was lame. "Nothing in my own background or education equipped me to deal with this grave problem,” he said. Mahoney has a master's degree in social work.
It is true that, at the time he got his degree in 1962, child sexual abuse was not discussed as openly as it is today, and less was known about the pathology of the disorder, the extent of incidence, and its effects on victims. (The Child Abuse and Prevention Act was passed in 1973; he should have known something by then.)
Besides, the documents don't lie. Over 12,000 pages of testimony finally saw the light of day, and they clearly established Mahoney's culpability in the scandal. You don't need much "background or education" to know that simple human decency required intervention that Mahoney did not supply.
He, of course, is far from the only one. More heads should roll. The old boy network among the bishops will see this as a way of throwing Mahoney to the wolves in exchange for taking the heat off the rest of them. They never cared much for Mahoney anyway--he didn't get hysterical enough about women or "the gays."
It is hard to imagine Archbishop Gomez not confering with other bishops, or getting clearance from the Pope, before he went public with his criticism of a Cardinal.
What Mahony and others -- Cardinals Bernard Law, Justin Rigali, Edward Egan, Anthony Bevilacqua, and a host of archbishops and bishops -- really didn't understand was the degree to which their moral compasses had been distorted by the strong magnetic pull of the clergy culture. In their fierce allegiance to that exclusive club at all costs, in their willingness to preserve the façade of holiness and the faithful's high notion of ordination, they lost sight of simple human decency and the most fundamental demands of the Gospel.
They're still in "circle the wagons" mode, hoping to ride out modernism until, in some imagined future, they can run things again. Alas for them, and hurrah for the rest of us: that ship sailed long ago.
The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. It embraces the comforts and pleasures of modernity, while shrugging off the basic sacrifices that built our civilization in the first place.
So said Ross Douthat as he bemoans the fact that our lazy, self-centered citizens are having fewer children.
I wonder what "late-modern exhaustion" is, and I wonder how Douthat measures it. In the first place, how does he know we're in a "late-modern" period. Don't you have to know how everything turns out before you start saying what is "early" and what is "late"?
Secondly, it's a sign of "exhaustion" that we're not having more babies? Please. Maybe it's just the opposite. Maybe peoples' energy and dynamism, previously sapped by having children, is now being directed into other areas. The United States is not "exhausted." Quite the contrary, we are one of the most vibrant and vital countries in the world.
This entity called "late-modern exhaustion" arose in the west? It did, did it. When and where, and what are the marks by which we might know it?
Would we know it by its two 12 trillion dollar economies--Europe and the US? Would we know this awful decadence by its tired and defunct art and culture which somehow, still, manages to enliven people around the world, and is more sought and embraced than ever?
People are not stupid. People had lots of children in past eras for a variety of reasons, the most compelling of which was economic advantage. Two hundred years ago, when most of our citizens lived on farms, people needed the help. More children meant more farm hands.
With affluence, people tend to have fewer children. This is not because they are doing something so esoteric as favoring "stagnation" over "embracing the future", or some such rot, but rather because, first of all, there is no longer an economic advantage to having children.
Children cost a lot of money and a lot of time. People have other options today, and they are taking them. It doesn't mean they're exhausted, or stagnating, or shriveling up. It means they are free to pursue their own lives in the way they want.
Not to worry, Ross. People are still having children. The birth rates have gone down, but not out. The United States birth rate is slightly more than the replacement rate, and even poor old exhausted Europe has seen an uptick in recent years.
They have children, these days, for no really good reason. There's no money in it any more, but people keep having them anyway. Maybe it's because, operating from a position of freedom and responsibility and love, they actually want them.
For one thing, it was better. The average 6th grader, reading the Weekly Reader, would likely have a better understanding of what's going on in the world than one who reads Newsweek, especially now that Newsweek is going for niche markets like hard right sadomasochism.
Thankfully, Newsweek will soon be out of business.
Rick Santorum must have read one too many Frank Peretti novels. In Peretti's books, the Eee-vil One is usually an academic and a liberal who is ultimately defeated by a devout sweater-vested evangelical.
Santorum appears to be living in a Peretti-style Bizarro-World. According to Santorum, President Obama is not in denial about climate change, which makes him an earth-worshipping radical environmentalist--and he used to be a member of the liberal United Church of Christ. What more do you need to know? The man is in league with the devil!
That was nutty enough, but someone found this little gem today. Said Santorum in 2008:
“Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.”
This reminds me of a conversation I had with an evangelical pastor in the spring of 2004, and a subsequent conversation that was reported to me regarding the same individual. Literally within seconds of meeting this guy, he smiled a spooky smile and began talking about sex-trafficing in Asia. This is a legitimate issue, but generally not one you smile about or bring up right off the bat with a person you've just met.
When this same individual found out that I was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2004, he later said to a common friend, "Do you know what these people do there?"
So I was pretty hyped up at the possibility of going to a real-live orgy, but this was Boston, 2004, and the Bostonians have apparently never gotten over their puritanical past. I searched high and low for an orgy and the best I could do was that one of John Kerry's step-sons flirted with my wife. This was disappointing. These are Democrats, after all. He should be flirting with me.
Alas, then in 2008, I signed up for the Orgy Caucus at the Denver convention, but it didn't meet even one time. I was forced to walk up and down the 16th Street Mall asking perfect strangers where the orgy was, but got no help at all until I ran into a member of the Fred Phelps family who told me where to go--or better, where I was going to go--but not where to go for the orgy.
The upshot was that I'd been to two national conventions of the libertine party, and never once even met a single libertine. I was forced to this incontrovertible truth: The Democrats ain't sexy. To their credit, however, at least they don't obsess about it.
It made me appreciate the truth of Martin Luther's remark: "I'd rather be governed by a smart Earth-worshipping liberal than a dumb altar boy culture-warrior."