For those that need the warning, further down this blog I discuss child abuse.
I’ve been thinking about names and Internet privacy since Jeremy Duns asked the internet:
The answer to me is obvious: yes, they are. My personal unfavourite is the Herald, which bans all pseudonymous commenters: the New Statesman, which is just a complete muddle, is probably the next worse. Facebook is problematic, and Google Plus is a cosmic screwup all of its own. Part of that reason is that most computer systems do not handle names very well: see Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names.
Jeremy Duns has, fairly enough, got valid reasons to detest people who use multiple pseudonyms on the Internet, aka sockpuppets, which the Urban Dictionary defines as:
An account made on an internet message board, by a person who already has an account, for the purpose of posting more-or-less anonymously.
Yesterday, all Catholic Churches in Scotland were directed to read out a “Pastoral Message on Marriage and Family Life” from the Bishops of Scotland on Marriage and Family Life from the Bishops of Scotland which was explicitly intended to let LGBT people in Scotland know that our families, and our marriages, are considered by the Catholic bishops to be unworthy and wrong. It announced a new Commission to “promote the true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus” from which everyone not cisgendered and heterosexual is banned.
Cardinal O’Brien showed little faith in it, arguing that if same-sex couples can marry legally, this will “alter or destroy” the marriages of people to whom the Catholic Church is willing to provide pastoral support. (He doesn’t explain how.)
“The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.”
Yesterday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. When I arrived, he was in tears. He had woken up in a strange place (his parents are visiting his grandparents): his mother wasn’t there: he’d wet his nappy: and he was hungry. Because he’s three, he responded to this concatenation of awful circumstances by sobbing, loudly and non-stop, while I picked him up, washed him, changed him, collected his picnic tea, and pointed out to him that we were now going for a walk to the park and quite possibly a bus ride and then he would see his mother. He’d stopped sobbing by the time we got to the front door, and before we had gone five minutes down the road to the park, he was skipping.
I mention this because we don’t treat children exactly like adults. Had I come across an adult in such misery, I would not have treated him as I treated my small nephew: I was pretty sure I knew what was making him miserable, and the best thing to do seemed to be to take away the causes of his misery even if he was sobbing as I did it.
Bikers Against Child Abuse:
The origins of BACA are recent, Mopar says. The incident that kicked it off took place in Utah, circa 1995. A child psychologist and clinical play therapist, whose ride name is Chief because he is a Native American, came across the case of an abused boy who was so traumatized he refused to leave his house. Chief made a house call to see what was going on with the child. He soon discovered that the only thing that piqued the boy’s interest was when Chief mentioned his bike. Then his eyes lit up.
Knowing he was on the right track to help this child, Chief gathered together his friends from the local Harley Owners Group and the next Saturday, 27 HOGs descended on the boy’s home. Looking out the window, the child was in awe and, for the first time in weeks, he ventured outside to see the bikes.
It wasn’t long before the boy was outside playing and riding his skateboard all over the neighborhood. It was an amazing and rapid transformation and a new tool in the recovery kit. BACA was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization the next year.
There is a ring around the world
Today, the 50th Eucharistic Congress begins in Dublin. From the Catholic Free Press:
The Vatican official who will act as papal legate for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin defended marriage based on the church’s traditional teaching and urged Catholics to use the resource of the family to confront the challenges of secularized societies.
That’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada, who’s head of the Congregation for Bishops as well as the Pope’s representative to this Congress in Ireland. (L’Association des Victimes de Prêtres, in Quebec, says that Ouellet has been consistently silent about the victims of abusive priests, despite repeatedly being asked to help repair the damage. Oellet is of course willing to speak out to protect “unborn” children. Once they’re born, though…)
It ensnares the little Ones
From the Irish Times:
In relation to the most painful of those issues, the sex abuse crisis, Cardinal Ouellet was unsure whether he would be meeting abuse survivors while in Dublin, saying it was a delicate, sensitive issue.
Recently, the Italian bishops’ conference affirmed that a bishop had no legal obligation to report a paedophile priest to police. But is there not a “moral” obligation?
“Regarding sexual abuse of children, the main concern of the church is the protection of children. For this reason, full co-operation between church and civil authorities is a moral obligation when concerning the protection of minors. This co-operation has to be developed according to the laws of each individual country.”
As these priests and bishops fall
Arrested for being a public nuisance outside a takeaway shop, the 15-year-old blamed her behaviour – screaming and bashing the counter – on the systemic abuse she had suffered at the hands of two men inside. During six hours of videotaped testimony she went on to say how she’d been lured in by the men with gifts – drinks and a phone card or maybe something to eat – and made to feel “pretty” before eventually being asked to “pay for” the vodka with sex. She even handed over underwear spotted with the 59-year-old accused’s DNA.
Nine months later, in August 2009, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge the two men as the girl would make an “unreliable witness” and the lawyer doubted any jury would believe her.
Three-quarters of the time, when sexual offences against children are reported to the police, the adult alleged to have committed the offence will not go to trial. According to NSPCC research, a third of children who are sexually abused “do not tell anyone at all about it, let alone report it to the police.”
The teenager who screamed and yelled and told the police this year saw her evidence – believed at last – form a central part of the case against the gang of nine men found guilty of raping and trafficking children.
As a white feminist, I feel like Fleet Street Fox and Julian Norman: this is about adult men raping and abusing girls, and race doesn’t enter into it.
In 1975, Father Sean Brady had no idea what to do when an 11-year-old boy told him that an adult man had had sex with him, because “no State or Church guidelines for responding to allegations of child abuse existed in Ireland”. Apparently none of the Church hierarchy above Father Brady, now Cardinal Brady, had any idea what to do either.
According to Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna, speaking in 2010 as the “promoter of justice” or the prosecutor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was once called the Holy Office or the Inquisition, very clear guidelines had existed since 1922, republished and distributed in 1962: the responsible clerical authority should order an investigation and if the accusation of delicta graviora was proved well-founded (the Congregation’s job is to investigate delicta graviora, which include sexual crimes committed by a cleric against a person under the age of eighteen) then the clerical authorities should refer the priest to the Congregation.
Reading Cardinal Brady’s statement exculpating himself, I was reminded of Monsignor William Lynn, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, Philadelphia, who was arrested in February 2012, indicted in mid-March and is now on administrative leave.
From Rolling Stone:
At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia’s archdiocese.