Wednesday, July 3

A reader sends this in. It's from a piece by Leon Podles in the new issue of Touchstone Magazine, which seems to be a journal I need to subscribe to. It's theme is "Lay Review Boards, Anyone?'

"Everybody loved Father Brian. He was a real entertainer, described in a newspaper story as a "charismatic priest and extemporaneous preacher who used unconvential methods to involve his congregation in the Gospel." He celebrated sunrise Mass on Easter with balloons tied to each pew. He walked newly baptized babies around the Church to be applauded. And on more than one occasion he ended Mass by dancing down the aisle or by playing a kazoo. Even one of his victims admitted :He was a naturally attractive personality,
very outgoing. Everybody loved Father Brian."

When he was accused in 1995 and sent away for treatment, many of his parishioners turned on the victim. One letter writer to the local paper said, "More Father Brians are needed in this sad, hateful and so much jealous up his whole life for God is enough proof of his unselfishness. Come back Father, nothing can compare with a bright tommorrow."

Marcie Wogan, the deputy state's attourney assigned to the case, saw nothing but sympathy for the priest and anger towards his victim. "When my office was investigating this matter in 1995, there was a great deal of anger directed toward whomever the public percieved as the victim of Brian Cox. (The archdiocese of Baltimore protected him from law, she added. When investigators from the state's attorney's office attempted to reach he went on sabbatical and the church would not disclose his whereabouts.)

Staunch conservative parish members still defend Father Brian. He was so interested in helping the poor. Why are people bringing up what happened twenty years ago? Why upset such a man's life just because he had sex with a young man? After all, what did he do that was so bad? Some parishioners were reported as saying that Father Brian's sexual actions were the result of sheer exuberance.

One of his victims recalls going to the pool with the priest. After swimming, Father Brian would take the boy into showers, which were generally empty during the week. There he masturbated the youth on at least four occasions, the boy says.

This ought to be enough. But when priests like Father Brian are exposed, the laity rally to their support. In doing so they reveal their own complicity in the abuse - not so much in justifying it after the fact as in encouraging the sort of religion from which abuse grows and finding priests to give this kind of religion to them.

Catholic laity often have been enablers of these criminals and share in their guilt. They have wanted to be entertained; they find Christianity boring, all this stuff about sin and atonement and penance and grace, all these restrictive rules, all this structure in worship. They want lively masses, clown masses, high entertainment. They want the freedom to do as they feel, not help in becoming saints.

They do not want priests who are what priests are supposed to be: men who have dedicated years of their lives to serious theological study and ascetic practices, men who are entrusted with handing on the very Word of God, preaching a Gospel of repentence, administering the dread mysteries of the New Covenant in the Blood of God, mysteries at which the Thrones and the
Cherubim tremble.

No, this laity wants Father Brian, whom no one can take seriously. So what if these juvenile priests get their sexual pleasure by ruining the lives of minors? What are a few ruined lives in exchange for a fun religion for everyone else, one emptied of the dreadful and saving message of the gospel?"

(End of quote.I haven't figure out how to make the italics command work with this style sheet, so apologies.)

There you go. That says it all for me. Wake up, people. Wake up.

A reader sends a link which takes you to a site which says it can give you a sky-view of your home. Just type in your address. I don't have time to try it right now, but if it works, let us know!
A valuable interview with a child psychologist on how perps persuade their victims. It's a good piece to read in this time of "He's a good man - it happened so long ago."
How doctors found out that they can't police their own bad apples without help from an outside registry and how this experience could help the Catholic hierarchy.
Sad, sad, sad.

And more evidence that things are not always as they seem.

Documents indicate problems in household of toddler left in van.

The Manassas father of 13 who left his 21-month-old daughter in the family's van in May told police that his eldest son was supposed to be watching the toddler and acknowledged that he didn't once ask about her as she overheated and died, according to documents filed yesterday in Prince William County Circuit Court. The documents portray a family in which the oldest children were taking increasing responsibility for the care of their siblings. Early last year, that led the family's eldest daughter to a mental breakdown and hospitalization, during which she told doctors that she "thought she had too much responsibility and complained about it," the documents say. The documents, filed late yesterday afternoon, provide a contrast with the stable image of the family of Kevin and Mary Kelly that fellow parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church and friends have put forward. Instead, there's evidence that Kevin Kelly had trouble controlling the household. Mary Kelly told doctors shortly after the birth of her 13th child that she was "stressed about family size" and that her husband was "not as concerned," the court papers say. Less than a year later, she said that she wanted to use natural family planning to space her children and that her "husband refuses to consider it."


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