Priest-ridden, god-forsaken

As the Austrian-German Catholic Church sex scandal widens, will Chunky David Brooks knock it off with this kind of bullshit:

I suspect it isn’t a coincidence that the worst of the priest-abuse scandals have been concentrated in Ireland and America — and indeed, in Boston, the most Irish of American cities — rather than, say, in Italy or Poland or Latin America or Asia. There will always be priests who become predators; the question is how the Church as an institution deals with it. It hasn’t been handled all that well anywhere, I’m afraid. But the particular qualities of Irish Catholicism — qualities which were once a source of immense vitality — seem to have led to a particularly horrifying outcome.

107 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’ll give this to Chunky David Brooks: considering that Italian priests have been found counseling their parishioners to go ahead and get an abortion if they feel it’s necessary, I think the Italians have a much more casual attitude towards the church’s teachings.

    But I’m sure there’s going to be an Italian abuse scandal sooner rather than later. When the hierarchy is rotten from top to bottom, it’s inevitable.

  2. 2
    mr. whipple says:

    Wow. What a dickish column.

  3. 3
    4tehlulz says:

    And I bet they’re all drunks too!!

  4. 4
    Mark says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whacking_Day

    “It turns out that the day was actually invented in 1924 as an excuse to beat up the Irish.”

  5. 5
    ed says:

    I’m not exactly sure what Li’l Bobo’s trying to say here, but I sure as hell don’t want him to clarify himself. I just want him to go away.

  6. 6
    Lev says:

    I don’t know what happened to Douthat when he got to the Times. I used to enjoy reading his blog. Then he wrote that California vs. Texas article and I said the hell with him.

  7. 7
    Mark says:

    And jesus christ, what does fatass bobo have to say about the mafia?

  8. 8
    DougJ says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But I’m sure there’s going to be an Italian abuse scandal sooner rather than later.

    When my sister lived in Rome, there was some kind of strike, or at least demonstration, by a group of priest’s baby mamas.

    And Italians were about the only Europeans who succeeded in saving the country’s Jewish population from the holocaust.

    So I’ll concede that Italian culture is different.

  9. 9
    slag says:

    Personally, I blame that little Lucky Charms leprechaun for getting the kids comfortable with an affected Irish accent.

    To be honest, I don’t understand the nature of this criticism. And I’m not going to click on the link to learn more. So, either I’m going to have to be satisfied with my ignorance or someone’s going to have to explain why the Irish are supposedly to blame here.

  10. 10
    Mark says:

    @Lev: Douthat did write a 3000-word piece on how Harvard was too easy for him (though he admitted that he hadn’t taken a science class after junior high.)

  11. 11
    Splitting Image says:

    As the Austrian-German Catholic Church sex scandal widens, will Chunky David Brooks knock it off with this kind of bullshit:

    Nope. He and his forebears have been in denial for two thousands years and they’re not going to stop now.

    To give you an idea of how deep this goes, the writer Origen (c. A.D. 185-254) believed that priests should be castrated on entering the service because taking a vow of chastity didn’t seem to be doing the trick. Care to guess why he thought there was a problem that needed solving?

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    @slag:

    His argument is just that Irish people do these kinds of things. That’s really it.

  13. 13
    demimondian says:

    @Mnemosyne: There’s already something which is starting to play out that way. These scandals have a pattern of growing.

  14. 14
    Lev says:

    @Mark: What was his major?

  15. 15
    slag says:

    @DougJ: OK…hmm….Well, now I know.

    Is he saying this just because Joe Biden is Vice President?

  16. 16
    demimondian says:

    @Splitting Image: Because he thought that other priests should be made in his image?

  17. 17
    mr. whipple says:

    His argument is just that Irish people do these kinds of things. That’s really it.

    It’s the drinking.

  18. 18
    Paul M says:

    Jesus, I’ve fallen about as far as you can fall, and from the Boston archdiocese at that. I’m pretty much immunized against oversensitivity to Catholic bashing in all its glorious colors, and even I find that offensive. Shut the fuck up you little peckerhead.

  19. 19
    DougJ says:

    @slag:

    It could be the Kennedy family that’s making him say it.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DougJ:

    And Italians were about the only Europeans who succeeded in saving the country’s Jewish population from the holocaust.

    This is true. IIRC, Mussolini finally bowed to pressure from Hitler and started shipping Italian Jews off to concentration camps late in the war, but Italian troops would stop them at the border and take the prisoners off. There really weren’t mass deportations until Mussolini was deposed and the Germans could enforce them.

    Not that Mussolini was a great guy — he was happy to steal all of their money and enforce discriminatory laws against Jews — but he just didn’t see the point of killing them, too.

    The French, now. They were a bunch of assholes.

  21. 21
    kid bitzer says:

    could the ghost of tip oneill come back just briefly and beat the crap out of that pudgy wimp?

  22. 22
    slag says:

    @DougJ: Good point. I had forgotten about them. Might as well kick ’em while they’re down, I guess.

  23. 23
    stickler says:

    Splitting:

    Rumor has it that Origen didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk, as it were. Ahem. (And, wow, if the Catholics are having a priest-recruiting shortage now, just imagine if they had a mandatory castration requirement.)

    Re: the Italians — yes, a very different culture indeed. Nasty in its own ways (cf. Mussolini), but not quite up to the standard of nastiness set in Europe between 1933-45. Read Luigi Barzini’s _The Europeans_ for some examples. He recounts, as an Italian reporter, attending the Nazi rally at Nuremberg in (I think) 1936. He and all the other Italian journalists were stunned at the difference between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. “We turned to one another in shock as we realized that in Germany they were actually serious about this stuff!” (Hazily remembered quote.)

  24. 24
    DougJ says:

    @slag:

    Might as well kick ‘em while they’re down, I guess.

    You’re not Irish, I can see.

  25. 25
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    Well, I guess he deserves the moniker Douche Hat now.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @demimondian:

    Eh. Italian priests have been caught with prostitutes for centuries. The fact that they were gay prostitutes in this case is only slightly more interesting. Reading up on the history of the medieval popes makes you realize that Martin Luther had a point.

    The fact that it involves someone inside the Pope’s own household — now that’s a story.

  27. 27
    celticdragonchick says:

    @DougJ:

    I don’t really think so. What Brooks and some others have been getting at is the ridiculously close relationship between the authority of the Catholic Church and the Irish government which allowed monumental abuses. Moreover, undue influence within the Irish expat community was given to the Church, which continued to abuse their trust.

    I am not in a position to really say if the Catholic Church had an anomalous amount of power within the Irish community, but I don’t think it is a silly assertion on the surface, and Brooks is not the only one pointing that finger.

  28. 28
    gizmo says:

    I don’t know what to think about Douhat’s column, but anytime someone is beating up on the Catholic Church it’s a good thing.

  29. 29
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Mnemosyne: Let’s not forget that Pope Pius XII (soon to be canonized by Benedict) did nothing as the Jews of Rome were rounded up out of the ghetto and assembled right outside his window for deportation.

    The Italians resisted (fascinating and inspiring stories to be found there), but the Church simply didn’t care. Pius only objected to the persecution of Jews who had converted to Catholicism.

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    How does that explain “Boston, the most Irish of American cities”?

  31. 31
    Mark S. says:

    From my years of reading National Review, this is a pretty common gambit. “I just read this book that says that this ethnic group is particularly susceptible to” whatever, child molestation, violence, hip hop music. “There might be some truth to it.” Bring up irrelevant personal anecdote. Leave enough wiggle room so as not be accused of racism. Collect paycheck.

  32. 32
    Lev says:

    @Mnemosyne: So what you’re saying is that when the Italian priests fall, they fall more fashionably and less evilly. I buy it.

  33. 33
    stickler says:

    Oh, and the Italians were neither the only ones to save most of their Jews, nor were they particularly successful. The Jews were, as Mnemosyne points out, not targeted for “transportation” until 1943 when Italy left the war and the Germans took over the peninsula (as well as the Italian zones of occupation in the Balkans and parts of France, where many Jews had fled to and had found safety). Many more Italian Jews survived the war than was the case, say, for Polish Jews. And it wasn’t exactly Italians’ fault. But still.

    Also: the Danes got almost the entire Jewish population out of the country right under the Germans’ noses in 1942. Granted, it wasn’t many people (about 1200), and the boat ride from Copenhagen to Sweden was a lot easier than, say, the journey from Amsterdam or Paris to Sweden. But still: the Danes deserve mention when you’re talking about saving your Jewish fellow-citizens.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Fergus Wooster:

    Oh, I wasn’t excusing Pius by any means. In fact, it’s a little disturbing that Benito Mussolini was more opposed to shipping Jews off to concentration camps than the head of the Roman Catholic Church was.

    Let’s face it, the only recent pope who was worth a damn was Pope John XXIII, and since JPII took power the church has been doing everything it can to reverse his reforms.

  35. 35
    slag says:

    @DougJ: I could be and not know it. As you know, we westerners are slightly less attached to that whole family’s family recognition you all have to deal with on the east coast. A lot of us just don’t get it.

    And if I’m to understand celticdragonchick correctly, the Vatican never had a ridiculously close relationship with the Italian government.

  36. 36
    mcc says:

    So we went back to the 70s and scaremongered about the Weather Underground for awhile, but it wasn’t enough. So we had to go back another 20 years or so and scaremonger about the black agitators. Well, that didn’t do it either. So we tried going back another 20 years and trying to rehabilitate Joseph McCarthy. Next thing you know it’s 1910 and the New York Times is publishing pieces denouncing the Irish

  37. 37
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Mnemosyne: Didn’t mean to imply you were – just half-drunkenly chiming in. Just re-read Constantine’s Sword.

    I agree with your take on Muss vs. Pius, and your assessment of the Papal arc – it’s been downhill since John XXIII, and John Paul II was the Vatican’s Reagan – a genial mask for an authoritarian, mean-spirited movement. Benedict was JPII’s Cheney in my mythology, the Regent now King.

    This is miserable stuff, no?

  38. 38
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @DougJ:
    Re: the title – is that a “Wind that Shakes the Barley” reference? If so, bravo.

  39. 39
    Paul M says:

    @gizmo: Douthat’s not beating up on the Catholic Church per se. He’s beating up particularly and specifically on the Irish, without any quantifiable basis and in an evident attempt to excuse himself and his forebears from the myriad sins of the Church. He’s a dick.

    (btw, the French really blow, as noted supra.)

  40. 40
    DougJ says:

    @Fergus Wooster:

    Re: the title – is that a “Wind that Shakes the Barley” reference? If so, bravo.

    It’s from Portrait Of The Artist.

  41. 41
    Fergus Wooster says:

    I suck.

    A character quoted it in the movie. Knew it sounded familiar.

    Fuck. I’m crawling into my sofa fort now.

  42. 42
    Ecks says:

    Ok, I love me some Bobo bashing as much as anyone (either version), but apart from the column doesn’t actually say “Irish people are child molestors”. It says that the Irish church as of the last hundred years and change became a rigidly hierarchical one with a culture of doing whatever it took to look after their own. That doesn’t mean they molest more kids, it just means that when something bad like child molesting happens, there are greater odds that they would consider it embarrassing and have the means to hide it. And in fact, he doesn’t even put this on Irish people in general, he puts it on one or two long dead Irish people who first implemented this organizational culture.

    Yeah he cites some stuff that Irish culture used to be pretty bawdy, but hey, maybe it was. Some cultures really ARE more bawdy. Example: Victorian England was completely hung up on sex, but this was in many ways a reaction against the pretty licentious culture that had preceded them, and some enormous percent of the women living in London in the late 1800’s were prostitutes. These things happen sometimes in some places.

    I haven’t read enough of the rest of his oeuvre to rule out that you are seeing this as part of some broader pattern, but on the strength of this one article I just don’t see why you are all up on your high horses so much.

  43. 43
    Aimai says:

    Benedict as Cheney? That gets my vote as most succinct and illuminating analogy of the year. We are actually going to Rome with the children this summer and I’m thinking with some horror of visiting the Vatican. Part of me wants to see if we can get in line for a papal blessing– when in Rome etc– and part of me thinks I shouldn’t expose my children to such a hive of scum and villainy.

    Aimai

  44. 44
    Fergus Wooster says:

    @Aimai: Thanks! you lifted me up from my Joyce-fail.

    I sympathize with your predicament. Maybe you can expose them if you brief them first – facing evil, entitled men with a straight face and nominal deference just this once, so they can recognize it in other settings later.

    We’ll have the same issue with our kid in several years, so I scheme on this.

  45. 45
    Jamey says:

    It’s abundantly clear that Douthat was raped as a child–but he was probably asking for it by wearing a short skirt…

    Six months later and I’m still NOT over that Times blog, dammit. Douthat is the rare individual who causes me to have bar-fight fantasies.

  46. 46
    zhak says:

    I’m not agreeing with or defending the columnist (who I think is woefully inadequate as both a writer and a thinker).

    But I would like to point out a couple of things: namely, the Catholic Church has been throwing its weight around in rather a big way recently here in the States, hasn’t it? We have what’s been going on in DC, ie, the snit they’ve been throwing over homosexual rights. Then there’s the asshole Congressman from Michigan, he’s Catholic, right? And is basically seeking to infuse his personal & radical religious views on the rest of us, whether we like them or not.

    And then there’s this: The Magdalene Sisters, a movie from a few years back that certainly delves into the relationship between Ireland and Catholicism. It’s one of the few movies so viscerally appalling in its story (which is true) that I can’t re-watch it. That being said, I do recommend it.

    My own view is that if you want to follow any sort of religion, shoot for the moon, but that religion, whatever it is, whatever its teachings say, has no utter place in the lives of others and no place in US governance in any size, shape or form. That’s the way the plans were originally drawn up & anything else is a filthy perversion.

  47. 47
    MacsenMifune says:

    Well, whether he was dissing the Irish or not, I respond with the Dropkick Murphys State of Massachusetts .

  48. 48
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    “Chunky David Brooks” is not David Brooks. “Chunky David Brooks” is Ross Douthat. Please don’t ask me who “Chunky Ross Douthat” is — that’s just too Hall-of-Mirrors for me! Then we’d be opening things up to “Chunky Maureen Dowd,” “Chunky Tom ‘Moustache of Understanding’ Friedman,” and other chunkies.

  49. 49
    JenJen says:

    I’m neither Irish nor Catholic, and yet, reach a similar “WTF?” conclusion.

    And isn’t Douthat’s geographical point horribly anecdotal, and, also too, dumb? It might also happen to be that the same amount of crimes against children were committed in non-Irish and non-American areas, and went unreported. It sounds like he’s pulling most of this out of his ass.

  50. 50
    Malron says:

    Man, the guy reads like he’s saying the Irish are genetically predisposed to fuck little boys. The sexual abuse in the Catholic church isn’t an Irish problem; its a systemic problem that extends all the way to the pope.

  51. 51
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    It is fascinating that only two commenters called him out on his overt, casual bigotry.

    @Ecks: I invite you to go back & read CDB’s work from the beginning until your brain starts to bleed.

  52. 52
    geg6 says:

    WTF? I mean seriously. Fuck Douchehat with a rusty chainsaw. Fucking Irish bashing? Are we in 1910 or 1850 instead of 2010? And, damn, is there some ignorance about Ireland and Irish history in this thread or what? I mean, I am only 1/4 Irish, but I know better than to blame the Irish people for how they were betrayed by the one and only institution in their history that they thought they could count on. Jeebus. The church is dead in Ireland. Dead, dead, dead. And, honestly, that makes me dance with glee. Now if only American Catholics would be so brave and show a smidgen of self-respect.

  53. 53
    robertdsc says:

    Chunky Maureen Dowd

    Mmm…

  54. 54
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Fergus Wooster: That is really brilliant, your comparing JPII with Reagan, and Benedict with Cheney. Bravo!

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    I think there is a different attitude among Latin American Catholics — for example, the current elected President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, was a longtime Catholic Bishop (albeit known for his work among the poor) and has recognized at least one illegitimate child since assuming office (and hasn’t been commenting on a few others to emerge). But there isn’t any sort of serious move to bring him down on this basis.

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Well in fairness to Douche Hate, that column *was* from last December. He’s had three and a half months to reconsider, and I for one look forward to reading his column this coming Monday (the St. Patrick’s Day “reparations” edition).

  57. 57
    Jules says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    I thought Douchehat was “doughy”.
    Who is the white doughy guy?

    I have such a hard time keeping up with the conservative douchebags who are never right.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @stickler:

    What I find fascinating about Italy and the Holocaust is that their good outcome seems to be mostly the result of indifference and a desire to not let Hitler boss them around since they were supposed to be equals in their alliance. It’s the almost complete lack of heroism that’s interesting to me.

    Yeah, I know, I’m a little weird. :-)

  59. 59
  60. 60
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Jules: No no no no no. “Doughy” is Jonah Goldberg. “Doughy” and “Chunky” are *not* the same. Sheesh — call. Yerself a BJ commenter . . . ! ?

  61. 61
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever been in moderation before. Was it “p@nt|oad”?

  62. 62
    JenJen says:

    I can’t believe that Douthat left out that whole part about how the men stink of whisky, and their women hang shanty curtains. Maybe next blog?

    @Jules: I concur with SiubhanDuinne. Jonah is, and forever shall be, Doughy. Ross is Chunky. Nuance, in that rare, good way.

  63. 63

    You do understand that under Stupack’s Bishops position that all the Bishops, Cardinals, and Pope are pedophiliacs since that collection money went to support those boy abusing Priests… Not doing the dirty deed with the boys doesn’t cut it… NO MONEY FOR PEDOPHILIA.

  64. 64
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    ‘Course *now* I’m all picturing “Chunky Doughy Pantload” and, frankly, eeling a bit sick to my tummy.

  65. 65
    MikeJ says:

    You do understand that under Stupack’s Bishops position that all the Bishops, Cardinals, and Pope are pedophiliacs since that collection money went to support those boy abusing Priests

    If they can cut off ACORN why can’t the US pull the plug on Catholic “Charities”?

  66. 66
    Anne Laurie says:

    @DougJ:

    It could be the Kennedy family that’s making him say it.

    Nah, abusing the Irish is a long-standing tradition in the mileu Doubt-that grew up in (New Haven, then Harvard). Preserving every stupid, cheap, petty prejudice of ‘America’s Better Classes’ is Chunky Bobo’s idea of filial piety. Like Rove, he’s under the impression that his life would have been soooo much more… rewarding… if only he’d been born during the McKinley administration, when the white American male was truly Master of the Universe. Doubt-that only joined the Catholic Church because it seemed like a bastien of “traditional authority” (i.e., authoritarian patriarchal privilege) in a world that no longer treats flabby, flabby-minded chair jockeys like Ross as the best measure of human evolution.

  67. 67
    JenJen says:

    Correction: Re #60, I concur with @Jules.

    And I still can’t understand why Ross Douthat didn’t mention that the Irish are flat-footed, foul-mouthed and quick to anger, and therefore make poor employees, in addition to the well-known fact that they are pre-disposed toward buggering children.

    I’ve re-read that post of his four times now. What in the hell was he thinking? I mean, if you’re going to bash the Irish, just cut to the fucking chase already, Chunky McChunkerson.

  68. 68
    Nellcote says:

    Won’t click thru to read the whole thing but does he at least end it with “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” ??

  69. 69
    MikeJ says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Nah, abusing the Irish is a long-standing tradition in the mileu Doubt-that grew up in (New Haven, then Harvard).

    Maybe hanging with your friends in the jcr, but not on the street where they might hear you.

  70. 70
    stickler says:

    Mnemosyne:

    No, I think it goes farther than that. Italians just never quite got the Nazi racism vibe. Oh, they did awful things to the Ethiopians, don’t get me wrong. But they simply never seemed to quite understand the Nazi form of racism. It ran counter to so much of Italian identity (Roman, Medieval, Modernist, Corporatist, etc.), that I think Italy was one of the European countries least likely to embrace genocidal policies.

    Nasty they could be: racist like the Nazis, not so much.

    (Nota bene: I’m not including the Salo phase of Fascism, which was dominated by war-and-occupation-induced trauma as well as the mendacity of its leadership.)

  71. 71

    @MikeJ:

    If they can cut off ACORN why can’t the US pull the plug on Catholic “Charities”?

    There is a SASQ there, but having already called the entire Catholic hierarchy pedophiles…

  72. 72

    A gentle reminder that if every non-Caucasian and non-Christian quits American soil, the Irish-Americans had better come along too or they’ll be well and truly fucked.

  73. 73
    Jules says:

    @JenJen:

    those lazy, drunk Irish and their shanty curtains….

    SiubhanDuinne
    It is so hard to keep up, so many asshats, so many names, so little time….

  74. 74
    Nellcote says:

    @geg6:

    know better than to blame the Irish people for how they were betrayed by the one and only institution in their history that they thought they could count on.

    Sinead OConnor is redeemed.

  75. 75
    MikeJ says:

    But they simply never seemed to quite understand the Nazi form of racism. It ran counter to so much of Italian identity (Roman, Medieval, Modernist, Corporatist, etc.),

    Carthago delenda est. You don’t think racism had anything to do with the Roman Empire?

    And Balotelli is not the first footballer to get the reception he did in Rome.

  76. 76
    slag says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    and I for one look forward to reading his column this coming Monday (the St. Patrick’s Day “reparations” edition).

    Hilarious.

  77. 77
    slag says:

    @MikeJ:

    If they can cut off ACORN why can’t the US pull the plug on Catholic “Charities”?

    Last I heard, a judge reinstated ACORN’s funding. But why haven’t they tried pulling the plug on Catholic Charities? I think we all know the answer to that.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MikeJ:

    I think what stickler is saying is that the Italians never bought into that pseudo-scientific, eugenics-based, “master race” racism that the Nazis propagated, not that they’re not racist. As I said, Mussolini had a grand time persecuting Italian Jews and stealing their money and property, but he didn’t feel that drive to “cleanse” Italy and murder them all that Hitler did in Germany.

    Italians don’t seem to come up with elaborate rationalizations or excuses for how their racism is “really” scientific or truth-based. They’re just straight-up racist assholes who say that they’re better than non-Europeans because shut up, that’s why.

  79. 79
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    @MikeJ: Wow, um, the conflict with Carthage was not racist on either side. It was an ordinary only-room-enough-for-one-superpower-in-this-here-Mediterranean scenario.

  80. 80
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @El Cid:

    I think there is a different attitude among Latin American Catholics

    Yeah, but the age of consent in most of Latin America is something like 9. So that can kinda changes things.

  81. 81
    Jon H says:

    Three words: “Father Maciel Scandal“.

    Not Irish, and a popular guy at the Vatican when he was alive.

  82. 82
    Jon H says:

    http://www.time.com/time/world.....-1,00.html

    From Monday of this week.

    But last week in Mexico, where Maciel founded the ultraconservative Legion in 1941, the scandal took an even unholier turn. On March 3, one of Maciel’s mistresses, Blanca Lara, and two of Lara’s grown sons told MVS Radio that Maciel had sexually abused his own children. It “started when I was 7 years old,” said one son, José Raúl González, now in his early 30s. “I was lying down with him like any boy, any son with his father. He pulled down my pants and tried to rape me.” The abuse, González said, got worse after that and lasted years. His brother Omar said he too had been sexually abused by Maciel, starting at age 8. (The sons never took Maciel’s surname.) Says Maciel victim Juan Vaca, 72, a former priest and adjunct psychology and sociology professor at Mercy College in New York: “This simply confirms what sort of personality we [were] dealing with: a malignant narcissist.”

    I wonder if Douthat saw this and is doing a “Look! It’s Bob Hope!” to distract attention from it.

  83. 83
    joe in oklahoma says:

    There is an old saying in the Catholic church to the effect that the Italians make the law, the Germans write books about it, but only the Irish and the Americans enforce it.

  84. 84
    psychobroad says:

    (paraphrase) “We’ll let in the niggers and the chinks, but not the Irish.” (boos) OK, everyone!”

  85. 85
    SGEW says:

    @DougJ:

    —A bad business! A bad business!
    Mr. Dedalus repeated:
    —A priestridden Godforsaken race!
    . . .
    Dante broke in angrily:
    —If we are a priestridden race we ought to be proud of it! They are the apple of God’s eye. Touch them not, says Christ, for they are the apple of My eye.
    —And can we not love our country then? asked Mr. Casey. Are we not to follow the man born to lead us?

    [Thanks for making me look this one up, Doug. Good one.]

  86. 86
    sfp says:

    @Ecks: @JenJen:

    Yeah, what they said.

    Douthat may be mistaken, and he’s definitely being really really handwavy (it’s a newspaper opinion column, so duh…). The account maybe wrong, or oversimplified, or maybe it tries to explain the wrong thing (possibly, the real question is not “why do Irish Catholics have so many problems with pedophiles”, but “why are these abuses coming to light in Ireland and not somewhere else”).

    But I am at a complete loss as to why so many people are taking offense at it: Institutions sometimes come into existence, they influence behavior, immigrants take their institutions with them–is any of this controversial? He’s making a bog-standard historical argument. What’s the big deal?

  87. 87
    hamletta says:

    The minute I read this post this afternoon, I clicked over to Whiskey Fire to see what Thers had to say. So far no post. But I imagine Douchehat will wish he’d never been born once the Irish Lout gets done with him.

    I’m Irish/Welsh Lutheran. Luther was wrong about a lot, like, say, Jews (and just for the record, he wrote a similarly vile tract about Anabaptists); but he was righter than he imagined about the Catholic Church as an institution.

    Luther traveled to Rome as a dumb hick and was horrified to find brothels for clerics. But it was quite common, and your princes of the church often had mistresses and bastard children. It was just accepted.

    He was right to call bullshit and say priests should get married.

    I know Catholics who have been deeply hurt by these revelations. My neighbor’s Ukranian Orthodox, but her husband is Lutheran, and when I mentioned my going back to church and invited her to maybe check it out, she said she couldn’t hack even the concept of church because of the way the abuse revelations had been handled.

    I tend to write off Luther’s depictions of the Whore of Babylon, because so many Catholics, even those in official positions, are terrific people, but the institution is fucked up.

  88. 88
    Yutsano says:

    @hamletta: So…I guess this means no healing of the Great Schism any time soon?

  89. 89
    slightly_peeved says:

    @stickler:

    According to Len Deighton’s history of WW2 “Blood, Tears and Folly”, a lot of Italians reacted to the declaration of WW2 with “Wait, we’re on whose side now?” Traditionally Italy had more of a cultural affinity with France and Britain than Germany. A lot of Italians weren’t particularly keen about warring with them, let alone participating in a genocide on Germany’s behalf.

  90. 90
    stickler says:

    slightly_peeved:

    True. The Italians were pretty keen on keeping the Med all to themselves, so much so that they shortchanged Rommel’s Afrika Korps on supplies. Not altogether unreasonable, even if it helped cost them the war. Although Mussolini did send a really big army to the Eastern Front in 1941-2; it was destroyed at Stalingrad. Whoops.

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    Coming from a very Irish, very Catholic family, I really need to ask ol Ross what he thinks I should do about my cousins and uncles who are priests. Should I turn them in?

    Ross used to just annoy me. Now I’m pretty sure that if I passed him on the street, I’d break a beer bottle over his head (I’ve always got one on me, natch.)

  92. 92
    tyrese says:

    the contents of the Catholic sex abuse scandal by country page on wikipdia:

    # 1 European countries

    * 1.1 Austria
    * 1.2 Belgium
    * 1.3 Czech Republic
    * 1.4 France
    * 1.5 Germany
    * 1.6 Ireland
    * 1.7 Italy
    * 1.8 The Netherlands
    * 1.9 Poland
    * 1.10 United Kingdom

    # 2 Latin American countries

    * 2.1 Argentina
    * 2.2 Brazil
    * 2.3 Mexico
    * 2.4 Peru

    # 3 North American countries

    * 3.1 Canada
    * 3.2 United States

    # 4 Oceania countries

    * 4.1 Australia
    * 4.2 New Zealand
    * 4.3 Philippines

    Examining that list of places where catholic priests molested kids, I detect the single unifying thread–the presence of the Irish! I wouldn’t trust those Irish Philippinos as far as I can throw them.

  93. 93
    tyrese says:

    Ross used to just annoy me. Now I’m pretty sure that if I passed him on the street, I’d break a beer bottle over his head (I’ve always got one on me, natch.)

    I keep those emotions down by never bothering to read him. Life’s to short to read the Douchehats, the Kristols, the Cheneys, etc.

  94. 94
    Ash Can says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    @Fergus Wooster:

    it’s been downhill since John XXIII

    This, sadly. John XXIII is the main reason I haven’t abandoned the Catholic Church in favor of some other denomination. He more than any other Church leader in modern times showed what a force of good Catholics can be in the world, and there are plenty of us children of Vatican II remaining throughout the laity and clergy. Unfortunately, we moderates and liberals have been out of power for decades, and I still don’t see any light ahead in the tunnel. Nevertheless, no one wants to see the rot torn out of the Church heierarchy — no matter how high or how low it goes — more than we do.

    @Aimai: You can blow off the pope altogether and just wander around St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel and enjoy the art and architecture. Vatican City is colorful and impressive and cosmopolitan — it’s a destination for people from all over the world — and you can still really get into it without having to do the religious stuff at all.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @zhak:

    that religion, whatever it is, whatever its teachings say, has no utter place in the lives of others and no place in US governance in any size, shape or form. That’s the way the plans were originally drawn up & anything else is a filthy perversion.

    And this too. It never would have occurred to American Catholics in the early 1960s to demand of JFK that his policies reflect Catholic dogma. Hell, he went out of his way to make it a point that his religion wouldn’t be a factor in his job as President. Then again, as I mentioned above, those were the heady days of Vatican II. The difference now, I’m sure, is that decades of more conservative rule in the Church have emboldened the reactionaries among the clergy.

    Combining the themes of multiple threads here, I fantasize about Obama putting his foot down with Netanyahu and saying, “No more foreign aid until the settlements are taken down” — and then turning to the Vatican and saying, “And you lose your tax exemption in the US until you get serious about pedophile priests.”

  96. 96

    […] — other than the church itself. Ross Douthat’s impressive contortions come to mind (h/t John Cole) I suspect it isn’t a coincidence that the worst of the priest-abuse scandals have been […]

  97. 97
    Josh says:

    Mnemosyne, What’s your objection to JPI?

    And DougJ, “And Italians were about the only Europeans who succeeded in saving the country’s Jewish population from the holocaust”? I dare ya to say that in Denmark. Or to John Turturro, who IIRC played Primo Levi in the movies.

  98. 98
    Cerberus says:

    Holy shit is that a blast from the past. The Irish have been “white-bred” “Real Americans” for several generations longer than even Italians have. What a shitty specimen of the human species and part of an epidemic of nasty coming out these days. A lot of the catholic apologists are finding it harder and harder to just deny it away or ignore it into submission and so have begun to defend the indefensible and make arguments that no person in the modern times would honestly want to stand behind with a clear mind.

    There was a writer in the Guardian that said that because the Rape Culture means that a lot of women have been raped, even as children, that the Priest molestations were therefore laughably small in comparison (and he misuses statistics to try and show this), we have Douche-hat trying early 20th century “the potato-eaters are all drunken child molesters” hate on).

    And as others have pointed out, no, not really. The Catholic Church is turning out corrupt in every country it’s touched. The current explosion is in Austria and Germany right now, Down Under recently had some investigations that uncovered a royal mess, and I’d only expect the flies to be nastier in the Third World where often basic subsistence and medical care ends up getting routed through the Church (Canada’s aboriginal population has something like a 75% child molestation record often at the hands of various “missionary figures” seeking to exploit them).

    The only thing that made Ireland semi-special was the thorough power the Church had over their day-to-day lives. The Catholic Church has special dispensation in the government. Most children were forced through religious boarding schools and the religion was often directly tied to ethnic and national identity.

    Blaming that on the Irish is basically just more blatant victim-blaming. Maybe if Ireland hadn’t worn that short dress that bastard at the party wouldn’t have felt forced, forced I tell you, to slip a roofie into her beer and engage in a massive physical and sexual assault of her country’s youth.

    Asshole.

  99. 99
    Tim o says:

    Where is Bill Donohue when you need him? I’m sure he’s choking on his host right about now! Or not. Nevermind. I’ll send him the link just in case.

  100. 100
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    Kudos to Douthat! America’s been too patient with the Hibernian scum stinking up its cities and its countryside and every aspect of its infrastructure and culture. When can we finally deport these 50 million or so uncouth, depraved Celtic degenerates and take our country back?

  101. 101
    Aimai says:

    I’m Jewish sobit was really more of an anthropological impulse to getbin line for a papal blessing. But i actually think it’s hard to take cute little children into the zone of prosletization. At mitre dame last year my ten year old was praised as an unusually good catholic, knowledgeable about her catechism by the tour guide znd we were approached by a monk who wanted to know if the children were “good” so he could offer them some religious instruction. They seem sublely unaware of the bad news coming out daily in re the church and minors.

    On the subject of douthat and carholicism and harvard it must be remembered that douthat is catholic. Also, if anything he’s pro state/ church interactions. He’s just trying to deflect responsibility from a secretive, authoritarian and abusive church on to one ethnic group.

    And don’t forget that Canada and tbd French Canadian church had exactly the same scandal as the Irish church in it’s orphanages.

    This is a problem of social control and furtive sex in isolated families and communities. Priests, nuns, monks, have abused vulnerable children in their care: first nations, orphanages, schools. In Boston they picked on broken or single parent families. It’s an institutional problem, not an etnic one.

    Aimai

  102. 102
    DBrown says:

    @DougJ: Sorry Doug, but your history has problems. While it is true that Mussolini had protected Italian Jews during the war, after he was overthrown by the Nazi’s, most the Jews were taken and killed. It was, I believe, in Bulgaria that the entire Jewish population was fully protected by both the government and general population even though they were allies and partly controlled by the Nazis.

  103. 103
    Mnemosyne says:

    @DBrown:

    It was, I believe, in Bulgaria that the entire Jewish population was fully protected by both the government and general population even though they were allies and partly controlled by the Nazis.

    Bulgaria’s actions have been greatly exaggerated. They resisted sending Bulgarian Jews to Nazi death camps, but they were happy to send Jews from the territories that they invaded. Plus they “protected” many of their Jewish citizens by sending them to pretty nasty labor camps.

    The Scandinavian countries still have the best overall record as far as actual protection of their Jewish citizens.

  104. 104
    Jon H says:

    @hamletta: “The minute I read this post this afternoon, I clicked over to Whiskey Fire to see what Thers had to say. So far no post.”

    Probably because Douthat’s column is from December.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Josh:

    Mnemosyne, What’s your objection to JPI?

    I have no objection to JPI, since the guy was only in power for 33 days before he died. I have a whole lot of objections to JPII because he spent a lot of time undermining Vatican II and reversing those reforms to take power away from the laity and return it to the hands of the hierarchy. Plus I think his actions in Africa blocking AIDS prevention programs was flat-out evil.

    I will fully admit that I was spoiled by the archdiocese in which I was raised and have extremely high standards, because for a lot of my life our archbishop was Cardinal Joseph Bernadin, who was probably the closest thing to an actual saint that we have seen from the Church in a long time. He literally set the standard for sexual abuse investigations and removing abusive priests from their positions. He was also the first prominent Catholic archbishop to say that AIDS was not a judgement by God on gay people and that it was our duty as Catholics to be compassionate and care for people with AIDS.

    Watching my church slide downhill from the high standards of the one I was raised in has been extremely depressing, to say the least.

  106. 106
    Brett says:

    *Sigh* If only the Catholic Church could have just done what the Orthodox Church was doing, and let married clergymen hold positions (or better yet, allow them to get married).

  107. 107
    Palmer Eldritch says:

    This article is dated December 1, 2009, 1:50 pm

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