The New York Times Is Lying About the Pope

Monday, March 29, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

On March 25, 2010, the New York Times claimed that then Cardinal Ratzinger acted to prevent the defrocking of Lawrence C. Murphy.  Here is the crux of the story:

“In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.

But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.”

The New York Times is lying and they know they are lying.

Father Raymond J. de Souza at National Review Online explains how I can make the statement above about the New York Times.

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.

Before addressing the false substance of the story, the following circumstances are worthy of note:

• The New York Times story had two sources. First, lawyers who currently have a civil suit pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Anderson, also has cases in the United States Supreme Court pending against the Holy See. He has a direct financial interest in the matter being reported.

• The second source was Archbishop Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee. He is the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him. Archbishop Weakland had responsibility for the Father Murphy case between 1977 and 1998, when Father Murphy died. He has long been embittered that his maladministration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee earned him the disfavor of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long before it was revealed that he had used parishioners’ money to pay off his clandestine lover. He is prima facie not a reliable source.

• Laurie Goodstein, the author of the New York Times story, has a recent history with Archbishop Weakland. Last year, upon the release of the disgraced archbishop’s autobiography, she wrote an unusually sympathetic story that buried all the most serious allegations against him (New York Times, May 14, 2009).

• A demonstration took place in Rome on Friday, coinciding with the publication of the New York Times story. One might ask how American activists would happen to be in Rome distributing the very documents referred to that day in the New York Times. The appearance here is one of a coordinated campaign, rather than disinterested reporting.

It’s possible that bad sources could still provide the truth. But compromised sources scream out for greater scrutiny. Instead of greater scrutiny of the original story, however, news editors the world over simply parroted the New York Times piece. Which leads us the more fundamental problem: The story is not true, according to its own documentation.

The New York Times made available on its own website the supporting documentation for the story. In those documents, Cardinal Ratzinger himself does not take any of the decisions that allegedly frustrated the trial. Letters are addressed to him; responses come from his deputy. Even leaving that aside, though, the gravamen of the charge — that Cardinal Ratzinger’s office impeded some investigation — is proven utterly false.

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Bart Stupak’s Last Stand

Monday, March 29, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

Since his sell-out of the pro-life cause, Bart Stupak (Weasel, Michigan) has been attempting to justify his cave-in.  My friend Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, has given these efforts a fisking to remember:

Somewhere Doug Kmiec is breathing a sigh of relief, for he is no longer the biggest sell-out to the pro-life cause in modern American politics.  As we begin Holy Week, it is appropriate to examine the apology of one Bart Stupak of Michigan.

When I saw that Kathleen Parker’s March 24 op-ed, “Stupak’s original sin,” defined me as a “backstabber,” it reminded me of a Bible verse. Matthew 7:3 asks, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Had Bart been making a jibe at the expense of an individual with a similarly dodgy track record in things cultural, that would have merited a high five.  Unfortunately I doubt ole Bart is smart enough to be making such a well-researched dig.  Rather, we witness here the first refuge of all left-wing betrayers of the unborn: citation of biblical passages that have absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand.  While the writer might feel some sort of sanctimonious justification, the rest of us are left just shrugging our shoulders and thinking, “Okay, you have a research assistant who reads the Bible, do you have anything meaningful to say in reply?”

The true motives of many blogs and organizations claiming to be pro-life have become clear in recent days: to politicize life issues as a means to defeat health care reform. One group even sent an e-mail to supporters saying they are “working feverishly to stop this legislation from going forward.”

Oh burn.  Pro-life opponents of this legislation vowed to stop this legislation from going forward.  You have clearly caught us in a terrible web of deceit.  How dare people who have openly declared their opposition,  umm, openly declare their opposition.  Next thing you know ole Bart will publicize an email from an AARP representative declaring that they are fighting for the elderly.  You really showed us for our hypocrisy.

The pro-life groups rallied behind me — many without my knowledge or consent

It’s good to know that we have reached the point in American politics that politicians must now assent to their support.  Something tells me that ole Bart was less annoyed by pro-life support when the donations were rolling in a month ago.  Surely now ole Bart will refund every cent of money given by someone whose support he had not consented to.  Yeah, if you could just let us know the web address where the suckers could claim their refund, that would be a big help.

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Give The Devil Benefit Of Law

Monday, March 29, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

One of my favorite movies is  A Man For All Seasons (1966).  The film depicts the events that led up to the martyrdom for the Catholic faint of Saint Thomas More.  The movie completely captures the look and sound of Tudor England, and evokes well Saint Thomas More, perhaps the most learned, and one of the most holy, men of his day.  That such a man was an attorney, and I say this as an attorney, is shocking!

But Saint Thomas More was an attorney, and one of the ablest of his time.  When he was a judge, he once called for the next case only to learn that he had cleared the docket of all cases pending before the court, something that had not occurred before More’s time and has not occurred since.  He even wrote a prayer, a copy of which I have hanging in my office, and which I believe should be said by attorneys as they go home from their offices:   “Give me the Grace Good Lord, to set the world at naught; to set my mind fast upon Thee and not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths. To be content to be solitary. Not to long for worldly company but utterly to cast off the world and rid my mind of the business there of.

His secular life revolved around the law, and when the King sought his blood because he would not bend to the King’s bigamous marriage to Anne Boleyn, he defended his life with such legal skill that the perjured evidence of Sir Richard Rich had to be used to allow the judicial murder of Saint Thomas.

At the beginning of this post we see the scene in the movie where the playwright Bolt has Saint Thomas defending the proposition that the Devil should be given the benefit of Man’s law.  I believe that is a perfectly accurate statement of the view of Saint Thomas.  If a law is unjust, as laws not infrequently are, then the law should be changed.  However, for  laws to be ignored or to be actively disobeyed in order for some good to be achieved would have struck him as anathema. Read the rest of this entry »


Mr. Brooks Meets Mr. Blond

Monday, March 29, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

The passage of Obamacare has qualitatively transformed the political polarization of Americans. For the 1/5th of the American people that describe themselves as liberal or very liberal – and for people from other countries, that means leftist – Obamacare is a triumph. Of course it is not as glorious a triumph as some would have liked, since leftists with consistent principles are dismayed by what amounts to a massive handout to the private insurance cartel. These, however, became a voiceless minority when Dennis Kucinich kissed Obama’s ring on Air Force One.

For the rest of America, identifying as centrist, conservative, or very conservative, the passage of Obamacare is a qualitative marker on what has been a long and often terrifying journey of government expansion. With the full acknowledgment that they could have been, and should have been, louder about these matters under Bush Jr. than they actually were, the rise of the tea party movement suggests that growing numbers of conservatives are no longer satisfied with the performance of the GOP. They will of course vote for GOP candidates come November – at the same time, many of those candidates my find themselves on the ballot because of this movement.

For our nation’s “political class”, a construct that shouldn’t even exist in the self-governing republic envisioned by the Founding Fathers, these developments are viewed with some alarm. This is not surprising, given what recent polls have discovered about the gap between this class, and mainstream America:

By a 62% to 12% margin, Mainstream Americans say the Tea Party is closer to their views. By a 90% to one percent (1%) margin, the Political Class feels closer to Congress.

The left side of the punditry and political establishment view the populist movement as something dangerous and irrational, and do their best to make sure that the handful of racists who show up with inflammatory signs are portrayed as it’s vanguard. Then they insinuate, with little to no evidence, that various figures such as Dick Armey or Sarah Palin are controlling the entire movement, though tea parties inspired by Ron Paul were taking place long before either of them arrived on the scene.

The right wing of the political class has viewed the tea party in two ways: with the same level of contempt as their liberal counterparts (isn’t it nice when they can agree?), or, on different occasions, with put-on enthusiasm in the hopes of co-opting and controlling the movement. That is, until David Brooks’ piece in the New York Times, titled “The Broken Society.”

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Christianity and the Miraculous

Monday, March 29, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

Today, Palm Sunday, and throughout the rest of Holy Week, we devote ourselves to the central mysteries of our faith as Christians: Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The Last Supper, which instituted for us the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The suffering and death of Christ on the cross. His resurrection on the third day.

These miracles are the very center of our faith. As Saint Paul said, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then our faith is in vain. Or to paraphrase Flannery O’Connor’s use of rather more modern parlance, “If it isn’t true, to hell with it.”

This central miracle, Christ’s death and resurrection, is the miracle which gives our faith meaning and sets it radically apart from the “he was a good man killed by the authorities for standing up for the poor” substitute which some propose. For if Christ was not God, if He did not rise from the dead, if He did not offer to us eternal salvation, then “he was a good man” is no half-way-there substitute. The resurrection is a miracle so unlikely, so scandalous that we must either embrace it wholly or reject Christianity with scorn. The events of Holy Week are not something we can accept half-way, and by accepting them we accept something which goes utterly and completely beyond the natural and predictable world. A miracle.
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