Michael Gaynor
Age of Obama is time for contrition, but Obama and the times should be contrite, not Pope Benedict
By Michael Gaynor
March 31, 2010

If there is evidence that "the shadow of past sins threatens to engulf this papacy," surely it would have been presented. Without it, insinuation had to do.

It's Holy Week. so the anti-Catholic The New York Times posted a hit piece titled "A Time for Contrition" by Ross Douthat.

Theme: "This is Holy Week, when the first pope, Peter, broke faith with Christ and wept for shame. There is no better time for repentance."

Good theme.

Target: Pope Benedict XVI.

Inappropriate target.

Pretext: "...the paper trail suggests that [then Archbishop Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI] could have been in the loop" that "allowed a pedophile priest to return to ministry while [Pope Benedict XVI was] archbishop of Munich in 1980.

The Jewish word for the writing and publication of such an article (officially, an op-ed) as an act of chutzpah.

"Could have been"?

The New York Times is engaging in character assassination to promote its own agenda. Innuendo in place of evidence.

The scurrilous New York Timesfront page article suggesting an affair between then Republican presidential candidate to be John McCain and a much younger female lobbyist springs to mind.

Yes, that's the same New York Times that a few months later killed an Obama/ACORN expose, fearing that it would be an election game changer.

Douthat: "At best, then-Archbishop Ratzinger was negligent. At worst, he enabled further abuse."

A brazen unsupported claim by a person who slyly suggested in his op-ed that he "admire[s] the Pope." (Imagine how he'd treat persons he doesn't admire!)

Based on "the American experience," dastardly Douthat is blaming Pope Benedict XVI for the reinstatement of a priest in Munich, Germany in 1980 and claiming that "now the shadow of past sins threatens to engulf this papacy."

Douthat: "The lesson of the American experience, now exhaustively documented, is that almost everyone was complicit in the scandal. From diocese to diocese, the same cover-ups and gross errors of judgment repeated themselves regardless of who found themselves in charge. Neither theology nor geography mattered: the worst offenders were Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles — a conservative and a liberal, on opposite ends of the country."

This is utter nonsense.

First, Douthat doesn't know the facts of the particular case.

Second, he is relying on the current state of knowledge, not the state of knowledge in 1980.

Third, errors in judgment, even gross ones, are not deliberate cover ups.

Fourth, theology and geography do matter. The Holocaust was conducted in Germany, not the United States, and Pope Benedict is not Cardinal Law or Cardinal Mahony.

Douthat (and The New York Times) targeted Pope Benedict because he is "conservative" (and Catholic).


"...it was the church's conservative instincts — the insistence on institutional loyalty, obedience and the absolute authority of clerics — that allowed the abuse to spread unpunished.

"What's more, it was a conservative hierarchy's bunker mentality that prevented the Vatican from reckoning with the scandal. In a characteristic moment in 2002, a prominent cardinal told a Spanish audience that 'I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign ... to discredit the church.'

"That cardinal was Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI...."

It was...and he was right about "the sins of the Catholic priests" being used in "a planned campaign...to discredit the church."

Tragically, those Catholic priests provided the ammunition, and Church enemies then gleefully used it.

Douthat conceded that under Pope Benedict XVI "the Vatican has taken vigorous steps to promote zero tolerance, expedite the dismissal of abusive priests and organize investigations that should have happened long ago. Because of Benedict's recent efforts, and the efforts of clerics and laypeople dating back to the first wave of revelations in the 1980s, Catholics can reasonably hope that the crisis of abuse is a thing of the past."

Pope Benedict XVI's German ancestry probably explains the snide reference to "bunker mentality."

If there is evidence that "the shadow of past sins threatens to engulf this papacy," surely it would have been presented. Without it, insinuation had to do.

Douthat: "Popes do not resign. But a pope can clean house. And a pope can show contrition, on his own behalf and on behalf of an entire generation of bishops, for what was done and left undone in one of Catholicism's darkest eras."

Douthat is right that "[t]here is no better time for repentance" than Holy Week.

Douthat should do that himself.

And so should The New York Times that abandoned its favorite Republican, John McCain, to put "the ACORN candidate" into the White House.

President Obama's recess appointment of "card check" Craig Becker shows that SEIU boss Andy Stern and ACORN founder Wade Rathke have reason to be joyful.

The recess appointment of Craig Becker is part of the implementation of the ACORN/SEIU agenda.

Set forth below is a post by Rathke at his website, www.chieforganizer.org, written nearly a year ago (http://chieforganizer.org/2009/04/30/becker-to-the-nlrb/).

"Becker to the NLRB

"New Orleans Here's a big win no matter how you shake and bake it: Craig Becker being nominated for a seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)! This is not to say that we do not need labor law reform desperately, but having crossed paths with Craig for more than 20 years, finally we have a situation where a brilliant, effective, and pro-worker/pro-union lawyer will be on the NLRB.

"The thumbnail sketch would see Craig as a legal scholar having been a professor here and there with good union credentials having been listed as associate general counsel to SEIU for years as well no matter what else he was doing. All true and all good.

"For my money Craig's signal contribution has been his work in crafting and executing the legal strategies and protections which have allowed the effective organization of informal workers, and by this I mean home health care workers, under the protection of the National Labor Relations Act. The effective organization of informal workers — home health and home day care — has been the great, exceptional success story within the American labor movement for our generation, leading to the membership of perhaps a half-million such workers in unions like SEIU, AFSCME, CWA, and the AFT. Further this organizational work has led to increases in wages and benefits for such at-home workers across the board.

"Craig was the key lawyer from the beginning in the early 1980's who was able to piece together the arguments and representation that allowed those of us involved in trying to organize home health care workers in Illinois, Massachusetts, and elsewhere to beat back the arguments that such workers should be denied NLRA coverage because they were either self-employed or tainted by a co-employer situation where they might be quasi-public employees because they were directly reimbursed. His role was often behind the scenes devising the strategy with the organizer and lawyers, writing the briefs for others to file, and putting all of the pieces together, but he was the go-to-guy on all of this. I can remember Keith Kelleher negotiating the subsidy for SEIU Local 880 in Chicago and always making sure that there was the money for the organizers, but that SEIU was also still willing to allow access to Craig.

"Craig Becker will no longer be a secret weapon for workers at the NLRB, particularly informal workers who desperately need protections under labor law, but at least with him sitting on the board, there will finally once again be a fair and effective advocate and safeguard for workers. Thanks for a solid, President Obama!"

Van Jones and Craig Becker are not radicals who somehow slipped through cracks in the Obama vetting system. They are the people that the likes of Soros, Stern and Rathke want in place.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rightly lamented the absence of conscience protection in Obamacare.

Things will get worse, with Obama doing the appointing.

Obama also used the Easter recess to appoint radical professor Chai Feldblum to serve as a Commissioner on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Her extensive paper trail kept her from being confirmed. She wants the government to promote every type of relationship as equal to traditional marriage, including 'polyamorous' relationships (those involving three or more sexual partners), and believes that sexual liberty trumps religious liberty. She thinks that the Boy Scouts should be stopped from excluding gays as leaders or scouts. The author of the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a pro-LGBT bill that would impose draconian regulations on all businesses with 15 or more employees. As a member of the EEOC, count on Feldblum to target American businessmen, educators, Christian media companies, Christian day camps and more.

Hopefully Douthat is right "Catholics can reasonably hope that the crisis of abuse is a thing of the past." But that hope is limited to abuse by clergy. What abuse will the Age of Obama bring and when will it be a thing of the past?

© Michael Gaynor


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)


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