Saturday, September 15, 2018


I told you in my last post that the person named as a witness and accomplice to Brett Kavanaugh's alleged high school sexual assault has been identified and interviewed by The Weekly Standard -- he's Mark Judge, a Georgetown Prep classmate of Kavanaugh's, and now a right-wing writer. I quoted some of Judge's more appalling Daily Caller pieces in that post. Now, thanks to Yastreblyansky in comments, I see that Josh Marshall has found another gem.

This 2011 Daily Caller piece by Judge is relevant not only to the Kavanaugh story but also to the question of how we talk about sexual abuse by Catholic priests -- specifically, how conservative Catholics talk about it.

In the piece, Judge plugs his 2005 book God and Man at Georgetown Prep: How I Became a Catholic Despite 20 Years of Catholic Schooling. Judge says he loved Georgetown Prep -- but liberalism was storming the school's barricades:
... the liberalism that had much of the Catholic Church in its clutches beginning in the 1960s was evident in some departments — not all — at the school. This was mostly in matters of sexual morality. It is no longer a secret that starting in the 1960s many Catholic seminaries began to blackball orthodox and masculine applicants in favor of what has been called the “lavender mafia” — homosexuals. I have seen enough of this and talked to enough witnesses to know it to be true.... My own take is that it had less to do with homosexuality than with the feverish libertinism of the 60s. Long gone were the days when Dorothy Day would argue for heroic virtue as a requirement for both anti-war pacifism and obedience to the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexual ethics. After Vietnam, Vatican II and Watergate, sexual reticence was considered a hang-up.
The abuse started long before "the feverish libertinism of the 60s" was a factor, but never mind. Judge doesn't think all enemies are "lavender." Anyone with a modern view of sex is a threat to the moral order:
One of the more traditional teachers I had at Prep was John Nikola, S.J., who had been the technical advisor to the film “The Exorcist.” One of the things I learned from Fr. Nikola is that what evil wants to do is similar to what our sexual liberators want: to make us consider each other as meat, as things, as bestial forms there to be used. That’s why in the book the demon refers to the possessed girl’s mother as “pig” and the girl as “piglet.” ...

If I compare the slavery that has resulted from our “liberation” to what we learned from some people at Prep, I would only add that I’m guilty as well, at least of the bouts of dehumanizing lust that is part of the fallen world and being human. We all are. We all have that monster in us to some extent. But the orthodox at least know what it is. We recognize it, fear it, and try to walk away from it.
The problem with this worldview is that it really doesn't make a distinction between sexual assault and harmless horniness -- if you experience lust, or if you have mutually gratifying sex for pleasure or as an expression of love outside of heterosexual marriage, you're part of an "evil" in which we "consider each other as meat, as things, as bestial forms there to be used." The only sex that escapes this trap is with a spouse and with the possibility of conception -- no birth control allowed. You can't have morally acceptable sex for pleasure. Caring non-procreative sex is bad. Masturbation is bad. Desire is bad.

These things are so bad that rape and child molestation can barely be worse. And the predators aren't completely to blame, because in this fallen world, lust is everywhere, and the culture is pro-lust.

If Judge thinks this way -- if he believes just wanting someone means you "have that monster" in you -- then he can't say that there might have something sexual between Kavanaugh and his accuser that didn't end in misconduct or assault, because even then he's accusing Kavanaugh of evil. It's all evil -- "We recognize it, fear it, and try to walk away from it."

This doesn't prove that the accuser's story is true, but it tells me that Judge is not a reliable witness.

And this is the worldview that leads to blame-shifting in discussions of priestly abuse. The priests aren't the real problem. The people who covered up for the priests aren't the real problem. The system that shuffled abusive priests around and allowed them to assault again isn't the problem. The problem is the culture -- it's the devil. Everyone who rejects Church teaching on sex is consorting with the devil. So the devil pervades our society. Who can blame the Church?

Catholic conservatives want Pope Francis to bear the guilt for decades of abuse and cover-up. And why not? He's taken baby steps toward an acceptance of gay people and divorced Catholics. So he's lost in the miasma of sex that's polluting the culture. He's consorting with evil. Make him the scapegoat.

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