Friday, September 30, 2005

Making It

Kiera M. McCaffrey, director of communications for the Catholic League, wrote the following letter to the YDN in re: my piece on the pope:
To the Editor:

Daniel Koffler's attack on Pope Benedict XVI is nothing more than an inane rant ("Worshiping a lead calf: Passing judgment, finally, on the pope," 9/28). Koffler touts baseless conspiracy theories and calls them "inarguable." He shows a willful ignorance of human sexuality by claiming that the orientation of the priests responsible for the sex-abuse crisis has no bearing. (The majority of victims were post-pubescent males. Does Koffler actually believe that a gay man is no more likely to be attracted to a teenage boy than is a straight man?) He even disparages the media for treating the election of the pope with a sense of decorum.

Koffler's views are of little concern. What is troubling is that the newspaper of a reputable university would stoop to airing them.
The YDN has a policy, which makes a certain amount of sense, of not allowing columnists to respond to angry letters in their pages---space is what it is, we've already had our say, etc.

But since there are no space constraints on a blog, let's take Mdme. McCaffrey's charges one by one:
1) "Koffler touts baseless conspiracy theories."
By my count she could be referring to one of two possible claims. The first is that the Vatican is sheltering a wanted Croatian war criminal. That claim comes not from me, but from the chief prosecutor for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. If she is certain that the charge is baseless, perhaps she can give an account of the whereabouts of Gen. Ante Gotovina, including an explanation of the guiltless Vatican's total non-cooperation with investigators.

The second potential "baseless conspiracy theory" is my claim that Josef Ratzinger orchestrated the Church's far-flung efforts to protect child-raping priests. My reason for making the claim is the undeniable and undenied fact that after the lid blew off stories of widespread molestation in the beginning of this decade, Ratzinger himself authored the documents directing church officials to stonewall civil investigations. QE fucking D.
2) He shows a willful ignorance of human sexuality by claiming that the orientation of the priests responsible for the sex-abuse crisis has no bearing.
It would be gut-splittingly funny to be accused by a conservative Catholic of "ignorance of human sexuality" if the consequences of conservative Catholic views on human sexuality weren't so tragic. Not a surprise that Mdme. McCaffrey doesn't understand that raping minors entrusted to one's care isn't any more a part of healthy homosexuality than healthy heterosexuality, when she and her comrades are so knee deep in their own excresences that they don't acknowledge the existence of healthy homosexuality.
3) "He even disparages the media for treating the election of the pope with a sense of decorum."
Immo. "Habemus papam" means "we have a pope." The first person plural pronoun we is only correctly used in contexts in which the speaker is a member of the set of persons, places, and things that compose the subject of the sentence. When the media repeat, "habemus papam," either they are speaking incorrectly or they are declaring that the pope is theirs. The job of a reporter is to inform his audience of empirically testable facts; entertaining thoughts about the lingering ghostly presence of John Paul II is conduct unbecoming a reporter. Hence, I disparage the media for lacking the slightest sense of propriety or decorum during the papal election.
4) "Daniel Koffler's attack on Pope Benedict XVI is nothing more than an inane rant[.]"
"Inane rant" is not the wisest choice of terms on McCaffrey's part. Here is what her boss, William Donohue, said on the December 8, 2004 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country:
Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.

You have got secular Jews. You have got embittered ex-Catholics, including a lot of ex-Catholic priests who hate the Catholic Church, wacko Protestants in the same group, and these people are in the margins.
A fish rots from the head down, as they say; if the leader of an organization is a choleric peasant, what can we possibly expect from his underlings?
Finally, 5) "What is troubling is that the newspaper of a reputable university would stoop to airing [Koffler's views]."
As it turns out, the newspaper of a reputable university airs my views on alternate Wednesdays. What is troubling is that the Catholic League is shameless enough to comment on the state of the weather without issuing profuse apologies for William Donohue's anti-Semitic apoplexy.


At 1:39 AM, Blogger jeremy said...

well done.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Nostradamus said...

I loved the "choleric peasant" line particularly.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Stephen said...

Responding to Daniel Koffler’s “Worshiping a lead calf: Passing judgment, finally, on the pope”: Mr. Koffler shows a profound lack of comprehension regarding the current situation in The Roman Catholic Church and the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.
Mr. Koffler first expresses outrage at the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the American Catholic Church. Yet, he then discredits The Vatican’s response as illogical and irrelevant. He makes an astounding claim: “The idea is that homosexuality is an involuntary condition whose sufferers cannot help but violate innocents entrusted to their care.”
The Church in no way recognizes this idea! To quote the Catechism: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Mr. Koffler decries The Church’s response as illogical and irrelevant. While not definite, it seems that The Vatican will be launching an investigation into homosexual activity in American seminaries, while barring “gays” from entering the priesthood. This is a very appropriate and effective response to the abuse scandal. The investigation is not a witch-hunt meant to invade the private lives of those called to vocations. “Gay” is a political term in this instance. Men who identify themselves as gay and who are seeking to advance the gay rights agenda in an attempt to change official Church doctrine should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be allowed into the priesthood. These men are not suitable to be priests. A man who is suitable to be a priest is one who: First, admits that he has disordered sexual inclinations. Second, he vows to remain celibate in the face of these inclinations. Thirdly, pledges to continuously uphold the overwhelming Truth of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
However, The Church recognizes that many good priests struggle with these disordered attractions. These men would never consider themselves gay; much like heterosexual priests who struggle with their celibacy would never call themselves fornicators. Moreover, the investigation into American seminaries is focused more on determining down and eliminating at the least heterodox teachings that distort the Magisterium of the Church and at the worst dangerous heresies being spread.
Mr. Koffler brings up the link between homosexuality and pedophilia in attempt to say that The Church has linked the two as cause and effect. There is not a single official Church document that would give that impression or promote that assumption. Pedophilia is a specific disorder involving attractions to pre-pubescent children while lacking secondary sex characteristics. The great majority of the abuse cases involved post pubescent male teenagers. This does not constitute pedophilia, but is instead ephebophilia. This is closer to adult homosexual attraction.
Mr. Koffler’s criticism illustrates his confusion as to how The Church functions. Despite his American-centric view, the United States is not the center of the world’s largest religion. Explosions of faith in Africa, Latin/South America, increasing Chinese involvement and focused efforts on bringing Europe back into the fold mean that Pope John Paul II did not micromanage every aspect of The Church in America. Much of the responsibility falls on select American bishops, who have LARGELY TAKEN RESPONSIBILITY for their mistakes. Despite the few who erred in judgment, there have been countless examples of bishops de-frocking abusive priests and reporting these crimes to the proper authorities. The overwhelming denunciation of the scandals by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB) is bringing great hope to the faithful.
I would like to personally express my approval and support of Pope Benedict XVI who reluctantly accepted the papacy by describing himself as “a simple and humble servant in the vineyard of the Lord.” He is truly leading The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church into a new millennium of faithful service. It is an institution that has stood for 2000 years and will continue to proclaim the Truth.


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