Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Clerihew Book?

At the Rochester Chesterton Conference Dale Ahlquist noted that he had received by latest clerihew submissions. The next issue of Gilbert! will feature clerihews from the national conference, but there's a chance one of my will appear in a later issue.

I suggested to him that maybe the Chesterton Society should consider publishing an anthology of clerihews. He thought that sounded like a good idea, though I don't know if it will really happen.

There have certainly been a number of fine clerihews publish in the magazine over the years. I've been fortunate to have a few published in the magazine, too.

The most recent was in July:

was one long-lived fella.
It wasn't because longevity was bred in his bones,
he was just determined to pay off all his college loans.
Some others that got published:

A somber Marquis de Sade
said with a knowing nod,
"The wickedness of all my work fades
before that woman's 50 Shades.”

One of the aims of ISIS
is eradicating Western sins and vices,
except, of course, for a select few
that they themselves like to do.

When he was young St. Polycarp
religiously practiced the harp.
When a musical career proved a non-starter
he instead became a martyr.

When Alexander Pope
slipped on a bar of soap
the couplet he muttered was neither stoic
nor heroic.

Dr. Mary Gatter
treated it as a laughing matter,
but sell enough baby parts, even that teenie,
and you just might afford a Lamborghini.

Steven Wright
Is right:
Boycott shampoo,
demand the real poo.
President James Polk
would rarely crack a joke.
But his friends say he was quick
with a limerick.

There are more ... I need to compile them.
But not tonight. 
Pax et bonum

Young, rebellious, and cutting edge

When I was

young and rebellious and cutting edge,

I wore the hair style and the kinds of clothes,

and spouted the words, phrases, and slogans

all the other

young and rebellious and cutting edge



Pax et bonum

Still not watching

Image result for Being there - "I like to watch"

In the movie Being There, Peter Sellers' character, Chauncey Gardiner, says, "I like to watch." He's referring to television, but in the movie people interpret the line in their own ways.

As for me, I don't like to watch.

It's been six week since I stopped watching television.

I'm not completely out of the loop when it comes to the news. I did watch part of the Kavanaugh hearing online. But as for television, nada.

I finished a few books. Went to bed at a more reasonable hour most nights. Got some things done.

I know there are people who have not watched television far longer than I have not, but still, six weeks is a good start.


Just don't expect me to walk on water.

Related image

Pax et bonum

Oh those Chesterton conferences ...

And yes, I did buy two books.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Oscar Wilde: "Perversity" ... "a malady, or a madness"

Image result for Oscar Wilde - death

At today's Rochester Chesterton Conference, Joseph Pearce discussed Oscar Wilde's conversion to Catholicism shortly before death - though he had been on the verge of it many times during his life -  and Wilde's admission that his homosexuality was "perversity" and a "malady."

From Wilde's "De Profundis":

"The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease. I amused myself with being a FLANEUR, a dandy, a man of fashion. I surrounded myself with the smaller natures and the meaner minds. I became the spendthrift of my own genius, and to waste an eternal youth gave me a curious joy. Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. Desire, at the end, was a malady, or a madness, or both. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little   action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetop. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace. There is only one thing for me now, absolute humility."

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

I walked away from the 40 Days for Life kickoff.

As is obvious to any who has read this blog or my posts on social media, I am adamantly pro-life. I have spoken out on a number of life issues - unjust war, the death penalty, economic injustice, the environment, etc. - but most clearly and consistently about abortion.

I have taken part in marches - including the March for Life - rallies, the 40 Days for Life campaign, and prayer vigils, including on an almost weekly basis outside Planned Parenthood.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to play some music for the 40 Days for Life kickoff tonight. I prepared songs, practiced, got everything I needed, and even though I'm not feeling well, went to the place where we were supposed to meet.

We got there to find lots of counter-protesters, and plenty of police. That I can handle, and was ready to join with the pro-life contingent.

The counter-protesters were yelling, chanting, spouting misinformation and falsehoods, and using some foul language and anti-religious slogans. I've encountered that before, so that didn't phase me. I stood there, holding my sign (LOVE WILL END ABORTION) and praying for them.

One of the things about 40 Days is that we have consistently avoided negative signs - especially ones of aborted babies. I consider such signs violent - yes, I know some pro-lifers believe they are effective, but I am not among them. I'm a Franciscan. I believe we should not use any form of violence unless it is absolutely necessary - such as thwarting a physical assault on someone. I do not support the use of verbal or pictorial violence in pro-life protests. We may face violence from the other side, but we are to respond only will love, and, if necessary, nonviolently absorb the anger, even the attacks. To respond with violence only hardens hearts and escalates the situation.

My policy when such signs have turned up at other events is to ask the people to put them away, and if they don't, to leave.

Unfortunately, a woman prominent in the local pro-life movement brought out such a sign tonight, potentially adding fuel to an already volatile situation. I went over to her and asked her to please put it away. She snapped at me almost disdainfully, "No."

I went back to where I had been standing and said to a friend I was going to leave. He went over to the woman to see if he could persuade her. No luck. I then when to one of the 40 Days leaders, and said I thought we were not supposed to have violent signs. He said that she was doing it separately from 40 Days.

No. This was the 40 Days kickoff, and she was there as part of it.

I retrieved my guitar from when I had left it, got in my car, and left. They will have to do without music.

I will still take part in the 40 Days campaign, going down to Planned Parenthood to pray for some shifts, but I could not remain for the rest of the kickoff.

I will not be party to responding to violence with violence.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Outside the clinic

outside the clinic
unmothered mothers slowly
walk to waiting cars

Over the years I've written a number of haiku or quasi-haiku related to abortion - generally observations as we pray for the victims of abortion - the women and the babies - and for those who provide/support abortion.

Here are some gathered together ( of uneven quality, admittedly)

another due date
brutally cancelled –
Planned Parenthood

she left the clinic
pregnant with years of regret,
loss, and denial

clinic escort
puts in her ear buds so she
can’t hear our prayers

clinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersclinic escort puts in her ear buds so she can't hear our prayersoutside the clinic
a crocus emerges
from the snow

woman gives finger
to group saying rosary -
who's more violent?

Jesus crucified -
the nails are driven daily
at Planned Parenthood

abortion vigil -
Hillary backer gives us
finger as we pray

nurse avoids looking
in garbage pail she empties –
abortion clinic

praying pro-lifers –
girl entering the clinic
avoids eye contact

Mass for Life –
tearful woman prays for
child she did not have

Holy Saturday –
praying at Planned Parenthood
for the emptied wombs

at Planned Parenthood
prolifers are told, "There's no God."
they keep on praying
Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 22, 2018

It's not my posts that bother you ...

Image may contain: one or more people, meme and text

Pax et bonum


Image result for Picard facepalm

Okay, we are putting together the nominations for Fraternity Council - the election is in October - and people suggested me for several offices. When called about it, I said whatever the Fraternity decides.

So last night at our Fraternity meeting the nominations were announced. I'm up for multiple offices, including Minister. The current Minister, who, if she got 75% of the votes could be elected to a third term, said she was planning to vote for me and hoped others would do so as well.


I've avoided this before - I even turned down offices in the past. But I finally thought if I'm called I need to serve the Fraternity, so I let it all go through this time. But Minister? I don't like being the person in charge. I prefer being the one to open the door, gets extra chairs, watch or walk people to their cars when it's dark.

I mentioned to the Minister after the meeting that I thought she should be the Minister again, in part because I would not be able to do all those service tasks I like to do. She acknowledged that I would not be able to do them.

Delegating? Sigh.

What would be funny is if I lose every office!

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pro-Abortion Activist Gets Prison, Sent Pro-Lifers Death Threats

I was among the folks he threatened, though I was not part of this specific case.

He did not seem to know where I lived, and I felt secure enough that he would not suddenly appear at my door. I saved some of his written threats, though.

From the LifeNews account (May 11, 2012)

A pro-abortion activist who sent death threats to a number of pro-life leaders pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday to posting online death threats against at least two pro-life leaders.

Theodore Shulman, 51, could be headed to prison for at least 51 months for threatening pro-life Princeton University professor Robert George and Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. He was arrested in February 2011 and has been held without bail ever since.

The threats against the pro-life advocates, made on the web site of a conservative magazine, said Pavone and George would be killed if the killer of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller was acquitted.

Pavone told LifeNews late Thursday, “I was informed today that Theodore Shulman pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening pro-life leaders, myself included. I hope that his acceptance of personal responsibility for what he did, and his readiness to serve jail time for it, is for him the beginning of a road of conversion and repentance that will reach even to the point of renouncing his position in favor of legal abortion. Violence against me and other leaders is wrong for the same reason that violence against children in the womb is wrong. Both must be rejected.”

“I’m grateful to the detectives and other law enforcement personnel who have worked with me and Priests for Life throughout this case to gather and track the threats that I have received. The NYPD, the FBI, the Joint Terrorist Task Force, and the Department of Justice have done an exemplary and professional job,” he continued.

Pavone added, “From the point of view of my work as a pro-life leader, I also take this opportunity to point out that violence and threats of violence against pro-life activists are far more common, yet far less visible in the media, than violence and threats of violence against abortionists and abortion supporters. In fact, the latter have used a handful of violent acts by people disconnected from the pro-life movement to try to tar the reputation of the entire movement, and those tactics should have no more place in the public debate over abortion than should violence itself.”

Pavone told LifeNews he offers Shulman his “prayers and personal forgiveness” and said he maintains close relationships with pro-abortion activists in order to show them the goodness of pro-life people and, ultimately, win their hearts and minds for the pro-life perspective.

“Civil debate is possible; people who disagree deeply on fundamental issues can still respect one another. My own friendship with abortion-rights pioneer Bill Baird, and the frequent pleas we have made together over the years for mutual respect among pro-life advocates and abortion-rights advocates demonstrate the path we can follow as a society. Ultimately, ‘respect for life’ means respect for the unborn and the born, for those who agree with us and those who don’t,” he said.

Officials with the pro-life group Operation Rescue and the Life Legal Defense Fund have been on the receiving end of Shulman’s threats as well.

In addition to the two victims listed in the federal complaint against Shulman when he was arrested, George and Pavone, Operation Rescue’s two full-time staffers, Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger, as well as pro-life blogger Jill Stanek have been targets of the pro-abortion activist’s threats. Shulman hounded Operation Rescue’s Sullenger, in particular, over a two year time-span as he ran a pro-abortion blog site called Operation Counterstrike that Sullenger said “fomented hatred and attempted to encourage ‘pro-choice’ supporters to murder pro-lifer activists.”

“This is a huge relief to us that Ted Shulman is behind bars where he belongs,” said Sullenger in a statement to LifeNews at the time of his arrest.

Bryan Kemper, the founder of Stand True, the pro-life group that sponsors the red tape day for students to stand up in silent solidarity for unborn children at their schools, also reportedly received death threats from Shulman.

Meanwhile, in 2009, Shulman left a threatening voice mail message with LLDF Legal Director, Catherine Short.

Here's the link -

Pro-Abortion Activist Gets Prison, Sent Pro-Lifers Death Threats: A pro-abortion activist who sent death threats to a number of pro-life leaders pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court Thursday to posting online death threat ...

Pax et bonum

Friday, September 14, 2018

Jesus and a puppy

Image result for Jesus with puppies

Hey, you never know.

Pax et bonum

Monday, September 10, 2018

Sold my soul to the religious right? Nah.

A woman declared that I had sold my soul to the religious right - based on the fact that I oppose abortion and support praying for a Supreme Court nominee who might change our nation's extreme abortion policies (when compared to other nations).

She also assumed that I support the Trump administration and its policies. (FYI: I didn't vote for him, and won't in 2020. Heck, I'm not even a Republican!)

Let's see, looking back:

I was in the process of applying for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War (I didn't have to finish that process because my lottery draft number was so high).

I protested the Vietnam War and Nixon Administration policies.

I spent part of one Easter break protesting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, during the trial of the Harrisburg Seven.

I took a year off from college to work with troubled youth in the slums of New York City.

I became a vegetarian for ethical reasons - including opposition to some corporate farming policies and to the destruction of the rain forest - and have remained one for 45 years.

I began writing against the death penalty in the 1970s - and have continued to do so - even though my bother was murdered.

I took part in a tax protest over funding for war and nuclear weapons.

I was part of the live-in staff at a Catholic Worker House. I later helped to prepare a parish homeless shelter and was an overnight volunteer in it during its first season.

I protested the neutron bomb and other nuclear weapons, even marching before the U.N. with a million other people.

I helped to found Pax Christi Rochester, serving as the secretary of that organization's board for several years.

I regularly wrote letters and articles to protest various policies of the Reagan Administration (and I didn't vote for him in '80 or '84, nor, for that matter, have I ever voted for either of the Presidents Bush).

I served on the board of an inner-city health/outreach center.

I took part in protests at the Seneca Army Depot over the storage of nuclear weapons there, including providing music for Masses there.

I used to go to the Monroe County Jail to help provide music for Masses there.

I supported the Sanctuary Movement, and joined my parish in supporting and sheltering an "illegal" family, even inviting that family into my home even though uncertain about the possibility of being arrested for doing so.

I protested the invasion of Iraq.

I taught for three years in a BOCES program for troubled youth.

I have financially supported various Catholic Worker Houses, health centers working with the poor, homeless shelters, shelters and homes for women and children, and so on, and sponsored children in African and Central America.

I tutored inner-city children, and for a time helped provide daycare so mothers could get counseling and parenting skills training.

I have boycotted various companies and products because of mistreatment of workers and the environment.

But I do oppose abortion, so I guess in some eyes that alone means I have sold my soul to the religious right.

Personally, I just look at the whole package and say I'm a practicing Catholic who takes the teachings of my Church seriously.

Pax et bonum

Wait ... judge and kick someone out for a sexual sin?

It is widely reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans—a man living with his father’s wife.

And you are inflated with pride.

Should you not rather have been sorrowful? The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst.
I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus: when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan* for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. - 1 Cor 5: 1-5

From today's reading.

Several things struck me.

The man is guilty of a sexual offense - one that was unacceptable back then, but one that could be a movie-of-the-week plot today. Or might get a standing ovation at some film festival.

St. Paul said to confront and to kick the offender out for the good of his soul. Can you imagine if churches today kicked out everyone guilty of sexual sin? Of course, some would argue that it's not a sin when you "love" the person, but they would be wrong. It's a sin. The gravity of that sin for the individuals involved would vary depending on their understanding and so on, but it still would be a sin.

He's obviously critical of the community for allowing this to continue unaddressed. Again, think of
churches today who shy away from addressing such issues until some sort of crisis erupts. Those eruptions might have been avoided if such issues had been confronted immediately.

And St. Paul used the "j" word -  "pronounced judgment." So many people today condemn judgment - but of course in condemning judgment they are judging.

Just some thoughts.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 9, 2018

"Jesus didn't condemn homosexual acts" - a response

A great response from Steve Ray to the argument that Jesus did not mention or condemn homosexual acts.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Confession is good for the soul

I got to Confession today. It was needed, and good.

I find many spiritual writers and commentators recommending frequent Confession. One common suggestion is getting to Confession at least once a month. That has not been my practice, but I think they are right and I will try to do so.

There are a number of areas on which I need to work. One is my habit of being harshly critical and sarcastic. I tend to make too many such comments on social media - and to write too many poems of that sort. After I came home from Confession I deleted one such poem from this blog, and so the links to it on social media no longer work.

I will try to be more careful in the future. It's okay to raise legitimate objections about questionable policies, actions, and laws, but such objections should not be harsh and sarcastic in nature. And humor is fine, as long as it is not cruel.

This is in keeping with my Franciscan vocation.

I need to be more positive and affirming. I need to praise what is true, beautiful, and good.

Pax et bonum

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I read a book by a poet ...

Image result for sour old woman

I read a book by a poet
much loved by fans and critics.

She was good.

Her poems were full of witty wordplays,
sudden twists and turns
and liberal doses of ironic observations
about life and love
and lack thereof.

But as I worked through the book
an image came to mind:

We were in a field
beneath a night sky
ablaze with moon and stars
and she kept going on and on
about some litter
that she spotted on the ground.

Pax et bonum

Monday, September 3, 2018

Two weeks and counting ...

So far, two weeks (plus one day) without television.

I have watched four Franciscan-related films on dvd during that time (three different bios of Francis, and The Reluctant Saint (St. Joseph of Cupertino), but no broadcast television.

No talking heads.

No lame sit-coms.

No crime dramas.

No horror or science fiction or fantasy or adventure movies. (Often for the umpteenth time.)

No sports.

No game shows.

No re-runs of Hee Haw. (Yes, I sometimes watched them!).

So far, I haven't missed television. I've gotten more reading done - including some spiritual reading. I've done some planning for school. I got some work done around the house. I practiced guitar to get ready for playing at Mass again and to a 40 Days for Life event. (Reminds me, I have to finish writing that song!)

As with the Franciscan movies, we have a number of movies on dvd, so I can watch them sometimes.

Again, if something significant occurs in the news I will watch that. But for now, it's all the same biased back and forth.

And with school starting, it will get easier.

This was a good move!

Pax et bonum

Stars haiku

Image result for brilliant stars

away from street lights
the stars sing to us in their
God-given glory

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 2, 2018

40 Years Of The "New" Rule

Pax et bonum

More on Encouraging Secular Franciscan vocations

A few weeks ago, one of the younger members of our Secular Franciscan Fraternity passed away. We have several others dealing with serious health issues, and others who have health problems that keep them from meetings.

In the interim, we have been getting ready for elections to the Fraternity Council. There are indications that I might be elected Vice Minister, possibly even Minister. I've been nominated to both positions, and three years ago was almost elected Vice Minister (three tied ballots, then the other candidate, being professed longer, was selected.) (She did a great job, by the way, but now she has moved out of state and can't run for re-election.)

In light of the aging/health of the fraternity and this possible new office, I've been thinking about how to promote the Secular Franciscans so that those who have a calling may discover us and be able to respond to that calling.

I dealt with some of this in an earlier post. Here are the main points from that post:

1. Pray
2. Teach others about what it means to be a Franciscan.
3. Invite others.
4. Make it look attractive to others.
5. Talk it up.
6. Live out the vocation.

Here are some further ideas culled from various primarily Franciscan sources.

Create a presence on social media (we do have a blog and a Facebook page).

Create brochures (got one, need to update).

Create bookmarks promoting the vocation and the fraternity (hmm).

Put announcements in bulletins (I did that of a couple of parishes, offered sample announcements to other fraternity members, and there's one in this weekend's bulletin in my home parish).

Pulpit announcements? (ulp)

Announce meetings on the calendars offered by the local Catholic newspaper and Catholic radio station. (That's a good one.)

Create "Feed the Birds" packets with birdseed, information about the vocation and the fraternity, and instructions for people to follow St. Francis's idea about feeding the birds on Christmas Day. (I like that idea; wonder how best to do it.)

Hold a Franciscan movie night (We certainly have dvds!)

Spread business cards. (We have them - get them out there!)

Have some Franciscan pens made?

Distribute Franciscan stickers?

Buy or design some t-shirts?

Sponsor a blessing of the animals. (Might be too late to organize for this year?)

Stage a "Come and See" event. (I must admit, organizing events is not my thing. But there may be people in the fraternity who are gifted in that way.)

Have a Franciscan table at a large event such as the big Women's and Men's conference our diocese holds (We did look into that; they charge a bit more than we have in our tight budget to sponsor a table. Maybe try to piggyback with another group?)

Purchase license plate holders for the fraternity. (Hmmm - Christmas gifts?)

I'm sure there are more ideas out there. For now, though, we just need to continue what we are doing, do those things even more openly and frequently, and add some of the ideas above.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Boycott Sports Over Sex Abuse!

Thousands of young people have been sexually abused by coaches, team doctors, and athletic department personnel in recent years - and those crimes have been covered up by fellow coaches, athletic department personnel, and school administrators. In a number of cases, known offenders were allowed to move to different schools or positions.

In just recent months here are just a few of the cases have come to light:

In Iowa, a 39-year-old coach and teacher was charged in August with third degree sexual abuse and two counts of sexual exploitation in connection with a juvenile female.

In New York in July, a gymnastics coach was indicted for allegedly abusing at least seven girls under age 13 who were students at his gyms.

In May, a lawsuit was filed in federal court accusing an Olympic taekwondo gold medalist and his brother and coach were accused of sexually assaulting female athletes, including minors, for years.

 In May, a high school soccer coach in Ohio was indicted by a grand jury on multiple sexual assault and abuse charges in connection with a girl who was younger that 16.

In Baltimore in April 2018, a high school coach and elementary school teacher’s aide was charged with engaging in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student.

In April, a water polo coach from Southern California was charged with the sexual abuse of seven of his female players, four of whom were 15 or younger.
In February in New Jersey, basketball coach and recreation director Christopher Tarver pleaded guilty to multiple charges in connection the sexual abuse of young men, and was sentenced to 52 years in prison.

In February, reports surfaced that hundreds of swimmers involved with USA Swimming were sexually abused by a number of coaches, with others in the organization accused of helping to cover up the abuse.

In major cases a few years earlier, in 2016 California wrestling coach Thomas Joseph Snider was found guilty on 39 charges in a sex abuse case involving more than two dozen underage boys.

In 2016, USA Gymnastics was hit with charges of hundreds of athletes being sexually abused by coaches and others, including Dr. Larry Nassar, who alone was accused of molesting 250 young women and one young man, and was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to decades in prison. Meanwhile, the organization was accused of hiding the crimes, and moving around abusing coaches.

And, of course, there was the 2012 conviction of Jerry Sandusky of Penn State on 45 counts of sex abuse involving 10 boys.

There are many more cases that we know of. It's likely there are many more that have not surfaced yet. Imagine if we went back over the last 50 years; there would likely be tens of thousands of victims.

And, again, that abuse has been covered up by fellow coaches, athletic department personnel, and school administrators. Abusers have been moved around and protected.

Coaches are people who are supposed to be trusted. The young people trusted them to make them better athletes. Parents rusted their children to those coaches.

We will not know the full extent of the problem until thorough investigations are done. How about grand jury investigations of every athletic department in schools and every athletic program in the nation?

Until such investigations are done, maybe people should consider not attending games, not buying sports apparel, not donating to sports programs or the Olympics. Hit them in the pocketbook - that will make them pay attention.

And if people want sports, they can play it themselves. Play pickup games. Engage in such activities as hiking, running, biking, swimming.

It may not be as polished, but it will still be good for them, right?

After all, if  people believe they can be "spiritual, not religious," they can be "physical, not athletic."


Of course, none of that will happen - certainly not in the way that is currently happening with the Catholic Church

And that is despite the fact that in recent years young people are more likely to be sexually abused by coaches and others involved with athletic departments than they are by Catholic priests.

Let that sink in: Young people statistically are safer with Catholic priests than they are with coaches.

There are many possible reasons why people are not staging protests of sporting event, threatening boycotts, filling the social media with debates and lamentations, and getting covered endlessly on news outlet after news outlet.

One possible reason is that the Catholic Church is a single institution, while sports programs are all separate entities. They are sort of like all the different Protestant denominations and churches (oh, and by the way, ministers in many of those denominations and churches are statistically more likely to be guilty of sexual offenses than are priests, even though those ministers can marry). It's easier to focus on one target than it is on thousands.

Many of those who are upset with what's happened in the Catholic Church are emotionally invested in that Church, either because they are active participants in the Church, or were raised in that Church. When it comes to sports programs, we might be invested in one team or one school, but not programs in general. I may care what happens in connections with the Syracuse University basketball team, but not with what happens with Michigan State's football team. As a result, the feelings are diffused when abuse is revealed in sports.

On a practical level, the Catholic Church is, again, one entity, and it is one that keeps records. Thus while there are thousands of individual churches, there are a limited number of dioceses where records are kept. That is not the case with sports programs in schools and with independent sports programs. We are talking about thousands of individual entities, some of which are quite small, and many of which do not keep detailed records. It would be a logistical nightmare to investigate them all. But, people could still boycott - look at what's happening with the NFL, for example. Money is indeed getting that league to start paying attention.

And let's also be honest: The Catholic Church is a target. There are plenty of people who hate the Church, and plenty of former Catholics who love to criticize it. There are a lot of such people in political and media circles and in activist groups. The devil is happy to make use of them all to help attack the Church. Meanwhile, sports does not face such extensive animus.

Given the situation with the Church, with coaches, with ministers, with teachers, etc. what we really need is not an attack on one group, but rather an honest look at what in our culture and society allow and even encourages this.

An honest look.

At ourselves.

We live in an over-sexualized culture, one that encourages sexual activity of every sort. Sex has been cheapened, often separated from relationships (even though this is a denial of basic human nature). This sexuality is on constant display in movies, television shows, literature, advertising, and more

There are consequences.

For example, we just had a report come out that a new record was set last in the number of people with sexually transmitted diseases. That's the forth year in a row that we've set new records.

The co-habitation and child-out-of-wedlock numbers keep going up.

All methods of birth control fail - there's really no such thing as "safe sex" (itself a deceptive concept) - and so this leads among other things to abortion.

There are more and more single-parent homes - homes that tend to suffer from greater poverty, and that tend to produce children whose understanding of self and family are distorted, and who will often repeat the patterns they've learned.

And those abusing coaches, priests, ministers, teachers and so on are reflective of all that.

Maybe we're calling for boycotting and refusing financial support for the wrong things.

Pax et bonum

Protestant clergy sexual abuse

The sex abuse problem in the Catholic Church is terrible. There's no excuse for it.

But I've also pointed out that there are other groups of individuals who are even MORE likely to be abusers than are Catholic priests. This article looks at Protestant clergy.

May God protect all young people and parishioners.

Pax et bonum