SL 733

I’m dusting off the cobwebs of the blog today, on this last week of summer. Steve’s upstairs frying up some grilled cheese and jalapeño sandwiches for the boys. Ian is getting his fix of video games before heading out to a full day of marching band in 94 degree heat. Jonah is finally out of bed and is hopefully making piles of clothes to be packaged up for college.  (I’m going to have to go upstairs to inspect.)

I’ll write a longer blog post later, after I yell at the clothes-piling boy and call the YMCA to set up swim lessons for Ian for the fall.

In the meantime, here are somethings that I’ve been reading or plan to read today:

A New Yorker profile of Glenn Greenwald. Not my favorite dude.

Several good pieces on the latest scandal on the Catholic Church in the New York Times – Douthat, The power struggle in the church, and a good podcaston the topic on the Daily.

America soured on my multi-racial family.

7 thoughts on “SL 733

  1. Ucch, what a sad piece about adoption. My sister adopted a Russian baby. She doesn’t face public hostility, and indeed she and her husband and their daughter have been a happy family, but American-Russian hostility during the later years of the Obama administration led the Russians to prohibit such adoptions, so today’s childless women can no longer adopt there. It is indeed a toxic combination of identity politics and ethnic nationalism animating our politics (and that of many other countries) today.


  2. When the option is a horrific institution/abusive foster care or a family of mixed ethnicities/races, it’s a no-brainer for me. I don’t get the outrage on this one.


  3. This was a nice round-up by Terry Mattingly (an Orthodox guy who specializes in critiques of media religion coverage).

    There was a particularly egregious NYT headline: “Vatican Power Struggle Bursts Into Open as Conservatives Pounce.”

    “Conservatives pounce” is the go-to verbiage for when there’s a real problem, but you want the story to be about conservatives’ opportunism, not the problem itself.

    There’s also a really, really interesting National Catholic Reporter story here from 2014 (NCR is one of the major liberal Catholic media outlets):

    Cardinal McCarrick, for anybody living under a rock, seems to have had a couple of episodes of molesting minors that weren’t well-known–but a truly epic career of sexual harassment against seminarians that (as with Harvey Weinstein) “everybody knew” about. One of our local pastors says that in clerical circles, McCarrick’s predatory behavior toward seminarians was common knowledge.

    Some quotes from NCR:

    “McCarrick is one of a number of senior churchmen who were more or less put out to pasture during the eight-year pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. But now Francis is pope, and prelates like Cardinal Walter Kasper (another old friend of McCarrick’s) and McCarrick himself are back in the mix and busier than ever.”

    “McCarrick travels regularly to the Middle East and was in the Holy Land for Francis’ visit in May. “The bad ones, they never die!” the pope teased McCarrick again when he saw him.”

    “McCarrick loves the action, of course, and he is well-suited to his roving ambassador role. He speaks several languages fluently and he seems to know everybody — and everybody knows him.”

    “But Francis, who has put the Vatican back on the geopolitical stage, knows that when he needs a savvy back-channel operator, he can turn to McCarrick, as he did for the Armenia trip.”


    “McCarrick quickly rose through the clerical ranks, becoming a bishop and then archbishop in New Jersey, and finally a cardinal in Washington in 2001. He retired in 2006 and was sort of spinning his wheels under Benedict. Then Francis was elected, and everything changed.”

    “”Pope Benedict is a wonderful man and was a good friend of mine before he became pope,” McCarrick said. “But he was anxious to bring the church back to where he thought it should be, and I guess I wasn’t one of those who he thought would help him on that.”

    “McCarrick was always seen as a moderate, centrist presence in the hierarchy, a telegenic pastor who could present the welcoming face of the church, no matter what the circumstances.

    “That made him indispensable at times, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops became increasingly polarized. But it also made him a favorite target for conservatives who disdained McCarrick’s style.”

    “That sort of moderation is also characteristic of McCarrick’s successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who has also become a key figure in the new pontificate.”

    As other people have pointed out, one of the biggest obstacles to reform in the Church is that people are convinced that their guys are the good guys, and that the bad guys are the other guys. Whereas, if you can’t think of anybody on your “team” who is rotten to the core, you’re not paying attention.


    1. “[P]eople are convinced that their guys are the good guys, and that the bad guys are the other guys. . . . [I]f you can’t think of anybody on your “team” who is rotten to the core, you’re not paying attention.”

      Sort of like the varying reactions to Bill Clinton’s groping and Donald Trump’s. Although one might have expected better from a religious organization.


  4. I should mention that I’ve seen McCarrick up close in real life. He was celebrating a Mass at Georgetown, and there were a number of people in the chapel demonstrating. He was (I thought at the time) very kind, pastoral and non-confrontational with the protesters. (I believe they were protesting over some sort of gay rights thing–this would have been about 11-15 years ago.) He made a very good impression.

    I’m not surprised that he made such a good impression within the Church–but people should be more aware that public and private behavior are often quite different and that nice is not the same as good.


    1. These stories, and the even more horrific ones involving small children, are so so sad. The church isn’t going to be able to recover.


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