Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Did She Die In Vain?

This is a different country today, in which it is possible to be convicted other than by a jury of one's peers or a Bench of Magistrates who, being lay, are also one's peers.

Juror intimidation is as old as the hills. Isn't that why we pay the Police? If this sort of measure was not necessary against the Krays, then why is it necessary now? And note how, whereas a foreman of a jury says only "guilty" or "not guilty", the judge in this case took twenty minutes to explain his verdict.

Did these men do it? I expect so. But a jury of their peers has not unanimously found so beyond reasonable doubt. That is the point. If it had done so, then both a very long prison sentence, and a very stringent regime while in prison, would have been wholly appropriate. But it has not done so.

From Faction To Action

It is true that the Healthcare Bill, unlike the New Deal or Great Society legislation, was passed without a single Republican vote. But that only serves to illustrate how narrow the Republican Party has now become. Whereas the Democratic Party continues to stretch from New Dems, through Blue Dogs, to the Progressive Caucus. Or, if you prefer, from Blue Dogs, through New Dems, to the Progressive Caucus. Or, if you prefer...

Anyway, E Pluribus Unum, indeed, although some policing, akin to border control, might not go amiss: you can define yourself as one of a fiscal conservative as ordinarily defined, a social conservative, and a foreign policy hawk; at a push, you might even be able to be two of them; but if you are all three, then you belong on the other side of aisle.

In the urgently necessary re-emergence of a mass political movement in the United Kingdom, a caucus system might very well prove useful. There could be three, each of with an inoffensive name such as "the Unity Caucus", with party members free to join any one or more by payment of a small additional subscription, with party members free to join none if they preferred, with half the seats at the Party Conference and on the National Executive Committee to be divided equally among them while the other half went to the constituency parties, with the same in the Electoral College to find two Leadership candidates to put out to a binding ballot of the electorate as a whole, with parliamentary candidates to be shortlisted from the lists maintained by them unless from the constituency or one adjacent (and then put out out to a binding ballot of the constituency electorate as a whole), and with each required to part-fund any candidate selected from its list.

One caucus would give a voice to those whose priorities included the Welfare State, workers’ rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation rather than environmentalism, fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, and a base of real property from which every household could resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State, while having a no less absolute commitment to any or all of the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy.

Another would give a voice to those whose priorities included agriculture, manufacturing, small business, national sovereignty, the Union, economic patriotism, local variation, historical consciousness, traditional moral and social values, the whole Biblical and Classical patrimony of the West, close-knit communities, law and order, civil liberties, academic standards, all forms of art, mass political participation within a constitutional framework (“King and People” against the Whig magnates), conservation rather than environmentalism, sound money, a realistic foreign policy, a strong defence capability used only for the most sparing and strictly defensive purposes, the Commonwealth, the constitutional and other ties among the Realms and Territories having the British monarch as Head of State or other such constitutional links, the status of the English language and the rights of its speakers both throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere, the rights of British-descended communities throughout the world, the longstanding and significant British ties to the Arab world, support for the Slavs in general and for Russia in particular as the gatekeepers of Biblical-Classical civilisation, a natural affinity with Confucian culture, exactly as much central and local government action as is required by these priorities, a profound suspicion of an American influence and action characteristically defined against them, and an active desire for a different American approach.

And the third would give a voice to those whose priorities included civil liberties, local communitarian populism, the indefatigable pursuit of single issues, the Nonconformist social conscience, the legacy of Keynes and Beveridge, traditional moral and social values, consumer protection, conservation rather than environmentalism, national sovereignty, a realistic foreign policy, the Commonwealth, the peace activism historically exemplified by Sir Herbert Samuel, redress of economic and political grievances in the countryside, and the needs and concerns of areas remote from the centres of power both in the United Kingdom and in each of its constituent parts.

These are the priorities of the moderate, mainstream middle of British public opinion, so that they comprise the true “centre ground”, whereas other views, while not necessarily illegitimate, are nevertheless extreme and eccentric. So membership of all three, for those who so chose, would be perfectly possible. I would be in all three, for a start.


Frank Field used The World At One (on which Martha Kearney yet again demonstrated her political illiteracy - can you guess how?) to call for a "double lock" on immigration, preventing those from outside the EU who take a job in the United Kingdom from staying once they have left that job, coupled with a cap. He said that Labour backed the former and the Conservatives backed the latter, but that both were needed.

He is right, and if you want there to be at least one more MP who agrees with him, then please avail yourself of the PayPal button on this blog. But with one caveat, to which I suspect that he would assent: Her Majesty's subjects from her other Realms and Territories, and from the very few countries (all of them small) that retain some other constitutional tie, should have at least the same rights of entry to and residence in the United Kingdom as are enjoyed by EU nationals.

Of course, there would be no problem of illegal immigrants undercutting legal workers on blue-collar sites if you still needed a union card in order to work there.

Who Asked Them?

The SNP and Plaid Cymru graciously inform a waiting world that they would not serve in any coalition arising out of a hung Parliament. That's right. You wouldn't. Scottish Labour would secede rather than tolerate any coalition, or other arrangement, with the SNP in it. The Welsh Tories would, if not secede, then as good as do so for most practical purposes, rather than tolerate any coalition, or other arrangement, with Plaid Cymru in it. And the working relationship between the Tartan Tories and Welsh-speaking Hard Left would collapse if they ever had to work together in or around government.

What's The Story?

Not, apparently, that the Tories have gladly and publicly become the vehicle of choice for the sort of Welsh separatism and Welsh-speaking supremacism that can secure the endorsement of Tommy Sheridan and - now, have you got this? - the funding of the RMT.

But then, no one reported it when the SWP section the Respect Group on Tower Hamlets Council defected to the Tories, either. Among many other such examples.

Fathers, Not Footballers

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is quite right to call for boys to have male role models in the home, living fulfilled lives over several decades on ordinary incomes, rather than to idolise footballers. The worst thing that ever happened to football was the abolition of the maximum wage. Football is now, like any other branch of the fashion industry, an example of what homosexual men think that heterosexual women will like. Each England player’s new strip is bespoke – measured for, and then run up by, a Savile Row tailor. Each new member of the squad now goes through this, as a sort of initiation. What a touching act of solidarity in the current economic climate.

I sometimes wonder why the really big clubs still bother with football. They are so rich that they could name a “squad” of simple beneficiaries of some sort of trust fund. The fashion, the glamour, the gossip, the drugs, the drink, the sex, the lot could then just carry on as before, with no need for training sessions or what have you. Who would be able to tell the difference? The pricing of the working classes out of football, its legendarily bad treatment of its staff, and its use as a sort of circus of performing chavs as there might be performing seals or the performing monkeys like which they are now even trussed up, cannot be tolerated for ever. Or, indeed, for very much longer at all. Mutualisation, perhaps with a heavy dose of municipal involvement where grounds are concerned, is the last hope. If there is any hope. There may very well be none.

Restoring real fatherhood in our economy, society, culture and polity calls for the introduction of a legal presumption of equal parenting. For the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit is being paid to mothers. For the restoration of the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child’s need for a father, and the repeal of the ludicrous provision for two women to be listed as the parents on a birth certificate. And for paternity leave to be made available at any time until the child is 18 or leaves school.

That last, in particular, would reassert paternal authority (and thus require paternal responsibility) at key points in childhood and adolescence. That authority and responsibility require an economic basis such as only the State can ever guarantee, and such as only the State can very often deliver. And that basis is high-wage, high-skilled, high-status employment. All aspects of public policy must take account of this urgent social and cultural need. Not least, that includes energy policy: the energy sources to be preferred by the State are those providing the high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs that secure the economic basis of paternal authority in the family and in the wider community. So, nuclear power. And coal, not dole.

And it includes foreign policy, in no small part because those sent to war tend to come from working-class backgrounds, where starting to have children often still happens earlier than has lately become the norm. Think of those very young men whom we see going off or coming home, hugging and kissing their tiny children. Yet our society urgently needs to re-emphasise the importance of fatherhood. That authority cannot be affirmed while fathers are torn away from their children and harvested in wars. You can believe in fatherhood, or you can support wars under certainly most and possibly all circumstances, the latter especially in practice today even if not necessarily in the past or in principle. You cannot do both. Which is the conservative position? Which makes present in the world the Fatherhood of God proclaimed by Jesus Christ, the fundamental point of reference for all three of our political traditions?

Sinéad O'Connor

I ask you!

Cam Il Sung And His Disciplined Commentariat

This has has provoked a response from Gerald Warner:

Over on ToadyHole they are not liking it up ’em. Tim Montgomerie, the self-important prat who runs the ConservativeHome website, has excommunicated The Daily Telegraph and its bloggers for disloyalty to the Cameronian cause. Lord Tebbit, whom some people might have thought had made a marginally more important contribution to Toryism than Montgomerie, is denounced as “Someone who should know better”.

The bull of excommunication names the other guilty men: Simon Heffer, Douglas Murray, Michael Deacon and Yours Truly. “Anathema sint!” Beyond the Telegraph fold, Peter Hitchens and Amanda Platell are also given the bell, book and candle treatment. “There is constructive criticism,” intones Montgomerie, “and there is destructive criticism… At the moment there’s too much ill-discipline on our side of the fence.”

Sorry? On whose side of what fence? Not all of us are prepared to huddle in the Cameronian sheep-pen, waiting to see our ideals slaughtered by a bunch of opportunists and adventurers who have hijacked the Conservative Party. As Montgomerie sententiously observes: “It’s worth noting that if there’s ill-discipline amongst the commentariat (sic) there’s enormous discipline within the parliamentary party.”

The logical solution is surely a Whip system for media commentators, on the model of lobby-fodder parliamentarians. A disciplined commentariat is apparently now an aspiration of the Vichy Tories; is Letwin drafting the legislation? It would sit well with all the other repressive PC legislation Dave and his cronies have backed. Look on the bright side: at least we now know one Tory policy.

Montgomerie’s ToadyHole website is otherwise good for a laugh in these dark days. It is home to two strands of Cameron groupies: the cretinously complacent (“Great to see Karen selected for Eatanswill, against hot competition from five other brilliant A-List PR agency women, she will do a great job…”) and the paranoid defeatist (“These polls are rigged – did you know the director’s sister is married to a Labour councillor…?”). It is also rich in off-the-top-of-my-head instant psephologists (“My own bet would be 835 seats to us and three to Labour…”).

In that hot-house milieu it would be pointless to suggest these delusionary loyalists ask themselves why so many anti-socialist commentators are condemning Cameron and his clique, in company with many ex-Tory voters. One thing the ToadyHole decree did not make clear: are we to submit our blog posts from now on to CCHQ for approval or to Montgomerie in person? I think we should be told, if we are to co-operate in creating a disciplined commentariat.

And from Peter Hitchens:

Tory blogger Tim Montgomerie, of 'Conservative Home', has issued a denunciation of conservative commentators ranging from Lord Tebbit to little me for not being properly loyal to David Cameron's Conservatives. He says:

'There is constructive criticism and there is destructive criticism. There is a time for debate on the Right and a time to either be silent or gun for Labour.

'At the moment there's too much ill-discipline on our side of the fence.

'This close to a General Election is a time for people on the right to weigh their words carefully. Do they really want to help re-elect a government that has taken state spending to more than 50 per cent of GDP?

'The Cameron-led Conservative Party isn't perfect but this election isn't a choice between a perfect and an imperfect Toryism but between Brown's big state interventionism and David Cameron's alternative.'

I have answered this argument in many previous posts. The choice is in fact between an opportunity for real change and reform, and a limitless vista of social democracy under two near-identical parties. I like Tim, and suspect that he has to spend a lot of his strength keeping quiet about his own differences with the Cameron leadership, which has little time for his thoughtful but genuinely conservative position. Perhaps that's why he's so upset about the rest of us who don't do so. I can only say that I am not doing this idly, that I entirely understand what I am doing, and believe it to be a better route to a conservative goal.

I should also say that as a result I have been systematically smeared for my pains. A friend of mine recently fell into conversation with a Tory loyalist, a teacher who once taught one of my children, and this loyalist (an intelligent graduate of a good university in the days when they taught proper knowledge and understanding) repeated to my friend the ludicrous claim that I am a secret Trotskyist sleeper, working for Gordon Brown. I don't know who is spreading this lying piffle, though I have in the past discussed the Cameron aide and MP Ed Vaizey's weird statements on the subject.
See here.

But I am not inclined to respect, let alone feel any need to be disciplined to help, a political formation which reacts to criticism in this way. In fact I deplore the whole idea that journalists sympathetic to a political position or party should be under any 'discipline'. What would our comments be worth if they were delivered to obey such discipline? In fact I suspect that quite a few pro-Tory commentators are fiercely stifling doubts for precisely this reason, which is one cause of the intense dullness and sycophancy of so much political writing these days.

But what do the Cameroons think? Judging by their furious personalised response to any opposition or criticism, their patrolling of dissenting meetings and rigid centralisation of MP selection, I do wonder if they yearn to control journalists as they also control candidates. The Parliamentary Lobby, of course, does what it is told without being asked, having decided some time ago to bleat for Mr Cameron, not out of political loyalty or discipline but for career reasons, as explained in my book 'The Cameron Delusion'. It is only the non-lobby commentariat that still evades total control. But Mr Montgomerie's lament suggests that this is very much not appreciated.

So let me suggest a new name for the Tory leader, or Dear Tory Leader, who - mainly so as to suppress the last remaining traces of conservatism in it - has made his party more authoritarian and controlled than any previous leader.

I give you Comrade Cam il Sung.

Plucky Little Belgium

Historically our principal ally and trading partner on the Continent, an entity not unlike our own United Kingdom, even headed by a monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and with a social democracy based on Christian principles. Long may she remain.

Face-covering - not head-covering, but face-covering - is incompatible with the conduct of Western social and cultural life. Halal meat is, not least, a serviceable weapon in the armoury against the hunting ban, but animal sacrifice is totally unacceptable. So is polygamy. There is nothing any more acceptable about male than about female genital mutilation.

While certainly not without sympathy for opposition to usury, Sharia law must have no legal status in this country. There should not be Muslim schools here, where my own Catholic schools have existed since a good thousand years before any other kind did. We must expunge the influence of the despotic, misogynistic and Jew-hating Gulf monarchies in general, and of despotic, viciously misogynistic and fanatically Jew-hating Saudi Arabia in particular. And the public holidays in this country should be Christian festivals rather than pointless celebrations of the mere fact that the banks are on holiday; there is no case for non-Christian festivals to be public holidays in the West, nor, for that matter, for public holidays on purely Catholic feast days in Britain.

And mosques in the West must not have domes and minarets, which are triumphalistic manifestations of an Islamised society, culture and polity, and which were in that spirit added to former churches during Islam’s forcible overrunning of the Eastern Roman Empire. I have - in Cardiff, if it matters - already seen them stuck onto a nineteenth-century Nonconformist chapel. I suspect there to be many other such examples, especially in the old Methodist and Congregationalist West Riding. How long before Mediaeval cathedrals and village churches go the same way? It happened to the cathedrals and the village churches of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, the Levant and North Africa, all of which were once integral parts of Christendom.

Be Prepared

Next, they are coming after the Boy Scouts of America, an organisation with close ties to the Mormons, who are the real target. The true reasons for coming after us have been, and are, abortion and the Middle East. And the true motivation for coming after the Mormons, initially via the Scouts, will be, and already is, Proposition 8, an affirmation of President Obama's own view by a state which gave him its Electoral College votes on the same day.

Taking Care

Free personal care for the elderly is like abolition of hospital car-parking charges, and abolition of undergraduate fees. Any preferential spending in Scotland must be extended to the whole United Kingdom, paid for by a reduction in the block grant to the Scottish devolved body, which has its own revenue-raising powers with which to make up the shortfall. Easy.

The Cock Crowing At Iran

Sarkozy has been getting better, more Gaullist. But, like Obama if he is truly to combine the best of historically Democratic domestic policy (which was not without Republican support) with the best of historically Republican foreign policy (which was not without Democratic support), he still has a long way to go. A serious challenge to each would not go amiss.


Now, what about the massacre at Ahmici, where the Croats slaughtered Muslims and the man mainly responsible got 25 years in jail? Can you name him? I bet you can't. And then there was the Bosnian Muslim camp at Celebici, where Serbian prisoners were beaten, tortured and murdered. Had you ever heard of that, either? Neither of these is an isolated example. Furthermore, each is in a very specific and very much living tradition, respectively that of the Ustasha and that of the Handschar Division, both mysteriously airbrushed from history.

In the words of John Laughland at the time of the arrest of Radovan Karadzic (emphasis added):

The arrest of Radovan Karadzic in Serbia has provided yet another occasion for all the tired old propaganda about the Balkans wars to be taken out of the cupboard and given one last airing. In particular, the war is presented as one between a Serb aggressor and an innocent victim, the Bosnian Muslims, and the former is accused of practising genocide against the latter. Even if one accepts that crimes against humanity were committed during the Balkan wars, it should be obvious that both these claims are absurd.

First, the Serbs were no more the aggressors in the Bosnian civil war than Abraham Lincoln was an aggressor in the American Civil War. The Yugoslav army was in place all over Bosnia-Herzegovina because that republic was part of Yugoslavia. Bosnian Muslims (like Croats) left the army in droves and set up their own militia instead, as part of their drive for independence from Belgrade. This meant that the Yugoslav army lost its previous strongly multiethnic character and became largely Serb. It did not mean that Serb forces entered the territory of Bosnia, or even that the Serbs attacked the hapless Bosnian Muslims.

The accusation of aggression is intended to introduce by the back door an allegation which in fact has vanished from modern international criminal justice. Although the crime of waging an aggressive war was pronounced to be the supreme international crime at Nuremberg, it has been dropped from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia which will presumably try Karadzic once he is extradited to The Hague, and even the new International Criminal Court (also in The Hague) does not for the time being have jurisdiction over it.

The accusation has the effect of condemning the Bosnian Serb war effort at its very origins (in terms of ius ad bellum) independently of any condemnation for the way the war was fought (ius in bello). In fact, the Bosnian Serb war effort was no more or less legitimate than the Bosnian Muslim war effort. The Muslims wanted to secede from Yugoslavia (and were egged on to do this by the Americans and the Europeans) while the Bosnian Serbs wanted to stay in Yugoslavia. It was as simple as that.

In my view, it is not possible to adjudicate such matters using the criminal law since, as political questions, they transcend it. But the fact that the Muslims blatantly cheated by holding the vote on an independence referendum at 3 a.m. after the Bosnian Serb deputies in the Bosnian parliament had all been told to go home, and the fact that the Bosnian Muslim president, Alija Izetbegovic, remained in office throughout 1992 long after his term had expired and long after he should have handed over to a Serb, meant that the Bosnian Serbs had excellent grounds for believing that the Bosnian Muslim secession was quite simply a coup d’état.

In any case, once the Muslims had seized power in Sarajevo, the Bosnian Serbs sought not to conquer the whole republic but instead simply to fight for the secession of their territories from Muslim control. Of course atrocities were committed against civilians during this period, especially ethnic cleansing. But the same phenomenon is observed, I believe, and by definition, in every single war in which a new state is created, whether it is the creation of Pakistan in 1947 or the creation in 1974 of what later became the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. If the Muslims had the right unilaterally to secede from Yugoslavia, why should the Bosnian Serbs not have had the right unilaterally to secede from the new state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had never before existed as a state, and to which the Bosnian Serbs had no loyalty whatever?

Second, the Bosnian Serbs are accused (and two have been convicted) of committing genocide against the Bosnian Muslims in the massacre perpetrated at Srebrenica. Let us leave aside for a moment the Serb claims that the numbers of people killed in that summer of 1995 has been artificially inflated for propaganda purposes; let us also leave aside the undoubted fact that the Bosnian Muslims were using the UN safe haven of Srebrenica as a safe haven from which to conduct constant attacks against the Serb villages surrounding the town, during which many atrocities were committed against Serb civilians. (The commander of the Muslim forces, Nasir Oric, was released by the ICTY in February.)

What is clear is that the Srebrenica massacre cannot possibly be described as genocide. Even the most ardent pro-Muslim propagandists agree that the victims of the massacre there were all men. The Bosnian Serbs claim that they were combatants (although that is certainly not an excuse for killing them) but the point is that an army bent on genocide would precisely not have singled out men for execution but would have killed women too. The Srebrenica massacre may well have been a crime against humanity but it is impossible to see how it can be categorised as genocide.

Unfortunately, there is a very clear political reason why it has been so categorised. The Muslim president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haris Silaijdzic, said carefully on CNN the day Karadzic was captured that Karadzic’s trial was only the beginning of the process by which justice would be done in Bosnia. He said that there were hundreds of thousands of Muslims who had been ethnically cleansed by “Karadzic and Milosevic” and that their project therefore remained in force. The clear implication of what he was saying was this: if the very existence of the Bosnian Serb republic (the autonomous region within Bosnia carved out from the republic during the civil war) is found, in a court of law, to have had as its president a man, Karadzic, who is convicted of genocide in the process of creating it, then its status would be illegitimate and it should be abolished. The Muslims continue to claim control over the whole of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, while the Serbs merely want the preservation of their considerable autonomy within it.

In other words, far from bringing peace to the Balkans, it is quite possible that a conviction of Karadzic for genocide will reopen the Dayton settlement and egg the Muslims on to claim control over the Serb republic too. Under such circumstances, it is inevitable that the Bosnian Serbs would try to proclaim formal secession from Bosnia, just as the Kosovo Albanians did from Serbia.

As Expected

Does no one expect the Spanish Inquisition? I certainly do, and I am never disappointed.

The same people who regard The Life of Brian as the last word on Jesus declare their general intellectual dependence on Monty Python’s Flying Circus by bring up the Spanish Inquisition in relation to the Catholic Church, and especially in relation to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “formerly known as the Inquistion”.

The CDF was in fact the Roman, not the Spanish, Inquisition; but neither ever claimed or exercised any jurisdiction over non-Catholics. The Roman Inquisition granted the accused rights far in excess of those prevalent at the time, such as the right to legal representation, paid for by the Inquisition if necessary, a right not formerly recognised in England until 1836. Only people whose activities were a threat to the State, a tiny percentage, were ever handed over to it for execution or anything else, a severity far less than that of the Protestant governments of the time.

And what of the infamous Spanish Inquisition? It was staffed by clerics, but it was established, and they served, strictly at the pleasure of the Spanish Crown (perhaps it is difficult for people used to the Church of England to understand this distinction?), which had it approved on false pretences by Pope Sixtus IV. He was a repeated but unsuccessful opponent of its severity, an opposition, moreover, which has to be seen in the light of the below in order to appreciate it fully. From 1558, it imprisoned the Spanish Primate, Archbishop Caranza of Toledo, for eight years, despite repeated Papal attempts to secure his release. Furthermore, the Spanish Inquisition enjoyed popular as well as royal, but not Papal, support.

As a civil body, the Spanish Inquisition has to be compared to other civil bodies of the time; and it actually compares rather well, using torture in only two per cent of cases, and then for no longer than fifteen minutes, with only one per cent experiencing torture more than once. Of 49,092 cases between 1550 and 1700, fully 1,485, not even three per cent, ended with the death sentence, and only 776 were actually put to death by this agency, not of the Church, but of the State. On average during that century and a half, the Spanish Inquisition executed five people per year. And yet the Popes considered it unacceptably severe even in that day and age, when the English were executing anyone who damaged a shrub in a public garden, the Germans were gouging out the eyes of those who returned from banishment, and the French were disembowelling sheep-stealers.

The Spanish Inquisition dismissed anyone who broke its clearly set out Instructiones, and people before the secular courts in Barcelona would sometimes blaspheme in order to be sent to one of the much more humane prisons maintained by the Inquisition.

All of the above may be verified from the works of serious scholars such as Professor Henry Kamen, an English Jew, of the Barcelona Higher Council for Scientific Research and Professor Stephen Haliczer of the Northern University of Illinois. Who is to be believed? Scholars such as they? Or Monty Python’s Flying Circus?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Stalybridge & Hythe: Tory Gain

Or, at least, Cameron gain, and One Party hold in the One-Party State of Britain.

A man who has publicly accepted a seat in a Cameron Cabinet has ensured that another man who has publicly accepted a seat in a Cameron Cabinet, and who will have to be ennobled for that purpose, is to be succeeded in the Commons by a "close friend" of both of them and of Stephen Twigg.

So to hell with the Labour Party's Constitution and Rules, and to hell with the Constituency Labour Party that I used to be told on here "would never stand for" Purnell in a Cameron Cabinet: it is going to be Jonny Reynolds anyway, properly shortlisted, never mind selected, or not.

A Unite member, Reynolds joins a group currently including a member of Opus Dei, a former Tory MP, a former Murdoch columnist and Telegraph reporter, two members of the Henry Jackson Society, the legendary Ex-Spellar, a prominent Evangelical, dear old Hilary Armstrong, and James Purnell, who is presumably to keep his membership and even some sort of sponsorship while sitting around Cameron's Cabinet table.

Some of those ought to know better than to be mixed up with New Labour, including the Cameroon variety. But big unions are like big business: globalist, Eurofederalist, and Politically Correct. They both become big by much the same means. Their chief political bag-carrier used to be Tony Blair, and is now the Heir to Blair.


Most of us know that on 6th April, it will become possible for two women to be registered on a birth certificate as the child's parents. What most people do not know is that this will also apply to two men who have employed a woman as the "surrogate mother" of the child of one of them. Thus, a birth certificate will be able to list two parents neither of whom will in fact have given birth to the child, nor even be biologically capable of doing so.

It's That Man Again

Tony Blair has influenced one General Election result, ever. That was in 2005, when he lost Labour a hundred seats. Neither the 2001 nor the 1997 result was anything to do with him in the least. And before that, no one had ever heard of him.

Mother And Baby Both Doing Well

America, with no NHS as yet and with abortion on demand at every stage of pregnancy, comes out worse than some forty other counties in terms of maternal mortality.

Whereas the Irish Republic comes top, while Northern Ireland, the only part of the United Kingdom where the combination of the NHS and the legal protection of the child in the womb still obtains (as it did for a generation throughout the country), beats England, Scotland and Wales hands down. The truly awful Jane Garvey on Woman's Hour presented the figure from the Irish Republic as self-evident proof that the figures overall were wrong. They are not.

England, Scotland and Wales must return to the happy situation, now aided by the intervening developments in medical science, that obtained between 1948 and 1967. Meanwhile, America must move as rapidly as possible, even if initially via a public option, to a single-payer system alongside the full, unexpurgated Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

The latter will come to pass, and really quite quickly: Middle America, taxed to pay the health insurance companies whatever they feel like charging, will insist on it. But when will the former come to pass?

Votes For Prisoners?

No, of course not.

But if we returned to the situation whereby we could safely assume that almost everyone convicted deserved to be, and where there was far less crime anyway due to proper policing, then no one would be suggesting this. We could also have proper sentencing, and a proper regime for the far fewer people who were in prison.

That is the problem, in this instance, with the Lib Dems, the party that wants to give Ian Huntley the vote. They are quite good on civil liberties, but fail to see that that stand in incomprehensible and meaningless unless it is part of a package otherwise comprised of real policing, real sentences and real prison discipline. That last, at least, excludes the right to vote.

They'll Govern As New Labour

Peter Hitchens writes:

It really does seem possible that conservative-minded British people might, on May 6, reject the insult to the intelligence, also a gesture of contempt for the forces of conservatism in this country as a whole, which is the Cameron project. If they do, and the Tory party then deservedly collapses and splits, a new era of hope will open in which it may be possible to create a properly conservative, pro-British political movement, neither bigoted nor politically correct, which can throw New Labour, and everything it stands for, into the sea in three or four years' time.

Then, and only then, when we have a government which understands and attempts to reverse the left-wing revolution of the past 50 years, will we be able to begin to put right the ills which beset the country, from national independence, to drunken disorder and fear on the streets, to unwanted mass immigration, the betrayal of the children of the poor by atrocious schools, the radical assault on family and private life and the monstrous misuse of taxation to finance indolence, both high and low.
It is extraordinarily gratifying for me that this is the case. For some years, many people have sneered at my calls for such a result, not arguing with me using facts and logic (because they cannot) but pointing to the alleged certainty of a Cameron victory. Now that certainty has dissipated, perhaps some of them will address the arguments I put forward, and some of them may even admit that I have a point.

One of these obdurate resisters is a person calling himself 'Mev', who has so set his face against listening to me that in many months of contributing to this weblog, he has failed to understand two of my most simple points. The first is that the Tories are so hated that they can never win again whatever they do, so saying 'they tried being darker blue and it didn't work',is no answer to my case at all, and just shows he has never properly read what I say. The second he expressed thus: 'I find it curious that Peter Hitchens believes the country won't be ruined by one more term of (disastrous) Labour, but it won't stand one term of Conservatives. At least after one term of Tories we'll be able to see what they've done and whether we do need a new party.' Well, like the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I'll limp up to explain it again.

Since a Tory government will be in all major respects identical to a Labour one, 'Mev' is obliged to accept that such a government will be neither more nor less 'disastrous' than another five years with Mr Brown. I personally don't see why the next five years are so crucial. All our left-wing parties are now constrained by national bankruptcy, and have few major plans to muck up the country any more than it has been mucked up in the past half-century. Surely the point is this: New Labour have done immense damage - constitutionally, legally, educationally, in terms of national independence, criminal justice, human freedom, the imposition of political correctness in all areas of life, to the country in the last 13 years. And in all cases, the Tory Party accepts this damage as a fait accompli. Where it controls local authorities, it implements the PC programme of the Blairites with zeal and vigour, showing that it is in fact merely an unpolitical machine for gaining office, not a movement with principles. It has no plans to reverse any of it if it gains national office.

On the contrary, it knows that the media elite's acceptance of its right to be considered as an alternative government is bought at the cost of any remaining conservative principles. Like the outwardly 'democratic' parties of German-occupied Denmark between 1940 and 1942, when they were permitted to continue to exist and function as if Denmark were still independent, the Tories know perfectly well what powers they must not offend, and what they cannot do or say. This process is utterly misunderstood by 'Mev' , who says: 'Cameron et al have realised that they have to move their 'public position' into the centre to gain enough votes to get elected.' Wrong. Mr Cameron has not moved his 'public position'. He has definitively changed his party's actual policies, as the price of a chance at office.

This is not (yet) a banana republic in which you can be elected on one programme and govern on an entirely different one. Even if it were ( a point often ignored) the destruction of the built-in Tory majority in the Lords means that the Upper House can, under the Westminster Convention, legitimately throw out any legislation which is not in the Tory manifesto, if the Tories come to office. And you may be sure it would do so. This belief that the Tories, if they came to office, would magically regrow their lost guts, is both absurd and impracticable.

Equally fantastical is this point: 'There are a lot of conservative minded people in the Conservative Party and I think they will follow "conservative principles" when in office - not necessarily by slashing taxes and public spending in an obvious way, but by devolving powers down to local level and allowing more freedom of choice into our communist education (definitely) and health (possibly) and in that way people will vote with their feet into reducing socialism. Once they've got the kind of schools they want do you think they'll vote to go back to the old communist system?' What is this stuff? The key to the 'communisation' of our education system is the absolute insistence on the comprehensive principle, and the legal banning of schools based upon academic selection - the only mechanism by which this could be undone.
This banning - that is to say the prevention of excellence in the state school sector by force of law - is most recently enshrined in the 2006 Education Act, which Mr Cameron and his MPs voted for in opposition, and which they remain wholly committed to despite the Brady rebellion.

Let me stress here that this Act actually prevents, by law, the establishment of new schools which select by ability. Mr Cameron reaffirmed his scorn for the selective principle as recently as the weekend. The supposed 'safety' of the existing rump of grammar schools, itself rather dubious, is of little interest to the millions of parents who live nowhere near them. Michael Gove's alleged 'free schools' will not be selective, so the best we can hope for here is an expensive and time-consuming duplication of existing comprehensives, which maintain (slightly) better standards only because they exist in middle-class catchment areas. Does Mr Gove really believe that such schools will arise and grow in the poor estates where they are so badly needed? Ha ha, if so. Another gimmick, tossed to the credulous by cynics.

As for 'devolving powers to a local level', this is so much blether, a slogan casually adopted to give substance to a vacuous manifesto, neither meant nor even properly understood by those who mouth it. Mr Cameron's attitude to devolving what power he now has, has been clearly demonstrated by his ruthless centralisation of his own party, especially the selection of candidates, as exemplified in the recent 'Turnip Taleban' affair. But it is in fact much worse. What use is nominal independence, when the law allows no freedom of action?

In fact, every local authority, every school, every profession, every doctor's surgery and hospital, every courtroom and police station, every voluntary association in this country now lives under the huge weight of regulation and centralisation imposed on us mainly by the EU and is entangled in the pervasive code of 'equality and diversity', enforced by the 'Equality and Human Rights' mechanism which has only just begun to flex its considerable muscle, which is everywhere strangling freedom of speech, action and thought - and driving thoughtful people out of the professions, and out of public life.

The Tory Party does not even understand that this is going on, or how it operates - let alone have a programme for undoing it.


I don't, as I say elsewhere, think a Tory government would be significantly different from a Brown government. So if you can't stand him, you won't be able to stand them either. What I do say is that the Tory party cannot sustain a fourth successive election defeat, so their defeat this time would give us a unique opportunity, unrepeatable for at least 20 years, to get rid of them.

We already know they're useless because they've explained this repeatedly in detail. There's no point in fantasising that they'll all pile into a phone box after being elected, and rip off their New Labour suits to reveal superhero costumes, before becoming real conservatives. Believe these guys. They mean what they say, and what they say is that they'll govern as New Labour.

Putting them into office will simply allow us to repent having done so at leisure, and postpone the moment when they collapse and can be replaced, probably until after most people who post here are dead.

1683 And All That

11th September, in fact.

Three cheers for Angela Merkel.

Romans, Persians and Barbarians

The Times, the New York Times, the BBC and Peter Tatchell require the collapse of the oldest continuously existing institution in the world, the only one still in existence that goes back to Classical Antiquity and the foundation of which is recorded in the Bible. So that's that, then. No more Papacy. No more Catholic Church. Right?

It is actually quite sad that they really did and do imagine themselves to have that sort of power and importance. They are reduced to the most hilarious, hysterical histrionics at the failure of the Pope simply to curl up and die even though they they have specifically commanded him to do so. Who does he think he is? Doesn't he know who they are?

But this is only the dry run. There is no plan here for a war in the ordinary sense. The London and New York newspapers involved, at least, have another target, and there is nothing metaphorical about the firepower that they wish to see unleashed against it. If they can destroy the Papacy, then they can destroy the second-oldest continuous civilisation on earth, already a superpower when the Old Testament mentions it, and still going strong without ever having had a break.

Be you never so un-Catholic, is it conservative to wish to destroy the only institution to go back in an unbroken line to the Biblical-Classical synthesis that is the foundation of the West, all for the sake of the decadent social libertinism of the 1960s and the decadent economic libertinism of the 1980s?

Is it conservative to wish to do that at all, never mind as the dry run for destroying the second-oldest civilisation on earth merely on the whim of a state created within living memory by resolution of the ultimate globalist institution and as an act of surrender to Marxist, viciously anti-British terrorists, who then proceeded to displace people who had lived there for many centuries in order to replace them with immigrants from the ends of earth who had little or no common culture?

And is it conservative to wish to destroy that institution - the pastorally vocal spiritual focus of many Palestinians and of very many Lebanese - for the sake of that state?

Problematic Contemporary Trends

Although he is wrong about the celibacy rule and about the Church's Teaching on sexual matters (the problem is precisely departure from those), Brendan O'Neill writes:

With all the newspaper headlines about predatory paedophiles in smocks, terrified altar boys and cover-ups by officials at the Vatican, it is hard to think of anything worse right now than a sexually abusive priest. Yet today’s reaction to those allegations of sexual abuse is also deeply problematic. For it is a reaction informed more by prejudice and illiberalism than by anything resembling a principled secularism, and one which also threatens to harm individuals, families, society and liberty.

When considering the problem of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests, it is important to distinguish between the incidents themselves, some of which were of course horrific, and the way in which those incidents are understood in today’s political and cultural climate. The acts of sexual abuse themselves were no doubt a product of various problematic factors: the Catholic Church’s culture of celibacy, its strange views on sex, the fact that in some institutions priests were given ultimate authority over young boys and girls. But the way in which those acts are understood today – as supremely damaging to individuals and the inevitable consequence of people ‘deciding it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith’ – is powerfully informed by two problematic contemporary trends: the backward cult of victimhood and the dominant ‘new atheist’ prejudice against any institution with strong beliefs.

With all the current claims about Pope Benedict XVI himself being involved in a cover-up of child abuse by an American priest and a German priest, and newspaper reports using terms like ‘stuff of nightmares’, the ‘stench of evil’, and ‘systematic rape and torture’, anyone who tries to inject a bit of perspective into this debate is unlikely to be thanked. But perspective is what we need. Someone has to point out that for all the problems with the Catholic Church’s doctrines and style of organisation – and I experienced some of those problems, having been raised a Catholic before becoming an atheist at 17 – the fact is that sexual abuse by priests is a relatively rare phenomenon.

Even in Ireland, whose image as a craic-loving nation has been replaced by the far-worse idea that it was actually a nation of priest rape, incidents of sexual abuse by priests were fairly rare. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which was launched by the Irish government in 1999 and delivered its report last year, intensively invited Irish-born people around the world to report on incidents of abuse in Irish religious-educational reform schools, where the majority of clerical abuse is said to have occurred, between the period 1914 to 1999. For that 85-year period, 253 claims of sexual abuse were made by males and 128 by females. It is important – surely? – to note that these are claims of sexual abuse rather than proven incidents, since the vast majority of them did not go to trial.

The number of sexual abuse claims in these institutions fell for the more recent period: for males, there were 88 claims from the pre-1960s, 119 from 1960 to 1969, 37 from 1970 to 1979, and nine from 1980 to 1989. The alleged sexual-abuse incidents ranged in seriousness from boys being ‘questioned and interrogated about their sexual activity’ to being raped: there were 68 claims of anal rape in reform institutions for boys from 1914 to 1999. Not all of the sexual abuse was carried out by priests. Around 65 per cent of the claims pertain to religious workers, and 35 per cent to lay staff, care workers, and fellow pupils.

Of course, one incident of child sexual abuse by a priest is one too many. But given the findings of Ireland’s investigation into abuse in religious-educational institutions, is there really a justification for talking about a ‘clinging and systematic evil that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel’? As Ireland is redefined as a country in recovery from child sexual abuse, and the ‘scandal of child rape’ spreads further through Europe into Germany and Italy, it might be unfashionable to say the following but it is true nonetheless: very, very small numbers of children in the care or teaching of the Catholic Church in Europe in recent decades were sexually abused, but very, very many of them actually received a decent standard of education.

The discussion of a relatively rare phenomenon as a ‘great evil’ of our age shows that child abuse in Catholic churches has been turned into a morality tale – about the dangers of belief and of hierarchical institutions and the need for more state and other forms of intervention into religious institutions and even religious families. The first contemporary trend that has turned incidences of sexual abuse into a powerful symbol of evil is the cult of the victim, where today individuals are invited not only to reveal every misfortune that has befallen them – which of course is a sensible thing to do if you have been raped – but also to define themselves by those misfortunes, to look upon themselves as the end-products of having being emotionally, physically or sexually abused. This is why very public revelations of Catholic abuse started in America and Ireland before more recently spreading to other parts of Western Europe: because the politics of victimhood, the cult of revelation and redefinition of the self as survivor, is more pronounced and developed in America and Ireland than it is in continental Europe.

In Ireland, for example, the state has explicitly invited its citizens to redefine themselves as victims of authority rather than as active agents capable of moving on and making choices. The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse discusses at length the ‘debilitating’ impact that abuse can have on individuals, to the extent that many of Ireland’s social problems – including unemployment, poverty, drug abuse and heavy drinking – are now discussed as the products of Ireland’s earlier era of abuse rather than as failings of the contemporary social system.

This, I believe, is why claims of sexual abuse in Ireland’s religious-educational institutions were so much higher for the period of 1960 to 1969 (nearly half of all claims of sexual abuse against boys during the period of 1914 to 1989 were made for that decade). It is not because priests suddenly became more abusive in the 1960s than they had been in the far harsher Ireland of the 1940s and 50s, but because the people who attended the institutions during that period were in many ways the main targets of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. They would have been in their mid-40s to mid-50s when the commission began in 1999 and many of them had suffered long-term unemployment, health problems, and other disappointments. Reporting their misfortunes to the commission offered them the chance, not only of getting financial compensation, but also of validating their difficult life experiences as a consequence of their having been abused. In a grotesquely convenient marriage, the state redefined social problems as consequences of Catholic abuse and the individual redefined himself as a sufferer from low self-esteem who did not bear full responsibility for the course of his adult life. In such a climate, not only are incidents of abuse by priests more likely to surface, but they are also more likely to be heavily politicised, turned from undoubtedly distressing and possibly criminal acts into modern-day examples of evil capable of distorting society itself. Thus did the contemporary cult of victimhood ensure that Catholic abuse was blown out of proportion.

The second contemporary trend that has elevated something quite rare into a social disaster is the rise of the ‘new atheism’. Now the dominant liberal outlook of our age – in particular in the media outlets that have most keenly focused on the Catholic abuse scandals: the New York Times, the Irish Times, and the UK Guardian – the new atheism differs from the atheism of earlier free-thinking humanists in that its main aim is not to enlighten, but to scaremonger about the impact of religion on society. For these thinkers and opinion-formers, the drip-drip of revelations of abuse in Catholic institutions offers an opportunity to demonise the religious as backward and people who possess strong beliefs as suspect.

Many contemporary opinion-formers are not concerned with getting to the truth of how widespread Catholic sexual abuse was, or what were the specific circumstances in which it occurred; rather they want to milk incidents of abuse and make them into an indictment of religion itself. They frequently flit between discussing priests who abuse children and the profound stupidity of people who believe in God. One commentator wildly refers to the Vatican’s ‘international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists’ and says most ordinary Catholics turn a blind eye to this because ‘people behave in bizarre ways when they decide it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith’.

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, unwittingly reveals what draws the new atheists towards the Catholic-abuse story: their belief that religion is itself a form of abuse. ‘Odious as the physical abuse of children by priests undoubtedly is, I suspect that it may do them less lasting damage than the mental abuse of bringing them up Catholic in the first place’, he argues. He admits that physical abuse by priests is rare, but only to flag up what he sees as a more serious form of abuse: ‘Only a minority of priests abuse the bodies of the children in their care. But how many priests abuse their minds?’ In this spectacularly crude critique of religion, no moral distinction is made between being educated by a priest and raped by one – indeed, the former is considered worse than the latter, since as one Observer columnist recently darkly warned: ‘We have no idea what children are being taught in those classrooms…’

If ‘bringing a child up Catholic’ is itself abuse, there can only be one solution: external authorities must protect children not only from religious institutions but from their own religious parents, too. One new atheist has proposed an age of consent for joining a religion: 14. In an Oxford Amnesty Lecture popular amongst new atheists, a liberal academic argued that children ‘have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas’, and parents ‘have no god-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose’. Here, a simplistic leap is made from protecting children from paedophile priests to protecting them from their own parents, since in the new-atheist view strong beliefs and freedom of religion – which, yes, includes the freedom of parents to bring up their children as they see fit – are the real problem. They exaggerate the extent of Catholic sexual abuse in order to strengthen their prejudicial arguments.

Whatever you think of the Catholic Church, you should be concerned about today’s abuse-obsession. Events of the (sometimes distant) past which nobody can change are being used to justify dangerous trends in the present. A new kind of society is being solidified on the back of exposing abusive priests, one in which scaremongering supersedes facts, where people redefine themselves as permanently damaged victims, where freedom of thought is problematised, and where parents are considered suspect for not adhering to the superior values of the atheistic elite. Seriously, radical humanists should fight back against this.

Setting The Record Straight


Then-presiding judge for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gives first-person account of church trial



To provide context to this article, I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process. God alone will judge these men.

To put some parameters on the following remarks, I am writing this article with the express knowledge and consent of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, the Archbishop of Anchorage, where I currently serve. Archbishop Schwietz is also the publisher of the Catholic Anchor newspaper.

I will limit my comments, because of judicial oaths I have taken as a canon lawyer and as an ecclesiastical judge. However, since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero.

As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing out of a sense of duty to the truth.

The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.

My intent in the following paragraphs is to accomplish the following:

To tell the back-story of what actually happened in the Father Murphy case on the local level;

To outline the sloppy and inaccurate reporting on the Father Murphy case by the New York Times and other media outlets;

To assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more than any other pope or bishop in history to rid the Catholic Church of the scourge of child sexual abuse and provide for those who have been injured;

To set the record straight with regards to the efforts made by the church to heal the wounds caused by clergy sexual misconduct. The Catholic Church is probably the safest place for children at this point in history.

Before proceeding, it is important to point out the scourge that child sexual abuse has been — not only for the church but for society as well. Few actions can distort a child’s life more than sexual abuse. It is a form of emotional and spiritual homicide and it starts a trajectory toward a skewed sense of sexuality. When committed by a person in authority, it creates a distrust of almost anyone, anywhere.

As a volunteer prison chaplain in Alaska, I have found a corollary between those who have been incarcerated for child sexual abuse and the priests who have committed such grievous actions. They tend to be very smart and manipulative. They tend to be well liked and charming. They tend to have one aim in life — to satisfy their hunger. Most are highly narcissistic and do not see the harm that they have caused. They view the children they have abused not as people but as objects. They rarely show remorse and moreover, sometimes portray themselves as the victims. They are, in short, dangerous people and should never be trusted again. Most will recommit their crimes if given a chance.

As for the numerous reports about the case of Father Murphy, the back-story has not been reported as of yet.

In 1996, I was introduced to the story of Father Murphy, formerly the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. It had been common knowledge for decades that during Father Murphy’s tenure at the school (1950-1974) there had been a scandal at St. John’s involving him and some deaf children. The details, however, were sketchy at best.

Courageous advocacy on behalf of the victims (and often their wives), led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to revisit the matter in 1996. In internal discussions of the curia for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, it became obvious that we needed to take strong and swift action with regard to the wrongs of several decades ago. With the consent of then-Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, we began an investigation into the allegations of child sexual abuse as well as the violation of the crime of solicitation within the confessional by Father Murphy.

We proceeded to start a trial against Father Murphy. I was the presiding judge in this matter and informed Father Murphy that criminal charges were going to be levied against him with regard to child sexual abuse and solicitation in the confessional.

In my interactions with Father Murphy, I got the impression I was dealing with a man who simply did not get it. He was defensive and threatening.

Between 1996 and August, 1998, I interviewed, with the help of a qualified interpreter, about a dozen victims of Father Murphy. These were gut-wrenching interviews. In one instance the victim had become a perpetrator himself and had served time in prison for his crimes. I realized that this disease is virulent and was easily transmitted to others. I heard stories of distorted lives, sexualities diminished or expunged. These were the darkest days of my own priesthood, having been ordained less than 10 years at the time. Grace-filled spiritual direction has been a Godsend.

I also met with a community board of deaf Catholics. They insisted that Father Murphy should be removed from the priesthood and highly important to them was their request that he be buried not as a priest but as a layperson. I indicated that a judge, I could not guarantee the first request and could only make a recommendation to the latter request.

In the summer of 1998, I ordered Father Murphy to be present at a deposition at the chancery in Milwaukee. I received, soon after, a letter from his doctor that he was in frail health and could travel not more than 20 miles (Boulder Junction to Milwaukee would be about 276 miles). A week later, Father Murphy died of natural causes in a location about 100 miles from his home.

With regard to the inaccurate reporting on behalf of the New York Times, the Associated Press, and those that utilized these resources, first of all, I was never contacted by any of these news agencies but they felt free to quote me. Almost all of my quotes are from a document that can be found online with the correspondence between the Holy See and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In an October 31, 1997 handwritten document, I am quoted as saying ‘odds are that this situation may very well be the most horrendous, number wise, and especially because these are physically challenged , vulnerable people. “ Also quoted is this: “Children were approached within the confessional where the question of circumcision began the solicitation.”

The problem with these statements attributed to me is that they were handwritten. The documents were not written by me and do not resemble my handwriting. The syntax is similar to what I might have said but I have no idea who wrote these statements, yet I am credited as stating them. As a college freshman at the Marquette University School of Journalism, we were told to check, recheck, and triple check our quotes if necessary. I was never contacted by anyone on this document, written by an unknown source to me. Discerning truth takes time and it is apparent that the New York Times, the Associated Press and others did not take the time to get the facts correct.

Additionally, in the documentation in a letter from Archbishop Weakland to then-secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone on August 19, 1998, Archbishop Weakland stated that he had instructed me to abate the proceedings against Father Murphy. Father Murphy, however, died two days later and the fact is that on the day that Father Murphy died, he was still the defendant in a church criminal trial. No one seems to be aware of this. Had I been asked to abate this trial, I most certainly would have insisted that an appeal be made to the supreme court of the church, or Pope John Paul II if necessary. That process would have taken months if not longer.

Second, with regard to the role of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), in this matter, I have no reason to believe that he was involved at all. Placing this matter at his doorstep is a huge leap of logic and information.

Third, the competency to hear cases of sexual abuse of minors shifted from the Roman Rota to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. Until that time, most appeal cases went to the Rota and it was our experience that cases could languish for years in this court. When the competency was changed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in my observation as well as many of my canonical colleagues, sexual abuse cases were handled expeditiously, fairly, and with due regard to the rights of all the parties involved. I have no doubt that this was the work of then Cardinal Ratzinger.

Fourth, Pope Benedict has repeatedly apologized for the shame of the sexual abuse of children in various venues and to a worldwide audience. This has never happened before. He has met with victims. He has reigned in entire conferences of bishops on this matter, the Catholic Bishops of Ireland being the most recent. He has been most reactive and proactive of any international church official in history with regard to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Instead of blaming him for inaction on these matters, he has truly been a strong and effective leader on these issues.

Finally, over the last 25 years, vigorous action has taken place within the church to avoid harm to children. Potential seminarians receive extensive sexual-psychological evaluation prior to admission. Virtually all seminaries concentrate their efforts on the safe environment for children. There have been very few cases of recent sexual abuse of children by clergy during the last decade or more.

Catholic dioceses all across the country have taken extraordinary steps to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. As one example, which is by no means unique, is in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, where I currently work. Here, virtually every public bathroom in parishes has a sign asking if a person has been abuse by anyone in the church. A phone number is given to report the abuse and almost all church workers in the archdiocese are required to take yearly formation sessions in safe environment classes. I am not sure what more the church can do.

To conclude, the events during the 1960’s and 1970’s of the sexual abuse of minors and solicitation in the confessional by Father Lawrence Murphy are unmitigated and gruesome crimes. On behalf of the church, I am deeply sorry and ashamed for the wrongs that have been done by my brother priests but realize my sorrow is probably of little importance 40 years after the fact. The only thing that we can do at this time is to learn the truth, beg for forgiveness, and do whatever is humanly possible to heal the wounds. The rest, I am grateful, is in God’s hands.

Father Thomas T. Brundage, JCL

Editor’s note: Father Brundage can be contacted at or by phone at (907) 745-3229 X 11.

Broken Cable

Despite his recent and welcome support for rebuilding the manufacturing base, this evening the Sage of Twickenham informed us that "government cannot deliver, still less guarantee, employment," which as much as anything else ignores the fact that delivering it is only, though certainly, one of the many ways in which government can and must guarantee it.

He also did a most unusual thing. He let slip a specific Lib Dem policy. There are lots, and many of them are thoroughly nasty. One such is the ending of the principle of universality in Child Benefit. And Vince Cable, no less, has just announced it live on national television.

Backs To The Wall

"There is far more danger at the rear from Kevan Jones."

Well, it made me laugh.

A lot.

Welcome In The Hillsides?

The Tories are crowing about the recruitment of John Marek, for 18 years the Labour MP for Wrexham. Marek is fiercely anti-hunting, but, more to the point, is a close associate of Tommy Sheridan's, and founded and led Forward Wales as a counterpart to Sheridan's Scottish Socialist Party, the basis on which it secured funding from Bob Crow's RMT.

It was only wound up in January of this year. But Marek has clearly wasted no time in finding an alternative vehicle for a programme such as can warrant Trotskyist endorsement and cod-Stalinist, neo-Scargillite funding. Yes, I voted for No2EU - Yes To Democracy, but for the sake of Peter Shore's old agent and the leaders of the Visteon and the Lindsey oil refinery workers. I drew the line at applying to be a candidate, because, purely personally, I could not bring myself to line up in that way with many of the others involved. More than anything, it impressed on me the need to eschew such involvement, as well as abstentionism and silly names, at the next stage of our movement's re-emergence. But David Cameron clearly has no such scruples.

And the key proposals of Forward Wales specifically, rather than as part of any wider Sheridan or Crow movement, are now manifestly the policy of the Conservative Party: Wales to have at least the same level of devolution as Scotland currently enjoys, and drastic government action to be taken to enforce the public use of Welsh even in the most Anglophone of areas. After all, why else would Marek have signed on the dotted line?

Will Marek be joined as a New Tory by the other founders of Forward Wales? By Ron Davies, one of the very few former Cabinet Ministers without a seat in either House, and a noted campaigner both against shooting and for the abolition of the monarchy, recalling Marek's own parliamentary question to Tony Blair requesting that the Oath of Allegiance be replaced with something acceptable to anti-monarchists? By Graeme Beard (not the Australian cricketer), a former Plaid Cymru councillor in Caerphilly? Or by Klaus Armstrong-Braun, who in his time on Flintshire County Council was the only Green Party member ever elected at county level in Wales?

Frozen Out

An Hour Of My Life That I'll Never Get Back, although I suppose it is reassuring that the Chancellor and those who would replace him are dull, meant no EastEnders until ten o'clock, so no Cleveland Show (riotously funny - the show that Family Guy could have been) until eleven. After which, channel-hopping brought me, as it sometimes does, not to the billed Lords Questions, but to Eòrpa, the BBC's superb, subtitled current affairs programme in Gaelic.

This week, the entire half-hour was given over to Transnistria. We are soon, very soon, to hear a lot more about the four "frozen conflicts". One of them did in fact thaw out to spectacular effect not too long ago. So, why wasn't this programme on terrestrial television, in prime time, and, ahem, in English?

And is it really necessary to translate for byline purposes both Anglicised and English names into some Gaelic root that the person in question, even if obviously a Gaelic-speaker, does not use?

Is There Any Shark Left To Jump?

Apparently not:

The Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II has said Pope Benedict XVI should resign over the Catholic Church's handling of clerical sex abuse cases.

Mehmet Ali Agca, who emerged from prison in January nearly 29 years after wounding Pope John Paul II in Rome, has declared himself a messenger from God.

Agca told journalists in Istanbul: "I want the Pope to resign, not arrested," as he waved a Turkish newspaper reporting calls for the arrest of the Pope.

The press conference marked his first public comments since his release.

There are questions about Agca's mental health. Motives for the shooting of Pope John Paul remain a mystery.

The "Protest The Pope" people around Pederast Pete seem very fond of quoting Hans Küng (less so of using propositions properly), a person whom one might otherwise reasonably have assumed to be dead, as Tweedledee now is. So, are they going to bring him over for the State Visit? His disparagement of Pope John Paul II's Polishness made and make them the authentic voice of the age-old Teutonic racism against the Slavs. Küng only gets away with it because he is Swiss. Making him a non-EU national, and thus perfectly easy to serve with an Exclusion Order. We don't want foreign preachers of hate here.

A Class Apart?

Why do we have different classes of train travel (or postage stamp) at all? The railway carriages, at least, do not arrive any more quickly.

Monday, 29 March 2010

National Insurance

We need a permanently higher rate of corporation tax on the banks, with strict regulation to protect workers, consumers, communities and the environment from bearing the costs. The money would be used to reimburse the employers' National Insurance contributions for workers aged under 25, aged 55 or over, or previously long-term unemployed.

Now that the banks are in public ownership, instead of paying out gargantuan bonuses, the profits to which public ownership has restored them should be used for a scheme like this. Rather than taxing the bonuses as a one-off, don't pay them in the first place, and use the money on this instead. Why not?

If anyone on tonight Chancellors' "Debate" were saying these things, then I might not mind so much the messing up of my Monday evening routine: Coronation Street, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Glee, The Cleveland Show, Newsnight, bed. Thank goodness for E4+1. Thank goodness, even if only this once, for BBC Three.

But curse, curse and curse again whatever force has delivered us no better alternative than George Osborne or Vince "Smash The Unions" Cable. Where is our national insurance policy against this baleful state of affairs, and how do we claim on it?

Prison Break

Would it massively increase the prison population if each offence carried a minimum sentence of one third of its maximum sentence, or of 15 years' imprisonment where that maximum sentence is life imprisonment, and if there were a single category of illegal drug, with a crackdown on the possession of drugs, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on?

Not if those measures were accompanied by the abandonment of the existing erosions of trial by jury and of the right to silence, of the existing reversals of the burden of proof, of the provision for conviction by majority verdict (which, by definition, provides for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), of the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers, of the provision for conviction on anonymous evidence alone, of both pre-trial convictions and pre-trial acquittals by the Crown Prosecution Service, of the secrecy of the family courts (although that is improving), of the anonymity of adult accusers in rape cases, of the scheme for identity cards, of control orders, of the provision for Police confiscation of assets without a conviction, of stipendiary magistrates, of Thatcher's Police and Criminal Evidence Act, of the Civil Contingencies Act, of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, and of the Official Secrets Acts.

As well as by the raising of the minimum age for jurors to be raised at least to 21. By a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, with budgetary sanctions against recalcitrant Chief Constables who failed to implement this. By Police Forces at least no larger than at present, and subject to local democratic accountability, most obviously though Police Authorities, but if appropriate by means of elected sheriffs. By the restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, and of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police. And by a return to the situation whereby a Bill which ran out of parliamentary time was lost at the end of that session.

Furthermore, it is very high time to get over the Human Rights Act, an incorporation into our domestic law of a Convention which rules out both trial by jury and magistrates' courts. We don't need it. We have our own tradition of open justice. We should stick to that. And we should get back to it. Not least, by requiring a resolution of the House of Commons (itself elected so as better to represent the breadth and depth of public opinion, and accordingly from candidates selected by means better involving the general electorate) before any ruling of the European Court of Justice, or of the European Court of Human Rights, or of the "Supreme Court", or pursuant to the Human Rights Act, can have any effect in the United Kingdom.

Just for a start.

Light sentences and lax prison discipline are both expressions of the perfectly well-founded view that large numbers of those convicted, vastly in excess of the numbers that have always existed at any given time, are in fact innocent. We need to return to a free country's minimum requirements for conviction, above all by reversing the erosion of the right to silence and of trial by jury, and by repealing the monstrous provisions for anonymous evidence and for conviction by majority verdict. And we need to return to proper policing. Then we could return to proper sentencing, and to proper regimes in prison.

If you want there to be even one MP who understands all of this, then please avail yourself of the PayPal button on this blog.

The Real War Against Terrorism

Or even just against Islamist terrorism.

But not when the Islamist terrorists seek the neocon-backed dismemberment of Russia (or China), as previously of Yugoslavia and then of Serbia. A city in every sense as European as anywhere else on earth, and an integral part of Western civilisation, can be bombed by the forces of militant Islam, but those forces continue to enjoy the full support of the neocons. Precisely because when Russians say "Europe" and "Western civilisation", they mean those terms in their correct senses.

The Next Phase

The Pope committed genocide in Rwanda, apparently. Course he did, dear.

It is good to know that people have woken up to the real story in recent days, namely the baseless media vilification of the Pope and the Church because of opposition to abortion and to the neoconservative war agenda. Clearly, then, it is time to change tactic.

There were two genocides in Rwanda. “Genocide” is a slipperier concept than you might think. In 1993, the former Bolivian President, García Meza Tejada, was convicted of “genocide” for the deaths of fully eight people. Those may or may not have been the only people whom he killed. But they were the only victims of his “genocide”.

And so to Rwanda. Or, rather, to a kangaroo court in Tanzania, set up by a UN Security Council resolution with no authority to do so, and specifically empowered - again, on no proper authority whatever - to try only members of the former, devoutly Catholic regime, and not of that which overthrew it, namely a direct extension, by means of a Ugandan invasion of Rwanda in 1990, of the only-too-successful Maoist insurrection in Uganda. Thank God that no one is now to be sent from this country, historic refuge of the oppressed, to appear before that kangaroo court.

Théoneste Bagosora was finally convicted (well, of course he was – this sort of thing never, ever acquits anyone) eighteen months after the prosecution’s final submission, and fully twelve years after his arrest, even though his trial had started almost immediately. That was entirely typical, as is the use of European and American activists as “expert witnesses” even though they witnessed absolutely nothing and were in fact thousands of miles away at the time alleged. As is the heavy reliance on anonymous prosecution witnesses (even though it is in fact six defence witnesses before this “Tribunal” who have been murdered soon after giving evidence), universally known to be paid liars.

As is the routine holding of session in camera. As is the admission of hearsay evidence. As are the rulings that no corroboration is necessary to convict a man of rape even he has pleaded not guilty, and that it matters not one jot if a prosecution witness’s written statement differs markedly from his testimony in court. As is the astonishing principle that a prosecution witness’s inconsistencies are proof of trauma, and therefore of the guilt of the accused. And as are the farcical translation problems.

The remit of this “Tribunal” is frankly racist, providing only for the trial of Hutus, the overwhelmingly predominant ethnic group, for crimes against Tutsis, the historically royal and aristocratic minority. Crimes by Hutus against Tutsis undoubtedly happened. But so did crimes by Tutsis against Hutus. Neither Maoist guerrillas nor embittered, dispossessed aristocrats are characteristically restrained in these matters.

No one knows how many people were killed, often with machetes. The usual figure cited is eight hundred thousand. Perhaps that is correct, perhaps it is not. But what is undoubtedly the case is that not all the perpetrators were Hutus, although many were. What is undoubtedly the case is that not all the victims were Tutsis, although many were. What is undoubtedly the case is that no Tutsi has ever been tried, because none can be: that whole people has been declared innocent in advance, and another whole people declared guilty in advance.

What is undoubtedly the case is that an invasion of a sovereign state by a larger neighbour at exactly the same time as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait has been backed up to the hilt by the West in general and the United States, so that the Americans are now where first the Germans and then the Belgians once were: running Rwanda through a tiny clique drawn exclusively from the Tutsi minority.

And what is undoubtedly the case is that that clique is Maoist, whereas the majority-derived government that it overthrew was headed by a daily communicant, Jean Kambanda, whom it subsequently tortured into confession while illegally detaining him, and whom it denied the lawyer of his choice.

Any chance of a Guardian piece on any of this? What do you think?

By Way of Comparison

With lots of links, Martin Meenagh writes:

In recent days, wild allegations, and frankly mad chains of causation, have been constructed around Pope Benedict. I don't think that I have anything to prove on my attitude to the disgusting things that were done by men breaking their vows, who were often protected by Bishops who were also in a deranged relationship with their duty. However, I do intensely dislike the stupidity of some of the assault. England seems particularly gripped by antipapist feeling. This has been true in its past, when the country is under pressure, and has been a strand in its identity since 1533. It emerges at times of great pressure, like the 1850s or 1730s, often when the English people realise that someone is undermining and impoverishing them and fail to see that the culprits are their own elites.

However, it now seems clear that Josef Ratzinger, when a cardinal, was involved in a process that extended the time in which victims of sexual violence could bring claims beyond that offered in England. He also appears to have relied on Bishops who corrupted their office to carry out his instructions, without realising that they would not do so. Indeed, he seems to have had no wider power over the bishops leading one billion Catholics. I'm not surprised; most Bishops don't listen to their own diocese, or indeed anyone other than those whose approval they seek. Bishops, not popes, are a major part of the problem that the modern Church faces.

The final allegation is that the then-Archbishop Ratzinger also seems to have approved, on a busy day, the request of an abuser to stay for therapy in a priest house in his diocese in the nineteen eighties (when such things were thought to work, without chemicals). Memoranda purporting to show Josef Ratzinger's name in a 'cc' field have since been referred to, though no proof that he ever actually read them has been offered.

By way of comparison, Ms Harriet Harman, the present Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the House of Commons, was at the time a legal officer for the national council on civil liberties, to which the paedophile information exchange was affiliated, according to this report. Patricia Hewitt, late of the Labour Cabinet, was the head of the National Council. Ms Harman, a fervent abortionist, attempted at one time to water down child pornography laws. Given her position at the heart of the British government--and emphatically not to dismiss the allegations against the pope, but to put them into perspective--why is the Times hounding him and not her?

The hysterical attacks on the Pope, and on Catholicism, rest on a thin material foundation of causation and a deep well of sad and horrible abuse. This poisonous well is the consequence of letting abusers serve within the church, and the church should take its lumps for it; but another, equally poisonous well feeds those waters too. The constant attacks on the church are being made by people who mention nothing of the United Nations or the Social Service industry's shameless record of child abuse and family destruction. They are being promoted by coalitions of people who have a hatred of one of the few things that can actually challenge this murderous, value free world that global corporatism has built. The full hypocrisy of the attacks is sickening; people who want the age of consent lowered to 14 and who aggressively promote their agenda want the sickening abuse of young men by older ones, which constitutes most of the cases, to be the cross on which the church is nailed.

I should repeat something for the avoidance of doubt. I think that the Church should have isolated and handed over to the authorities anyone involved in an abuse of position against a child; I also think that some of the orders and dioceses involved in this scandal, which is multifaceted and which does not just stem from sexual abuse but also from the arrogance of power and the physical maltreatment of the young, should have their assets liquidated and handed out to genuine victims. I think that a whole body of nineteenth and twentieth century thought, which held that the Church was a near perfect instrument and which ignored that it was run by fallen people must now be reviewed in a spirit of humility.

That does not mean, however, that I will promote a lynch mob mentality by vicious secularists against an eighty year old man and nor should any of my readers.

My one consolation is that the church always grows under tribulation.

Black Marriage Day

Megan K. Scott writes:

For Kenny and Lynette Seymour, last weekend's black marriage gala was about celebrating their seven-year marriage. They got to meet other black couples while spending a romantic evening together. "Every time you meet another couple, you learn something new about yourself and relationships in general," said Kenny Seymour, a 39-year-old Broadway music director who lives in Queens. "It was beautiful to be around a bunch of married people in love."

Other black couples will be marking the eighth annual Black Marriage Day this weekend, by attending workshops, black-tie dinners and other activities. Some groups have held events throughout the month, although Black Marriage Day, which celebrates matrimony in the black community, falls on the fourth Sunday in March. The founder estimates more than 300 celebrations are being held this weekend. The aim is to try to stabilize, if not reverse, the trend of non-commitment within the black community. According to 2009 census figures, 41.9 percent of black adults had never married, compared to 23.6 percent of whites. Studies show blacks also are more likely than other ethnic groups to divorce and bear children out of wedlock.

Experts blame the disparities in part on high black male unemployment, high black male imprisonment and the moderate performance of black men in college compared with black women. They also note the lack of positive images of black marriage in the media and several misperceptions about matrimony — that it's for white people, that it's a ball and chain, that fatherhood and marriage are not linked. "They have either seen really bad examples of what marriage looks like or no examples at all," said Yolanda "Yanni" Brown, 42, a divorced mother of two in Chicago, who is hosting black marriage events. "They are saying, 'Why bother? This works for us,' not knowing there are so many other benefits of being married." Brown says she wishes she had fought for her marriage.

Joseph Arrington II, a 38-year-old black entertainment attorney in Atlanta, said there was a time when he wanted to get married, but his interest has waned. He hasn't had a girlfriend in 15 years. His parents celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. He said he focuses on his work. "It's a combination of two things," he said. "I haven't found anyone, and I'm not actively seeking someone."

Gerard Abdul, 45, a who lives in East Orange, N.J., and runs an entertainment company, has never seen himself as the marrying type. He has nine children by five women. He said he cared about them all, and each wanted to marry him. But he wasn't interested. "Because I'm so independent and on my own, I really didn't see the science of marrying them when I really didn't have to," Abdul said. "I'm a great father," he added. "But I probably would have been a lousy husband."

Despite those attitudes toward marriage, there are a handful of campaigns to get blacks to walk down the aisle, from the federal government's African American Healthy Marriage Initiative to Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, with 10 unwed couples with children tying the knot later this year in New York. "You Saved Me," a documentary that explores the marriages of eight black couples, will be screened in more than 20 cities this weekend as part of a Black Marriage Day premiere. "We want people to take away that successful positive (black) marriages do exist," said Lamar Tyler of Waldorf, Md., who produced "You Saved Me" with his wife, Ronnie. The Tylers started their blog "Black and Married With Kids" in 2007 and released "Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage" last year.

Don Lee and his wife, Joan Griffith-Lee, of New York's Staten Island, who have three children, will be watching "Happily Ever After" Friday night and participating in a discussion at a coffeehouse. The couple have been married almost 20 years. Several of their friends are divorced, and Griffith-Lee, 45, who works at Columbia University, said she and her husband often talk about why. "We hope to leave there with a new awareness and maybe some tools that can help as we get older," she said.

Black Marriage Day founder Nisa Islam Muhammad is encouraging couples to renew their vows in front of friends and family in honor of Tyler Perry's movie "Why Did I Get Married Too?" which opens April 2. Muhammad points out that many black children come from single-parent households and contends that the media are not helping. There's never been a black "Bachelor" on the popular TV show, and the star of the 2008 movie "27 Dresses," about a 27-time bridesmaid, was white. "We're going to focus on the positives," said Muhammad, executive director of Wedded Bliss Foundation, which helps people develop healthy relationships and marriages. "We're going to show ourselves and our community that marriage does matter and we have some fabulous marriages in our community worth celebrating."

Those include the marriage of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, said Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative in Germantown, Md. He credits the couple with setting a positive example and creating more discussion about the issue. In a way, their marriage is evidence of the importance of marriage in the African-American community, he said. Most blacks already think that marriage is a good thing, said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But many can't find anyone they think would make a good spouse.

But at least Black Marriage Day will get people thinking about marriage, says Tammy Greer Brown, 43, executive director of Celebrating Real Family Life and organizer of the Staten Island event, who said she hopes to spark a discussion about marriage. She said she grew up in a single-parent home and didn't want that for her kids. She has been married for more than 10 years. "My daughter is already talking about getting married," she said. "She wants to be like my husband and I."

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Proper Authorities

What if there is practically no functioning civil authority, as in some countries where the Catholic Church is active? What if it would be better that there weren't than that there were what there is, as in very many such countries? What if it is the Dutch civil authority, which has lowered the age of consent to 12, that, and not anything either Catholic or Reformed, being the vision of the Netherlands defended by the likes of Geert Wilders and the late Pim Fortuyn? (The legal situation in the Vatican City State, mercifully meaningless in practice, is an inherited imposition by Mussolini, lest anyone ever suggest either that he favoured the Church or that She favoured him.)

Or what if the civil authority is a British Social Services Department such as ran the homes in which, at the same time as the Church was hushing up sex between men and teenage boys on the part of a small number of priests - and thus, however imperfectly, indicating disapproval of it - such behaviour was absolutely endemic, with major figures in that world publishing academic studies, used for many years in the training of social workers, which presented it as positively beneficial to both parties and therefore actively to be encouraged?

And on the star witness against the Pope, Rembert Weakland, see his Wikipedia entry, indeed simply Google his name, but make sure that you read these of his words:

Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise. We frequently try such adolescents for crimes as adults at that age.

How very Channel Four, or Germaine Greer, or Peter Tatchell, or Patricia Hewitt, or Harriet Harman, to name but a few.