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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Friday, June 28, 2019
On June 20 and 21, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. spoke at Acton University, the annual gathering of the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, attended by more than 1,000 from over 90 countries, including Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox, and other faith communities.
Dr. Morse gave two speeches. One was a retrospective on her 2008 book, Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise A Village.
In this seminal work, Morse explained that economists had been taking the family for granted – largely ignoring an irreplaceable social institution. Neither a series of social contracts among adults (which libertarians favor) nor a series of government programs (which so-called progressives support) can take the place of the family, Morse argued. “I hope that everyone who values the personal over the political and the family over the bureaucratic will take these arguments seriously.”
Morse also spoke on “Gender Ideology and the Future of Freedom,” which is based in part on her recent book, The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies are Destroying Lives and why the Church was Right all Along.
She described the gender ideology as the view that the human body, especially the fact of male and female, is unimportant. We can transcend and “move beyond” male and female with enough social engineering, or more recently, with the help of law and technology. Dr. Morse explained that the gender ideology threatens all the Acton Institute’s core values of a free and virtuous society, including fiscal responsibility, limited government, and religious liberty.
Dr. Morse said, “I was especially gratified by the warm response my message received from many of the foreign participants. They were especially glad when I apologized to them for the US government’s attempts to forcibly spread the sexual revolution around the world.”
Founded in 1990, The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty promotes “a free and virtuous society characterized by religious liberty and sustained by religious principles.”
Earlier this year, Morse spoke at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. on her book, The Sexual State. Last year, she spoke at an international conference on the 50th anniversary of the beginnings of the Sexual Revolution, at the University of Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena and build a Civilization of Love. Jennifer Roback Morse has a Ph.D. in economics.
Find more information on Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village here.
Find more information on the Ruth Institute here.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., accused MTV of “selling gender confusion” with the first “sexually fluid” episode of its dating show “Are You the One?” which airs tonight at 9 pm Eastern.
The episode takes 16 singles to Hawaii where they look for their perfect match and compete for a chance to split a $1 million prize. The contestants have either “changed genders” or said they’re open to dating anyone, regardless of their declared identity.
“MTV isn’t promoting tolerance,” Morse declared. “They’re selling the ideological agenda of the Sexual Revolution. An individual can no more change their sex than they can change their species. Your sex is biologically given at birth. The gender-confused should seek counseling to live with that reality.”
Morse notes that Jamie Shupe, whom an Oregon Court declared America’s first “nonbinary person” three years ago, is now living as a man again.An army veteran, Shupe says that his attempt to change genders “was all a sham.”
Shupe adds: “I’m one of the lucky ones. Despite participating in medical transgenderism for six years, my body is still intact. Most people who desist from transgender identities after gender changes can’t say the same.”
According to Forbes magazine, since 2011 MTV has lost 50% of its audience in the lucrative 18-49 demographic. Morse called tonight’s effort to spread gender-confusion “a pathetic attempt to make itself relevant. The cable network should be helping those with gender dysphoria, not trying to make their condition attractive.”
Dr. Morse’s latest book, “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives,” covers transgenderism and other aspects of the Gender Ideology.
Posted on: Monday, June 24, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
Life Site News June 4, 2019
June 4, 2019 (Daily Signal) — June has been declared "Pride Month," and we're supposed to celebrate those "coming out" and living a "gay" life.
June 12 will mark the third anniversary of the Pulse gay nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 dead. Some will no doubt connect those two things to claim America hates people who have same-sex attraction and to make new demands for affirmation of homosexuality.
But that's not the only lesson one could draw from these events. The media will not tell you this, but in the aftermath of the Pulse massacre, some survivors began to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Pulse survivor Angel Colon offered this account of his experience:
[Lone gunman Omar] Mateen didn't shoot me quick. He gave me a few minutes, and at the moment, I started to do a prayer, and I started asking God for forgiveness. I started asking God, 'Please forgive me for everything I did, please. I'm sorry.'
Suddenly, Colon changed his prayer.
God, You promised me that I have a calling. You promised me that I have a purpose. You're getting me out of here alive.
Besides being active in his church, Colon's "calling" includes speaking out for people who have left the LGBT subculture.
She says that the "born gay" narrative is "largely a gay male narrative." Some women become comfortable with loving other women as a result of being molested by men. The "born gay" narrative most emphatically does not apply to these women's experiences.
Woning states flatly "women are the victims of conversion-therapy bans." At the urging of generously financed advocacy organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, 16 states and the District of Columbia prohibit mental health professionals from therapy that attempts to change their patients' sexual orientation.
While these bans vary somewhat from state to state, many are so broad that they could outlaw the very sort of therapy these women most need — namely, therapy that confronts the abuse that led them to reject their femininity and embrace a lesbian identity.
But you're not likely to hear about Woning in the news media coverage of Gay Pride Month, nor about Colon, in the coverage of the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
That's because their stories do not fit the grand narrative:
Everyone who experiences same-sex attraction was "born gay."
"Sexual minorities" cannot change. They can neither live an abstinent lifestyle, nor a heterosexual one.
Embracing an LGBT identity and a sexually active life is the only "healthy" choice for them.
The experiences of people such as Colon and Woning provide a stark counter-narrative to those claims. That's why you won't see them interviewed on major TV shows or featured in puff pieces in major magazines.
In my book "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and How the Church Was Right All Along," I show how today's LGBT activists have their roots in the Sexual Revolution. The easy-divorce and abortion activists of a half-century ago also rebelled against the natural organic connections between marriage, sex, babies, and the gendered nature of the human body.
Each of those ideas has its own grand narrative.
1. Abortion is harmless, no more traumatic than having a tooth pulled.
This narrative cannot acknowledge the women who are traumatized by their abortions. As a matter of fact, we've known since 1990 that between 10% and 30% of women are deeply upset by their abortions.
The sexual revolutionaries have nothing to say to them.
2. No-fault divorce is good for mature, sensible people who just want to call it quits.
What about the 70% of divorces that have a reluctant spouse, who would like to stay married?
At our summit, we heard testimonies from abandoned spouses who are living faithfully to their marriage vows, in spite of a civil divorce, and in some cases, a Catholic annulment.
They do not care to "move on." Some refer to themselves as "standers," meaning they are "standing" for their marriage.
Theirs is a voice of nobility and commitment — and that's something you will seldom hear in the mainstream media.
3. The kids will be fine as long as their parents are happy.
Leila Miller, the author of "Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak," a compilation of stories from adult children of divorce, begs to differ.
The kids don't just "get over it," even though they may appear to be doing OK.
The sexual revolutionaries give the same dismissive reply to all these people: You don't exist. Your opinion isn't real. You are a victim of "false consciousness." We will not listen to you. We will not let anyone else listen to you.
That's why the Ruth Institute is creating platforms and opportunities for the victims to tell what the Sexual Revolution really did to them.
We will no doubt be hearing plenty of stories about anti-gay violence and the need for more protections for the LGBT community during "Pride Month." But when you hear those calls, remember there's more to the story than the mainstream media are reporting.
Remember Colon and all the contributors to the Changed project. Think about people you know whose abortion experiences or divorce experience do not match the grand narrative.
They deserve a platform, too.
Published with permission from The Daily Signal.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first published on The Washington Post June 10, 2019. In the article, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò quotes the Ruth Institute's special report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The report is called "Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000" and can be found here.
The part of the article where Fr. Sullins' report is quoted is here: (The WP reporter's question is in bold.)
Let’s keep two arenas distinct: (1) crimes of sexual abuse and (2) criminal coverup of crimes of sexual abuse. In most cases in the Church today, both have a homosexual component — usually downplayed — that is key to the crisis.
As to the first, heterosexual men obviously do not choose boys and young men as sexual partners of preference, and approximately 80 percent of the victims are males, the vast majority of which are post-pubescent males. Statistics from many different countries regarding sexual abuses committed by clergy leave no doubt. Horrific as the cases of abuse by true pedophiles are, the percentage is far smaller. It is not pedophiles but gay priests preying on post-pubertal boys who have bankrupted the U.S. dioceses. One of the most recent and reliable studies, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests,” was conducted by Father Paul Sullins, PhD, of the Ruth Institute. In its executive summary, the Sullins study reports, among other things, the following:
● “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
● “Estimates from these findings predict that, had the proportion of homosexual priests remained at the 1950s level, at least 12,000 fewer children, mostly boys, would have suffered abuse.”
The preponderance of these cases of abuse is overwhelming. I do not think anyone can dispute this. That homosexuality is a major cause of the sexual abuse crisis has also been stated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his recent essay, “The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse.” From his long experience as president of the CDF, he recalls how “in various seminaries homosexual cliques were established, which acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate in the seminaries.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 18, 2019
This article was first posted at NCRegister.com June 11, 2019.
By Edward Pentin
ROME — In comments sent via email to The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has accused Pope Francis of “deliberately concealing” evidence on Theodore McCarrick, “blatantly lying” to cover up his own actions and doing “absolutely nothing” to expose cover-up and wrongdoing because it would be “disastrous for the current papacy.”
But in his first lengthy interview since his testimony last year, the former nuncio to the United States told the newspaper June 10 that nothing would make him “happier” than for Francis to “acknowledge and end the coverups” over McCarrick and other abuse cases and to “reconcile himself with God.”
“I am grateful to the Lord because He has protected me from having any sentiments of anger or resentment against Pope Francis, or any desire for revenge,” he said. “I pray for his conversion every day.”
The retired Holy See diplomat also said he is “not fighting against Pope Francis, nor have I offended him” but “simply spoken the truth.” The Holy Father, he said, “needs to reconcile himself with God.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the former nuncio called for McCarrick to be excommunicated to help bring him to repentance, said he believes McCarrick’s laicization was timed “to manipulate public opinion,” and reiterated his belief that a largely homosexual “mafia” is primarily responsible for this “truly dark moment for the universal Church.”
Archbishop Viganò also admitted his own mistakes, saying “in retrospect” that “certain points” of his own testimony, such as his call on the Pope to resign, “could have been better stated” and made dependent on the Pope not admitting his errors and asking for forgiveness.
The Washington Post interview began with an assessment of the four-day Vatican summit in February on protection of minors in the Church. Archbishop Viganò said he was “praying intensely” for its success but that it turned out to be “pure ostentation” as he did not see any “genuine willingness” to deal with the “real causes of the present crisis.”
He criticized the choice of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago as the event leader, especially in light of the U.S. cardinal’s earlier comments that the Pope had a “bigger agenda” to address. Archbishop Viganò also said the summit press conferences were “discouraging” and that an “especially serious problem” was that the summit focused on exclusively on abuse of minors and did not include abuse of young adults and seminarians. Nor did it “properly” address the problem of homosexuality in the priesthood, he said.
Archbishop Viganò spoke of “truly ominous” signs, saying he believes the Pope is doing “close to nothing” to punish abuses and “absolutely nothing” to expose and bring abusers to justice. He pointed out that Francis praised Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., for his “nobility” when he resigned last fall, even though Cardinal Wuerl had, according to Archbishop Viganò, “covered up the abuses” of McCarrick for “decades.”.
McCarrick’s laicization in February, shortly before the Vatican summit began, was “as far as it goes, a just punishment,” Archbishop Viganò told The Post, but he said the procedures and timing were “designed to manipulate public opinion” and give the appearance the Pope was “determined to fight” against clerical sex abuse.
Also, by the Pope making the laicization “definitive,” the Holy Father was able to rule out any “further investigation” that could have exposed the guilt of others, the archbishop said. “The bottom line is this,” he said. “Pope Francis is deliberately concealing the McCarrick evidence.”
He added that from the “far more important spiritual dimension,” laicization is “completely inadequate” as it fails to consider the “salvation of McCarrick’s soul.” He said he thought he was not alone in thinking that excommunication would be appropriate as it would “induce him to take responsibility for his sins,” repent and be reconciled with God.
Asked about the Vatican’s intervention at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting last November, stopping bishops from voting on measures to hold bishops more responsible on overseeing abuse cases, Archbishop Viganò said such a measure was “wholly unjustified.” Without that intervention, he believes unquestionably episcopal corruption, abuse and other misconduct would have been examined that would “intolerably implicate and embarrass the Holy See.”
Pleading the Fifth?
Turning to his own earlier testimony from August 2018, Archbishop Viganò told the Post that “no one has plausibly denied the facts,” some of which “have been independently confirmed.” He also said the prelates he named in his testimony as being involved in, or having knowledge about the McCarrick mishandling are lying low, and he wondered why journalists are “letting them get away with this.”
On the Pope’s response to remain silent, he said: “Is it not what you Americans call ‘taking the fifth’? By responding as he did, the Pope is essentially admitting that he is unwilling to be transparent.”
Francis knew of McCarrick’s crimes, “yet rehabilitated him” and made him a trusted adviser, he added, but by not discussing this the Pope was showing “contempt” for both victims and those wanting an end to cover-ups, he said. Archbishop Viganò said later in the Post interview that he believes the Vatican’s archival investigation into McCarrick, announced last October, was an “empty promise.”
Referring to the Pope’s most recent interview, in which Francis said he’d replied “many times” about the McCarrick affair, knew nothing about McCarrick’s abuses, and couldn’t recall a 2013 conversation with Archbishop Viganò about McCarrick, the former nuncio asked: “How may these claims be affirmed and sustained together at the same time? All these three are blatant lies.”
In particular, he repeated his allegation that Francis asked him specifically about McCarrick during that conversation, and that he told the newly elected Pope about the existence of a “huge dossier” on McCarrick’s abuses. “How could anybody, especially a pope, forget this?”
“We are in a truly dark moment for the universal Church,” the archbishop added. “The Supreme Pontiff is now blatantly lying to the whole world to cover up his wicked deeds! But the truth will eventually come out, about McCarrick and all the other coverups, as it already has in the case of Cardinal Wuerl.”
Archbishop Viganò, who said he has been receiving an “incredible outpouring of support,” rejected the accusation, made in an open letter from Cardinal Marc Ouellet last October, that he was motivated by bitterness from thwarted ambition. In any case, he said, “motivation is not the point,” but “whether my testimony is true.” He said those who “impugn my motives” have been unwilling to “conduct open and thorough investigations.”
He went on to say he was “saddened” that news media are not insisting that the Holy Father and other prelates “answer my charges” and believes it is because they favor Francis’ “more liberal agenda.” He asked why no media have searched the archives themselves, interviewing victims, following money trails, and investigating corrupt networks.
As one of “so many cases to go after,” he referred to a new book by Martha Alegria Reichmann about the “misdeeds” of Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (Alegria discussed the contents of her book with Register in April). “Have you thought of interviewing her? Of investigating her claims?” he asked the Post.
Turning to homosexuality, and drawing on a recent studies including by Father Paul Sullins of the Ruth Institute, he said it is “mind-boggling” how the Vatican has avoided bringing it up at the February summit and recent synods, when the evidence of its preponderance in sexual abuse is “overwhelming.”
He said a “gay mafia” is bound together not by “shared sexual intimacy” but through protection and advancement, the “homosexual cliques” Benedict XVI mentioned in his “notes” compiled for the Vatican abuse summit. The archbishop then reproduced relevant passages on homosexuality from the Catechism.
Archbishop Viganò told the Post he regretted not publicly speaking up earlier about McCarrick, but thought the Church “could reform itself from within.” He said when it became clear the Pope was one of those covering up the crimes, “I had no doubt the Lord was calling me to speak up, as I have done and will continue to do.”
He said he believes a formal schism is unlikely, but that a “de facto schism based on acceptance or rejection of the sexual revolution” already exists.
He also admitted his testimony could have been handled better. “I am far from perfect,” he said, and would have reworded his initial statement to urge the Holy Father to “face up to his commitments,” pointed out St. Peter’s denials of Christ and subsequent repentance, and call on the Pope to resign only if he failed to imitate St. Peter by refusing to repent.
Asked how he feels in his conscience, Archbishop Viganò said he did what he believed needed to be done, knowing he would soon meet the “Good Judge.” He also did not want falsehoods to go unchallenged and “harm my soul and the souls of others.” His conscience “has always been clear,” he said, and that the “truth makes us free.”
Referring to how he was pushed out of his curial position in 2011 because he was uncovering corruption, Archbishop Viganò said, “Little did they know that the Lord was using them to put me in a position to speak out about the McCarrick scandal.”
He hinted that he is holding relevant documentation but said “the time has not yet come for me to release anything,” and suggested journalists ask the Pope and the prelates he mentioned in his testimony to “release the relevant documentation, some of which is quite incriminating, assuming they have not yet destroyed it.”
He concluded by observing that this crisis “is causing an institutional paralysis that is immensely demoralizing for the faithful,” but “we should be neither entirely surprised nor overly disturbed by this desperate state of affairs, given the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise to come again and establish his definitive kingdom.”
Archbishop Viganò, who began the interview by saying the Church is “going through one of the most turbulent moments in her history,” ended it by quoting paragraph 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The paragraph states the Church must pass through a “final trial that will shake the faith of many believers” and that the persecution that “accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”
Posted on: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Jennifer Roback Morse to Appear on EWTN This Evening, June 13, 2019
In a June 10 interview with The Washington Post, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, (Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016) cited the Ruth Institute study, “Is Catholic clergy sex abuse related to homosexual priests”.
Archbishop Vigano called the Institute’s report, conducted by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., “One of the most recent and reliable studies.”
The Archbishop said that in the report’s executive summary, Fr. Sullins noted: “The share of homosexual men in the priesthood rose from twice that of the general population in the 1950s to eight times the general population in the 1980s. This trend was strongly correlated with increasing child sex abuse.”
Such recognition in one of the most prominent liberal newspapers in America, but one influential in the nation’s capital, was most welcome.
An interview with Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. will be broadcast on “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) this evening at 8 pm ET. The interview will focus on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore, where clergy sexual abuse is expected to be discussed.
Click here for the Washington Post interview.
Posted on: Monday, June 10, 2019
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published April 26, 2019, at Crisis Magazine.
[Chuck Colson with Pope John Paul II]
The death of a father is an earth-shattering event. When my father died in 1993, I felt disoriented. I had never been in a world that did not include him. I could feel myself move up the generational ladder. No one is above me any longer. No one who matters stands above me. When I tried to describe this to older people, they immediately understood. Old men spoke to me of the deaths of their own fathers, in the hushed tones normally reserved for the sacred.
I thought of this when I learned that Father James V. Schall, S.J., had died. He was a father to me as to many. We have all just taken a step up the generational ladder. He won’t be there anymore. Younger people will look to us now at times when we would have looked to him.
I first met Fr. Schall at an Acton Institute event in the 1990s. I was still teaching economics at George Mason and had two small children at home. I was delighted to find that Fr. Schall taught at Georgetown, more or less in my back yard.
When I went to see him, he received me in the visitors’ lounge at the Jesuit Residence. After our conversation, he walked me out to my car. When I opened the back door of my car, he noticed the condition of the interior. I was ready to be embarrassed about the evidence of small children on the floor. But then he smiled and said, “A family car.” The love on his face was palpable. I can honestly say I had never felt so supported by any other academic colleague.
I was, after all, surrounded by economists, believers in the pursuit of a self-interest that would somehow work out in the end to the benefit of all. Most of my colleagues were at best bewildered by the time I was taking to care for my children. Some were downright hostile.
Little did I realize how much Fr. Schall, the care of my children, and economics would intersect.
A few years later, we were together at a conference on the family. He asked the question, “What is owed to the child?” I felt myself recoil from the question. I saw that same recoil from the other professors. We all wanted the answer to be, “Nothing.” Or at least, we wanted to believe that the child was owed “nothing that would impinge on my choice of sex life and living arrangements.” I was beginning to see that this answer could not be correct. I had a dim awareness that the legitimate entitlements of children impose, in turn, legitimate demands on adults. These demands were the cause of our recoil.
Children are entitled to love and care from their own parents. They are entitled to know the identity of their parents, which is, in a profound way, connected to their own identity. And children desperately need for their parents to love one another. Fr. Schall, of course, already knew all that. That is why he posed the question as he did.
Eventually, I could no longer ignore the implications of what I was coming to know. I left my tenured position at George Mason to follow my husband to Silicon Valley. He got on the dot-com roller coaster. I stayed home with the kids and got a part-time research position at the Hoover Institution. Some of my academic friends thought I had lost my mind. Others lost interest in me. I became an academic nonperson.
Fr. Schall, on the other hand, both understood and approved. For a long time, I felt he was my lifeline to the life of the mind.
I no longer recoil from the obligations children place upon adult society. But would I have figured it out without Fr. Schall’s penetrating questions and loving support? Possibly. But not likely.
We may well react to Fr. Schall’s death by saying, “We shall not see his like again.” In one sense, this is certainly true. He was a giant among the Jesuits, from a time when they were men of vast learning and deep sanctity. His death marks the end of that era.
But in another sense, I refuse to say we shall not see his like again. We ourselves have a responsibility to live up to the legacy he left us. I recall the death of another great man, Chuck Colson, in 2012. Like Fr. Schall, Chuck left an outsized footprint: Prison Fellowship, BreakPoint, the Wilberforce Forum, and Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
He also mentored and inspired numerous young people. Many of us gathered for his funeral at the National Cathedral. I remember shuddering: he’s gone; Who can replace him?
At the reception afterwards, we young protégés of his realized that we had all asked that question. We came to the same answer. No one would replace him exactly. And yet, each of us would have to replace him in our own sphere. We owed it to him to live out our vocations as thoroughly and competently as he had lived his. I sensed this commitment in that room, among us all in our various callings to ministry, academia, media, and politics.
This is the answer, the only answer really, to Fr. Schall’s death. No one is coming. God is not sending us a man on a white horse to save us. God sent us. We are the adults now. The young people are looking up to us. There is no longer anyone above us. It is on us now.
In that deeper sense, each of us will indeed be exactly like Fr. Schall, and Chuck Colson, and our own fathers, in exactly the way that matters most.
Author’s note: I would like to express my gratitude for Fr. Schall’s generous reviews of my The Sexual State and Love and Economics, as well as his inclusion of Love and Economics on his famous reading lists.
Posted on: Friday, June 07, 2019
We must not cling to certainty beyond what the facts allow. Infiltration, under-researched and over-stated, fails to meet this standard.
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published May 31, 2019, at The Catholic World Report.
In Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within, Dr. Taylor Marshall purports to show that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by Freemasons and Communists. Already ahead of its release, the hardcover was ranked #1 in several Amazon.com categories. The interest in this book testifies to the hunger for an explanation for the current chaos in the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, Dr. Marshall’s book comes nowhere near providing the enlightenment it promises.
Have Freemasons placed their agents within high positions in the Church? Marshal cites a 19th-century document showing that the Freemasons wanted to subvert the Church. But showing they wanted to infiltrate the Church does not prove that they actually succeeded. He cites a list of purported Freemasons that circulated around the short pontificate of John Paul I in 1978. The fact that someone circulates a list doesn’t prove the list was accurate. These facts are the beginning of a serious investigation, not the conclusion.
He shows that the town of Sankt Galen has a historical connection with Freemason and Satanic groups. He places a young Theodore McCarrick in the town of Sankt Galen in 1949. Unfortunately, simply placing these people and institutions in the same location does not tell us what they did or indeed whether they did anything at all. Indeed, Marshall himself says, “One cannot help but wonder if Sankt Galen served as an infiltration center for recruiting young men to infiltrate the priesthood. Perhaps the arrival of the fatherless Theodore McCarrick to Sankt Gallen…” (emphasis added).
In other words, Marshall is speculating, not proving. Once again, the beginning, not the end, of a serious investigation.
Likewise, to “prove” the claim that the Communists infiltrated the priesthood, Marshall cites Bella Dodd’s testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee. She claimed that the Communists had placed more than 1,000 agents in the priesthood, including four men who were cardinals. However, she does not name a single name. Rather than seek corroborating evidence, Marshall takes Dodd’s statements at face value. He tries to work out who the four cardinals might have been. Of the cardinals he considers most likely, he presents no evidence that any of them spent a single day in or near Moscow or a Communist training group, or that any had a single encounter with a confirmed Soviet agent.
Even JFK conspiracy theorists (“Lee Harvey Oswald was a Soviet agent”) can point to Oswald’s time in the Soviet Union.
I am not setting an impossibly high standard: serious research into Soviet covert operations can now be done. For instance, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, formerly of the Romanian Army, and University of Mississippi Law Professor Ronald Rychlak have shown that the Soviets created an elaborate disinformation campaign to smear Pope Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope,” starting with the play The Deputy. Rychlak wrote an entire book assembling the evidence and documenting his case; Pacepa was the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to defect from the Soviet Bloc. The combination of Rychlak’s research and Pacepa’s testimony leaves no doubt that the Soviets wanted to discredit the Catholic Church. But did the Soviets successfully place agents in the priesthood who are still operating to undermine the Church? Perhaps. Infiltration’s brief chapter adds nothing to the evidence provided by serious scholars such as Rychlak and Paul Kengor, author of numerous books on the Soviet era.
The most startling instance of under-researched but over-stated conclusion occurs in the chapter entitled, “Infiltration in John Paul II’s Pontificate.” Marshall says: “Fr. Marcial Maciel was also able to walk between the raindrops through bribes given to Monsignor Stanislaw Dziwisz, beloved friend and counselor or John Paul II.” The context of this remarkable statement is that Marshall is describing the changes to canon law during John Paul’s reign. Marshall asks rhetorically, “Why did the Code of Canon Law under John Paul II remove the language of ‘adultery,’ ‘bestiality,’ and ‘sodomy’ from clerical punishment?” He provides no research to answer this question.
Instead, Marshall’s statement leaves us to draw conclusions from a chain of inferences. 1) John Paul II personally revised the Code of Canon Law to reduce the penalties for clerical sexual misconduct; 2) he did this for no good reason whatsoever; 3) he did it because Marcial Maciel, who was guilty of sexual misconduct, bribed Dziwisz.
Surely this is a serious charge. It deserves more substantiation than Marshall’s drive-by character assassination. In my opinion, this is an appalling lapse of scholarship and judgement, not to mention charity.
We humans crave certainty. We are comforted by being sure that we are correct. Critics of religion sometimes claim that this desire is the sign of an immature, gullible mind. I do not agree. The desire for knowledge is part of the longing for truth. I believe God placed these desires in every human heart, so we will seek him.
The current crisis of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up creates a cloud of suspicion over just about everyone. We do not know if a beloved priest accused of sexual abuse is the innocent victim of a frame-up or the guilty perpetrator of fraud, along with his other crimes. We do not know if a person making an accusation is telling the truth, exaggerating, or inventing out of whole cloth. Under these circumstances, the impulse to latch on to a global explanation for all our problems is completely understandable. The urge to blame Those Bad Guys Over There is almost irresistible.
But however understandable, we should resist the urge to embrace more assurance than the facts allow. I issue this challenge to anyone who has Infiltration in their possession. Read Chapter 9, “Communist Infiltration of the Priesthood,” with this question in mind. “If someone I care about were being investigated for a serious crime, would I be satisfied by the amount and type of evidence presented in this chapter?” If the answer is “no,” set this book aside and give serious thought to whether you want to commit to its thesis.
Even if the Freemasons and Communists did infiltrate the Church (which is by no means certain), that does not change our basic responsibility. What the Church needs now is saints, lots and lots of saints, saints who are teachers and priests and doctors and nurses and attorneys and mothers and fathers and yes, book authors and editors.
All of us must do our part to be as truthful and loving as we can be. Reach out to victims. Inform ourselves to the best of our ability. And resist the urge to run after superficial explanations and artificial certainty.
Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
by Dr. Taylor Reed Marshall
Sophia Institute Press, 2019
Hardcover, 224 pages
Posted on: Tuesday, June 04, 2019
by Rev. Ben Johnson
This article was first published February 8, 2019, at Acton.org.
The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why The Church Was Right All Along
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
TAN Books, 2018. 406 pages.
Reviewed by Rev. Ben Johnson
Keen-eyed analysts have probed every ideological trend threatening liberty – from socialism and fascism to the Alt-Right – with one glaring exception: the revolt against personal responsibility. Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder of the Ruth Institute, capably fills this void in The Sexual State. Building on her previous book Love and Economics, Morse summarizes the sexual revolution in just a few propositions: It separates children from sexual activity and marriage, and eradicates all differences between men and women. This apparent personal freedom expands government by creating new avenues for regulation, increasing the need for means-tested welfare programs, and breaking down the “little society of the family.”
No public program can care for children as fully, selflessly, or naturally as two parents in a lifelong, committed union. From a social standpoint, Morse writes, the genius of marriage as a social institution is that its “extremely minimal legal structure” creates “a largely self-regulating, voluntary system of long-term cooperation between parents.”
Thus, we should not be surprised to learn that totalitarians of all stripes have sought to control the family. Inside the family, people develop loyalties to real people, not the Dear Leader. They develop habits that may not further the interests of the totalitarian State, with its all-embracing designs on every person. Inside the family, people may commit to ideas other than the state-sanctioned ideology.
The new ideology co-opted Marxism’s dialectic of inevitability, now known as standing on “the right side of history.” However, this ideology finds advocates across the political spectrum.
Certain factions of the liberty movement embrace the Liberationist Narrative – something she calls “the Walmart theory of sex” – which celebrates changes to family life for giving us greater choice and agency. “Under a no-fault legal regime, we are freer on the front end” of a divorce or paternity settlement, Morse writes. “But we are less free on the back end, as the State steps in to manage the consequences.” Divorce courts dictate the time and money parents spend on their children, the language spoken in the home, even such mundane decisions as a child’s prom dress. This degree of intrusion into an intact family would be “unthinkable.”
Family breakdown, whether through divorce or illegitimacy, strongly harms children and beckons the government to fill the void left by absent parents. “Increases in the likelihood of poverty, physical illness, mental illness, poor school performance, and crime have all been associated with being separated from a parent,” Morse writes. This elevated risk persists even in nations as committed to egalitarianism and progressive social values as Sweden. Such pathologies usher children into the welfare system where, once inside, a matrix of laws holds them in place. Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, and WIC eligibility guidelines disfavor marriage. The cost of family breakdown to the U.S. government alone totals an estimated $100 to $112 billion, Morse notes, adding that studies show the same phenomenon increases welfare spending in New Zealand, the UK, and Canada. “The ordinary tax-paying citizen faces a greater tax burden than otherwise would be the case as a direct result of what, by the Liberationist Narrative, is an increase in sexual freedom,” Morse writes.
Similarly, gender ideology “creates a separation between children and their parents and inserts the State between them,” as the “State sets itself up as the public enforcer of their new identities.” In Minnesota, a school district facilitated a minor’s gender transition without parental notification. Laws now police the permissible use of pronouns.
“Civil libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and open-minded liberals should all be troubled by the actual results as opposed to the supposed benefits of this ‘freedom,’” Morse writes.
References to “class warfare” and “class analysis” may lead some reviewers to caricature the book as a rejection of a free society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Morse, who highlights her “affiliations with all three of the major schools of free market economics,” ascribes changed cultural mores to excusing the libidinous excesses of “the managerial elite”: the nexus of academics, lobbyists, government bureaucrats, thought leaders, and mass media sharing the same narrative. Yet she defines the term by noting:
The managerial class goes beyond the purely class designation in this respect: it’s built upon the idea that society is something that needs to be managed. … Seldom have the privileged classes taken it upon themselves to “nudge” their neighbors and fellow citizens about their eating habits, sex lives, spending habits, personal safety, and even their thoughts. …
Legal historian Joseph Dellapenna observes that the rise of the managerial class was not unique to the United States in the twentieth century. “The managerial class rose to dominance in the U.S. with the New Deal in the 1930s, and has continued to dominate ever since. … Evidence of the transition to social domination by a managerial class can be traced back to the nineteenth century, particularly in England. Nor was this transition limited to western or capitalist nations. In a real sense, the rise of Communism and Socialism was nothing more or (less) than a rise of the managerial class.”
“Ponder that last sentence for a while,” Morse writes.
Somehow, an a historical breed of Christian – especially Roman Catholic – intellectual believes he will capture, sanctify, and redirect the vast apparatus of the State toward theologically approved ends. Assuming an entrenched bureaucracy will simply acknowledge defeat and implement an opposing viewpoint seems naïve, albeit less so than the notion that the State’s coercive power will forever remain in holy hands. Revolutionaries yearn to control the levers of power more than those who believe in natural law, if only because the State need not compel actions that occur naturally.
Morse roots her hope for the future in nature and culture. An entire chapter defends the notion that differences between men and women are real, biologically based, and ineradicable. Each section ends by presenting the relevant Catholic teaching, which she describes as “the common heritage of all Christians.” And she remembers the victims of the sexual revolution in each chapter, showing the very real toll that comes from shunning self-restraint and refusing to deny instant and perpetual gratification. True liberty rests on the foundation of personal responsibility or sinks into the quicksand of the paternal state.
Morse concludes with a 15-point “Manifesto for the Family,” two-thirds of which consists of asking the government to “stop doing things it never had any business doing in the first place.” Virtually unique in political literature, her last three proposals can be adopted only by individuals. Building a “civilization of love” literally begins in each human heart. That private sanctuary, the link between the individual conscience and the fiery flame of divine love, kept the spark of civilization alive after the barbarian sack of Rome, times of plague and pestilence, and through the dark night of atheistic Communism. That flame can outshine the strange fires of fallen passions and realign society according to its light again.