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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: Thursday, August 12, 2021
COMMENTARY: The only way to make the workplace, the movie studio, the sports arena and even the Church free from sexual misdeeds is to reject the toxic
ideology of the sexual revolution once and for all.
This was originally published in the National Catholic Register by Jennifer Roback Morse.
I feel like I’ve written this column before. Yet another prominent man has fallen from public grace because of predatory sexual behavior. This time, it is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid charges of sexual harassment.
I wrote a version of this column about then-Cardinal McCarrick and Harvey Weinstein. I wrote another version about Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick. “What is the point you think you have to keep making?” you might ask. Just this: The #MeToo movement is not enough. Holding particular powerful men to account for their sexual misconduct is not enough. The only way to make the workplace, the movie studio, the sports arena and even the Church free from sexual misdeeds is to reject the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution once and for all.
The New York Attorney General’s Office issued a 165-pagereport last week charging that the outgoing governor “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment” against at least 11 women. Debra Katz, the attorney for one of Cuomo’s accusers, stated that his resignation is “a testament to the growing power of women’s voices since the beginning of the #MeToo movement.”
I do not agree with this assessment. The #MeToo movement is wimpy. A few high-profile cases of predatory men being publicly shamed and punished is not enough.
Neither is gender politics, pitting men and women against each other according to a “feminist” script, an authentic solution to this problem. The difficulties of proving the charges, the pain of enduring the harassment in the first place, the long-term trauma often comes along in the aftermath of sexual victimization: Women should not have to put up with all of this. Women are suffering far more than a few successful lawsuits or criminal indictments can repair. Besides, the purely “man vs. woman” “feminist” storyline cannot make sense of the numerous male victims of homosexual predation.
No, the real problem is the sexual revolution itself. I will give you a short statement that encapsulates the philosophy that I believe is responsible for the sexual havoc in our lives.
Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
“What is the problem with this statement?” you might ask. Doesn’t everyone support “reproductive health”?
Here is the problem: This statement and others like it never tell us who is responsible to provide everyone the “satisfying and safe sex life” that we are all supposedly entitled to. When pressed, the advocates of “reproductive health” say this applies to consenting adult partners.
But “consent” is too thin a defense against sneaky and manipulative behavior. The appearance of “consent” can be manipulated. This part of the #MeToo movement is profoundly true. The “consent” caveat is just not enough to rescue this definition of “reproductive health.”
Who believes they are actually entitled to a “satisfying and safe sex life”? The rapist, that’s who. This idea of sexual entitlement provides cover for predators and disarms victims. (Come to think of it, I’ve written that column before, too. The poor girls who had their lives ruined on PornHub couldn’t bring themselves to criticize pornography. They wanted to be considered “sex positive.”)
By the way, where did this definition of “reproductive health” come from? Surely this is some kind of straw man argument that was cooked up in a fit of exasperated exaggeration.
I found it on the United Nations Population Fund FAQ page: “What is reproductive health?” The original document helpfully refers back to Paragraph 7.2 of a “U.N. Programme of Action,” adopted in Cairo in 1994, and never, as far as I know, amended on this particular point.
Behind documents like this lies the philosophy of the sexual revolution created by people such as Alfred Kinsey and Wilhelm Reich. Kinsey famously authored statistical studies of sexual behavior purporting to show that “everyone is doing it.” This was supposed to cure people of their sexual inhibitions and hang-ups.
Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian doctor of medicine and psychoanalysis. He wrote the book The Sexual Revolutionin 1936. He came up with the idea that sexual activity was necessary to a healthy life, even for children. He taught that sexual taboos were more psychological harmful and dangerous than any problems that unlimited sex itself might cause.
This philosophy has given us a generation of sex addicts and predators. The #MeToo movement, like many others in today’s world, would like to be against sexual predation and still remain “sex positive.” They want to accept the premises of the sexual revolution but draw a line against non-consensual, predatory sex. We have enough experience to show that this line will not hold. The revolution creates incentives and excuses for predation. We cannot invent enough punishments after the fact to protect women, and even men, from sexual predation.
Soon-to-be former Gov. Cuomo is accused of creating a “toxic workplace.” But, actually, the sexual revolution created the toxic workplace. The sexual revolution issued hunting licenses to predators.
Too many men have internalized the revolutionary message that they are entitled to have sex as often as they choose, with whomever they choose. Until that changes, we are going to continue to have these problems. Shameless men will continue to prey upon vulnerable women and men under their power.
That is why the #MeToo movement is not enough.
Posted on: Friday, November 20, 2020
On today’s Dr. J Show, veteran journalist, now editor of Catholic World News, Philip Lawler shares his insights on the newly released McCarrick Report, the Pope’s comments on same-sex marriage, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops congratulating Joe Biden on the election, and the status of the Church in China. The show’s host is Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., Ruth Institute Founder and President.
Of Pope Francis’s comments on homosexual marriage, Lawler observed: “The Pope wasn’t changing Church doctrine on marriage. He can’t do that. Unfortunately, his remarks provided an opportunity for journalists to misrepresent Church doctrine.”
Lawler agreed with a November 10th Ruth Institute release questioning the propriety of Archbishop Jose Gomez, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, congratulating Biden before the votes are fully counted and certified.
Lawler said: “There was no need for Gomez to say anything. He wanted to curry favor with the man who will likely be the next president.” Morse added: “Biden promises soft-persecution of the Catholic Church and abortion under all circumstances, paid for by taxpayers.”
Regarding the report on ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual abuse, Lawler noted that the report is silent on important questions, including: “How did he rise through the ranks?” and “Who helped him?” Lawler said the only member of the hierarchy who comes off badly in the report, ironically, was Archbishop Carlo Vigano, former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States who blew the whistle on McCarrick.
McCarrick helped to negotiate the Vatican/China deal, whose details have yet to be made public. Morse charged, “It’s believed that the Pope will now select Chinese bishops from a list submitted by the communist regime. This comes at a time when the Church – both underground and official—faces increased persecution.”
The Dr. J Show is a weekly interview that features experts on issues relating to marriage, family and human sexuality. New episodes release every Friday.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization leading an international interfaith coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love.
To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Thursday, November 12, 2020
COMMENTARY: Scripture, sacred Tradition and our Catechism all agree: Sexual activity must be confined to a lawfully married husband and
Many of our friends from a variety of faith traditions have contacted the Ruth Institute regarding the recent statements attributed to Pope Francis regarding the Church’s position on civil unions for same-sex couples. I have one statement and two messages.
The statement is very simple: Pope Francis has not changed the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church.
My messages are very simple, too:
1. Do not be diverted.
2. Do not be demoralized.
Let me explain.
I can tell you with 100% confidence that Pope Francis has not changed the magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church on the immorality of homosexual acts or on the true nature of marriage being the life-giving union between a man and a woman or anything else. How can I be so sure? Because he does not have the authority to change the teaching.
Every Catholic schoolchild is taught that the pope is only infallible when he speaks ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals. As a child, I was taught, as many of you were, that the pope can be wrong if he predicts who is going to win the World Series. As an adult, I extended that simple thought: When the pope makes personnel appointments or does foreign policy, he can be wrong, sometimes disastrously so. And, when he gives interviews to journalists with agendas, he certainly can be wrong.
In fact, there are levels of “magisterial-ness,” if you want to call it that. Some writings of the pope carry more weight than others. Look closely at this resource, which explains various levels of doctrinal authority. You will not see “random papal statements to tendentious journalists who cut and paste the pope’s words to his own liking” anywhere on the list.
But what did Pope Francis really mean to say? I have no idea. I don’t think it is productive to try to “explain” or “explain away” his latest confusing statements. I do have some thoughts about what he and those around him may be trying to accomplish.
I believe the Pope and his advisers are well aware that he does not have the authority to change the teaching. The Vatican has in effect, suggested that the teaching has changed. The Vatican held a reception honoring the filmmaker. The Vatican Press office initially ordered silence about the controversy. The following week, the Vatican Secretary of State issued a “clarification” that the average person most likely neither heard nor understood. The net result: people continue to hold the incorrect impression that the Church’s teaching has “progressed” on the matter of homosexuality.
I can think of two possible explanations for why they might do this. First, they are positioning themselves as heroes to the gay-friendly world media, by appearing to move the mean old, nasty, out-of-touch Catholic Church out of the darkness and into the Modern Sunlight. You could think of this as a bright shiny object that attracts everyone’s attention.
Meanwhile, they divert attention from the clergy sexual abuse cover-up, including the newly-released but long-delayed McCarrick Report. While the release of this report is an important step, many questions remain. It focuses on how people above McCarrick in the ecclesial ladder missed the numerous red flags. But so far absent is the all-important question of the networks of people below McCarrick. People who owe their careers and other benefits to McCarrick may still have secrets, still be causing problems, and may still be flying under the radar. I do not know how to get to the bottom of something like this. But that makes it all the more important that we remain vigilant.
This is why my first message to faithful Catholics is: Do not be diverted. Take every opportunity to steer the conversation back to our insistence that the Vatican continue becoming more transparent. Do not allow another confusing papal statement to change the subject away from this important topic.
The second possible explanation for this latest episode of Vatican-induced doctrinal confusion is to demoralize the remaining faithful Catholics who love the Church’s teachings and are trying to defend them. The sexual revolutionaries would love to completely take over the Catholic Church and put an end to our resistance to their ideology. As we all know, the Church’s ancient teaching is one of the last remaining bulwarks against the continued crimes of the Sexual Revolution.
This brings me to my second message: Do not be demoralized.
Demoralizing one’s opponents is an important aspect of psychological warfare. Do not give them the satisfaction of being discouraged or upset. Do you have a right to be angry? You bet. Is it in your interest to be discouraged? Absolutely not.
Catholics who wholly embrace Catholic teaching may find it painful to realize that the Church, the bride of Christ, has been corrupted by the worst sort of sexual revolutionaries. I agree. It is painful. It is also a fact. However, we are not alone. Pretty much every profession and every sector of society, and yes, pretty much every church, has been corrupted by the Sexual Revolution.
The Church’s teaching is good and true. Scripture, sacred Tradition and our Catechism all agree. Sexual activity must be confined to a lawfully married husband and wife. This teaching belongs to all of us. The Pope has a responsibility to defend it. So does every bishop and every priest. And so, dear friends, do we as baptized Catholics. We have every right and responsibility to defend the teaching. If the hierarchy refuses to defend the teaching, it is all the more important that we do so.
Remember: Pope Francis does not have the authority to change Church teaching. He knows this. The media’s barely-concealed glee that the Catholic Church is ‘progressing’ is a distraction. We should work together to get the conversation back where it belongs, which is that the Vatican needs to be fully transparent about clergy sex abuse and harassment, and the role that homosexuality among the clergy plays in this.
Everything else is a distraction. In the immortal words of the late great Pope St. John Paul II: Be not afraid!
Posted on: Tuesday, October 27, 2020
“Pope Francis does not have the authority to change Church teaching. He knows this. The media’s barely-concealed glee that the Catholic Church is ‘progressing’ is a distraction. We should put the emphasis where it belongs: on the continued cover-up of then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s homosexual predation,” said Ruth Inst. President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. “Why is the Vatican suppressing a report on his crimes?”
In an interview with a Mexican reporter in 2017, Pope Francis seemed to endorse same-sex unions. However, as Ruth Inst. Senior Research Associate Fr. Paul Sullins explains: “a personal, spontaneous statement by the pope in an interview has no doctrinal authority.
“The most recent authoritative statement on the matter declares, ‘The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions,’” Sullins noted.
“We need to get the conversation back where it belongs,” Morse said, “which is the Vatican covering up massive crimes of homosexual predation. Trying to convince people that they are more ‘gay friendly’ than the supposedly outdated Church is changing the subject. According to the Catholic News Agency, the Vatican opened its investigation of McCarrick two years ago. Rumors have circulated for months that the report is completed – a report that names who knew about McCarrick’s crimes, when they knew, and why they covered up for him.”
An August 11 editorial in the National Catholic Reporter explains, “Theodore McCarrick was promoted through the ranks of the Catholic hierarchy for decades, despite multiple, then-secret reports of his sexual misconduct with seminarians.” He was made archbishop of Washington, D.C. in 2000 and a cardinal in 2001, while he was abusing young men in the Church.
“We insist that the McCarrick report be released immediately,” Morse said. “It’s been more than a year since Pope Francis ordered it. We understand that the report has been completed. It should have been released. That it hasn’t is a scandal. What are they hiding?”
Fr. Sullins, retired professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America and now Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute, has authored two definitive reports on the correlation between homosexuality among Catholic priests and clerical sexual abuse, including “Report on Clergy Sex Abuse.”