Ruth Speaks Out

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.


Ruth Institute Sends Roses to Grand Rapids Priest Who Upheld Church Teaching on Marriage

The Ruth Institute sent two dozen white roses to Rev. Scott Nolan, pastor of St. Stephen Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, MI, for upholding the Church’s teaching on marriage.

Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., stated, “By denying communion to a local Catholic judge who ‘married’ another woman, Fr. Nolan wasn’t being mean-spirited, but merely upholding Catholic doctrine regarding marriage.”

Fr. Nolan privately informed Chief Judge of the Kent County District Court, Sara Smolenski, occasional attendee of St. Stephen’s, that while she was welcome at services, as someone who publicly rejected Church teachings on marriage, she would not be allowed to receive communion. Judge Smolenski challenged the decision publicly.


In his defense of Rev. Nolan, Bishop Walkowiak noted that while “inclusion” and “acceptance” are hallmarks of the Catholic Church, they presume “respect on the part of individuals for the teachings and practice of the wider Catholic community.” Furthermore, “No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members.”

In October, Rev. Robert Morey, a parish priest in Florence, South Carolina, denied communion to former Vice President Joe Biden for his support of abortion.

Morse warned: “It’s not enough that the federal judiciary gave the Sexual Revolution the power to remake marriage. Now the Revolution demands that the rest of us be compelled to endorse its ideology.”

Morse explained that Roses from Ruth are “presented in gratitude for upholding the Church’s teachings on life, marriage and human sexuality.”

Past recipients of Roses from Ruth, which was started in 2016, have included Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia and Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon.

 



Daleiden Verdict Protects Sale of Aborted Body Parts

Commenting on the bizarre verdict in the David Daleiden case, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., observed, “Keeping abortion safe and legal has never been enough.”

Daleiden and his team covertly recorded Planned Parenthood employees discussing how they illegally planned to sell body parts from aborted babies.

The judge ruled that Planned Parenthood’s privacy had been violated and awarded it $2.2 million in damages. Morse said the verdict is another instance of the Sexual Deep State “circling the wagons” to protect abortion because “it is the ultimate guarantor of sex being a sterile activity.”


“The ideology also holds that every person old enough to give meaningful consent is entitled to unlimited, child-free, problem-free, guilt-free sex. That’s why abortion must always be presented in a positive light – as enhancing freedom rather than advancing an ideology at the cost of countless lives.”

“If abortion has serious side effects for some, publicizing that fact undermines the ‘right’ to sex,” Morse continued. “Further, if the abortion industry is out for its own financial gain and should not be trusted, that too, undermines the belief that inconvenient conceptions can always be undone.”

The Sexual Revolutionary ideology rests on three principles: separating sex from babies, separating sex and babies from marriage, and removing the differences between men and women.

“The Sexual Revolution has been a power grab every bit as significant in reshaping society as the French or the Bolshevik Revolution,” Morse noted.

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

Find more information on The Ruth Institute here.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, email media@ruthinstitute.org.

 



'The Sexual State': How Government and Big Donors Gave Us the Sexual Revolution

By Tyler O'Neil

This article was first posted October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.

Cover of "The Sexual State" by Jennifer Roback Morse
 
In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.

"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.


Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the overhyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.

Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.

Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.

Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.

Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."

Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.

Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.

The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.

"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.

"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."

The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.

Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.

The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.

In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.

In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.

Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.

Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.

The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.

By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.

Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.

The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.

Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."

"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.

The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.

"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.

Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."

Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.

Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.

"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."

After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.

As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.

Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."

Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.

"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.

"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.

Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.

The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.

"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.


Clergy Sex-Abuse Victims and Perpetrators Have Changed Since 2000

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published Jun. 25, 2019, at NCRegister.com.

 
COMMENTARY: Part II — The Ruth Institute report ‘Receding Waves: Child Sexual Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000,’ finds surprising changes in both the victims and the perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse.

The clergy sexual abuse and cover-up scandal evokes powerful emotions. Some people become protective of their views of interecclesial politics. Others become defensive of the Church in general. And the subject of clergy sex abuse itself is intrinsically revolting. Precisely because of these varied and visceral emotions, we must examine the facts with as much sobriety and objectivity as we can muster.

In “Receding Waves: Child Sexual Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000,” Father Paul Sullins finds surprising changes in both the victims and the perpetrators of clerical sexual abuse — and also, more generally, from the more general standpoint of today’s Catholic priesthood. Every one of these changes is sure to upset someone’s preconceived notions about what is going on and what we ought to do.

Read Part I here.

Recent Abuse Is Different

First, let’s take a look at the victims of clergy sexual abuse since 2000.

Fewer males are being abused: The most striking finding in this new report is the decline in proportion of male victims. The percent of abuse victims who were male plummeted from 74% in 2000 to only 34% by 2016. In 1985, males comprised 92% of victims and averaged 82% from 1950 to 1999 (Figures 3 and 4). This finding may disturb those who think that getting the active homosexuals out of the priesthood will solve all the problems. We will still have to be vigilant to protect girls from abuse. The data clearly show a steady number of female victims, year in and year out.

On the other hand, reducing the number of homosexually active clergy will solve a big chunk of the problems. The data show pronounced changes in the numbers of male victims over time. In fact, the changes in male victims pretty much account for the changes in total victims (Figure 14).

And, as Father Sullins showed in the Ruth Institute’s earlier report from 2018, the numbers and percentages of male victims track almost perfectly with the numbers of priests who describe themselves as homosexual (Figure 10 from the 2018 report).

The combination of these facts makes “clericalism” highly unlikely as a causal factor. What sort of undue deference to the clergy could account for a steady stream of female victims and, at the same time, wild swings in male victims? Clericalism is not a good thing, to be sure. But as a causal explanation, it is looking thinner all the time.

Victims being abused today are older: Recent abuse has involved older victims past puberty. Since 2000 half (50%) of abuse victims were teenagers aged 14-17; before 2000, only a third (33%) were this old (Figures 3 and 4). This means that true pedophilia, meaning sexual activity with pre-pubescent children, has been declining. Separating out pedophilia distinctly from sexual orientation as a causal factor is becoming a greater stretch.

Recent Perpetrators Are Different

Mostly not newly ordained priests: Since 2000 only a small fraction (11%) of abuse has been perpetrated by newly ordained priests (that is, those who have been ordained for less than 10 years), while over half (52%) of abuse has been perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years or more. This reverses the pattern before 2000, when a third (31%) of abuse was due to newly ordained priests and only 10% by priests ordained 30 years or more. (See Figure 7.) This suggests that we cannot blame young, testosterone-fueled men for clergy sex abuse.

In fact, since the 1960s, priests engaged in child sex abuse have been relatively concentrated in two age groups: one ordained in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the other ordained in the early 1980s (Figure 8). Tracking these men over the years, one can see that men ordained in these time periods account for an outsized number of abuse incidents.

For instance, Father Michael Guidry was in his 70s when he molested the 16-year-old son of one of his parish’s deacons. Father Guidry was ordained in 1971. Father Robert DeLand, the Saginaw, Michigan, priest who was finally caught when a detective “wired” the 17-year-old potential victim, was ordained in 1973. Men in their 70s usually do not normally groom teenagers for sex.

Few are homosexual: We do not have data on homosexual ordinations after 2000. Based on the sharp decline in the numbers of male victims of clergy sexual abuse, we surmise that fewer men of homosexual inclination are being ordained. In the 1980s as many as half of new ordinations were of homosexual men.

This is a good time to emphasize one of the Ruth Institute’s recommendations: “The Church or interested scholars and lay organizations should conduct further research on clergy self-description of their patterns of sexual attraction and behavior.” Father Sullins’ analysis of self-described sexual orientation of the clergy is based entirely on a 2002 Los Angeles Times survey. No systematic survey has been conducted since that time. It would be beneficial to have direct information, rather than having to draw inferences.

Recently Ordained Priests Appear to Be Different

Orthodox, faithful, younger priests: The drop in homosexual ordinations is congruent with the rise of a newer generation of young, orthodox candidates for the priesthood. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the current generation of seminary directors is more likely to exclude men with deeply rooted homosexual tendencies from the path to priesthood. This policy, if indeed it is a conscious policy, conforms to long-standing papal instruction as well as a theology of priestly celibacy as a calling reserved for heterosexual men, capable of marriage and fatherhood.

Aging homosexual priests: Today, half of all Catholic priests are between the ages of 60 and 84. Father Sullins estimates that about one in five of these priests self-describes as homosexual compared with less than one in 30 priests under age 50 who describe themselves as homosexual. As the wave of older homosexual priests passes on in coming years, the share of homosexual men in the Catholic priesthood will drop rapidly.

What does all this mean to the average Catholic? It means that the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage, family and sexuality has not been undone by the recent scandals. We have reason to be hopeful that the younger generation of priests, the “John Paul II generation,” are less inclined to sexual misbehavior.

At the same time, as I indicated in my previous column, not all is well in the Church just yet — and we must continue to be vigilant to protect girls and boys alike. It means that people who are tempted to “jump ship” and abandon the Church have every reason to be hopeful and stay. We need the most sensitive and morally serious souls to stay!

We know that God writes straight with crooked lines. With God’s grace, and our fidelity, our Church and our country may yet become the holiest ever known. Let this be our finest hour.


Clergy Sex Abuse Has Changed Since 2000 — and Why It Matters

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published Jun. 14, 2019, at NCRegister.com.


COMMENTARY: Part I — Clergy sex abuse is rising, not falling.

The Ruth Institute recently released a new report by Father Paul Sullins, Ph.D., on clergy sexual abuse since 2000, showing that clergy sexual abuse has been rising in the years since the “Dallas Charter.” Around the same time, the Catholic League released a statement saying the clergy sexual abuse today is negligible.


Oddly enough, both the Catholic League statement and the Ruth Institute report referred to the “2018 Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”

What accounts for our very different conclusions?

Let’s start with the point on which we agree. The Catholic League states: “During this period (July 1, 2017- June 30, 2018) there were 26 new allegations involving current minors. But only three were substantiated (all three men were removed from ministry). Seven were unsubstantiated; three were unable to be proven; two were referred to a religious order; two were reported as unknown; and three were boundary violations, not instances of sexual abuse” (Page 25 of the audit report.) Don’t those low numbers sound encouraging?

Here is the problem with taking these figures at face value: These are the reports received in 2018 about incidents that took place during 2018. In that same period of time, 1,385 survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy came forward making 1,455 allegations. Obviously, the bulk of these incidents did NOT take place during the most recent year, but from earlier years. Most survivors do not report their abuse until much later. In fact, in the 2018 Ruth Institute study using the Pennsylvania grand jury reports, Father Sullins found that the average reporting lag was more than 28 years!

This means that trying to get a reliable handle on the trend in sexual abuse requires us to be careful with the conclusions we draw from our data. We could easily (and wrongly) conclude that all is well and that clergy sexual abuse is declining. We must make some correction for this very substantial reporting lag.

Father Sullins addressed that issue by comparing year-to-year allegations of current abuse. In other words, he went back to the historic data and asked this question, “In 1950-1954, how many people came forward to say they were abused in 1950-1954? How does that compare with the number of people coming forward between 1955-1959 to say they were abused between 1955-1959?” And so on. Bringing those numbers up to the present does not paint such a rosy picture of rapidly declining clergy sexual abuse.

In fact, this is precisely where Father Sullins found a disturbing increase in sexual abuse of minors since 2002. The priest sexual abuse of children dropped to an all-time low just after 2002, but it has since risen. True, clergy sexual abuse of minors remains well below its peak in the 1980s. Reports of current abuse averaged 7.0 per year from 2005 to 2009, rising to 8.2 per year from 2010 to 2014, a 17% increase. In the 1980s, there were an average 26.2 reports of current abuse per year. (See Figures 2 and 6 in the report.)

This suggests that the 2002 Dallas Charter, for all its improvements, did not solve all the problems. We still need to be vigilant. As a matter of fact, the “Annual Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” made this very point. “The current allegations point to the reality that sexual abuse of minors by the clergy should not be considered by bishops as a thing of the past or a distant memory. Any allegation involving a current minor should remind the bishops that they must rededicate themselves each day to maintaining a level of vigilance that will not permit complacency to set in” (page vii).

Recommendations

Catholics must remain vigilant in protecting minors against clerical sexual abuse. In fact, the audit report clearly states,

“The National Review Board calls for a more in-depth audit, as well as ensuring the complete independence of the audit if the bishops hope to regain the trust of the laity in assuring that children and young people are indeed safe within our institutions.”

We as Catholics must also step up our efforts to proclaim authentic Catholic doctrine about marriage, family and human sexuality. At the Ruth Institute, we agree wholeheartedly with Pope Emeritus Benedict’s analysis. Poor theological formation of clergy and seminarians and rampant dissent on sexual teaching are significant factors in the current crisis.

In fact, that is one of the main recommendations we make in our report:

“The Church or interested lay organizations should increase educational programs on authentic Church teaching on human sexuality. Such educational efforts should include all levels of education, such as seminaries, universities, high schools, elementary schools and parish catechism classes. The topics covered should include Pope St. John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ and how traditional Christian sexual ethics promotes and protects the interests of children, women, men and society.”

The answer to poor formation, is quite simply, more and better formation.

Most serious Catholics are fed up with clergy sexual abuse: One case is too many. We want it to go away and stay away. In fact, we want it all gone — yesterday! But, as rational adults, we realize that this deep problem will not disappear overnight, no matter what we do.

It behooves us all to figure out what is really going on, to the best of our ability. Sugarcoating the truth does not serve the Church. This is no time for self-congratulation or complacency. This is the time to take our lumps when necessary. And above all, this is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

 

 



Is Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church Really No Bigger Problem Than the Rest of Society?

by Jennifer Roback Morse

This article was first published Oct. 27, 2019, at NCRegister.com.

COMMENTARY: If Catholics face this issue courageously, we could win many souls.

 

A recent study reported, “only 6% of seminarians report sexual harassment.” The McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame produced this path-breaking survey. One optimistic conclusion people might draw from this report is “Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is no worse than in any other institution of society. People who keep talking about sexual abuse are just bashing the Church.” In my opinion, comparing sex abuse in the Catholic Church with that in other institutions can serve a valid purpose. But I think we need to be careful. Some such comparisons can be actively harmful.


Let me take as an example, The Catholic League’s response to the Notre Dame survey. I choose them because they make a fair statement of a sentiment many people share:

In 2013, Hollaback! commissioned a College Harassment Survey and found that 67 percent of students experienced harassment on campus. In 2006, the American Association of University Women reported that nearly two-thirds of college students experienced sexual harassment at some point during college. In 2018, an online survey by Stop Street Harassment found that 81 percent of women and 43 percent of men said they experienced some form of sexual harassment during their lifetime.

Definitions of sexual harassment vary widely, and incidents range from a sexual joke to rape, thus making comparisons difficult. No matter, compared to life outside the seminaries, the condition in most seminaries today is far better than on college campuses or in the workplace. And they are a vast improvement over what existed in many seminaries not long ago.

The Catholic League’s mission is to defend the Church from slander. Our highly secularized world is filled with people who hate the Catholic Church and miss no opportunity to criticize her. The truly committed sexual revolutionaries honestly believe the Catholic Church is not only bad, but the worst institution ever. I don’t think we should even dignify that statement with a response, should anyone be blunt enough to just blurt it out. The Catholic League, and anyone who loves the Church, is not wrong to defend the Church against scurrilous attacks.

So far, so good.

We might also console ourselves with comparisons with the average state university or our own institutions in years past. Many faithful Catholics are discouraged by the sex scandals. They are looking for good news and solace wherever they can find it. Let’s breathe a sigh of relief, avert our eyes and “move on.”

I understand. I don’t blame people a bit for feeling this way. But we should only take comfort in news that is true. There is plenty of reason for continued suspicion that things are not A-Okay in our seminaries. As Janet Smith recently observed, less than half the seminaries and houses of formation even participated in the Notre Dame study. “Moving on” would be premature and even negligent.

To see why, let me offer an analogy that many readers will recognize. Let’s suppose you have a loved one who has a serious addiction or mental illness. The various family members have complex and contradictory feelings: worry, shame, embarrassment, fear, inadequacy and many others. We are afraid our drug addicted son is going to permanently ruin his life. We feel helpless to aid our anorexic daughter. We are ashamed that our family’s problems reflect poorly on us as parents.

In that circumstance, we might look around at our next-door neighbors. On the plus side, maybe we want to emulate someone who dealt with a similar situation successfully. Maybe we’re trying to avoid something that didn’t work out so well for someone else. That kind of comparison is potentially beneficial.

Alas, we are not always so high-minded. We’re tempted to use the comparison to console ourselves. “At least we aren’t as bad as that family over there.”

But what would be the point? We still have to deal with our own situation. Whatever momentary comfort we might take in keeping one step ahead of the Jones’s, we still have to get on with our business of taking care of our own hurting family members.

To be sure, our neighbors are watching us, but not necessarily the way we think they are. They are not only judging us for the problem itself. They are judging us for how we conduct ourselves. “His daughter is on life-support with anorexia and he’s worried what the neighbors will think. What an idiot.”

The secular world criticizes us for our doctrine, which they find too difficult to live by. But living up to our doctrine is the only lasting and authentic solution to the problem of sexual abuse of the weak and vulnerable. We must show by our actions that we truly believe that Jesus is the “way, the truth and the life.” Deflection or averting our eyes or changing the subject won’t lead anyone closer to Christ and His Church.

And that really is the bottom line for faithful Catholics who love the Church. How we compare to the Boy Scouts or the Baptists doesn’t matter. Catholic clergy sex abuse is our mess. We have an obligation to clean it up. We owe it as a duty of justice to those who have been harmed, directly and indirectly. The world is watching how we handle ourselves.

Our Church really is metaphorically on life support. (Yes, I know about the gates of hell not prevailing and all that. Don’t change the subject.) We must face this issue squarely and honestly. If we do, we could win many souls. If we don’t, well, let’s just say, Our Lord will have pointed questions for us on our own judgment day.

I can speak for myself when I say, I intend to see this through to the end.



Ruth Institute Decries Judge’s Gag Order in #SaveJames Case

Last week, the judge in the case of James Younger, the seven-year-old-boy whose mother wants to turn him into a “transgendered” girl, issued a gag order preventing James’ father from discussing the case publicly. Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. said, “This is an egregious abridgement of the father’s First Amendment rights.”

James’ divorced parents each sought sole custody. His mother, who’s been making him wear dresses, painting his nails, and telling him he’s a girl named “Luna” since age three, has been taking him to a “gender clinic.” She wants to use drugs, and possibly surgery, to complete the process. His father is adamantly opposed.

Morse continued: “If the case hadn’t been publicized, due mostly to the interviews the father did, few of us would have known about what could have been a terrible miscarriage of justice. I believe the judge’s resolution of the case – including giving the parents joint medical decision-making – was due in part to an extraordinary public outcry.”

 


 

Matt Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, says, “It’s fairly straightforward that you can’t gag a father from talking about his son to the media.” Staver calls the order “an outrageous decision by the court that’s clearly unconstitutional.”

Morse added: “Family court judges have an astonishing amount of power. Judge Kim Cooks could have given the mother everything she wanted – sole custody and the unimpeded power to effectively castrate her son. That’s what the jury recommended.If the case was decided in the dark, the judge might have confirmed it.” A petition in support of the father on Life Petitions has more than 86,000 signers.

In another Texas custody case, where four-year-old Drake Pardo was taken from his family over what was alleged to be medical abuse, a Dallas-area judge issued a similar gag order against the family.

A week ago, Texas Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins submitted a brief on behalf of the state of Texas calling the gag order “unconstitutional,” writing that the order “is plainly overboard and cannot be squared with the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees.”

Morse stated: “Injustice grows in the dark. The #SaveJames case deserves the widest possible exposure and unhampered discussion. The father’s freedom of speech must be restored.”

In a recent webcast of The Dr. J Show on the Ruth Institute Youtube page, Morse revealed the hidden dimensions of the case. “Transgenderism, third-party reproduction, and divorce all increase the power of the state over the lives of ordinary people. This is the Sexual Deep State at work.”

Morse explained, “Our #SaveJames campaign is part of the Ruth Institute’s overall mission to counter the Sexual Revolution and speak out for its victims.”

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

Find more information on The Ruth Institute here.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Morse, email media@ruthinstitute.org.

 


Ruth Inst. grateful Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is Getting Involved to #SaveJames

Ruth Institute Founder and President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., expressed relief that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is “reviewing allegations of child abuse” in the case of James Younger – a seven-year-old boy whose mother wants to “transition” him into a girl.

Last week in Dallas, Judge Kim Cooks awarded the parents (who are involved in a bitter battle over the upbringing of James and his twin brother, Jude) joint medical decision-making. However, her ruling could be changed at any time.

In a webcast of The Dr. J Show on the Ruth Institute Youtube page, Morse revealed the hidden dimensions of this case, commonly known by the hashtag #SaveJames.


“The case is not just about transgenderism. It’s also about divorce. The family courts have too much power. This judge had the authority to grant everything the mother requested. That she didn’t is probably due to extraordinary public pressure. Still, whether the father cuts the boy’s hair, dresses him as a boy, or is sufficiently ‘affirming’ can determine whether he gets to see his own sons.”

“The case is also about third party reproduction,” Morse said. “James was conceived with a donated egg. The mother carried him to birth but has no genetic connection.”

In the webcast, Morse noted: “People who are determined to have a child at all costs sometimes develop serious control issues. The child becomes a project of one parent or the other. That appears to be the case here, with the mother so controlling that she wants to force her son to live as her ‘daughter.’”

“And, of course, the case is about the transgender ideology, too. With virtually no clinical standards, adults are making irrevocable decisions that affect young children. This little boy is perfectly healthy. The sex of his body is not ‘wrong’ and does not need to be surgically or chemically altered.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a conservative, suggested the state’s Attorney General look into the matter. A letter from the Texas AG asked the Department to examine the case, urging it to “investigate possible child abuse against seven-year-old James Younger, whose mother has proposed chemically and surgically altering his biological sex based on her belief that he may identify as a girl.”

In her groundbreaking webcast, Morse shows that: “Transgenderism, third-party reproduction and divorce all increase the power of the state over the lives of ordinary people. This is the Sexual Deep State at work.”

Morse explained, “Our defense of James Younger is part of the Ruth Institute’s overall mission to counter the Sexual Revolution and speak out for its victims.”

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

Find more information on The Ruth Institute here.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Morse, email media@ruthinstitute.org.


Ruth Institute President Welcomes First Public Meetings of State Dept. Commission on Unalienable Rights

Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., welcomed the news that the Commission on Unalienable Rights will begin its work with two public meetings, October 23 and November 1, at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

“The Commission has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the State Department behind authentic human rights, which begin with the family,” Morse said. “Respect for the rights of others is learned in the family. In turn, governments must respect the rights of families, including the right to educate their children in their own faith tradition, without being undermined by the government.”

The Ruth Institute is co-sponsoring a Make The Family Great Again Petition with Life Petitions.

The petition affirms that:


  • Marriage and the family are universal institutions for the stability of society and the continuation of the human race.
  • Loyalty and fidelity are universally recognized as virtues.
  • Children need their mother and father.
  • Stable loving families provide the basis for strong societies, including thriving economies, national security and international peace.
  • The United Nations and other international organizations often work at cross-purposes to these important truths.
  • Making America great again requires that we make the family great again, both at home and abroad.

Therefore, the Petition urges the Commission on Unalienable Rights to work for recognition of the following fundamental rights:

  • The right of every child to a relationship with his or her natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy.
  • The right of every person to know the identity of his or her biological parents.
  • The right to life from conception to natural death.
  • The right of families to educate their own children in their faith tradition and values, without being undermined by the state.

Morse noted: “Our more than 40 original petition signers are a Who’s Who of the international pro-family movement, including Gov. Mike Huckabee, Alveda King, and Fr. Shenan Boquet, the President of Human Life International, as well as international leaders from Africa, Europe, and Latin America.”

To date, nearly 7,700 have signed the petition worldwide.

“We welcome the beginnings of a process to get the State Department behind the rights of the family. If kids don’t have a right to their parents, nobody has a right to anything,” Morse concluded.

The Ruth Institute is a global interfaith non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love.

Dr. Morse is the author of The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives.

Find more on The Ruth Institute at http://www.ruthinstitute.org/.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, email media@ruthinstitute.org.


Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution (and How They Protect Sexual Predators)

by Jennifer Roback Morse Nov. 26, 2018 at NCRegister.com

One curious feature of the current clergy sex-abuse scandal is the reticence of the non-Catholic media to go after the predators.

Many journalists in the “Legacy Media” seem to have an “anti-Catholic default” setting. One might think such journalists would leap at the chance to pile on with negative reports about the behavior of the Catholic hierarchy. Yet most secular newsrooms have been quite subdued on this issue.

This situation cries out for an explanation.

I propose that many people in our culture, including the media, subscribe to what I call “Cherished Beliefs of the Sexual Revolution.”

 


These tenets of secularism have been so widely promoted, defended and accepted that they are part of the air we breathe. We don’t even recognize that we believe these ideas.

Some of these ideas have specifically to do with homosexual activity and identity. Others are part of the more general ideological structure of the sexual revolution. Dissecting these ideas and correcting or even discarding them is a crucial step in getting to the bottom of the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

Allow me to assist.

Let me state for the record: Gross generalizations are unfair and unhelpful. I will never say “All gay men are … .” In fact, I once wrote an article called “Fifty Shades of Gay” — so I’m not about to draw rash conclusions about “gay men” from the behavior of a few.

However, the over-representation of homosexual predation certainly casts doubt on what I will call the “Grand Gay Narrative.” The marketing machine for “LGBT” activism and its allies in the sexual revolution have gone to a lot of trouble to create the following impressions in the public mind:

  1. Being gay is a normal variation of healthy human sexuality. “Straight” vs. “gay” is no more significant than left-handed vs. right-handed.
  2. Gay people are “born that way.”
  3. Any problems that gay people might have are the result of “homophobia,” that is, unjust discrimination against them by society, or “internalized homophobia,” that is, self-hatred.

People who hold these ideas might very well object, “That isn’t exactly what we mean.” I will be glad to accept a moderation of their position if they care to walk back these extreme versions.

Let’s see where that would leave us:

In response to each of these points:

  1. Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is a paragon of mental health. Some of them are out of their minds (including, perhaps, some of the sexually compulsive priest-predators?). Not every person who claims a homosexual identity or engages in homosexual acts is an innocent lamb. Some of them are mean, nasty and selfish (including, perhaps, some of the serial predators?).
  2. Even if people are born with a sexual attraction to people of their own sex, it does not follow that those same people (or anyone at all) is born with an uncontrollable urge toward sexual predation or habitual lying. (Was Theodore McCarrick “born that way”?)
  3. “Homophobia” has nothing to do with the current situation. “If only people were more accepting of homosexual activity and identity, then … .” Then, what exactly? The clergy could behave like Harvey Weinstein and all the other married men who sexually exploit women? Blaming “homophobia” is not a credible response to decades long patterns of abuse.

In short, it should be appropriate to say, “Men of homosexual inclination used the priesthood as a base of operation for preying on teenaged boys.”

Behind these specific beliefs about homosexual practices are also some general cherished beliefs of the sexual revolution. They include:

  1. Sexual activity is an absolute necessity for a healthy life. (News flash: No one has ever died from not having sex.)
  2. Sexual activity is an entitlement. (Only a rapist truly believes he is “entitled” to sex.)
  3. Any problems one might encounter from sexual activity are the result of either lingering “sex-negative” prejudices or not using your “protection” correctly and consistently. (People can have all sorts of problems from having sex at the wrong time, with the wrong person, in the wrong situation, even if their condoms work perfectly.)

This ideological aegis is providing cover for clergy sexual abuse. Journalists, judges, lawmakers and opinion-leaders who subscribe to these ideas are going to squirm when they try to face the evidence. Like the “#MeToo” movement, they are trying to condemn sexual abuse while still embracing the ideologies that made it possible.

Some of my readers no doubt have already figured out from experience that the sexual revolutionaries have been lying to them.

I urge you to examine your conscience in search of lingering traces of these beliefs. Go to confession. You will feel better, I promise you. And you will be a more credible witness in the Church’s current hour of need.

If you are still hanging on to any of these beliefs about same-sex attraction, I beg you to re-examine them. If you have friends who are hanging on to them, share this article with them. You can feel good about yourself without subscribing to superstitions.

In fact, you’ll feel better about yourself and about life in general if you know the truth. Just follow the One who described himself as “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” In this case, as in so many others, the Truth really will set you free. 

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