The Dr J Show

Welcome to our newest project. The Dr. J Show is a weekly broadcast with an interview segment that features some of the foremost leaders and thinkers on issues relating to marriage, family and human sexuality. New episodes come out every Friday; catch them here or over at our YouTube channel.


Your Spouse Leaves You and The State Takes Possession of Your Kids. What Next?

Since 2004, Bai Macfarlane has been upholding the dignity of marriage in light of no-fault divorce. Under no-fault divorce, the party that still loves his or her spouse and wants to keep the family together is virtually defenseless. Mary’s Advocates is a voice for faithful spouses, and provides resources to equip those in positions of authority and influence to encourage reconciliation and denounce marital abandonment and unjust separations.

This episode is also available as an audio podcast. More resources & readings after the cut.


Bai spoke in Rome for Human Life International Rome about the marriage crisis and the Code of Canon Law. Her paper was distributed to the delegates at the Synod of Bishops. Mary’s Advocates work has been publicized by Homiletic and Pastoral Review, National Catholic Register, the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops, and LifeSite News. She’s been a radio guest on Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, and EWTN.

 

Readings & Resources

 

Before marriage, Bai earned earned a bachelor of science from the University of Notre Dame. She was a stay-at-home mom raising four children under the age of 12 just prior to beginning her marriage work.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Hi, everyone. I am Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Welcome to this edition of the Dr. J show. My guest today is Mrs. Bai MacFarlane, who is the founder and president of Mary's advocates, and I am going to let her tell you all about Mary's advocates and what they do. Bai welcome to the Dr. J show.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Jennifer, Thanks for having me.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Tell people a little bit about yourself, and how you got involved in advocating for divorce reform of various sorts.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Ok sure. I was always a Christian, I am Catholic, raising a Catholic family and my husband and I got married after college, and I was living the good life. And then about 12 years into our marriage, my husband, for reasons that are not even worth talking about decided that he needed to have our family go through divorce. So, I had a quick education about what no-fault divorce was. And I was ignorant. I did not know anyone close to me who had gone through this. So, having been a defendant in no-fault divorce, I had an eye-opening education. And you have talked about no-fault divorce. You have written about it in your book, The Sexual State

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. The Sexual State, there is a big chapter in there on divorce.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, it was obvious that something unjust was happening because the person who didn't do anything grave that would justify a separation of spouses, as if I had lost my mind, or if there was a husband who's committing adultery, The other spouse has a legitimate reason to be separated, because a person's breaking their marriage promises in a big way. It does not matter if one party goes to the state and says, I want a divorce. Essentially, what they are doing is saying to the state, take over my children, take over my property, you decide. If my spouse and I don't decide on how we want to split everything. I give the court the power display everything. So, anyone who has been a defendant or close to someone who's a defendant knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes, that is right.And let's stop right there to say that the Ruth Institute does have a lot of resources about this very topic, because there are a lot of people who have been through this, and most of them are kind of socially invisible. So, it is very important that you are coming forward and talking about this a little bit more. Yeah, go ahead Bai.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And the perspective that I take is someone who believes in marriage. And we understand that when two people marry, they are married, you cannot unmarry somebody, just like you can't unmake somebody, your actual biological son. I mean, it's just a fact of nature. It is true. So, in the —there is a lot of pressure for people who are defendants in divorce to accept that your marriage is over. Why would you want to stay married to somebody that does not want to be married to you anymore? Your spouse doesn't love you anymore. You need to move on. Even nice things. You are good looking, you are nice. I'm sure you can find someone who will appreciate you. You need to do all these things. So, there's tons of pressure to say that one's marriage is not in existence anymore, and your marriage is over just because of a civil divorce. So what Mary's advocates does is we support those who are unjustly abandoned, who recognize that they're still married. And it’s like what?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. You are married. You are definitely a countercultural radical. Okay, let's give it to you Bai. You are a countercultural radical for sure. This is what radical looks like in 2020 people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Some of my friends are dead saints that I have on my wall, so it's like St. John Fisher was a countercultural radical

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, that's right. So, you know, I want to back up just a little bit, because we're gonna talk about Mary’s advocates. That's what we're here to talk about in a way. You used a word and I want to kind of come back to that. There's kind of a natural level at which all of this happens. There's a natural law basis. For this, that should be the basis of civil law and church law. That there's a natural reality here that a man or a woman have come together, they have made promises solemn promises, and they have created children together. And you can't unmake yourself a mom, you can't unmake yourself a husband. So, draw out for us the natural law basis of all of this, because I think this is a new thought, for people, people are used to thinking you can end a marriage, and they haven't really thought through necessarily, what exactly you're saying when you say that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Okay, well let's look at what is the purpose? Or what's needed in making a child capable of participating in society in a functional way.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

I guess I could just start with that. Well, they need to know how to talk, they probably need to have some manners, they need to know how to share, they need to know how to communicate, they need to know how to work, I mean, all these kinds of things that you would want your children to know how to do. And by nature, long before there were governments, the way that cultures were doing this, is that a Mom and a Dad who have extreme interest in their own children —You know, people would sacrifice their own lives for their children. It's innate, so that's what I mean by nature. Yes, it can be done outside of that, yes, someone can grow up with only one parent because one of the parents died, or one of the parents abandoned. Yes, you can do that. But is that by nature, the way that it was designed, the way that works best? I'm sure you can look at study after study after study that show the results. It’s sad to say, it's like self-confidence, performance in the work world, ability to trust, all these things that children of divorce are kind of suffering.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.And so, if you look at it, just from the natural perspective, it takes a man and a woman to make a child, and that parental relationship is lifelong. And the cooperation between the parents is an essential aspect of the child's ability to thrive. So, if mom and dad hate each other, that means the two halves of who I am, are at war with each other. A five-year-old can't figure that out, and you probably have had people say this, if you're going through divorce, you should sit them down and tell them, “mommy and daddy don't love each other anymore. We still love you, honey, but we don't love each other anymore.” Well, that's half of who you are. And then the little kid is like how does this even work? And of course, it doesn't even work. So, the natural order of things for mom and dad to cooperate for a lifetime for the benefit of each other and for the benefit of the children. And that cooperation system we call marriage, and to abandon a promise of that solemnity, without a just reason, is unjust, it's unjust to abandon that promise. And if civil law doesn't take account of that you got a big problem. There's something really wrong. So that's what I want to get out on the table that is for people to really think this through because we're so cavalier in this culture,

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Or people are people are used to trusting. Well If something happens in a civil court, well, Justice occurs, that's what courts are for. Courts are for administering justice.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, there's talk about how the courts decide. Well, that would be great if we lived in an era where the government system supported marriage and family, but now we have the absolute opposite. I remember going through, in our divorce situation, I was a person who wasn't able to sign saying I agree to split my children and property because that is a lie. I don't agree to any of this. I think we should have an intact home and you should get the right kind of professional help and whatever our issues were, we're not even that different than issues I read about being common in lots of marriages. It's like, let's get humble and get down to hearing it out, and it would have been fine. But when moms and dads don't agree, the court will decide what happens to children. And sometimes the court will assign other paid government entities to decide what happens. So, they can appoint a Guardian Ad Litem who's a children's lawyer, or they can appoint a court psychologist. And then these two have a vested interest in getting more clients. And the way to get clients is when someone files for divorce. So, you've got these hangers on who earn good incomes, by taking assets from parents who are in divorce court. So, if you're the defendant, there's a lot of pressure to just sign on that dotted line that you agree to be divorced. And I remember a meeting with our guardian Ad Litem, and he was talking about how divorce is just like going through a tornado. And people recover and you rebuild your house. No, it's not. I mean it's my family, divorce and even the separated faithful, Divorce is the gift that keeps on giving.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

But let's go back to that tornado analogy because I just lived through a hurricane. And yeah, everything gets destroyed and you rebuild. But the difference between a hurricane and a divorce is that there's no moral agency here. Nobody's singled me out and blasted me with a hurricane. When your marriage is destroyed by your spouse, and by agents of the state. There is human moral agency at work there. And you look there, and you go, there's culpability here. This didn't have to happen. Somebody decided to make this happen. Down here in Lake Charles we're dealing with act of God. Okay, God, we got a hurricane. Thank you very much. I don't know what you're trying to say, but we accept it. That's not the same case with some —with the judge and the guardian Ad Litem, and the financial planners, and the court appointed psychologists and the people who supervise your visits. Sometimes that comes into play, where somebody makes an allegation and there's some kind of problems. So, there's some non-family members supervising the visits so there are many agents of the state that get involved in managing divorces. Now, Bai you made it clear from the outset that you didn't want the divorce. Did you ever sign the paper that they were asking you to?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

No, I didn't. And what happened in our case is —for reasons that would take too long to explain— a constitutional law professor got involved like nine months into it. And he was challenging that no-fault divorces is unconstitutional, based on the principle that people who marry in accordance with a religious right, or a religious doctrine or dogma, that both people going into a marriage and they contract a marriage according to certain rules, the state can't come in years after the fact and usurp the rules and the obligations, which the parties agreed that are in line with their church. Does that make sense?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes, yes. So, he was making a First Amendment type of an argument.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That and contract. Due process and religious liberties kind of argument. And we ended up losing on a technicality having to do with timing, because we were designating the church as a third-party arbitrator. So, it didn't bear any fruit in my case. But one of the resources that Mary's advocates has, is that we wish people would do but I haven't figured out how to market it in a way that people jump on board. What are they agreeing? Are their obligations? Because everyone who marries right now in a pure no-fault divorce state, you're agreeing that the government can you have control of your property and children, when one of you, for no reason, decides I want out.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. What no-fault divorce really means is that the government will always take sides with the person who wants the marriage the least. That's what it actually means. And so, this resource that you have, is it a document for people to sign going into it? Tell us about this document that you have in mind

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

We call it our true marriage proclamation set. Or covenant agreement and it's language that's available, anyone could go on the website and find it today. They could download a PDF, it’s something that could be signed just prior to marriage. The goal would be that it would have the weight of a prenuptial agreement legally, because there's certain things you have to do to have a prenuptial agreement be legal. You have to have an option for a lawyer to review it with you, and the lawyer could sign saying I explained this to you, I explained this to the other side. Or they could sign it after marriage, and it could have the weight of a post-nuptial agreement. That's the goal. And the big thing that happens is it designates a third-party arbitrator. You know you buy a $30 software item, and they have you read that long contract before you say yes, I agree to buy this $30 item. There's lots of times where you're agreeing that if I'm dissatisfied, I won't go to a civil court and sue the seller. I will go to a third-party arbitrator and there are entities that exist, where churches, for example, non-Catholic churches, could designate that we want all of our contracts with our employees to have this clause in here about if there's a conflict, we're going to go with third party arbitrator. And there's a Christian arbitration association that exists right now, that is recognized in the civil forum for handling different kinds of disputes between a pastor and an employee. And for Catholics, one could sign the way our agreement is written, is that there is a designating the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic code of canon law, and those authorized to implement the Catholic code of canon law.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So, in other words, you would make it explicit ahead of time, that you do not wish to use the civil authorities. That you both agree to be subject to this form of arbitration, in your case, that Canon Law, but it could be a Christian arbitration service. But to make it explicit, so that people have thought that thing through.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Over the years what I have found my focus to be. It is to support the people who already understand, and they already get what we're talking about. Because we need to get more of those people feeling comfortable and confident and assured that what you're saying makes good sense. It's actually from a Roman Catholic perspective, it's supported by long standing church teaching, and we just need to hold our ground. Amongst the people that you know, I mean, I'm an unusual circumstance. And maybe it's my personality —it is my personality. It’s my ability to hold my ground, regardless of what somebody says. I just can't not hold my ground. So, my work is to try to figure out as much as I can discern, to get some good done on this, but some people in the no-fault divorce situation are sort of drowning. You're barely keeping where you live, your house is lost, your kids are all over the place. They're going back and forth, trying to raise and discipline and teach a child who goes back and forth. It's just not fair.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. It's not fair to the kid.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Enforcement mechanism, you teach them something here, they get something different over there. You try to have some kind of consequence for behavior and just normal stuff, like, how many hours a day, are you going to be allowed to be on your cell phone?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right, that's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

At mom’s house she says this, but at dad’s house —So these kinds of things.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

And these are problems which couples in a functioning marriage solve and confront every single day. Mom and Dad may have different opinions about different things, but they'll look at each other and they'll solve it. They don't bring agents of the state in, or kick each other under the table. “We'll talk about this later,” whatever little conflict we have as parents in an ongoing marriage you don’t bring in the guys with guns. I mean, because let's face it, the state has guns and they put people in jail, and they seize property, and they do all that kind of mean stuff. And once you go into divorce court, you are involving the guys with guns. That's just fact.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, and a sad pattern that I see a lot, because people talk to me, who are the separated faithful, who don't want the divorce, who want to keep the marriage together. They're humbly admitting that I never said I was a perfect spouse. I said, “I want to work on it. And I can let me know, what is it that I'm doing that's causing issues. If I'm at fault about whatever it is, —and we're not talking about reasons for separation, we're talking about just things that are annoying, or whatever else. Fine, I'm willing to grow in virtue.” But the person on the other side refuses to cooperate with people who are expert helping couples, I just see that as a telltale pattern and to me. That concludes that someone is not genuine.

Or they say, I tried counseling and it didn't work. Well, the reason it didn't work is because you refuse to cooperate and then there's nothing that defendant can do about it. So, it sounds kind of hopeless, but the hope is, as Christians, I mean, as a Catholic, what are we to do when we're faced in a situation where we're experiencing injustice?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So far, we've been talking about all this on the civil side of things. And the Ruth Institute has talked about this a lot on the civil side. We've had other abandoned spouses speak at our conference and things. We've had Dr. Stephen Baskerville speak at our things, who is in my mind a great theorist on this subject. Really unmasking the injustice of the state. And then we've had Layla Miller speak who's written a compilation of First-Person accounts from adult children of divorce and the impact that their parents’ divorce had on them. But what you bring to the table Bai, that is unique, and I think will be helpful to a lot of people is canon law.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

The most exciting thing that I've uncovered that I publicized with Mary's advocates, is the church's law on separation of spouses. In Scripture, when it says, if your brother sins against you, you bring your concern to him directly. And if you don't get anywhere you bring some friends witnesses, and if you don't get anywhere you bring it to the church? That principle is written into our canon law about marriage. And I've gone back to the Council of Trent in 1563, where it's talking about how, for Catholics, keeping a family together is of public interest. It's not a private little thing between you and the person you're buying your car from. And it's not a private little thing where one little spouse is supposed to decide all on her own, to give her family to the state. We have protections written into our canon law about separation of spouses, where they're supposed to be a Canon Law investigation prior to anyone going to the civil forum. And this is a thing that I uncovered.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

So Bai, I have looked at some of your debates on this subject, and so on and so forth. And this is a really complicated area and a very controversial area. And I want to say I appreciate the research and diligence that you've done on it. But I can't say to my viewers that this is a settled issue, because obviously, it's not, you know, led to a lot of controversy about, but there's some things you're doing that relate to annulment. And some things you have thought about, that are not controversial, I think. And one of the important things that I've seen you do is that you assist people who are going through the annulment process, who don't want their marriage to be annulled. In other words, people who think this is a valid marriage. No! Just like you wouldn't sign the paper in the civil court, there are people who don't want to go along with it in the in the ecclesial courts as well. So, tell somebody a little bit about how that might work. Because we may have people watching. There are all kinds of situations with that, so tell people a little bit about how you and your materials assist people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Okay. There are some tribunals that grantannulments to 100% of the petitioners. And I would surmise to say that they don't have any canon lawyers on staff who have experience with the kind of person you're describing, who wants to uphold the validity of their marriage, because they've never seen them. They've never seen it happen that a marriage was upheld, because their diocese, they give them to virtually everyone. So, some of the simple procedural things that I can help people with. Like, when a party alleges that a marriage is invalid, they're supposed to submit a petition. They're supposed to submit a petition, they're supposed to say certain things like explain, “Hey! I think my marriage is invalid for this ground and here's some facts and proofs in a general way describing why.” Like if I was to accuse you of anything, or accuse something, let's say, you want the drunken contract example, if you were going to say that our contract about selling the car was void, because I tricked you and you were drunk, and you got witnesses? Well, you would decide that on your petition as to why you think this contract is void. That's what's supposed to happen in canon law petition. And the petition is supposed to be sent to the other party. The other party needs to see what's the basis for the complaint. And I've had people that I've worked with where in their diocese, the standardize form that's used and accepted for the petitions says, No grounds for the petitioner, No grounds for the respondent. And that's what they give to the other side.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

What? I don’t understand. On the printed form it asserts that there are no grounds given.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It might have been typed. It's typed in. I've seen in two cases in a diocese, where the petition that was sent to the respondent says, “I so and so applying for a decree of invalidity of my marriage.” And then further down in the paper, it says I assert the marriage is invalid. Checkbox. No grounds on the petitioner. Actually, there wasn't a checkbox, It was just typed language, no grounds on the petitioner, no grounds on the respondent. And when I'm saying petitioner respondent, the petitioners is the one that wanted a petition so, a common ground that's used in the United States is grave lack of discretion of judgment that has to do with psychological issues. So, someone might say I allege that I myself have this grave lack of discretion of judgment, but the respondent should see that so, That's an example.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? So, you've seen these petitions where no grounds are given, what do you tell the person to do? What does the respondent do?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Everything I do is I suggest “you might want to…”. This is your letter; this is not my letter. I suggest that they respond back and just cite in the canon law that says: No petition is supposed to be accepted, unless it shows the grounds, and it shows the facts and proofs and a general way upon which the petitioner is relying to support the grounds. Or another thing I've seen is they're not supposed to collect proofs, witness testimony, until after they set in stone, what grounds are going to be investigating? Both sides need to know what's at stake here. What are you accusing? Are we saying that someone lied about wanting kids? Or are we saying that someone was psychologically so impaired that they couldn't consent because they didn't know what they were doing? You need to know that before you go in, and then you need to know which party.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It kind of goes play by play through the procedures. And if the procedures are really irregular, then I help people submit appeals. So, I can't say we've had a lot of success. But what I hear from the people who contact me is they're just relieved that there's somebody who appreciates the law, respects their rights. You can't win everything. We don't know what's going to happen. But these people are saying, I have to try!

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. That's right. That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's nobody that can help me because, I'm reading on your website about a petition is supposed to say facts and proofs in a general way. But when I talk to my tribunal personnel, and they just say we're waiting for you to answer our questionnaire over and over again.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

I want to say for the record, I do know of one case where a person succeeded in defending her marriage, using some materials that you had provided for her. Personally, I know of a case where this woman, they had four children together. And her husband left her and petitioned for an annulment and she fought it and she won. It was denied, and he had already tottled off with this new Sweetie, so it was kind of a mess for him. But she was greatly relieved, and her children were so relieved. Yeah! Mom and Dad, you are married, this is a real marriage. And that's important to children. So, in a sense, what I Intuit about this, Again, I'm not a Canon lawyer, either. And I haven't spent any time in tribunals. But the vibe that I'm getting, if you want to put it that way, for the people I talk to is, is that the spirit of the age has infiltrated the church in this area, as in other areas, so you'll have the priests saying you should move on. Or why don't you do this? Or it'll be okay. That kind of thing. The idea that somebody would defend their marriage, would stand for their marriage —Not so long ago, that was understood to be what one ought to do. And now, it's not. That common understanding is gone.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And when you're talking about how there are priests that will say you need to move on. The priests only know what they're taught. You only know what you've read. So, I've got shelves of stuff behind me. And if people contact me, and they're trying to understand...Is my marriage invalid or not? I really think it's valid. I tell them to read these books.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. You’ve done the legwork for them, right?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

This one has 58 pages on psychological grounds for annulment, go look at this, because I have other books on my shelf, it's just a paperback book put together by some publisher that says it's Catholic that has one paragraph written about grounds for an annulment on psychological grounds, and they say, you were too immature to get married. So, people are repeating things that are contrary to what the scholarly stuff says. All you know, is the little tidbits that you've heard, you might think, Oh!my marriage is invalid because I had this or that problem. I was like No! Do your homework.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

People who care.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And in defense of the tribunals, they have a lot of cases to deal with. And like you say, they're going with what they know, with what's familiar to them in a lot of cases. And they're looking into a lot of stuff and they're overworked. And they're looking at the evidence. I mean, a competent trial tribunal will be looking at the evidence and seeing the paperwork and seeing what happened and so on and so forth. So, a lot goes into it, and I don't want to just slam anybody here. But the fact is, the ethos has changed, No one would deny that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

the piece that's so sad about annulments being granted too much is that, for two parties who are Catholic who are willing to follow the church's teaching, the church teaching could result in healing marriage.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You know, if you've got somebody that kind of freaked out when they filed for divorce, and then they got all this support of this is what you need to do from the system. They're told, well, now that you've got your divorce, the right solution is to apply for your annulment. So, whenever they apply for their annulment and the annulment is granted, you've just missed the whole thing of what caused the marriage to break up really? And let's address it.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right. So much of the culture ignores that very important point. I've had family law attorneys say to me,particularly when a woman comes in and says, “I'm going to divorce my husband,” she has been thinking about it a long time, she's got her exit strategy planned. And he's completely blindsided because he had no idea how upset she was, or whatever. But she's doing all this. And I have had the lawyers Tell me, when they get to that point, there is no talking to them, and they get really mean and really vindictive. And then it's really bad. It can go really bad. Now, one point of clarification I want to mention because we do have some non-Catholic followers, followers who say that there's no role for church law or for annulment. That the church doesn't have the right to say anything about this. They're not used to the idea of church law, or of having to investigate. The point is you need to have institutions to enforce the gospel if you want to say that.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

The gospel doesn't implement itself, the Bible doesn't implement itself, you have to have structures to determine the facts. Well, is this really your twin brother? Or did you really mistakenly marry your cousin? Or did he really lie that he was impotent? You found out after the fact that he was impotent? Did that really happen? You have to have some structures for dealing with that.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, that's a really good way to put it. Because it's even scriptural that you go to the church about certain kinds of conflicts.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. So now I want to talk about this term “Standers”. I want to talk about the standers. I've encountered non-Catholics and Catholics who use this term, or without the term or doing the concept of standing. So, tell people what this term standers means. And a little bit about where you've encountered them.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Stander is someone who's separated or divorced, who still stands for their marriage. And even standing is a really good word, because it's not aggressive, it's not offensive, it's not pushing, it's just standing, it's just standing. And it's standing for a truth that I'm still married. And I've encountered that, I was one from the very beginning, even in the civil form. I didn't know that it had a name, but it's just this isn't true. I don't agree to this. I believe I'm married. Marriage is for life. I didn't get married in the state, the state cannot unmarry me. Some of the things I see common in standers is we still wear our wedding rings. Because out in the public, we're not single again. We're not like a widow, whose marriage is truly ended because my husbands dead. No. And in in how we talk, we would talk about, my husband or my wife, or you know, the whole thing of my ex-spouse, we would never say ex-spouse. There is no such thing as an ex-spouse anymore more than there is an ex-son.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. That's exactly right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's also a supernatural hope for reconciliation. And I modify that with supernatural because on a human level, the chances look like 0.00000 and infinity. The other spouse is already supposedly married to a different person. We wouldn't even call a second marriage, a marriage.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's one lady, her husband married someone else. And she's like, “Well, that's just a civil forum approving adultery.”

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That's right. Not it's not marriage. You know, people might give you pushback.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, they might. They give you plenty of pushback, right?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

In the civil forum, because we had a full-blown trial, where a lot of people don’t, they just go to the judge and say here is our paperwork. And the Guardian Ad Litem was questioning me. And I remember this. And he's like, “Well, why did you contact this person?” “I was looking for help.” “Why did you write this person?” “I was looking for help.” “Why did you reach?” I mean, I just was looking for help everywhere, thinking maybe somebody could help keep our family together. But the plaintiff in the divorce court gets what they want every time.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

There's a woman Charlene steinkamp, I think, Charlene cares. And she's from a biblical perspective. And people can go to her website. She sends a daily motivational message based in Scripture of how one stands for your marriage and the other spouse is a prodigal, like the prodigal son, and the dads waiting. and the dad knows that son might come home, he's hoping his son comes home. And it's that kind of thing or with Mary's advocates Coming at it from a Catholic perspective, there was a book published in Italian that we got translated into English.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Oh, tell us about that book, I have a copy of it too.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

It talks about the modes, that one passes in and out of and stays in, when one is separated faithful. And what we do is we have a monthly conference phone call, where we just go through a little section of the book each time, and over the years, people have become friends with each other, some of them have met separately. In my diocese, there's a group of us that meet in person, and we just use the book as a springboard for conversation. Because it's people who don't live it, they don't get it. And I think they frankly, kind of get tired of it. I mean, if you had a spouse who’s schizophrenic, it would really be helpful for you to have people who also have a spouse who's schizophrenic, that you can support each other in that walk.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You remember what you used to have. So, the absence of what you used to have, it's just a laser focus on what you don't have now. And the thing that we support each other in, is what does one do with these emotions, because it's hard? So, we encourage each other in trusting in God and leaning on the cross and remembering that life is permanent. I mean, life on this earth is temporary, and we have a permanent goal, which is heaven. We also remind each other that anytime there's a suffering, like Paul says, I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, because I complete what's lacking in Christ's suffering for the sake of his body, the church. This kind of suffering is unique suffering, because we're standing like Paul suffering, and Paul could have lied and said, “I don't believe Jesus is God,” who knows what, he would have gotten out of jail.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

What's wrong with you, Paul? What you're the stubbornnest guy, Paul.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So, we remind each other that, if you're really sad, because your kids have trouble with this, and these bad things are happening, and it's hurtful? Well, you offer that up for Christ'. I'm offering it up for the conversion of my husband or my children. And it is really nice to have other people who will have that walk. And there was a woman who joined our call, most recently, and she was talking about how it's not like she chose to be a stander, to be separated faithful, it was already there. It was like she would have to unchoose to not do it.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right, in other words, what she chose was to be married, and what her spouse chose to do, she has no control over. And, given that he did, what he did, she didn't really have a choice. Right? I get that. And you know, this is where I really want to pause because the spiritual significance of what you guys are doing, and what you just said, is powerful. So, I want to underline it for everybody. And I want people to memorize that Bible verse because it's a very important Bible verse used to be much more prominent in Catholic subculture and the Catholic culture, that you offer things up, that unavoidable suffering is something we offer up. We accept it, we don't run from every form of suffering, because some suffering is unavoidable, and this is an example of an unavoidable pain that can be turned to good, that can be given to Christ united in the cross and used by Christ in however he thinks best, so it's a very deep kind of spiritual walk that it sounds like from multiple branches of Christianity people are, are cultivating that and clinging to that and understanding and growing within that, but it's completely countercultural, because our culture is telling us to be comfortable, literally at any cost.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Right? And then you think is there something wrong with me If I'm uncomfortable? Of course, you're sad, you're experiencing an injustice, give yourself permission to be sad, give yourself permission to cry, it's not bad if you cry, because some of the things that get on my nerves. It's like, “Well, you know, you didn't get over it. You know, if you're a mentally healthy person, you'd have gotten over it.” And the fact that you won't act like everything's good means that you're not over it yet. The same kind of talk that you talk about, meaning if your spouse dies, and you go through the stages of mourning? When you're done, you're actually done. Well, because divorce is the gift that keeps on giving. You're never done.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

You're not over it, because it's still in your life experience. And if I had been sexually abused by a priest when I was 13, that's wicked and evil. But it happened forty-some years ago. But if I'm divorced, which I am, we still have the kids trying to navigate, well, how do I have a relationship with mom and dad when mom believes this, and dad believes that? and then you bring in the stepparents and the step siblings, and it doesn't end. Then you have a holiday. One of the people in our group was trying to discern, what should he do about his divorce wife? He's a stander and his father died. So, his father died, and he's having a gathering after the funeral, and he's home and he's trying to discern, my wife is saying that she'd be willing to come and not bring her new civil partner, husband, you know? She's willing to come because she feels an affiliation to her father in law. But that's a difficult thing. Yes this woman did this to you and did this to you. And for her to come, it's not clear whether it would be a good thing for her to come or not a good thing to come. People in intact homes don't have to deal with that.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And discern is the right word, because it isn't immediately obvious what the right answer is, there are all kinds of factors that would play into what's the right answer. In a situation like that.

And you're right, in an intact home, that's not even an issue. You don't have to worry about who gets the tickets to juniors’ graduation, when you only have so many tickets. Which set of grandparents and step grandparents? And it's never ending. And I want to pause and say that to tell people you should get over it, that the culture says the mark of mental health is to get over it. What our culture is really saying to us, the mark of being healthy is to be calloused to certain kinds of pain that people are going through. Right? In other words, if you got over it, that would mean that you're no longer concerned about the fact that this continues to be hard for your kids. Because if you got over it and chose another spouse, or your husband chooses another spouse, and so on. There's still going to be problems for the kids, for you to get over, It doesn't mean they got over it. It doesn't mean those moving around problems all went away. It means you're just not feeling anything about it anymore, because you're moving on with your life. Well, that doesn't strike me as particularly edifying.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Of course, it doesn’t help at large. what about all the people who were calloused about slavery?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

We can just sell people, split up families, we don't care.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? No, we don't worry about that, the kids will be fine. The kids will be fine. No! they're not fine. They're really not fine.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

So many reasons that are legitimate reasons to separate on a moral perspective?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Well, if my husband had been out committing adultery, repetitively, unapologetically, that is a morally legitimate reason to be separated. My children shouldn't be given scandal by a husband doing that. I'm not saying my husband ever did that. But in the civil forum, it makes things worse, because the court will say the kids have to, if dad wants to, have them go back and forth between homes.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And if the dad doesn't want to pay as much child support, if he can figure out how to get the kids away from the mom, because he hires expensive lawyers. It's like the civil forums no-fault can do more harm than what it was before they got involved.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. That's right and exclude the non-offending spouse and put burdens on the non-offending spouse that wouldn't have been there if the state was not involved.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

And I don't see that the secular confused world is going to be pushing to correct this on the short term. And my hope would be that morally grounded people who are Bible believing or Catholics who kind of sense that what we're talking about makes sense, at least amongst ourselves in our own institutions, we could structurally change something.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Right? We could do a little bit better job of what we're dealing with. So Bai, I want to give you a chance to tell people where they can connect with you a little bit more maybe about the services that you offer. This book that you mentioned, I did not realize that you guys were the sole publishers of it, and that you'd had it translated. So, this looks like a winner. Can people connect with you about these, this monthly call that you guys have? Tell people a little about that?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Yeah, I'm just going to jump over to Mary's advocates to where things are in our menu, because the services that Mary's advocates provide are all under Resources. So, in the beginning, we were talking about that true marriage proclamation covenant, that's one of those items there, or a support network. So, if somebody wants to connect to this monthly call, or connect to others who are trying to get groups their own diocese, they can find that there, the book, “The Gift of Self” is there. Then there's things that we do about defending marriage that gets more into if somebody wants to try to invoke canon law or defend their rights in a Canon Law forum. Those are all this stuff is under Resources. There are tons of information under research, and to contact me it's just on the About Us section, find my contact information, my phone number and email address.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That is so stupendous that you'll put your phone number and email address out there.You do that for people.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Never been a problem.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yeah, that's good. That's really good. Are there are diocesan resources, any place that you could recommend? Are there diocese that sponsor these groups, anything like that that's out there?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

The Archdiocese of Minneapolis had had a group for a while. I don't know what the status of that is right now. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia publicizes on the marriage and family office, this is the group that someone could join the phone call. Bishop Morlino, who passed God rest his soul in Madison, Wisconsin, they have this book on their website. He has “The Gift of Self” book on their website, those kinds of things.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Okay. But if I were a marriage and family life coordinator in a in a diocese, starting a group like this is a simple step that we could take, that proclaims by its existence, that this is the church's teaching about marriage and family. That marriage is permanent, marriage is a permanent covenant. And the people who are standing for their marriage are a very powerful witness to that truth. And so, any attention that we can call to those people, I think is something very positive. And I love it that y'all wear your wedding rings. I love it, that you never use the term ex-spouse. Because that term drives me crazy too. Because it's not true. There's no such thing. It’s not like my late husband, you could say my late husband who's dead, that means he's dead. But things like that, they add up and they have an impact that there's something bigger here than my immediate comfort and my immediate pleasure. That we have we have another, another home and other kingdom.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

That's beautiful. Thank You.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Oh, well, Bai do you have any parting words for us?

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

If you know anyone who's in a marriage crisis, do everything you can to encourage them to get the right kind of help.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Yes. Don't be one of those people that says, Oh, honey, you deserve to be happy get out. Unless you really know what's going on. Yeah. Encourage them anyway.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Oh, get out can mean, I have a legitimate reason for temporary separation of spouses. Because I have this serious problem.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right.

Mrs. Bai MacFarlane

Home, is healing and reconciling. The goal is not to run them over and over divorce court.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

That's right. And if you treat the innocent and the guilty in the same way, who benefits from that? The guilty gets off scot free and the innocent, are harmed by doing that kind of thing. So, that's parting word from Bai MacFarlane. If you're a Roman Catholic and you're in a situation where you are being petitioned for an annulment that you do not want, and you want to contest it, and you want to defend your marriage as best you can. And before the tribunal, Bai is a person who can really be a lot of help to you, and whether you're Catholic or not, if you believe in the sanctity of marriage. This aspect of defending marriage is extremely important. And I hope that you'll get in touch with Bai and her network of friends because she's got a number of networks —I think you can tell— networks of Catholics and non-Catholics alike who are committed to the idea of one man, one woman for life. I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Thank you so much for being my guest today Bai. And thank you all for watching.



How Unbiased are Facebook "Fact-Checkers?"

James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues. His research on wide-ranging topics—including abortion, healthcare, sex trafficking, taxes, gun control, pollution, energy, global warming, and the national debt—has been cited by universities, think tanks, major media outlets, and government entities at local, state and national levels. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and has worked as a designer of jet aircraft engines, a technical sales professional, and chief engineer of a firm that customizes helicopters. He is the author of Rational Conclusions, a book evidencing factual support for the Bible across a broad array of academic disciplines.


Topics discussed in this episode of the Dr. J Show include:

  • Beware the Fact-Checkers!
    • common sophomoric errors of the Fact Checkers
    • left-leaning Fact Checkers
    • Facebook cherry-picks its fact checkers
  • Studies that control for negative consequences in order to gain biased conclusions (for example: study of lesbian parents that controlled for alcoholism, which has a higher incidence of occurring in lesbian parents
  • Differences between JustFacts.com and JustFactsDaily.com
  • Voter Fraud exposed: 16% of non-citizens illegally vote

Readings & Resources


Exposing Clergy Sexual Abuse Cover-Up: THE McCarrick Report

Phil Lawler is the editor of Catholic World News, the first English-language Catholic news service operating on the internet, which he founded in 1995. CWN provides daily headline news coverage for the Catholic Culture site, where Phil Lawler also offers regular analysis and commentary.

Phil attended Harvard College and did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before entering a career in journalism. He has previously served as Director of Studies for the Heritage Foundation, as editor of Crisis Magazine, and as editor of the international monthly magazine Catholic World Report. Transcript provided below.


Lawler is the author or editor of ten books on political and religious topics. His essays, book reviews, and editorial columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad. A pro-life activist and veteran of many political campaigns, Phil was himself a candidate for the US Senate in 2000, running against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Married since 1979 to Leila Marie Lawler, Phil is the father of 7 children, grandfather of 9, and a Red Sox fan.

Topics discussed is this episode of The Dr. J Show include:

  • the McCarrick Report: questions left unanswered. Discussed was McCarrick's history of sexual assult and grooming (and the many warnings passed along to the Vatican), how Pope Francis lifted Pope Benedict's restrictions on McCarrick, how Archbishop Vigano's warnings about McCarrick were ignored, and how McCarrick functioned as an unofficial global ambassador for the Vatican amid all of this
  • Pope Francis' advocating homosexual "civil unions"
  • Archbishop Gomez' premature congrats to Joe Biden
  • how predators "groom" potential victims and con them
  • Pope Francis' "gutting" of Pope John Paul II's Pontifical Institute for The Family
  • how conforming to the world only loses the credibility of Christians
  • Pope Francis' compromise and secret deal with the Chinese communists over Church treatment there

Readings & Resources

Transcript

Dr. Morse: Hi everyone, I’m Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute. Thank you so much for joining me today on this episode of the Dr. J Show my guest today is Catholic journalist Phil Lawler. You can read all about his bio in the notes to this video. And I want to say a special word to some of our followers here. First of all we're going to be talking about issues relating to clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, so this is not an episode for young ears. So, keep that in mind be as you turn it on.

And I want to also emphasize why we're talking about something that's it's going to seem like Catholic inside baseball to a lot of you guys because I know not everybody's Catholic, but here's why we're doing this: as you know the Ruth Institute is an interfaith international coalition to defend the family and build a civilization of love, we're combating the sexual revolution all day long, and one of the big factors in the success of the sexual revolution has been the Catholic Church's failure to confront it and so that's why what happens in the Catholic Church turns out to be important to everybody.

The second reason we're doing this is that sexual abuse has turned out to become an issue that we deal with at the Ruth Institute. When I started the Ruth Institute in 2008, I never thought I’d be dealing with this kind of topic, but I’ve come to see that it really is an important aspect of how the sexual revolution has harmed people because this ideology disarms victims of sexual abuse, and it empowers and emboldens predators, and so therefore it's become part of our mission to deal with that.

I’m also going to mention to you when we're recording this no matter when you may come in to watch it you should know we're recording this on November 12, 2020. We still don't know who the president of the United States is, and the McCarrick Report was just issued two days ago and so we also still don't know very much about Theodore McCarrick and what he's been up to. So if you listen to this a year ago a year from now a lot of those issues, hopefully, will be resolved in one way or another but this is the context in which we're having this particular conversation.

Phillip Lawler thank you so much for being my guest on the Dr. J Show.

Phillip Lawler: Well it's my pleasure to be with you on your birthday

Dr. J: oh well thank you that's very kind. So, um, there have been so many issues that have been happening in the Church recently that are that are on people's minds that are troubling people. One of them is the recent statement that the Pope made that Pope Francis allegedly sort of made about same-sex unions, civil unions for same-sex couples, and this was the thing that put in my mind well I should really talk to Phil about this. So what do you think about what can you say about that statement the little controversy that um that sprung up around that film that was made.

 

PL: Well it wasn't you know it wasn't a mistake. We learned after the fact that this was the film was sort of patched together from comments that the Pope had made earlier and that there was at least arguably some, uh, confusion in his mind or in the minds of his handlers as to when how this would be used, but then the day after it was released the filmmaker was given an award and the presentation was in the Vatican gardens. Now that to me, that is a pretty clear indication that somebody at the Vatican had a very good idea that this film would be used for purposes of furthering the homosexual agenda, of suggesting that the Pope was changing what the Church taught about, uh, homosexual unions, and of course the Pope wasn't changing Church doctrine, he can't change Church doctrine.

 

Dr. J.: Right

 

PL: But he was certainly throwing open that doctrine to questions he was certainly providing an opportunity for journalists around the world, who don't know the Catholic Church so well, to say that the doctrine is changing. And it's one of so many incidents with Pope Francis that I just can't write it off to happenstance or, or, to you know misunderstanding they all the misunderstandings seem to go in the same direction. And at some point you have to tell yourself this isn't misunderstanding this is intentional.

Dr. J: That's right and then the an additional thing that took place that's not about Pope Francis but about the hierarchy here in America, uh, was Archbishop Gomez made a statement um congratulating Joe Biden as the next president of the United States and at the time he made that statement the election still hadn't been resolved and so it, it, made it sound like he was, well I what do you think of that statement? What do you think of Archbishop Gomez's statement? The Ruth Institute has made a statement about it. We've reacted we have reacted to it. But what did you make of that statement?

PL: Well the first thing that I would say is there was no need for Archbishop Gomez to say anything.

Dr. J: Exactly! Exactly! He could have kept his mouth shut!

PL: So why did he say something?

Dr. J.: That's right!

PL: and why there's really only one logical answer to that question. He said it because he wanted to carry favor with man he assumes it's going to be the next president.

Dr. J: mm-hmm

PL: and why, right?

Dr. J.: Right. So, so, he's, and when we made our statement about it we basically, we, we did not assign any motive to him we didn't speculate we just said you know this is unseemly to make this statement. It was incorrect to suggest that the Virgin Mary should, uh, to invoke the Virgin Mary that we may become a country that honors life and religious liberty, when we know perfectly well that that's not what Joe Biden has in mind. This was really unfortunate. And it's also unfair to the to the Catholics who live in states where the votes haven't been counted yet, you know, to ask people to, um, have reconciliation and brotherhood and forgiveness and stuff at that point, that's not that's not appropriate at that moment. At that moment those people have every right, uh, to insist on all the legal proceedings going through.

PL: Sure and you know even if the results had been clear at that point. I would question why such an anodyne statement?

Dr. J: Right.

PL: Biden has promised what amounts to soft persecution of the Catholic Church, to say nothing of what he's what he has promised in terms of legalizing abortion under all circumstances with taxpayer funding. And so you can acknowledge him if you want as the elected president once the votes are cast but certainly as a Catholic leader you should be saying we're in for a rough spell because that's just it's not a wild prediction, it's just a fact.

Dr. J.: Right, right. So let's turn now to the other big thing that happened recently which is the uh, release of the long-awaited McCarrick Report, so-called McCarrick Report, which was an investigation into the into Theodore McCarrick. Now before we get to the McCarrick Report, it seems to me there was something a little odd about the procedure by which he was laicized and I I’m not a canon lawyer so I don't understand, and I don't watch the Vatican all that much so I don't know exactly. but they swept, they kind of swept him away without going through some of the procedures. Am I, am I remembering that correctly?

PL: I think you are! I’m also not a canon lawyer, and to be honest with you, at some point I checked out, because the whole mess is so unattractive. I don't like to pay attention to all the details but I believe you're right there was not a canonical trial

Dr. J.: That's it that's the word I was looking for, right which would have brought forward more evidence and and specific kinds of evidence and so on that that was my understanding

PL: Right

Dr. J: Okay so we may or may not use this little exchange if neither of us is sure, we can't verify it no we don't then we don't need to go there but I thought I had read it in your columns

 

PL: Yes

 

Dr. J: okay okay we'll do a little investigation and then father mark can just take this little corner of it. Um so, so tell us what, what was your reaction to the McCarrick Report, Phil?

PL: Well someone asked me yesterday was I surprised and I said “No.” Or rather, they asked me, “Was it what I expected?” and I said “Yes, it was what I expected.” What I expected was a sort of bland, very lengthy report that would avoid all the tough questions and that's pretty much what we got. We got a report that gave a lot of details, uh, that we didn't know before, but did not give the important, did not even address, the really important questions that were brought up by McCarrick’s, uh, case by the scandal that he was involved in. To me the two important questions were first: how did he rise through the ranks who helped him?

Dr. J.: Right!

PL: Who helped him?

Dr. J: Yeah.

PL: How did he influence policy at the Vatican and the Church in this country, and who helped him there and how was he influenced? You know who, who are bishops now because of McCarrick because, frankly, I want to be on the lookout for them that's never addressed

Dr. J.: Yes, yes. And I’ve read about a third of it so far, um, and, and you're right there's lots and lots of detail about his career and the, the paperwork, the official paperwork describing who, um, not so much who nominated him but the Holy Father was considering him for “x”, uh, for this See or that See, and then here are the letters that came in. So there's all the all these official papers are now publicly available so I suppose that's something. But yeah there's all these reports of his all of his accomplishments, and all the countries he's been to, and I’m thinking what is this? Is this his vitae? I mean are we are we canonizing this guy? I mean why are we talking about all the countries he went to and how great he was? You know I found that a little bit jarring to be honest, why that was in there. But anyway you're right the, um, beyond that paperwork there are a lot still a lot of questions.

PL: A lot of questions. There are a lot of salacious details

Dr. J.: Right

PL: a lot of stomach-turning details about just how he went about grooming young men

 

Dr. J.: Yes

PL: and bedding young men and sort of intimidating them, which is of course abuse even if they're adults. And, uh, taking advantage of his position as archbishop to, uh, molest seminarians and all of that we knew, but the details are the sort of things that that titillate, readers, you know, and might distract readers from the questions those readers really should be asking.

Dr. J.: That's right. That's right. Which are the ones that you mentioned

PL: Right

Dr. J.: Who was, who, um, enabled his rise, and who did he, uh, benefit afterwards. Not a not a word of that. Not a word of that. In fact, you know, looking at those networks is something that that could be done in a systematic manner if you ask yourself, “Well who did he ordain?” It seems like there was a line in there about different people that he, uh, had consecrated. You could use it, wouldn't be too hard to find out who he consecrated.

PL: That's one thing but it doesn't tell you who he promoted in private conversations

 

Dr. J.: That's right

 

PL: There's an awful lot of paperwork in this report, as you say, this documentation, but there's the problem is that so much of what goes on. Uh, so much of what should have gone on is private conversation and for instance, the one of the questions that the report does at least address is who knew what about him and when, but it relies exclusively, or almost exclusively, on what's on the written record.

Dr. J: That's right

PL: Well I knew about his shenanigans about 20 years ago, but I never wrote anything about it because I never had any hard evidence. But I knew about it because it was all over the grapevine and, uh, if I knew about it, a lot of other people knew about it. The fact that they didn't write down anything about it doesn't tell me they didn't know.

Dr. J.: That's right. That's right. In fact what they did write down suggests that they, they, they knew something but I think you said this in your column, if they knew this, why promote the guy? You know? This is um, this is, there were plenty of red flags there, right? So what's your thought about why they promoted him?

PL: That's to me one of the really intriguing questions why did they promote him he had red flags. There were these rumors, even if the rumors weren't true, it would be prudent to say, “Well we don't know if it's true, but there are lots of candidates for advancement to become a bishop or archbishop or Cardinal.” Why take the one who has this cloud over his head? and why was he…see that's one of the questions that's not

Dr. J.: That’s right. That’s right. yeah and when you sit there and start to think well what are some possible reasons? I can't think of any that are really good reasons, you know? I mean you can think of blackmail, or influence, or money, or you know. You can think of all kinds of things but I, I can't really think of a good reason you know? He could have been he could have been a bishop there in New Jersey. He didn't have to be promoted to D.C. Now what do you make of the fact it was Cardinal O’Connor who, more or less, blocked him from New York from becoming the, um, the prelate of New York, which I thought was pretty interesting. What do you make of that Phil?

PL: I was delighted to learn that. That was news to me. That's, that's one of the tidbits that I did not know and I knew Cardinal O’Connor. I had a soft spot in my heart for him. uh, and I was delighted to hear that he was the one, one of the few who raised the flood the red flag and informed the Vatican that this man had problems and would not be an appropriate archbishop of New York or Chicago or Washington. He was finally overruled but he was fighting the good fight there.

Dr. J.: Yes, yes that was that that was news to me too. Now another thing in the in the category of news/non-news, um, was the way that some of the headline writers so far have been trying to spin this thing as, “Oh it all happened on John Paul's watch.” There's all this detail about who John Paul asked and all the letters to John Paul and so on and so forth. So, but we knew that already. I mean, there's nothing, and as far as that material is concerned about John Paul or Benedict, there really isn't anything new that I could see. Phil did you see anything there about Pope John Paul or Benedict?

PL: There was, there was something new about Pope John Paul and it raised more questions to me than it answered because we already knew obviously we knew it was Pope John Paul who appointed him, McCarrick, as archbishop of Washington in, uh, what was it 2002, uh, was that right or was it 2000?

Dr. J.: It was earlier than that it was earlier than that because, remember when the Dallas Charter came out he was already arch…wasn't he already archbishop? And they put him in front of the camera that's another

PL: That's right

Dr. J: That's another there's another issue there right there but anyway the thing about John Paul that we didn't know share that.

PL: Yeah, well what I didn't know at least was that John Paul overrode, overrode a decision by the Congregation for Bishops. At that point the Congregation for Bishops which is the, uh, Vatican agency that helps the Pope, ultimately the Pope appoints a bishop, but it's the Congregation for Bishops that does the selection and presents candidates for his approval. And the congregation had decided that McCarrick was not an appropriate archbishop of Washington and Pope John Paul overrode them. Now immediately, you ask why did he do that

 

Dr. J.: Right

PL: and you plow through this report and you see that, uh, the Vatican had been informed about the rumors about McCarrick and the reports, and the mounting evidence of miss sexual misconduct. We don't know how much of that information got to Pope John Paul. We do know that Pope John Paul, having seen how communist propaganda artists would smear Catholic clerics with this sort of accusation, he was skeptical about accusations against Catholic priests and that's an unfortunate truth and it's come out many times that he just slow to pick up on, on what he should have, but when the information against McCarrick came to Rome, uh, McCarrick made a plea. He was obviously campaigning

Dr. J: Yes, yes.

PL: That letter was really something

Dr J.: Yeah tell people about that!

PL: Yeah well he made, he wrote a letter, and he insisted he had never had sexual relations with anyone.

Dr. J.: That sounded like Bill Clinton. That sentence sounded straight out of Bill Clinton, didn't it?

PL: Well they were friends and

Dr. J.: Oh yeah, ooh.

PL: and McCarrick was he was a very successful con man. He was very convincing. He conned a lot of people

Dr. J: Right, right.

PL: but what's intriguing to me is he wrote to the Pope a lot. He was a Cardinal. Cardinals write to the Pope. He wrote to the Pope a lot, that came out in the report too, frequently long letters, uh, self-promoting in this case he didn't write to Pope John Paul he wrote to Pope John Paul's private secretary now Cardinal Dziwisz and we don't know how much of what went to Cardinal Dziwisz, got through to Pope John Paul. All we know is that he concluded, he the Pope, concluded that the rumors against McCarrick were false. At that time there was no hard evidence. There was a lot of soft evidence, a lot of circumstantial evidence. We don't know how much of it got to the Pope, but maybe it was portrayed to him as nothing more than rumors.

Dr. J.: Right

PL: and that's a sort of thing he would reject. We don't know, in any case, was he at fault here? I would say, frankly, yes

Dr. J.: Yes.

PL: He made a mistake and this isn't the only mistake he made on sex abuse issues. I mean most famously, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Maciel, Maciel was also a man with who was leading a double life. Pope John Paul apparently never believed it and guess what? Father Maciel was very friendly with Cardinal Dziwisz. So I don't know how much to blame Cardinal Dziwisz, how much to blame Pope John Paul? Anyway there's the history. He, nobody's perfect.

Dr. J.: Right, right. But, but here's the thing about the whole spin cycle that's going on, and I just want to point this out because Phil and I, listen people. Phil and I are going to be talking a lot about what's not in this report okay and so one thing that's not in this report Phil is any new hard evidence that John Paul knew. There, and believe me, if there was hard evidence that John Paul knew, they would, it would, that would be all over the paper! That'd be all over the report, okay? So they got nothing. They got there's, nothing new in a sense, uh, on John Paul or Benedict. There's nothing new on them, but nothing, you agree with that? You could…

PL: Let me amplify on that point because it's a good one. I think this report was written, the way it was crafted, it gave journalists who don't know, who have not been following this as we have, it gave them an opportunity to say oh it's all John Paul's fault.

Dr. J.: right

PL: and I don't think that's entirely a mistake. I think they’re,

Dr. J.: right

PL: They’re deflecting they're deflecting attention from Pope Francis. The other thing I want to say is it really doesn't ring true to say, “Oh you can't blame Pope Francis because he didn't have, the Vatican didn't have any hard evidence. It's all the fault of this other Pope 20 years earlier when there was much less evidence.” So come on.

Dr. J.: Right

PL: If there was a lot of evidence in 2000 and Pope John Paul made a mistake, which I will accept

Dr. J.: Yeah

PL: Don't tell me Pope Francis is innocent because there's so much more evidence that came to him.

Dr. J.: Right. So let's talk about that aspect of it because this this I think it will be interesting to people all across the religious spectrum, is how should people interpret the news around this report and the news around, uh, clergy sex abuse and who’s, who’s the good guys, who's the bad guys. It turns out I don't think there's any real super good guys, um, but this the report is being spun in a particular way to downgrade the importance of John Paul II’s pontificate, um, and to upgrade the importance of Pope Francis's pontificate.

PL: Right

Dr. J.: Okay and so if, if you would, say a little bit about that because this term “deflection” is an important term, but there's a there's a larger, um, um inter inside the Church conflict that's at play here that people might not be aware of. So tell people about that a bit, Phil.

PL: Well yeah there's a conflict between um the supporters of Pope Francis and the supporters of previous Popes who are appalled by what Pope Francis has done

Dr. J.: yeah

PL: and if you are, uh, at this point, if you're supporting, it's, it's a really, it's a sick situation from a Catholic perspective, you know? That, that it's so easy for people to start choosing sides one Pope from another.

Dr. J.: Right

PL: I mean we never did this before. We never said, “Oh this, I’m on Pope Benedict's side. I’m not on Pope John Paul's side.” because they were on the same side.

Dr J.: That's right where they belong they were on the correct side, they were on the side of Christ and his Church, in the deposit of faith.

PL: Right and even other previous Popes who, who you might have been unhappy with some of the way some of their policies, you never thought of it as an opposition.

Dr. J: Right.

PL: I certainly never did. I thought of it as well, “This one has, has more, uh, liberal leanings but we're on the same team” and it's been very um, disconcerting and discouraging, I think, for a lot of people to see. Uh, Pope Francis and his supporters fairly openly questioning the ideas of their predecessors.

Dr. J: Yes, all the way down to, and including removing Pope John Paul II’s name off of institutions that he founded to, to promote certain aspects. I’m thinking of the institute for, for family life, or you you, you tell people some of these institutes that they've removed.

PL: Well yeah I mean the institute that what is it the, uh, ins, now you've got me wondering the Pontifical Institute for the Family

Dr. J: Yes, I think that's what it's called.

PL: Uh, which as you say Pope John Paul founded and Pope Francis got it.

Dr. J.: right, right

PL: Essentially removed everybody and put in his own people who have a very different outlook on what's important for the family. Uh, and rather than emphasizing questions of family integrity, marriage, and defense of human life, they're focusing instead on questions like climate change.

Dr. J.: Right, right which will be which that dichotomy between traditional Catholic sexual morality on the one hand, and sort of you know what you might call trendy liberal issues on the other hand and saying these are all life issues, uh, and so therefore, uh, we're gonna talk about our life issues you guys you know you can kind of go over there but, but that's not, that doesn't really count. That dichotomy is very familiar to American Catholics because we see that all day long in our in our Church here right,

PL: Right

Dr. J.: and I also want to say to Ruth Institute followers who may be new to this kind of controversy the, the institute that John Paul started was to promote his, uh, particular innovative ways of teaching the ancient teaching of the Church: the, theology of the body and many of the insights that he acquired in his pastoral and Philosophical works before he was ever even a bishop. And that's very powerful work. We've interviewed a few people, um, who have some expertise in the, Theology of the Body, as well as some Thomist, uh, scholars and so on so you know you may be familiar with some of that work. So that John Paul was really trying to get the Church engaged with the modern world to try to confront some of these toxic things that you know, that he foresaw a long time ago, were going to be bigger and bigger problems. And so for, for Pope Francis essentially to come along and gut those institutions, it's a very significant um, what shall we say, um, strategic loss, uh, in the culture wars to, to have that happen. It's like somebody took out an ammunition dump or something, you know, that that this is a potential source of firepower, um, and it's now it's now been captured by the enemy you know? You could you could put it that way.

PL: In fact, I’d say that that's, that's the overarching problem that I see and for your non-Catholic, uh, viewers that I would say the, the overarching problem that I’ve tried to expose in the Catholic Church is this willingness to play by the rules of the secular culture. To try to make nice with the secular culture rather than to confront the culture and the idea, I understand the idea behind it, is the idea is oh then it will be easier to evangelize and that idea turns out to be wrong. Because when the Church, and now I’m speaking of any Christian body, when the Church conforms itself to the secular culture it's no longer influencing the culture, that you know, the Church should define the culture that's where the word culture comes from, from cult. And if the Church is rather adhering to the culture it loses all its influence. You, you try to, uh, you try to make yourself more palatable to the secular world by conforming and you think that that way you'll have more influence and you have less influence and less integrity.

Dr. J.: I think that's right and again I think our non-Catholic friends can relate to that because there are numerous examples of evangelical pastors who have, you know, somehow recanted their views and said, “well I’ve grown on gay marriage” or “I’ve grown on abortion”, “I’ve grown on this topic” and, basically, they've been captured. Those are like resources that the enemy has taken into his camp and are no longer really available, uh, to do what needs to be done so the, the we have our own our institutions have been corrupted, the Churches that are congregational Churches where there's kind of one guy and a leader and that kind of thing, um, the individuals get corrupted, you know, and kind of picked off one by one. For us, for us, and for the Anglicans and for the Lutherans, you know, is it's the Church structures and institutions that that become corrupted. But I’d like to get back to the to the McCarrick Report and let's talk about a few other things that you think are missing or misleading. One thing that jumped out at me is that there was a statement at the beginning that he was never an official envoy, or he was never an official, um, representative of the Vatican to foreign countries, and yet I thought he'd been all over the world and I thought he went and did, did this deal with the Vatican deal with, with China. Tell us something about that. It does, this looked like, I, I didn't understand what I was being told there that he never represented the Vatican. What is that about?

PL: The only way to look at that is that it's lawyerly language. He was never an official Vatican diplomat. He was he was never traveling to another country with a portfolio from the Vatican saying, “This is the official representative of the Vatican.” He was, however, traveling to other countries, including China with the blessing of the Vatican secretary of State. He was telling them about his talks with government leaders in other countries. He was briefing them and being briefed by them. So to say he was never an official diplomatic representative of the Vatican is just really an attempt to, again, to deflect responsibility. He was he was an unofficial that diplomat, okay? Is you know, is that good enough?

Dr. J.: Right, right, right, right, and, and that brings us to one of the points about Pope Benedict versus Pope Francis; that Pope Benedict, you know, you can say he should have done more, and you you'd be right, he probably should have done more, but what he did do was undone by Pope Francis. So spell that out for people a little bit, because this is this is really interesting point.

PL: Well it was undone by Pope Francis, but to be fair it was undone before Pope Francis came along.

Dr. J.: Okay tell people about that, Phil. Let's start from the beginning. Let's start from the beginning. Benedict becomes Pope in 2005 and he's got, you guys, have you ever had to clean up someone else's mess? Okay, Pope, just picture this Pope Benedict becomes, Joseph Ratzinger—world-class scholar and intellect—becomes head of the Catholic Church, which is a mess, right? And now this dear scholar is supposed to do something about it. So what did he do in 2005 or around that period of time? What happened, Phil?

PL: Well one of the things he had to do fairly early on is, uh, Cardinal McCarrick was turning 75 years old and, uh, under canon law a 75 year old bishop is supposed to submit his resignation and the Pope is free either to accept it or not and McCarrick went to Rome with his resignation and of course, uh, with his self-promotion, and he persuaded Benedict to let him stay on. About within a few months Benedict said, “Wait a minute!” he had heard more in the interim. He'd been filled in on the stories about McCarrick and he said, “I want his resignation now.” As I recall that was in November. The resignation was announced the next May. So that that tells you something about the clout that McCarrick had that he was able to postpone you know, to, to work with the Congregation for Bishops, to postpone the acceptance of his own resignation. Then, once he had resigned, and the evidence of his misconduct did continue to pile up, Pope Benedict sent a message through the Congregation for Bishops that he wanted a McCarrick to withdraw from public life. McCarrick got that, uh, request or directive. It was not formal, unfortunately, it was informal. He was asked to do it, uh, and he said, “Oh yeah, I will do whatever the Pope wants but of course there's this important thing that I have to do, and then there's the speech that I’ve already agreed to give, and then there's the tour of the Southeast Asia that I’ve already committed to. So you understand, I'll do those things.” And he was given permission by the Vatican, this, you know the second-tier Vatican bureaucrats. So, um, this is McCarrick we're talking about, this is a self-promoter, a world traveler, a mover, and shaker, and fundraiser, and within a matter of months, he was back to his usual schedule; just globe-trotting, making all sorts of public appearances. He, the directive from Pope Benedict was essentially a dead letter.

Dr. J: Wasn't there something though, where somebody used it to keep him out of something that had to do with seminarians?

PL: Yes

Dr. J: It seems like it did get involved. The fact, the fact that that thing existed meant that somebody could invoke it if they wanted to

PL: Yes

Dr. J: And which wasn't very often but somebody did. Tell that, little,

PL: Yeah, it was, unless I’m mistaken, it was Cardinal Wuerl in Washington, his successor, uh, who was advised not to have him at an event for seminarians. It would be unseemly, particularly because the controversy involved his molesting seminarians. So, as you say, yes, there was clear indication that people knew that he was acting, he was supposedly under restrictions and yet nobody was enforcing those restrictions. And the entire hierarchy was cooperating with McCarrick. How many of them knew he was defying the Pope? I don't know some of them apparently did. The Congregation for Bishops did, and this is another one of those question marks. Why is it that he was able to get away with defying the Pope's wishes, because there were people who knew about it. There were people in the Congregation for Bishops. There are people in the Secretariat of State. There was the Apostolic Nuncio, which is the equivalent of the Pope's ambassador in Washington. They all knew about these restrictions. None of them enforced it.

Dr. J.: So then bring us up to the, um, to the Pope Francis Pontificate and the character whose name we haven't met mentioned yet but will be familiar to many people and that's Archbishop Vígano. Um, where, where does Archbishop Vígano fit into the next phase of the story.

PL: Archbishop Vígano, first of all he, he shows up earlier before, uh, Pope Francis when he was working in the Secretariat of State and he twice, twice blew the whistle. He twice called attention to the potential for scandal with McCarrick and was ignored or, you know, brushed aside

Dr. J: Right, right

PL: Then he was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio in Washington and he got to Washington and there he was in the same city with McCarrick who was busily ignoring the Pope's directives and Vígano knew about those directives and I have to say he did not enforce them either. He a few times mentioned them. It's not clear how far he went to try to enforce them to try to get McCarrick back out of public view. Uh, and then there's a large chunk of this McCarrick Report is devoted to impugning Archbishop Vígano's character, to suggesting that he was dishonest when he made his shocking public statement a couple of years ago and said that Pope Francis was aware of this, Pope Francis revived McCarrick’s career, Pope Francis undid what Benedict had done. Uh, It's intriguing to me that this report has one real bad guy, and that one real bad guy is the whistleblower.

Dr. J.: Yeah

PL: And that really tells you everything you need to know about what his report is about.

Dr. J.: Right, right um and so, so bring people up to date with the with the timeline at when Pope Francis became Pope. This is when Vígano had his conversation with the Pope that he recounted in his very first letter. Do they dissect that conversation at all in the in the McCarrick Report?

PL: No, they don't even talk about that. They, they say that that conversation there's no record, no written record of it.

Dr. J.: I believe that that's total, of course. Why would there be?

PL: Right

Dr. J.: Vígano never claimed there was I mean that would be crazy, yeah.

PL: Right. They say it's disputed, Pope Francis doesn't remember it, uh, so it's, it's his word against Archbishop Vígano’s, uh, and the report essentially is giving us to believe that Archbishop Vígano’s account is not accurate and that therefore the Pope knew nothing. It is however, it is, uh, there is a little tidbit stuck into the report that um Cardinal Becciu, who was the sub, the deputy secretary of state at that time, twice spoke with Pope Francis about McCarrick and expressed concern about him. And again there's no record of that, uh, other than Becciu's recollection and again the Pope says he doesn't remember so the, there are at least four different occasions when an Archbishop by his account told Pope Francis about this problem and each time Pope Francis says he doesn't remember it.

Dr. J.: And add to that the point you made earlier, which is that all the evidence that had already accumulated about him that was still already available and what Pope Francis did essentially was remove what the, the even the very nominal restrictions that Benedict had put on him. That all went away, and as far as I know.

PL: Yeah

Dr. J.: Now how did that happen? Was that was that something official, or was that just another de facto kind of thing? What, how did that

PL: Well see there was nothing there never was anything official enough to do

Dr. J.: That's the problem

PL: Yeah, but I mean Pope Francis was clearly friendly with McCarrick, was aware of his work as a diplomat, as a as an unofficial diplomat in China and elsewhere, uh, was in contact with him. So you know while Benedict was Pope, McCarrick was running around the world, uh, but he was not getting one-on-one recognition from the Pope. When Francis came into power he did and

Dr. J. What do you mean by one-on-one recognition from the Pope?

PL: Well I mean other Vatican officials were dealing with him, Pope Benedict was not singling him out. Pope Benedict himself never violated his own directives in other words he told bennett, he told McCarrick to retire to pub, private life and he did not encourage him in his public dealings. uh, Francis did.

Dr. J.: and so let's talk about the, uh, the, the other elephant in the room as far as I’m concerned which is the China deal, uh, the, there's been some negotiation between the Vatican and the Chinese communist government, and there are a whole bunch of unanswered questions about it. What we do know about it is that the Church in China is facing more restrictions and more persecution than ever before and, uh, the Cardinal Zen um has spoken out very, very clearly about this. There's no doubt that the, the guy closest to the situation is 100% convinced the situation is far worse, uh, than it was before. Phil tell people some of the unanswered questions about that.

PL: Well, I don't know where to begin

Dr. J.: All right, well we have a while, go ahead

PL: Because okay what are the questions about the deal with China? Well, I don't know what the deal with China is it's a secret. You know these the pact that the Vatican reached with the Beijing government has never been made public. We have been told that the essence of the deal is the, um, the Pope selects bishops, but that's the fig leaf. Still it's, just still the Pope's prerogative to select the bishops but he slept selects them from a group of candidates put forward by the Communist Party, so he's not really selecting them. Or, you know he's handed over, the Vatican has handed over that power, and at the same time the Vatican has, uh, persuaded a couple of bishops of the so-called underground Church who were loyal to Rome it persuaded them to resign to make room for bishops who were appointed, illicitly, by the communist regime. So, it's a real setback for the independence of the Church in China. At the same time that the government is tightening the screws on Church, you know taking out pictures of the Pope from Church halls and replacing them with pictures of the chairman of the Communist Party and you know requiring, uh, instead of hymns, singing patriotic songs and, uh, the underground Church is still under heavy pressure we have priests being arrested we have bishops who haven't been seen for several years. And none of this is getting better. So, we don't know we don't know what the deal is, but we do know that it's not helping the Catholics in China particularly the loyal Catholics.

Dr. J.: Yes, yes, that once again we've got a situation of secrecy and lack of transparency and so we're left to guess and read between the lines based on information that's publicly available, and of course what I would like to say to, to everyone watching this on pretty much any topic you can think of, when you're operating in an environment of secrecy and cover-up people's imaginations are going to go. They're going to go all over the place, and some of the places they're going to go are going to be wacky, and some of the places are going to be sound, but if you guys want to yell at us about being conspiracy theorists, listen to me, you have no one but yourself to blame. You need to come clean with a lot more stuff than we have here, and then, then you could say that guy's off the wall. At this point, you know if you're not sure the tie goes to the guy with the tinfoil hat. You know? I mean it just, they have just shredded their credibility with all of this kind of cover-up. So it's no wonder that people's minds go all over the place. So what Phil is saying, he's not accusing anybody, he's just saying the outcome is not good and the fact is we don't know what actually went down. Did the Vatican get something in return that's of benefit to the Vatican? We don't, well one would hope if you're doing a deal that you'd get some you get some benefit if you make all these sacrifices, but we have no idea what that actually is. Is that right Phil?

PL: I think it's right. Cardinal Perolin, the Secretary of State, has indicated that to him the great, uh, benefit of this deal is that the Church in China will be united, rather than split between the underground Church, loyal to Rome, and the official Church that's recognized by the government. Well, first of all that doesn't seem to be happening because the, the underground Church is still being harassed. But secondly actually it goes back to what I was saying earlier. Are you being united because you have, uh, you have accepted the restrictions? Are you being united in the mold of the Communist regime? Because that's no kind of, then you're not united with the worldwide Catholic Church, and then you're not doing your evangelical best

Dr. J.: Right, Right. Yeah you could you can be united by, uh, one side or the other capitulating and, and it looks like it being united, but it's not really the same thing as a genuine reconciliation or meeting of the minds or anything like that. Uh, it's the word “united” being used as a cover, uh, for for something else. Perhaps full-on surrender or perhaps full-on betrayal or fall you know we don't know.

PL: We don't know exactly right we don't have to argue, you can just agree with me.

Dr. J.: Yeah right, right. That ends the fight right there, yeah. Now there's another whole set of things within the McCarrick Report that I would like to call people's attention to. Because this is more in the wheelhouse of, of the Ruth Institute as we've come, as we normally you normally expect from us. Um, and, and, that is the accounts of how Cardinal McCarrick actually conducted himself with the seminarians, and with the young men and the teenage boys, and so on, and so forth. As I was reading some of those accounts, I realized this is full-on grooming. This is full on grooming, and I think, if you, if if you are a mom, or you're a therapist, or you're a teacher, you should really go look at the, at this report, and you know skim through Cardinal McCarrick’s accomplishments, and all the rest of it, and get to the part where they, where the witnesses are explaining, here's what he did, here's what he said, here's how I felt, I didn't know what to do, because it was so, so, entangling. That is grooming and people at that time, especially in the 1980’s, one lady who wrote in the 80’s, people didn't have the language for explaining what was happening there, but she knew something was wrong. Can you expound on that a little bit, Phil?

PL: Yeah, well as you say grooming is, we didn't have until very recently any hard evidence of actual molestation, but we did have lots of evidence of what you would call grooming.

Dr. J: Right

PL: And that's one of those things where there's a lot of smoke that you get you're going to find a fire. We had clear evidence that McCarrick would routinely have a bunch of seminarians, young men, adults I guess, legal adults but young men out to his beach house and then he would choose a handsome one and say you're gonna share my bed. Now, okay it is possible for two men to be in the same bed and nothing untoward goes on, but realistically if you don't see that as a problem, as a sign of, of something wrong, when it happens all the time, when, by the way alcohol is involved in most of these cases. It's all sorts of red flashing lights should be coming on in your head.

Dr. J.: So there's one particular person that I want to call attention to, and this is a person I had never heard of before as I read this. It looked at priest one and priest two, and so on, some of those stories I recognized from earlier accounts, and I’m pretty sure we could, if we searched the news, we could figure out who those people were, but we need not, their testimony is there and speaks for itself, but there was one person I had never heard of before and this is a person who is identified as mother number one and this is a woman who wrote anonymous letters, uh, to a variety of people in the, I want to say in the 1980’s, saying Monsignor McCarrick was behaving really strangely around her son, or her sons, she had a large Catholic family, her husband was devoted to the Church, couldn't possibly be believed that the priest would do anything wrong, but the mothers just like got these, like you said screaming red flags, “this is not right” and, and, she sat down, she describes how she sat and she went to the public library with the with the directory in front of her, and she hand wrote these letters to the various people that she thought would do something about it, and she was so um frightened, you know, and that no one would listen to her, and so on, and so forth. This woman, what she did was extremely important. Took a lot of courage. If she's watching, if somebody knows her, I would like to, just, you know, give her a high five and a thumbs up, and, and thank her for doing that. Because, um, your evidence, your testimony, turns out to be important. They must have found her. She must be alive, because it looks like they interviewed her and some of her sons. So, if they're out there, you know, thank you so much for what you di. But her account makes it clear, how the kind of con-man aspect of predators operates, right? Because it makes you afraid it makes you feel like you're the crazy one, you're, they're not going to believe you. Are you kidding me? You're a housewife! Are you kidding me? You know that kind that kind of whole vibe. Do you remember this lady do you remember this part of the,

PL: Oh absolutely, and it's very familiar because I’ve been tracking sexual abuse for 25 years or more, and I’ve seen so many cases like this, and I, I can think of, of some really heart-wrenching cases, but hers is one of them, and what's also heart-wrenching is to see in the report how various bishops responded to her, and their response, okay it's an anonymous accusation, so I, you can't convict anybody on the basis of an anonymous accusation, but you can get your antennae up, and instead what they were doing was, they were looking for ways to excuse McCarrick, you know, they were looking for explanations that would be benign, of his behavior. “Oh, it's probably a misunderstanding. Oh, you know, she didn't understand the real situation and we don't want to make poor Cardinal McCarrick, or archbishop McCarrick, we don't want to make him feel bad. We don't want to put him on the defensive.” All of the sympathy is for the predator and none for his prey.

Dr. J: That's right and that's, that's very, that is so common that is so common and, and, uh, the Ruth Institute earlier, earlier episodes of the Dr. J Show we've actually interviewed sex abuse survivors, whether they're clergy sex abuse, or other forms of sexual abuse, survivors. And the issue of having some, um, affirmation, or clarification, or a sense that justice has been done, that's extremely important to people. And many, most, of them don't have don't ever get to have that feeling that something's been done. We have one, Faith Hixley, and I don't know if you know Faith and her story, but her predator ended up in jail, and, and that really meant a lot to her. You know? That was really, really, important to her; that she was taken seriously and she had her day in court and, and all the rest of it. And so all of this woundedness is out there not being dealt with.

PL: And it's, of course, you don't want to convict somebody falsely,

Dr. J: Of course

PL: And there are false accusations out there. On the other hand, you have to have a balance. You have to at least honor the accusation enough to look into it

Dr. J.: Right

PL: Other than to dismiss it right away, and to you know, when you get the accusation if you're immediately looking for excuses rather than looking into the actual situation you're part of the problem.

Dr. J.: Right, right. And that I think is one sign that is a sign of some kind of growth or progress, is that there are more people who are willing to take the accusation seriously yes and that is very positive. Um, on the other hand there are people who do use these accusations for personal gain or political purposes, which we see in the public sphere all over the place, please see recent Supreme Court nomination processes. You know, um and, and I, I want to say to people who are making false accusations, you need to cut that crap out. You got to cut that out! I mean, that is so damaging to people who actually have been harmed, to pull up something that, or invent something in, in the way, that is sometimes done in the public square, that is really destructive, you know? I’m just, I just gotta, say that.

PL: Unfortunately, it's very hard to prove that an accusation is false.

Dr. J.: That's true.

PL: You almost always are going to be left with questions.

Dr. J.: That’s right. That’s right. And that's one reason why the, the early earlier tradition of the Church, or practice of the Church, was really very important in the earlier part of our social understanding, social norms. You don't, you don't leave people alone together, who, who shouldn't be left alone together. Having co-ed dorms, for crying out loud, you know? Did you really think that there'd never be a sexual assault case happening? Okay, maybe kicking all the boys out of the girls’ dorms at 10 pm, maybe that was a little harsh, you know? Many innocent games of checkers were not played. Many innocent movies were not watched, because you kicked the boys out of the dorm at 10 o'clock. On the other hand, there's a whole, you got a nice big bright line there, a very strong gate there that protects the vulnerable from, uh, from assault. Which then, in the end, if you're going to try to prove did happen, or did not happen, which is a huge problem on campuses, right? Did this guy really do it or, or, what, what, what really happened you can't prove it, but you can prove that he was in the dorm after 10 pm, that you could prove, and if he's not in the dorm after 10 pm, the number of assault cases is going to go down. You guys that's not a bad system when you think about it.

PL: Right, and I, I think of Vice President Pence. I understand he makes sure he's never alone with a woman other than his wife, well that sounds a little extreme, but guess what? There's no accusations against him.

Dr. J: That's right that's exactly right our board member Walter Hoye makes a point of never traveling without his wife, you know? I mean you always see the two of them together. Well, you know, yeah there you go, there you go. And, and within the Church there was aesthetical discipline that was expected of people, and um you know rules of conduct, and how you lived, and how you arranged your living space, and lots, and lots of things were in place to make it harder, not impossible, obviously, but to make it harder. Um yeah, and so, so those, those things served a purpose. Um Phil, is there any, are there any last words that you would like to say to our audience about these, uh, about these issues?

PL: Well, there's one other very big issue that we haven't touched on that I would like to mention

Dr. J.: Okay

PL: When we ask why was McCarrick so successful? Why did he keep getting promoted? One reason is he was a legendary fundraiser and he spread the money around. He gave cash gifts to other bishops, and that is written off in this report as customary. And I say if it is customary for bishops to give five-figure donations to each other as gifts in cash, that's a corrupt custom. That's a corrupt, that's a custom that is asking for trouble. It really has to stop.

Dr. J.: I agree with that. In fact, when you look through the history of these things, it's very common for financial cost, for financial corruption and sexual corruption to be very closely linked. You know. If you look at various cases there are cases of a homosexual bishop or priest giving lots of money to their boyfriend to their gay boyfriend and all of a sudden the, the parish is going what happened to all our money and you look into it and it went to the it went to the boyfriend or whatever it was. And, and that brings me to another question, uh, Phil that, uh, a lot of times I’m asked, and, maybe you're asked this too. “How can you guys stay in a Church that is so corrupt? Why are you hanging around this? Your Church is so corrupt, why are you still there?” Well how do you answer that question, Phil? I’m sure you hear that.

PL: Oh absolutely, uh, because it's my Church and I’m not leaving. I want the corrupt forces out, because the Church is, is the spotless bride of Christ and it's being polluted by these people, by the corruption, and I want them out. I’m not gonna, I wouldn't, I’m a cussed Irishman. I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of leaving.

Dr. J.: Now Phil that's not a very spiritual answer you're supposed to say something about how you love the Eucharist, and the fullness of the Catholic faith

PL: Of course, where else would I go?

Dr. J.: “Lord to whom shall we go?”

PL: Exactly, yeah.

Dr. J.: We do, we do feel that too, you know? One of the things that I sometimes tell our followers is that um that American Catholics, it's on us to deal with childhood sexual abuse because childhood sex sexual abuse it's all over the place. Our whole culture has been corrupted by the Sexual Revolution, by the sexual revolution, including the abuse of minors and the abuse of subordinates, and so on. It's everywhere. So do you think Hollywood is going to clean itself up. Do you think the politicians are going to clean themselves, up?

PL: No.

Dr. J.: The only people who love their institution and who love the truth enough to stay the course and fight it is us American Catholics, American Christians, we love our Church enough to fight for it, and that's why we're not leaving. We're going to fight for it and we welcome anybody who will help us.

PL: Exactly, yes.

Dr. J.: Phil Lawler, I think that's a good place to stop, let me, except for one more thing. I want you to tell people where they can connect with you. Tell people about your website and your various activities so that they can subscribe and get acquainted with you.

PL: Well I’m available every day or my material is available every day on Catholicculture.org and I do a news, news service, or really it's a news compilation service, there and as well as commentary, and then I’m also working these days at the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture at Thomas Moore College in New Hampshire that's another thing that you can find on the web at Thomas Moore College or the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture is a bit harder to deal with, but the two the two of those keep me busy.

Dr. J.: Very good thank you so much for being my guest today on the Dr. J Show thank you it's been a pleasure.




The Fake Science Used to Force Roe V. Wade

The pro-abortion legal team behind Roe built their case around the work of a particular scholar. The problem? He faked the science and made the numbers up. There weren't thousands of women dying of "coat hanger" abortions. They just needed you to believe there were. Roe v Wade was forced with fake science.

Dr. Hilgers is a Senior Medical Consultant in Obstetrics, Gynecology, Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at the Saint Paul VI Institute and is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine. He is Director of the Institute’s Academic Programs and its National Center for Procreative Health. He is board certified in obstetrics, and gynecology, gynecologic laser surgery and is a member of the Society of Reproductive Surgeons and the Society of Procreative Surgeons. He is the author of or contributor to hundreds of books, articles, and videos. He has also been the recipient of 17 special recognition awards and 7 research awards. He is the recipient of 3 honorary doctorates and was named the Physician of the Year by the Nebraska Family Council.

This episode is also available as an audio podcast: Listen
Readings and resources below cut.


Readings & Resources


The Truthful Research The LGBT Couldn't Tolerate

What do you do with research that doesn't match your opinion? You demonize it, of course. That shows how tolerant you are.

Dr. Mark Regnerus is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. The author of 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals, his research and scholarly essays have appeared in media outlets as diverse as Slate and First Things.

Dr. Regnerus' books include The Future of Christian Marriage (2020), Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage, and Monogamy (2017), Premarital Sex In America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying (2011), and Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion In The Lives of American Teenagers (2006). He and his wife Deeann have three children.

This episode is also available as an audio podcast: Listen

Topics discussed in this episode of the Dr. J Show include

  • Many "scientific" research studies are driven by, and corrupted by, an agenda.
  • LGBTQIA+ apologists masquerading as scientists resist admitting the baseline differences in parenting results.
  • LGBTQIA+ apologists add duplicate variables, because, if you keep adding variables, you can design your conclusion.
  • 55% of children living under same-sex couples experience parental separation.
  • There are professional pressures on researchers to ignore basic factors.
  • The promiscuity & relationship instability of the homosexual lifestyle inevitably leads to break-ups, which most harm children. Among homosexuals, "open" relationships of tolerated cheating is just "another way of loving."
  • SCOTUS' Obergefell decision did nothing to diminish sexual minority distress. The fact is, neither hormones nor surgery helps mental health issues in transgenders.
  • Even though a pro-trans study may be proven wrong, it still gets shared (cited) all around the world.
  • LGBTQIA+ social media trolls create scandals and/or crises to discredit studies that disprove the gay or trans agenda.
  • Homosexuals and transgenders do not like reality (the truths of this life). LGBTQIA+ people will always be at war with the truth, because they hate reality and want to change human nature.
  • Like many professions since the Sexual Revolution, to be accepted, sociologists must pay respects to false gods.
  • Parental stability is key for a child's academic and psychological progress. If we took children's rights seriously, the way we understand these things would be profoundly different.
  • Kids are entitled to a relationship with both their natural parents.

Readings & Resources

 


When Did Our Culture Begin To Die? Preserving Tradition and Family

John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, and international speaker. He is vice president and a member of the board of directors for the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), head of the TFP Commission for American studies, and a TFP Sedes Sapientiae Institute instructor. Additionally, Mr. Horvat is a member of the Association of Christian Economists, The Philadelphia Society, the National Association of Scholars, and the Catholic Writers Guild, as well as an Acton University participant.

Mr. Horvat's interview is also available as an audio podcast: Listen

Mr. Horvat is the author of the book Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go. Horvat's writings have appeared worldwide including in The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Post, American Thinker, TheBlaze, Crisis, FOX News, and The Washington Times, as well as other publications and websites. He gives more than 150 radio and TV interviews annually.

This episode of the Dr. J Show focuses on the connection between cultural and economic decline. Topics discussed include:

  • All political battles are moral battles. We are in a national moral crisis.
  • The Left seeks revolution--not just change, but the overthrow of the system. They don't want the American order.
  • Science separated from a moral foundation is technocratic tyranny.
  • Leadership is service.
  • To be yourself, you can't be obsessed with being "equal" with everybody else. The sexes are different, not "equal." Allowing everyone to develop themselves *unequally* is what makes society prosper. Resentment over our inequalities destroys societal harmony.
  • Societal order focuses on mutually helpful relationships.
  • Radically egalitarian societies always lead to disorder and bloodshed.
  • Past revolutions sought to destroy exterior structures (church, government, society), but the Sexual Revolution seeks to destroy internal stuctures (identity, logic, being): in other words, self-annihilation.

When he’s not writing, Mr. Horvat enjoys jogging and fencing. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

Readings & Resources

Action Items


History Professor Tells the Story of U.S. Sexual Ethics and Failures

Dr. Donald T. Critchlow is the American political history professor at Arizona State University. He is the author and editor of 25 books and is the founding editor of Journal of Policy History published by Cambridge University Press. He has appeared on C-Span, National Public Radio, BBC World News, and many talk radio programs. He has written for the Washington Post, the New York Observer, the New York Post, and National Review.

In this interview he narrates the events that have happened in America that led us to today. This story affects everyone.

Dr Critchlow's many books include:

  • In Defense Of Populism: Protest and American Democracy
  • Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade
  • Intended Consequences: Birth Control, Abortion, and The Federal Government In Modern America
  • When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics
  • The Conservative Ascendancy: How The Republican Right Rose To Power In Modern America
  • Takeover: How The Left's Quest For Social Justice Corrupted Liberalism,
  • Debating The American Conservative Movement

Abortion Causes Breast Cancer: the ABC Link

Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a breast cancer surgeon who practiced 33 years in New Jersey (1984-2017). A graduate of Georgetown School of Medicine, she is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and certified by the American Board of Surgery. She was surgical co-director of the Sanofi Breast Care Center at the Steeplechase Cancer Center in Somerville, New Jersey for 10 years.

Dr Lanfranchi is co-founder and president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, www.bcpinstitute.org, a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable corporation that has as its mission to educate lay and professional communities in the methods of risk reduction and prevention of breast cancer through research, publications, and lectures.

She was named a Castle Connelly Medical Ltd. New Jersey “Top Doc” for Women’s Health in Breast Surgery for the last 10 years she practiced. She is the published author of articles on the physiology and epidemiology of abortion breast cancer and hormonal contraceptive risks and informed consent. In her work with the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute over the past 20 years, she has traveled nationally and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, China, Korea, India and South Africa, speaking at medical schools, hospitals, universities, cancer organizations, local and national governmental bodies and the United Nations about breast cancer risks, including its association with induced abortion and hormonal contraceptives.


Readings & Resources


REMOVED BOOK! Talk with the Author of The Health Hazards of Homosexuality

Amazon banned this book, so we wanted to talk to the author and find out what was more important than the right to press.

Brian Camenker has been the Director of Mass Resistance from its founding. A leading pro-family activist organization, MassResistance provides the information and guidance people need to confront assaults on the traditional family, school children, and the moral foundation of society. Based in Massachusetts, they have supporters and activists in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and several foreign countries.

Brian Camenker has been interviewed by American Family Radio (with Sandy Rios, Janet Mefferd, Bryan Fischer, Charlie Butts), Michael Brown (Line of Fire), Cherilyn Bacon Eagar (Red State Talk Radio), RoadKill Radio (British Columbia), and dozens of other radio shows, TV stations, and newspapers around the world. The organization's articles have appeared in American Thinker, Salvo Magazine, BarbWire, LifeSiteNews, The Massachusetts News, and The Jewish Advocate. In earlier years (when the mainstream media still reported on these issues) we were featured in the NBC Nightly News, CNN, CBS, ABC Evening News, MSNBC, National Public Radio, New York Times, and Fox News (O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, and America’s Newsroom with Megyn Kelly).

More about MassResistance below the cut.


MassResistance was founded in 1995 as Parents’ Rights Coalition. Since we were in the first state to see homosexual activism in the schools and “gay marriage,” we thoroughly understood the threat of sexual radicalism, curtailed freedom of speech, uneven application of the law, judicial activism, and post-constitutional government. We adopted the name MassResistance in 2006 when our role as the true resistance to tyrannical government became clear.

Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr once described us as a “hardcore pro-family group.” We cover issues and events other conservative groups are afraid to touch. We don’t compromise with the Left. We provide analysis so the average person understands what’s really happening. And we give citizens and activists everywhere the tools and strategy to effectively confront the anti-family forces against them.

In contrast, rather than being truthful and confrontational, too many pro-family groups want to be seen as “reasonable" and “not extreme." They tend to "fight" by writing commentary, re-posting shocking articles, and putting up a polite opposition to the latest left-wing lunacy. So they don't accomplish much.

But MassResistance focuses on exposing the harsh truths. Our two published books provide examples: In 2011 we exposed former Governor Mitt Romney’s soft record towards homosexuality, along with his unconstitutional implementation of “gay marriage.” In 2017, we published The Health Hazards of Homosexuality, which has been called a tour de force by the president of the American College of Pediatricians.

www.massresistance.org


How Could Trump And Biden Both Be President? Could That Start a Civil War?

Today our own Communications Director Don Feder interviews Phillip Jauregui of the Judicial Action Group on Amy Coney Barrett filling the Supreme Court vacancy.

Phillip is an expert in constitutional law, judicial policy, and non-profit coalition building. He is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and all of Alabama's State and local courts.

Phillip worked in the judicial branch as law clerk to Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper, Sr., of the Alabama Supreme Court and also served the executive branch as Assistant Legal Advisor to Alabama Governor Fob James. Phillip founded the Judicial Action Group in 2006.

In the early 2000s, Phillip was an organizer for a new national grassroots education and lobbying organization, Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration, Inc. which was dedicated for the next generation to stopping judicial supremacy. He also served as Executive Director of the Judeo-Christian Council and as Coalition Builder for ValuesVoter.Org, which coordinated over fifty national ministries on a common legislative agenda: the “Values Voters Contract with Congress.”

Phillip has served as a guest host for talk radio shows, has appeared on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, CNN's Paula Zahn Show, CNBC's Capitol Report, ABC's Good Morning America, and other news programs. His legal work has been featured in various publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and others.

Phillip is a member of the Alliance Defense Fund (Honor Corps and Allied Attorney) and Prison Fellowship – Alabama Council and previously served on the Board of Directors with Sav-A-Lif. He is an alumnus of Samford University, Cumberland School of Law.

www.judicialactiongroup.org

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