What Do Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick Have in Common?

COMMENTARY: To an unprecedented extent, the reigning secular religion of our time enables sexual abuse, disarms victims and empowers predators.
First published at the National Catholic Register, July 10, 2019. 
FROM L TO R: Jeffrey Epstein (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP; Theodore McCarrick (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Harvey Weinstein (David Shankbone/CC BY 3.0/Wikimedia Commons
Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick operate(d) in different sectors of society, have different marital statuses and sexual preferences and profess different religions. What do these disparate men have in common? A belief system that claims that sex is an entitlement. They operate according to the tenets of the most powerful ideology currently at work in the world: the ideology of the sexual revolution.

Epstein, the millionaire financier and admitted sex offender who pleaded not guilty July 9 to charges of sexual trafficking, allegedly got away with sickening crimes for a long time. But it would be a serious mistake to succumb to cynicism. “What do you expect? Wealthy guys like him have always gotten to do what they want. It is not fair to blame the sexual revolution for their abuses.”

That is, at best, a partial truth. The rich and powerful have always been able to buy their way out of problems that would crush an ordinary person. But the widespread acceptance of the sexual revolutionary ideology smooths their path. To an unprecedented extent, the reigning secular religion of our time enables sexual abuse, disarms victims and empowers predators.

“You don’t want to be a prude, do you?”

“You want to be ‘sex positive,’ don’t you?”

“Sex is nothing to feel guilty about.”

“You just have to take off your clothes and let him look at you. It is nothing be ashamed of.” (That’s one of Epstein’s contributions to the pick-up-line genre.)

“You were born this way.”

“God made you gay.”

Of course, the rich and powerful have always been able make promises to entice a sex partner into giving “consent.”

Harvey Weinstein

Hollywood mogul Weinstein promised his victims that he’d make them stars. Epstein offered modeling careers. McCarrick promised advancement in the Church. The sexual revolutionary ideology provides the predator added advantages, including aborting unwanted pregnancy and undermining nosy neighbors and other witnesses.

Epstein’s alleged network spanned the globe. It must have been supported and propped up by numerous people, some who actively participated and benefited. Others looked the other way, such as the superintendent of the apartment building where he housed his teenage “models” and the “modeling agency” staff and the pilots who flew his private jets that were fully decked out for his orgies.

The sexual revolution conveys the unmistakable message that everyone is entitled to do whatever they can get away with. Prosecutors say Epstein has three active U.S. passports and owns multiple jets and houses around the world, including his own private island. Witnesses and victims feared Epstein’s retaliation and blackmail. This is a man who appears to get away with a lot.

This ideology relieves people of nagging consciences. Epstein’s conscience is malformed, to put it mildly.

In 2011, he told the New York Post, “I’m not a sexual predator; I’m an ‘offender.’ It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.” He once allegedly received three 12-year-old girls as a birthday present. He doesn’t need an ideology that justifies or excuses his actions.

However, the sexual revolutionary ideology weakens the already vulnerable. The Miami Herald’s investigative report into Epstein’s activities showed:

Most of the girls came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care. Some had experienced troubles that belied their ages: They had parents and friends who committed suicide; mothers abused by husbands and boyfriends; fathers who molested and beat them. One girl had watched her stepfather strangle her 8-year-old stepbrother.

One of Epstein’s victims who was 14 when she was first recruited said, “We were stupid, poor children. We just wanted money for school clothes, for shoes. I remember wearing shoes too tight for three years in a row. We had no family and no guidance.”

Yes, rich and powerful men love this concept that sex is an entitlement.

The magisterium of the Catholic Church stands in direct opposition to the sexual revolution. The secular #MeToo movement is trying to combat sexual abuse. But the movement’s advocates do not seem to want to surrender the intellectual framework that enables it. They seem to be counting on a combination of legal action and periodic public shaming to stop predatory behavior. I believe this will never be enough. The power imbalances are too many and too severe.

The Catholic belief system tells us no one is entitled to sex. Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. Women and men are entitled to the love and loyalty of their spouses.

Every human person is entitled to be born as the result of an act of love between their mother and father. This act of love is an icon of the love of God and that God’s love is the ultimate source of everything that exists. All of Catholicism’s prohibitions (for which we are ridiculed) are aimed at protecting these positive values.

Yes, our belief system makes us Public Enemy No. 1 of the sexual revolutionaries. We are a big problem for those who believe they are entitled to unlimited child-free, problem-free, guilt-free sex. Not only do we tell them they are wrong, but also our belief system equalizes people. The poorest girl from an unknown family is encouraged and supported in refusing sex to any man of any station, in the same way a daughter of a billionaire would be encouraged likewise.

Faithful Catholics despise clerical sex abusers not only for their crimes, which are bad enough. We hold them in contempt because they disgrace the one philosophical system that has a prayer of finally combating this toxic ideological soup in which we are all swimming.

The Epstein Network, surrounded by enablers or those who turned a blind eye, sounds all too much like the network of clergy abusers. Society does not yet have a full accounting of either system. As faithful Catholics, we want the same kind of reckoning for both kinds of abuse. We want a full investigation of both Epstein and clerical abusers. We want punishment for the guilty and restitution for the victims. We want protection for the innocent and the whistleblowers.

Be not afraid, believers! We are on the right side of history on this issue.

Continue reading “What Do Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick Have in Common?”

Pope Emeritus Benedict Is Right: The Sexual Revolution Is Part of the Problem

Pope Emeritus Benedict Is Right: The Sexual Revolution Is Part of the Problem

So let’s be part of the solution. 

National Catholic Register, May 24, 2019.

Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote an extended essay on the clergy sex-abuse and cover-up scandal, where he cited the sexual revolution coming of age in Europe in 1968 as a contributing factor.

Some critical commentators thought Benedict’s attention to the sexual revolution was misplaced. Some, such as seasoned reporter and Vatican watcher Christopher Altieri, observed that the problem preceded the sexual revolution. Some say the problem is bigger than sexual morality. And to be perfectly honest, some want to say that the problem is anything but the sexual revolution and/or anything but homosexuality.

I’m willing to concede that clergy sexual abuse didn’t start in 1968 and that the clergy sexual-abuse crisis has many other important facets.

In spite of this, however, I maintain that the sexual revolution really is a significant factor. I will go further. We will not get a full grip on this problem until we confront the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution and the damage it has done.

And yet I fully sympathize with the desire to set it aside. Let me explain. Continue reading “Pope Emeritus Benedict Is Right: The Sexual Revolution Is Part of the Problem”

Memo to Bill Donohue: Now is not the moment.

Bill Donahue, of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has a post called “PENNSYLVANIA GRAND JURY REPORT DEBUNKED.” I will eventually read it and possibly comment on it. But I must say this before I do.

Even if I turn out to agree completely with his analysis, he is completely wrong to be talking about this at this moment. Here is why:

This is the Catholic moment to face facts, take our lumps, and make amends. We can talk about other people’s mistakes and problems after that.

Nearly 40 years of marriage has convinced me of this. If my husband tells me I did something that hurt him, that is exactly NOT the Continue reading “Memo to Bill Donohue: Now is not the moment.”

No Cardinal Cupich, the John Jay Report doesn’t make me feel any better.

Once again, members of the Catholic heirarchy are trying to convince us that priests living a homosexually active sex life are not particularly a problem in the current crisis. I’m here to say that the lay faithful are not going to be diverted by attempts to change the subject. Clergy living active homosexual lives are causing a lot of problems in the Church.
Cardinal Blaise Cupich stated in an interview with America magazine:

Continue reading “No Cardinal Cupich, the John Jay Report doesn’t make me feel any better.”

Cardinals Hurting Clergy: Speak for Yourself Cardinal Farrell

Do you receive the Ruth Institute newsletter? This is what you missed this week. Cardinal Farrell’s swipe at all priests really got my goat! Continue reading “Cardinals Hurting Clergy: Speak for Yourself Cardinal Farrell”

Question for my SSA (Same Sex Attracted) friends

Cardinal McCarrick, Prince of the Church

What do we call guys like Cardinal McCarrick? (Please, no smart aleck answers.)  Terminology is extremely important in the on-going discussion about how the Body of Christ should address same sex attraction. We need to steer clear of 2 different pitfalls.

  1. “Pedophilia abuse” vs. “homosexual abuse.”
  2. “Gay” vs. “same sex attracted” or some other term.

Regarding #1: Continue reading “Question for my SSA (Same Sex Attracted) friends”

Speak for Yourself, Cardinal Farrell

My latest at The Stream (July 20, 2018) 

Cardinal Farrell

I was always taught to respect the clergy. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Should criticism be necessary, let it be as gentle as possible. But what do we do when the clergy harm each other? Cardinal Kevin Farrell’s recent comments about priests lacking credibility for preparing couples for marriage amounts to an attack on every priest in Christendom. He makes an unnecessary criticism, in a harsh manner. Worst, his comments bring disrespect to the priestly office itself. A bit of thought, plus a brief look into the Cardinal’s background, may help explain his comments, wrongheaded though they are.

Cardinal Farrell’s Claims

Let’s review the Cardinal’s comments:

During an interview … Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, said that ‘priests are not the best people to train others for marriage.’

They have no credibility; they have never lived the experience; they may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day … they don’t have the experience.

Continue reading “Speak for Yourself, Cardinal Farrell”