Thursday, February 2, 2012

Christine Flowers' confused take on child rape

The Daily News columnist takes it to a new level today, trying to find an avenue through which she can praise the now-late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua while also coming to terms with two grand jury reports that suggest he covered up expansive child sex abuse by priests under his command. Here's the weirdest part of a weird column:
The truth is, Anthony Bevilacqua was no saint. If the grand-jury allegations are true and he transferred known sex offenders to other parishes instead of notifying the police that crimes were occurring on his watch, his conduct was criminal.

Stop right there, Christine, that's great. No need to elabora—
And yet, perhaps it was his sense of propriety - and redemption - that led him to shuffle priests as if they were chess pieces, believing that the interest of the church, the priests and the alleged victims would be better served by silence. It's a concept that doesn't carry much weight in a society that now rewards shouts and exhibitionists, and calls anything less than full exposure a "cover-up."
Oh, hell.

Maybe Bevilacqua really did believe that stuff. It does not redound to his credit.

The idea that child rape should be reported, so that authorities can prosecute it, is not the product of reality-show television culture—is not a sign that our society has become frivolous and flighty. It's an idea born of the idea that children are innocent, deserve our protection, and that forcing sex on them—or on anybody, child or not—is a criminal act, among the very worst acts it is possible to commit.

Child rape is against the law. It is also a sin.

There is nothing honorable about shielding priests from prosecution. There is nothing honorable about putting families at risk—families that rely on your authority and guidance!—in order to protect the interests of the church. And if a "sense of propriety" kept Bevilacqua from taking other, better, actions, then that "sense of propriety" was twisted into a criminal—evil—series of actions.

Flowers is so eager to stick it to liberals that she is sometimes incapable of simply calling a wrong thing wrong. She makes excuses for the cover-up of child rape. How sad. How wrong. So let's be clear: Anthony Bevilacqua died a disgraced man. That disgrace was well-deserved.


Elizabeth Collins said...

Good piece, Joel. I could not believe Flowers' column on Bevilacqua. I am so stunned by its hypocrisy (what else is new when it comes to Christine Flowers?) that I can hardly find words to discuss it. She kisses the man's ring (which smacks to me of sickening servility, and a truly misplaced understanding of the fact that this was just a regular man!) while she says in the same breath that he's not a saint, but he did bad things because he was trying to do good things. It's crazy. I have lived in Philly a bit longer than you, but while I like the kindness of most Philadelphians, I can't believe the DN publishes this hack, and I can't believe what a-holes most of the people who comment on the news boards are. Notice how they are not allowing any comments now?

Joel said...

I think if left the comments on on this piece, the web editors would spend their entire day removing abusive comments.

I've met Christine once, and she was personally gracious to me. So there's that. But her writing...oy.

Elizabeth Collins said...

She was horrible to me, so there's that (but it was via e-mail and her slandering me in her nasty column). The comments were so bad I got them removed. I know about nasty commentators on, but it seems somehow wrong to disallow comments on an entire subject.

Joel said...

Oh dear. I'm sorry you had that encounter with her.

I think at this point, just turns off comments on stuff they don't want to bother with. I can't tell that there's any guiding editorial policy behind which stories get comments and which don't. It's a confusing place.