Self-appointed representatives

Self-appointed representatives

I still think it’s funny that a group of 500 liberal Catholics gathering in Indianapolis who have appointed themselves to speak on behalf of all the lay Catholics in the country is being treated by the major media as worthy of coverage and headlines. Voice of the Faithful represent no one but themselves.

Yesterday, they called for tougher laws against clergy who abuse others and bishops who protect them. Yeah, yeah, courageous. Most states have already begun drafting the laws. Never mind that it wasn’t lax laws that allowed this to happen, but lax enforcement of the laws. It’s hysterical that the way the article is written it appears to give credit to VOTF for states passing new laws on this.

They certainly know how to manipulate the media though. One sure way is to advance a dollar amount of staggering proprtions, whether or you can actually back that up with any hard data. To wit, they claimed that legal settlements in American dioceses could reach up to $3 billion. And where does this number come from? We’re not told. They could have pulled this out of thin air (or some other part of their anatomy.) Hey, I can do this too! “The direct costs from the Scandal could reach $50 billion.” Heck, it could reach $100 trillion. It’s not likely, but anything’s possible.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
22 comments
  • The MSM don’t have to be fooled into backing groups like VOTF, they do so willingly because they want the “liberal” agenda to triumph in the Catholic Church just like it did in so many dieing Protestant denominations.  For most reporters and editors, any group attacking the Church from the left are the good guys.  For some reason, orthodox Catholics seem make these guys very uncomfortable.

  • Self-appointed Representatives

    As opposed to D. Bettinelli, who was appointed by …

    ???

  • RP.

    Dom has never claimed to represent anyone but himself; the same cannot be said for VOTF.

  • In the 7/10/05 Globe article by Michael Paulson,“Catholic group asks openness of church”, Paulson quotes James Post as president of VOTF and remarks that VOTF”has determinedly avoided hot-button issues”. Apparently Paulson forgot that he printed an article in the Globe(5/11/04,p.B3)quoting James Post :“We look with dismay at bishops who openly criticize the homosexual community…” and “It is discouraging to see the archbishop using archdiocesan resources to run this campaign against gay marriage and to speak out in a way that is so divisive.”
    If that’s not becoming involved in a “hot-button issue”, then what is?

  • The $3 billion is reasonable. They church in America has already paid out over $1 billion. and the liability for current lawsuits in California alone is $2 billion. Because of the outrageous way Calfornia bishops handled the matter, plaintiffs are getting over $1 million each in current settlements amd there are over 700 plaintiffs. Those who have seen the court documents say the situation in Los Angeles is far worse than in Boston.

    But as the diocese of Venice, Florida, pointed out, this is just pennies on the dollar of total Church collections. Paying for sexual abuse is just a small part of the cost of doing business as usual.

    BTW, most states do need stronger child endangerment statutes and longer statutes of limiltations. and the Church hierarchy is fighting hard against proposed changes.

  • I don’t dispute that the settlement costs could reach $3 billion, but the Globe never asks VOTF where this figure comes from or how they arrive at it. Where is VOTF’s standing to determine this? What is their particular expertise?

    Likewise, I don’t disagree that many states need stronger laws, but for VOTF to claim that somehow they’re responsible for these efforts is laughable.

  • “Self-appointed Representatives

    As opposed to D. Bettinelli, who was appointed by …”???  Burke’s words.

    Not appointed, son . He was Annointed by the Roman Catholic Priest who Baptized Domenico Bettinelli as a babe, at the behest of his parents, into the Holy Roman Catholic Church. By that Baptism, subsequent First Confession, First Communion and Confirmation, Domenico now enjoys the full fruits of The Holy Mother Church of Rome, by the tacit authority of The See of Rome and The Universal Church!  Inasmuch as he neither cowers nor subjugates his Faith to current trends or fads does not exclude him from the full and active participation in The Holy Roman Catholic Church. An ‘inclusive church(sp)’ hears ALL voices. Not just you own.

  • BTW, most states do need stronger child endangerment statutes and longer statutes of limiltations.

    I agree, especially on the longer (or perhaps the elimination of) statues of limitations.

    and the Church hierarchy is fighting hard against proposed changes.

    Can you be a little more specific, Lee? Thanks!

  • “and the Church hierarchy is fighting hard against proposed changes.”

    —-is this the change that would eliminate the statute of limitations retrogressively? If it is, I can see where it would pose huge legal ramifications and conundrums and I can see not changing the laws of the past for those reasons. But the current law does need to be changed and I cannot see where the Church in the United States (or elsewhere) would have a problem with that. 

  • 1. Dom has never claimed to represent anyone but himself; the same cannot be said for VOTF.

    VOTF is a membership organization, which speaks on behalf of its members.

    2. An 2005-07-12 13:47:42
    You can say anything to me and if you’re within range of my hearing, I will “hear” you.  However, I’m under no obligation to respond.  You can say you’re my friend and proceed to attack me and what I stand for.  You’re not my friend, in spite of your claim to the contrary.

    Calling yourself “Voice of the ‘Faithful’” doesn’t make it so. 

  • RP,

    VOTF has, with its very title and many times during the course of “the situation” claimed to speak for the “people in the pews.”  You are either ignorant or dishonest, and in either case, you should shut up.

  • John,

    I was making a simple statement about the limits of what membership organizations can do. I am neither ignorant nor dishonest—in fact, I suspect I know a lot more than you do. In any event, I am above telling someone to shut up.

    Deacon Mike,

    That’s a strong and logical statement. Perhaps you should make it directly to VOTF.

  • No RP, VOTF is a membership organization that *claims* to speak for the Catholic laity in this country as I know from my ample experience on their message boards back when they first started up. 

    If you don’t like the results of your silly statement about Dom, perhaps you should stop trying to shift around and simply apologize for that statement. 

  •   Presumably we have statutes of limitations because valid and reliable fact-finding is compromised by the decay of witnesses’ memories and the loss of sundry documentation as occurs with the passage of time.  Perhaps these considerations have to be balanced by the loss to justice borne of the inhibitions youth have about reporting these sorts of assaults.  However, the severity of those inhibitions has proven quite mutable over the last generation, so the extent to which they would have to be balanced is by no means evident.

    I have very seldom seen accounts in the newspapers of accusations buttressed by contemporary medical records, diaries, or other documentation.  If this be true generally, a change in the statute of limitations would likely have scant effect, unless you propose to send people to prison based on uncorroborated accusations that have often lain unreported for periods of time measured in decades. 

    If what I read in the papers is correct, that prosecutor had to sweat to get a conviction of Paul Shanley.  Somehow I suspect there is not much low hanging fruit for grand juries in these cases. 

  • Art,

    I think that you make a lot of sense, but the real reason for changing this statute is, I suspect, civil and not criminal in nature.  Even the threat of a law suite seems to have the effect of shacking lots of cash loose from your friendly neighborhood chancery.

  • From Marietta Times July 9, 2005 (about Ohio)

    But many in the Roman Catholic Church do not support even extending the statute of limitations because they see it as unconstitutional. Bishops throughout Ohio have turned out against that provision of the bill, asking state legislators to remove it or vote against the bill if it?s included.

    Monsignor Gerald Calovini, director of communications with the Steubenville Diocese, has said the extension of the statute of limitations is unconstitutional and not protective of children. Calovini cited a 1981 case where the extension of limitations after they had already expired was ruled unconstitutional.

    He also said the provision does nothing to protect children from past or future abusers.

    ?The bishops are very much in favor of protecting children, and they?ve done that very clearly in our diocese,? Calovini has said. ?We?ve had a policy in effect since 1989 and that policy was revised and added to in 2003 with our new child protection policy.?

    Under the current proposal the statute of limitations would be extended in civil cases of child sexual abuse to 20 years after a victim turns 18, matching Ohio?s time limit for criminal statutes./p>

    Currently, the statute of limitations is two years past the age of 18, Jones said.

  •   An ex post facto extension of the statute of limitations may or may not be unconstitutional.  That is a question of positive law that the dioceses of Ohio may legitimately argue.

      Now, what would be the optimal statute of limitations in criminal cases and what would be in civil cases? 

  • John,

    I am not shifting around, my statements are accurate, and I have nothing to apologize for.

  • The statute of limitations is mostly for the administrative convenience of courts, who do not want to be bogged down by trials that are hard to resolve because of the passage of time. No state (as far as I know) has a statute of limitations for murder, and some states (such as Maryland and Kentucky) have no statute of limitations for felonies. Canada has no statute of limitations for felonies, which is why abusers there have been convicted after many years.

    There is nothing inherently unjust about trying a person for an old crime (despite the opinion of some Vatican jurists who think that natural justice demands that a criminal who goes undetected and unpunished for a certain period is then immune form all punishment).

  • There is nothing inherently unjust about trying a person for an old crime

    I neither stated nor implied that. 

    The statute of limitations is mostly for the administrative convenience of courts, who do not want to be bogged down by trials that are hard to resolve because of the passage of time.

    The statutes of limitations are acts of the legislatures, not the courts.  If the cases are hard to resolve, the possibility of error and an unjust resolution of the case is correspondingly increased, and that is more than an inconvenience.  The question at hand is a rough actuarial calculation as to when the risk of injustice borne of stale evidence exceeds the risk of injustice borne of a failure to prosecute.  I suspect am going to be waiting a long time before anyone emerges with a fully satisfying answer to that equation. 

     

  • Remember, the accused person or institution does NOT have to proof himself or itself innocent. The accuser has to prove him or it guilty. The longer the passage of time, the harder it is to establish guilt. Time always operates in favor of the defendant.

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