Brett Kavanaugh and toxic masculinity: lessons from another all-male Jesuit high school

In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)In this Sept. 6, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

For those of us who lead or are associated with all-male Jesuit secondary schools in the United States, the saga of Brett Kavanaugh has been a roller coaster ride. His nomination to the Supreme Court was a high point; Judge Kavanaugh was expected to join Neil Gorsuch as one of two justices who graduated from the same all-male Jesuit high school, Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda, Md.

“The motto of my Jesuit high school was ‘men for others,’” Mr. Kavanaugh said when his nomination was announced on July 9. “I have tried to live that creed.”

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From that high, we have descended considerably, as Judge Kavanaugh now stands accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. That this alleged crime took place while he was a student at a Jesuit high school makes us uncomfortable if not embarrassed and horrified. Understandably, questions remain about the allegation, which Mr. Kavanaugh has denied. Yet our feelings about the nomination and our perspective about it can’t help but change in light of these revelations.

I have been privileged to witness the mission of all-male Jesuit education as a powerful and transforming force.

I am the president of Fordham Prep, a 177-year-old all-male Jesuit secondary school in the Bronx, N.Y., with nearly 1,000 current students and almost 12,000 living alumni. I have seen our students and graduates at their best and, unfortunately, at their worst. Still, I have been privileged to witness the mission of all-male Jesuit education—to develop men for others, who dedicate their lives to God’s greater glory—as a powerful and transforming force. I believe this force can challenge the prevailing cultural forces that pressure young men to adopt values that reflect a vastly different posture toward the more vulnerable members of our society and those who are different than themselves.

Each spring, members of our freshman class participate in a retreat, the final step in their formal initiation as Fordham Prep students. On the last night of the retreat, I celebrate a Mass that begins at 9 p.m. and usually does not end until after 10:30 p.m. It is such a long celebration because at the time of the homily I invite members of the class to come forward and share with everyone—approximately 250 of their classmates, faculty mentors and upper-class retreat leaders—a memory, image, relationship or story in which they find God’s presence. This invitation is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality, which teaches us to seek and find God in all things.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the term “toxic masculinity” has entered the popular lexicon.

For our freshmen, this is frequently an exhilarating concept. Up to this point in their lives, they may have experienced their faith as confined to formal prayers or within a church building, a religion class or some other explicitly religious ritual. The insight that God draws near to them in their ordinary experience—that God’s grace is as close to them as their parents’ love, their friends’ acceptance, their growing confidence in learning a new skill or discovering a new talent—is attractive, even as it may be new and exotic.

During the time allotted for the homily, I listen. I listen as the freshmen come up, one by one, and speak briefly about encountering God’s presence. In some cases, they tell their stories with tentative trepidation and vulnerability. They are frequently humorous and self-deprecating. Most often, they are eloquent, inspiring and moving as they talk to their classmates about finding God in the close bonds of family upon the death of a relative; or in the gratitude and love they have for their mothers or fathers; in the joy of a sibling returning home after military service; in the courage of a parent who left her home country to immigrate to the United States; in their triumph in overcoming a personal challenge; in their wonder in finding God in sickness or healing or in an encounter with the beauty of nature.

God’s Spirit helps our students see and know the dignity that resides within each person.

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the term “toxic masculinity” has entered the popular lexicon. Toxic masculinity, we are told, springs from a society that inculcates young men with a “bro mentality,” leaving them devoid of empathy, sensitivity and compassion and leading them—especially when they are together—to objectify and disrespect girls and women. Some have seen—rightly or wrongly—traces of this toxic mentality in Judge Kavanaugh’s quip in a 2015 speech that “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us, I think.”

I leave to the experts whether toxic masculinity or a “bro culture” is pervasive and at the root cause of young men’s disregard for the dignity of others. But I can tell you that the freshman retreat experience gives our students a powerful opportunity to experience and model virtues and values directly opposed to this phenomenon. As they listen to each other, I believe they grow in their capacity to enter into another’s pain and joy. In taking the risk to share their stories, they articulate their deepest emotions and identify their most cherished values. God’s Spirit truly animates the whole church. And, I believe, God’s Spirit helps our students see and know the dignity that resides within each person. What a powerful way to inoculate young men against the poison of toxic masculinity.

What happens at the freshman retreat, does not stay at freshman retreat. Our students’ vulnerability and openness to others with backgrounds and experiences vastly different from their own is something we administrators and teachers see every day in the classroom. And what happens during their four years at Fordham Prep, should not stay at Fordham Prep. That, in fact, is the whole point.

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A Fielder
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks to Fr Devron and to the editors for putting this together so quickly. It was just last night that the 2015 clip was aired of TV. Granted Judge Kavanaugh was clearly trying to tell a joke, and probably had no idea that his comment would now be interpreted in today’s context, but in saying that “What happens at Georgetown prep, stays at Georgetown prep” he has opened himself to more scrutiny. I must confess, my immediate reaction was visceral, and that this motto was reinforced by the faculty, not just adopted by adolescent school boys is not at all comforting.

While am also Jesuit educated, and am very proud to say that of my graduate degree, I can’t help to think that many Catholic High schools can survive today precisely because of the upper class familys who can actually afford private school tuition. That those same young people might have entitlement issues is not a reflection of the Society of Jesus, as much as their continued ministry to the wealthy and their children. But perhaps that is how the church impacts society, by recruiting the wealthy who will most likely be influential in the future. How many Jesuit priests were also farmed from the same high schools and colleges? In our era of scrutinizing clericalism, I cant help to think about these questions.

Carol Roddy
1 year 2 months ago

Father Devron, you fail to mention one other Georgetown Prep student: Mark Judge. His writings, interviews, and ideas over the years (at least as unearthed recently) sound like toxic masculinity at its worst. He was the other man in the room; his choice not to testify under oath is unfortunate.

Gail Sockwell-Thompson
1 year 2 months ago

When the character witness is more toxic than person being viewed, it’s time to take a closer look at the entire culture.

Gail Sockwell-Thompson
1 year 2 months ago

When the character witness is more toxic than person being viewed, it’s time to take a closer look at the entire culture.

Gail Sockwell-Thompson
1 year 2 months ago

When the character witness is more toxic than person being viewed, it’s time to take a closer look at the entire culture.

John Walton
1 year 2 months ago

This afternoon Diane Feinstein said that she would not vouch for the veracity of the allegation against Judge Kavanagh.

Talking about passing bad pennies, Xavier HS traded two holy cards and a busted rosary to get the Cardinal to move to Fordham Prep. That fits my definition of toxic masculinity.

Richard Barbieri
1 year 2 months ago

I am a graduate of Brooklyn Prep, a sadly defunct Jesuit high school. Nothing about the current controversy or the image of an elitist tradition sounds familiar to me. Most of us were seriously blue collar: the children of firemen, laborer, prison guards, etc. many of us went on to careers unimaginable before attending our school. We count two college presidents, many other educators, doctors, lawyers, etc. Our boys will be boys behavior consisted of close dancing to Johnny Mathis in someone’s living room with parents nearby. I believe there are more Jesuit schools like mine than the few “elitist” institutions getting all the publicity.

gay demars
1 year 2 months ago

Unfortunately Mr. O'Leary, Fordham Prep was brought into the issue as was Judge Kavanaugh. Thus, some sort of response should be expected much the same as Judge Kavanaugh should be expected to respond.
What I heard from the response was the way Fordham Prep, as well as other Jesuit institutions, teaches their young men. Those of us who have the privilege of being educated in this fashion recognize (eventually) the values which are instilled. No doubt, Judge Kavanaugh took away from Fordham Prep some life-long lessons. That, most likely, is exactly why he is where he is. However, Fordham Prep and All-Male Jesuit Catholic education can only teach in a manner that is acceptable. Defending that manner was the point as I read it.

Ross Warnell
1 year 2 months ago

Unfortunately this whole incident has a whole lot more to do with affluenza and a fast and loose attitude toward booze among Catholics than it does with Ignatian Spirituality.

Andrew Wolfe
1 year 2 months ago

Very disappointing prejudgment.

Eduardo Delgado
1 year 2 months ago

It seems like the author has made up his mind about Kavanaugh, which to me is disappointing. I don't think even the most naive parent or school administrator would expect that Catholic school kids always act in a Christlike manner. At least in their school they can be exposed to what it means to be "Christlike". The rest depends on the character of the individual. I want the truth to be known but even if the worst is true, it looks like Kavanaugh has matured into a faith-filled and loving adult and father. Maybe he learned something useful in high school to make that happen. His buddy however, not so much it seems.

Michael Johnson
1 year 2 months ago

I remain grossly stupefied at the defense proffered by Jesuits, Alumni, and Lay Faculty at the “goodness” of their institutions, plugging their “Finding God in All Things” and “Men (women now too) for others” mottos.

My first exposure to Jesuit education was through my father’s stories, a Regis grad. I was so enamored with his anecdotes that they, in part, influenced me to attend Creighton.

Aside from the many Nebraska and Iowa public school kids, a significant portion of my dorm was comprised of Marquette University High School, Creighton Prep, Regis, Saint Louis University High, and Rockhurst grads. As a public school attendee myself, I soon learned from these boys how little I understood about mischief and mayhem. My contributions of cow tipping and flaming shots of Everclear were benign in comparison.

I became a Jesuit myself and left nine years later, after begrudgingly accepting my own teaching stint as a Regent at MUHS, as an effort to live the vow of obedience.

During those years, and even now, I never once, ever, bought the holy conversion story akin to this article. These boys, and later men, had the capacity to be just as mean spirited and predatory as any of us were in the 80s. In fact, they were quite a bit better at it than I was, in all respects. Their all-male tutelage left them with a kind of pent up sexuality that was palpable. To be fair, I was no different, save perhaps a bit more naïve. But to suggest their high school experience prepared them for “service for others,” in a unique way to the exclusion of others, is an absolute absurdity. To think they were anything other than, for the most part, recipients of patriarchal privilege, is itself naïve.

One reason I left the Jesuits is because I realized the mission of serving privileged men was by and large and abject failure of the larger Jesuit mission of forming “men for others.” Most of them, I learned, were no different from other men, with the exception they usually had resources to make massive mistakes and still not face serious consequences, economically and socially.

I remain ensconced in a hermeneutics of suspicion about the Jesuit High School project. The mission, identity, formation, and maintenance of these institutions is not a counter-cultural phenomenon, but a culturally affirming process. The economic privilege narrative gets reified and sedimented, and becomes an objective reality. In fact, it remains their principal identity: Privileged men.

It’s no stretch, whatsoever, for me to believe Kavanaugh could have done what he did in the 80s. Hell, I observed and participated in the same predatory culture, even as I thought I too was enlightened. Kavanaugh’s quip, “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,” is not a mere trace of toxicity, but a celebration of it and the sociocultural privilege these men collectively inhabit. There’s an infrequent “crossing of borders,” like is suggested by the retreat experience, except as an exercise to assuage an overly critical superego. True conversion is rare. And it seems, from my lights, that Kavanaugh’s judicial history confirms that observation.

Joanne O'Neill
1 year 2 months ago

....True conversion is rare....sad. and disheartening.

Jenna Lyndly
1 year 2 months ago

@Johnson
BRAVO!
I grew up in proximity to 3 small towns. There was 1 public school+1Catholic school. The Catholic kids were as you noted, far more educated in the practice is sex, drinking, and above all, the meanness and degradation of others without remorse. The Catholic Church would shut down the major streets of the town for weddings and high schoolers would come from far and wide because of the known free-flowing liquor and thetotal lake of supervision. Because the Priest was in their midst more drunk than most, the Priest had sexual relationships with several nuns, a junior priest was also having a sexual relationship with the nuns. The students were quite aware if the sexual activities of the church leaders and largely dismissed their teachings, relying more on their examples.
Given what we now know about abuse, there was probably more sexual activity that was known, but not spoken of as freely.
I find Kavenaugh's statement, even if in jest, frightening, as these students knew they could get away with just about anything as long as they supported each other.
Clearly, given the broad abuse of the Professor, the Bros continue to support each other as they have done for many many years including the Priests who refused to do with the male abuse in their church community instead blaming the women+children .

John Walton
1 year 2 months ago

Nothing wrong with privilege when it is earned, not bestowed.

John Mack
1 year 2 months ago

And what about when it is inherited? And when one grows up in a circle of connections to power?

John Mack
1 year 2 months ago

Thank you for your insighful comment. i went o one of the Catholic Jesuit boys schools you mentio0n, and saw none of the crude behavior you too often see among Catholic high school boys. The Jesuits were in fact dedicated to serving the poor and emphasized social justice as much as individual piety and "ghood works," preferably showy, which now seem to be the emphasis. Nonetheless your observations are on target. Years ago one of my cousins, a devout Catholic, said she could never send her sons to the local Catholic high school because the kids at the school were crude and racist. Hersons and daughter went to public schools and are models spouses and parents.

Antoinette Carbone
1 year 2 months ago

Ah. I remember grandpa saying what goes on in this house stays in this house. It’s a common remark I guess. He never went to high school.

John Mack
1 year 2 months ago

As a graduate of an all male Jesuit high school, in a class that was admittedly skeptical in a lighthearted way about the claims and social benefit of religion, I like and dislike this article. It's a good thing to be "open" to people different from oneself (I suppose that includes females) but how much of a good thing is this "openness" and being "men for others" if it is accompanied by a politics that whose policies harm those not like themselves, such as the poor and those without heallh insurance and working parents who cannot afford a college education for their children and public school students by supporting vouchers to attend private schools including those that teach outright lies about science and history? This narrowing the focus to individual virtue and away from the responsibilities of distributive justice, as it was taught to me at my Jesuit high school, is not admirable, The author of this piece starts out with his delight that another Jesuit high school product, who, like the other one, has contempt for Catholic teaching on distributive justice, reveals the narrowness of the author's view.

Jenna Lyndly
1 year 2 months ago

@Mack
BRAVO!!!
Well said!!

Crystal Watson
1 year 2 months ago

Not surprising that someone who went to a Catholic boys school is, as a judge, an enemy of women's health care. The accusation of attempted rape made against him seems credible. The FBI should investigate the allegations. I doubt that will happen and instead Trump and the Republicans will force Kavanaug down our throats. The answer to that will be the devastation of the Republican party in the midterms.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

Crystal
You write: "Not surprising that someone who went to a Catholic buys school is ,as a judge, an enemy of women's health care."
You supply absolutely no factual evidence or study whatsoever to support this ridiculous assertion. Please provide your factual basis that demonstrates cause and effect for this allegation which at this point is nothing more than a cheap "hit and run" on both "boys schools" and "judges".

Jackie Garnett
1 year 2 months ago

I work with women who have been sexually abused. This woman spoke about her assault in therapy two different times. It took courage for her to come forward and expose her family and career to death threats and harassment.
Mr O’Leary you may see this as toxic for Kavanaugh, but why would she put herself through this pain and revictimization?
I attended an all girl Catholic school and know this is entirely possible. Rather than you trying to make excuses, this should be investigated and the parties questioned. This is a man who also lied twice, under oath! This is not a man of good moral character.

Mike Fitzpatrick
1 year 2 months ago

You can bet that Fr Devron wanted Kavanaugh to lose the nomination well before this political hit job was launched. It never happened and Dr Ford Phd. will never testify and put herself in jeopardy for the Democrat Party.

Roland Greystoke
1 year 2 months ago

I believe in evidence when it comes to criminal accusations.
So far, it's been she said-he said and then there is her unbelievable forgetting of pertinent facts. Now she refuses to testify. And Feinstein had the letter all through the committee hearings but failed to bring it forward. A first-year law school student could get this case thrown out of any court in the country. As for women's health rights, without the Right To Life, all other rights are meaningless.

Paul Johnston
1 year 1 month ago

Including the right to due process?

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

Paul
In American Jurisprudence and under the Constitution "Due Process" in criminal matters is a right of the accused not the accuser. The accused does not have to prove his innocence....he is innocent until proven guilty.

Vince Killoran
1 year 2 months ago

I think that Fordham Prep is on the right track. Adolescent masculinity is fraught with problems (heck, all masculinity is!). The homosocial world of an all-boys h.s. is particularly suspect in this regard. I teach at a small liberal arts college and fraternities account for the overwhelming number of sexual assault cases.

Edward Delaney
1 year 2 months ago

Hey Fr. Devron,

Did you ever consider that maybe Judge Kavanaugh is telling the truth and he did not attack Ms. Ford? Before you rush to judgement, shouldn't you consider hearing all the evidence?

Vince Killoran
1 year 2 months ago

This is important. But I read F. Devron as building his essay around Judge Kavanaugh's public comments and banter.

Kate Duncan
1 year 2 months ago

As a convert to the faith and victim of sexual abuse, I find this article interesting. A person who has been sexually abused either tells a friend or parent, or falls heavily into substance abuse or some other way of coping. I immediately went to my mother and she handled the situation. My first cousin, on the other hand, died on Christmas day of an overdose, after 40 years of coping with being molested by his basketball coach as a teenager. He told no one for years about the abuse and by the time it was known, he was a full-blown addict. I am curious to know how Mrs. Ford has coped with her assault.
Second, the most striking difference to my husband and I between our former and other faiths and Catholicism is that only the Catholic Church celebrates the dignity of the other per se. I know that Georgetown Prep, my children's Catholic highschool or any other Catholic school would not perpetuate a toxic sexuality in any form, for any reason. My high school was all girls, and we did harmless girl stuff that is none of the public's business, which is precisely what Hon Kavanaugh was referring to in the edited video posted by Sen Warren.
There are multiple issues at play in Kavanaugh's case, but at the end of the day, two facts are taken out of context and aimed at Kavanaugh: Mrs. Ford's night and alleged assault at a highschool party, and Mark Judge's off-color memoirs; the description of the assault started with rape and now is groping and "inadvertent" attempt to murder. Anyway, very unfortunate that the Church is dragged into this. I know what the Church teaches, and is has nothing to do with the case against Kavanaugh. We as human beings have free will but the Catholic Church cannot be blamed.

Pat Smith
1 year 2 months ago

One of the things that I learned from my Jesuit education at Marquette was the counsel of St Ignatius to always put as positive an interpretation on another's actions as possible. Certainly that goes for Judge Kavanaugh as well as his accuser. This article is such a rush to judgment. Doesn’t simple fairness require hearing out both of the people involved in this story?

I don’t know what happened 36 years ago. My suspicion is that Dr. Ford has not fabricated a story, but since she is so short on details, is it possible that she was drinking and has a foggy recollection? Might something have taken place, but might she be confused about the attacker? My understanding is that these kids went to different schools and did not know each other. Might it be possible that she has misidentified the attacker in a booze-influenced haze? When traumatic things have happened in my life, the details are etched into my memory. Not to remember time and place seems so odd. Again, I am forced to wonder why her recollection is not more specific. In saying all that, I am trying to put the best possible interpretation on the claims of both Kavanaugh and Ford until I am convinced otherwise.

What bothers me about this article is the prejudgment that the author has made. When he says, "our feelings about the nomination and our perspective about it can’t help but change in light of these revelations," he has used the term "revelations." They are not revelations, they are allegations. Please, let the process play out. Your title links Kavanaugh (“Brett Kavanaugh AND toxic masculinity). Please do not malign what may be an exemplary human life simply because some male culture may be toxic Please follow the counsel of Ignatius and allow BOTH Kavanaugh and Ford the best interpretation possible.

Kate Duncan
1 year 2 months ago

Yes they definitely went to different schools. I don't doubt either that she was harmed but this has all mushroomed into an accusation on Kavanaugh and the Church that is unfounded and reeks of the #metoo bullhorn.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

These comments are breathtaking in the middle of the current crisis in the church. Kavanaugh may well be innocent. He may well not be. Without a credible forensic investigation, which it appears will not happen, we will never know.

What I thought of, after finishing From Devron's piece, which was very mild, was

1) it is feasible an otherwise good boy did this, hich is consistent with what the current RCC crisis has taught us: otherwise good priests sexually abused children and harassed subordinates just as otherwise good community leaders sexually abused and harassed women and girls;

2) often the bad behavior of good kids is known only to a very few people (like Fr Devron and other principals of their schools and the targets or victims of the good boy's bad behavior);

3) these realities should give us pause before we reject out of hand an allegation against a candidate for a lifelong SCOTUS appointment;

4) adults and educators need to do what we can to strengthen our kids' better angels;

5) his school has a strategy which he believes does that;

6) perhaps it is unwise for ANYONE associated with any Catholic institution ---- and perhaps most especially any adult who is asociated with an institution that educates
children ----- to say, even jokingly, "what happens here, stays here". That means, in popular usage, we keep each other's secrets about bad behavior; our loyalty is to each other and not to the outside world, not to our other relationships and not to the rules of decent and moral behavior; we promise to make sure no one among us suffers any consequences for anything we do. Anybody reading the news about the RCC lately?

Again, Kavanaugh may be innocent and he may not be innocent.

Everything we know about the current crisis in the Church suggests that it could be true and intellectual honesty requires an acknowledgment of that reality.

AND we need to start building a world where children understand that the rules against interpersonal violence and cover ups are the rules against interpersonal violence and cover ups ---------- regardless of whether one is in Vegas, the Rectory, Georgetown Prep, a film studio, an office, a boss's car, etc.

Thank you, Fr Devron. You are responsible for the boys you are educating and mentoring, and I believe that is what you were enacting here. You didn't slander anyone; you didn't prejudge anyone. You acknowledged reality. That is a relief.

(And my goodness but a lot of commenters need to take a deep breath and look up the word "feminism" in the dictionary.)

Kate Duncan
1 year 2 months ago

Agreed, all your scenarios are plausible. Feminism is defined as "advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes." Give me a break, the last thing I want is to be a man or try to be a man. Anyway, the mainstream press is sensationalizing Kavanaugh's dilemma out of nothing, and unfortunately it reflects on the church.
Fr Devon, I'm sure you are a wonderful leader for the boys at Fordham Prep, but they will make mistakes sometimes! Thank you for your article.

Edward Delaney
1 year 2 months ago

Did Keith Ellison also attend a Jesuit Prep School?

Jerry OShea
1 year 2 months ago

Why is it that the Catholic faith can’t celebrate itself instead of being totally critical and tearing itself down. Kavanagh has an incredible record of achievement over 35 years. Shouldn’t that be a celebrated. The accuser has Vague recollection of something that she thinks happened. She should first testify and go under oath before there is a rush to judgement. Why do Catholics keep doing this. If there is a credible issue than I get it but to weigh in now, why?
As far as Fordham Prep goes I will be withdrawing my annual contribution. It was a wonderful school that was held in high regard. Weighing into politics and trying to tear down the faith is a bridge too far.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Jerry, your distress is really painful to read given the crisis in the Church right now. All over the country, the public records of much beloved Catholic leaders are being corrected to include the reality that these good and effective and pastoral leaders were ALSO abusers of children and adults.

We know now, beyond a shadow of doubt, that criminal sexual behaviour against children, women and subordinates is NOT incompatible with a lifetime of otherwise stellar good works.

One can arguably make the case that it has and will remain possible precisely because we want so very badly to believe it is NOT possible.

I don't know this priest; I didn't go to any Jesuit schools. But Fr Devron's job is to educate and mentor young into the world as we KNOW it is today. THAT is worth celebrating.

LuAnn O'Connell
1 year 2 months ago

While I know nothing about Jesuit schools, I do know that all of us are mixtures of good and evil and that young men who one day can talk about how they see God in a situation can also demean that image in how they treat another. This is also on exhibit in how several of the comments here about not condemning Kavanaugh are so quick to condemn Ms. Ford-- blame the victims--and exhibit such ignorance about what victims of sexual assault go through--as well as to accuse those they disagree with politically without evidence. People don't seem to want to know the truth about the situation but want to see the nomination go through.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Crux published are article today about a priest who, in a homily earlier this month, disclosed for the first time that he had been sexually abused by a priest 35 years ago.

Afterward, a 95 year old man told him he had been abused 65 years ago.

This is how it works.

https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2018/09/20/in-homily-priest-says-he-was-abused-hears-from-dozens-of-victims/

Dick Wolven
1 year 2 months ago

Based on this article and the preponderance of article comments that I have read, I need to take St Paul, St Augustine, and St Ignatius Loyola off the list. They were most certainly part of the Toxic Masculinity Culture. Obviously, in our new "No Redemption" world, they just cannot be tolerated. Zero Tolerance; Zero Redemption!

A Fielder
1 year 2 months ago

I don’t think there is any literary evidence that St Paul was a womanizer like Ignatius or exploited a mistress like Augustine. I am grateful that our society today is no longer held captive by the same social sins of previous eras. Allowing culture to become more influenced by the gospel means finding a way to convince people that the old ways are not good enough anymore. We should not encourage bad behavior by promoting the offenders. I don’t think that Judge Kavanaugh should lose his current job for some thing that may have happened when he was teenager, but there should be a higher bar for a lifetime appointment to SCOTUS.

Anthony Noble
1 year 2 months ago

How come so many of these comments are so mean spirited? Does this reflect Catholic values? None of us knows what happened. The FBI should do a background check to get the facts and then the Senate could vote with informed information. If the FBI can substantiate the therapist's records and the results of the polygraph test, then it can bolster the woman's statement.

As for Catholic all-boy schools, I attended a Prep. Seminary. The author of this article and some of the commentor are naive or do not see the larger picture. Good and evil and everything in between are everywhere. To say a public school or Catholic school results in better moral character is ridiculous. Sean Hannity of Fox fame was a classmate of mine - he is a font of lying, character assassination, and promotes many anti-Catholic positions. Some Church bishops have covered up clerical sexual abuse and other bishops have exposed such abuse. The Church is made up of humans with all the virtues and failings of all humans. We need to stop seeing things with a binary viewpoint and realized we all have the potential for good and evil and Catholics, as both individuals and as an institution, we need to strive to strengthen our relationship with God and follow His Will. We need to better ourselves and the Church as a whole to more fully bring God's kingdom on earth. Sniping at each other doesn't help in this process.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 2 months ago

This article reminds me of one of my favorite refrains, how well did our Catholic schools produce Catholics. Kavanaugh is still a church-goer, still holds Catholic belief. At this moment of contest with a woman who claims a sordid event in their teenage past, how do we interpret Kavanaugh’s denial?

Truth, memory, protection of image and character, politics, attainment, lifetime tenure, history-making – what prompts the denial? Here is the test of his Catholic education and his Catholic life. Ironically, does the contrast with the current revelations about Bishops, clergy, and religious provide a disturbing conclusion?

It certainly provides us with an opportunity for introspection into our own lives as Catholics.

Mary Lund
1 year 2 months ago

When the Hollywood Access tapes surfaced I brought up a discussion at our parish Sunday coffee. Every man at the table defended "locker talk." Granted, we are an older generation, but I am shocked to see so many on this list attacking Ms. Blasey Ford. We KNOW that highly-placed men across the board, from religious to athletes, have "acted badly." I would not be surprised if the accuser is correct. Others may come forward with other incidents. However, I will be surprised if Judge Kavanaugh is not confirmed. It is still a "man's world" where "his" trumps "hers."

Bill Mazzella
1 year 2 months ago

Mary, absolutely spot on. But the Tribe cannot hear.

Bill Mazzella
1 year 2 months ago

Mary Daly, a brilliant Catholic theologian who taught at the Jesuit Boston College for 33 years, would not let men speak in her classrooms. She is needed to stop the patriarchal boys in this thread.

Stuart Meisenzahl
1 year 1 month ago

Bill
In 1959 Father Donovan SJ admitted about seven women to the Boston College all male College Arts and Sciences / Class of 1963. A couple of Jesuit Theology teachers pointedly told these women that they would not teach them. Mary Daly was just as prejudiced as those ridiculous Jesuits. Ms Daly made have been brilliant but in this regard, like those Jesuits, she acted like a jerk
Your "patriarchal" reference nonsense has its antagonistic feminine analogue. Such references have become increasingly unhelpful and stupidly incendiary substitutes for the lack of facts to support an argument.

rose-ellen caminer
1 year 2 months ago

Senator Feinstein should have told Ford that unless she came forward, the committee could not ethically pursue her narrative. Any one can say any thing about anyone. Accusing Kavanaugh of assault and attempting to rape her, while wishing to remain anonymous, is unfair to Kavanaugh. If he did this as she said it happened, perhaps it was toxic Washington elitism; male children of the movers and shakers of the world' arrogant sense of entitlement, at play, but then so too it can be said that there was toxic arrogant feminist privilege at play in her wanting to remain anonymous when accusing a male of a serious crime against her. Either that or it was a political strategy.If she held a grudge against him all these years, she should have come forward with this the first time he was being vetted for a judgeship.The desire to remain anonymous stinks of a strategy to smear a political opponent. .All's fair in love and war? O.k., but the strategy to not want him to know his accuser,to smear him anonymously, has the taint of a political operative, a troll.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

These comments are an eye-opener. It seems that at least part of the Catholic community has learned little from the current crisis or, at very least, is having difficulty generalizing those lessons.

The abuse and harassment of children, women and subordinates in American society will continue because we continue to make it clear we want certain people to get away with it.

These comments make it clear that many are engaging in the same selective ethics that allowed Clinton's supporters to demonize his accusers.

This isn't partisan politics. For the record, I am a Democrat and I believe many DID sell out their ethics because they wanted him in his office and, even among progressive women and men, female accusers mattered less than partisan politics. The women who supported Kavanaugh and said "well, he never assaulted me so I can say categorically he never assaulted anyone else" have defied logic and abandoned all victims in favor of a man's success and the benefits they hope to accrue.

We are still willing to tip the balance of justice in favor of those whose leadership we believe will benefit us and our desires.

Which means we will continue to learn after the fact that powerful people have abused and harassed children, women and subordinates.

So much for any lasting lessons from the RCC crisis.

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