Brett Kavanaugh and the true meaning of brotherhood

In this Sept. 4, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, file)

In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius implores us to bring to light things that are in the shadows. It is in the shadows, he notes, that sin, secrecy and shame find fertile ground. The news cycle of 2018 has brought the pain of countless people out of the shadows thanks to the truth-telling by brave survivors of sexual abuse.

The most recent revelations come from women accusing Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Christine Blasey Ford accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party while he was a student at the all-boys Jesuit high school, Georgetown Prep, my alma mater. On Sunday, a second woman came forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct by Mr. Kavanaugh that occured when he was a freshman at Yale.

Advertisement

I do not know if Mr. Kavanaugh is guilty, but his comment, made in a speech in 2015, that “what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,” even if made in jest, evidences a toxic understanding of what brotherhood entails.

To be any kind of brother is to be a consoler, counselor and friend.

My time at Georgetown Prep was the seed of my vocation as a Jesuit brother, though I did not know it at the time. It was there I learned that brotherhood meant service. I was taught to question social ills and think of creative responses to injustice. It is time to apply that same thinking to toxic brotherhood. Lucky for us, Jesus our brother models what this should look like: including the excluded, listening to those on the margins and washing each others’ feet.

I became a Jesuit brother because I wanted to be a companion to others: the excluded, the shunned, the shamed and the lonely. As brothers, we are companions on life’s journey in mutual relationship with those we walk alongside. Brothers are members of the laity, like religious sisters, who do not offer sacraments but rather our very selves. It is because of how we have been formed by the people of God that we know the importance of this role. Goodness springs from this filial relationship dynamic: honesty, fidelity, service, companionship and calling out the best in one another.

It is time to redefine and rebuild what brotherhood entails.

To be any kind of brother is to be a consoler, counselor and friend. It is because the nature of brotherhood is a relationship rooted in service that I find it so problematic to see the idea of brotherhood used as a cloak for privilege and secrecy. I am fully aware of the toxic side of false brotherhood. Decades of church leaders covering up sexual abuse, deadly hazing at fraternities, police closing ranks around their own after unjustified shootings of people of color, sexual assault against women in the military—these are examples of toxic brotherhood on a wide scale.

When unchecked, this secrecy can become abusive, giving rise to rituals and traditions that have nothing to do with God or building authentic community. This is the root of hazing: doing things one would not normally do in the name a false “brotherhood.” Brotherhood becomes code for exclusion and secrecy: “Don’t tell on us because it would look bad for the group, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?” The sense, either spoken or not, that “snitches get stitches” needs to be done away with in schools and workplaces and the church. This model of false brotherhood is loaded with silence and violence.

It is time to redefine and rebuild what brotherhood entails. Brotherhood in its true form is meant to foster community. But when that community seeks to preserve its own power and prestige, the result is a shadow culture where terrible things happen and no one speaks up. Combine this with privilege and alcohol, and it is a recipe for disaster shrouded in secrecy, isolation and self-protection: precisely the kind of shadow existence that St. Ignatius tells us to avoid.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Joan Sheridan
3 weeks ago

I think you are unaware how far the pro abortion people will go to keep a pro life judge off the Supreme Court.Judge Kavanaugh has already told us what he learned from the Jesuits "To be a man for others" and he tries to live that.

Jeff Johnston
3 weeks ago

What if he is guilty? It frightens me how morally bankrupt many in the pro-life movement have become. I expect such hypocrisy from Evangelicals, but have mostly seen a higher standard reflected by Catholics.

Vincent Couling
2 weeks 5 days ago

Indeed! If we are serious about investigating historical sex-abuse crimes, then Judge Brett Cavanaugh needs to be investigated by the FBI, and if found guilty, then he surely needs to be impeached.

Julie Swetnick accuses the Judge of rape ... https://heavy.com/news/2018/09/julie-swetnick/

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 5 days ago

And this just out - Kavanaugh was a member of organized crime in high school. Wait, it's worse, he is the head of a masonic cult. No, its worse, he is an alien come to kidnap our kids. Wait, its even worse. he is a warlock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcneKiUQWbc By any means necessary.

J Brookbank
2 weeks 5 days ago

THIS just out: a fourth accuser, from 1998. And THIS: two male college roommates who say, names attached, that he was an out of control drunk.

Vincent Couling
2 weeks 5 days ago

Oh, dreary!!! So you want a cover up? Of course you do! You want Kavanaugh on SCOTUS by any means necessary. No need to investigate a plethora of accusations ... it's all a liberal conspiracy ... and you can definitively prove this? How, precisely? By the feeling you have in your waters? If this were Cardinal Cupich or Pope Francis rather than Judge Cavanaugh methinks you would be positively screaming for an investigation (and probably for the first time since I've been reading your dreary posts, I'd be in agreement with you).

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 5 days ago

Oh Vincent - I actually think the latest accusation of gang rape, which is the only one that comes near to being a crime (of multiple parties - like the Duke Lacrosse case), should be investigated, as unlikely and extraordinary as it is. The FBI should get to interview Julie Swetnick. She was college age when she claims to have gone to over 10 high school parties where she says she knew gang rapes (of girls) went on. Knowing this, she goes to a party with the same high school sex ring and gets gang raped herself. This is a massive crime ring that there should be multiple witnesses for, dates and times for these parties, etc. Kavanaugh would have to be some amazing specimen to remain a virgin through all these parties and come first in his high school class and get into Yale. I believe this accusation is also a crime by Swetnick if it is proven false. Avenatti might face disbarment is this is proven false.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 6 days ago

"I think you are unaware how far the pro abortion people will go to keep a pro life judge off the" I think you are unaware of how far the anti-choice people will go to put a pro-birth judge on the bench. So far that they don't hesitate to consider someone who rapes, assaults, attacks, violates what it is to be human.

Stephanie Hampton
3 weeks ago

Thank you, Matthew. It is good to have a reminder that there are good young men such as yourself focused on service. Kavanaugh was not among these and appears to have focused on ambition instead. I hope that this teaches America Magazine to wait until the evidence is in before giving any politician a ringing endorsement as they did this miscreant. Using only one issue to filter candidates is proved wrong if it also comes with a multitude of sins which you only discover too late.

Jay Zamberlin
3 weeks ago

Oh, so ambition is a bad thing? There are the good people, and then there are the ambitious, like every doctor in the country, every architect, engineer, college professor. Was Justice Antonin Scalia, quite a devout Catholic, and a super legal mind, also "too ambitious? "

What "Katholik" rock did you people crawl out from under?

Kevin Fallon
3 weeks ago

Intelligent people make judgements based on facts. I only see slander in its worst form here because that is the only fact that is apparent. This is another example of the politification of morality.

Kathleen Duffy
2 weeks 5 days ago

Politics and morality have always gone hand in hand. This isn't something new. To pretend that we can separate the two is naive. Washington said it himself in his Farewell Address in 1796: “It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.” It is not the politicization of morality we should be concerned with, but our readiness to dismiss morality when it is not politically convenient.
How can you only see slander in these accusations? To suggest that this is some Democratic scheme is just sad and depraved. If we disregard Dr. Blasey Ford's and Ms. Ramirez's claims then we choose political party over human dignity.

I believe Dr. Blasey Ford and Ms. Ramirez. I do not see why a woman would lie about being touched, degraded, humiliated, and attacked in such a way. I know women have falsely accused before, but they are in the vast minority, and we shouldn't allow that fact, or party alignment, color our view of this situation. Over the past 20 years, only 2-10% of rape accusations are fake. Of course, that is 2-10% too many. But false accusations get a lot more attention than it deserves. Consider this: the British Home Office (unfortunately I couldn't find stats for the US — though I am sure they are comparable) reports that, of the 216 cases that were classified as false allegations, only six led to an arrest. Of those, only two had charges brought against them. Those two were found to be false. If you refuse to believe these women because they came forward so late, I hope you take some time to read up on abuse psychology, as well as the testimonials of women who have been sexually assaulted, to better understand why it is such an alarming number do not come forward sooner.

But despite this, and even though I believe these women, I am not saying you have to believe them, too. I am saying, however, that their accusations deserve a thorough investigation. We need to realize the weight of these accusations and treat them as a real possibility.

Imagine, for a moment, that you were held down by a man larger and stronger than you, overpowering you, then attempting to strip you of your clothing. Forcing his genitalia on you. Imagine for a moment the reality of that possibility. (And then, maybe, imagine coming forward about such an experience, and being told it was slander.)

The FACTS here do not point to slander. The fact is that Brett Kavanaugh might have assaulted two women. Is that possibility not concerning to you? The fact is that our politics are degrading reason. There is nothing intelligent about blindly dismissing assault allegations. It is our moral, and yes, political, obligation to see this through.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 6 days ago

"so ambition is a bad thing?" - Ambition is ambition. Ambition causes some to do as this Priest did and climb the ladder to serve. Ambition that causes one to climb so that you can lift others up is excellent. Ambition that causes you to step on or scramble over others, not as much.

JAMES BARRY
3 weeks ago

After seeing numerous references to the excerpt, I finally listened to the actual Kavanaugh speech which is referred to in the Brother Wooters article (see https://scholarship.law.edu/johnxxiii_lectures/2/ to find a recording). It is a real stretch to assert that it "evidences a toxic understanding of what brotherhood entails".

John Borgia
3 weeks ago

Thank you for pointing that out. Obviously the author did not take the time to do the research and listen to the speech.

Dionys Murphy
2 weeks 6 days ago

"“what happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,”" -- Not too hard to find. Protecting abuse, rape, misogyny and abuse for the sake of keeping secrecy is the very definition of a toxic understanding of what brotherhood entails.

Jim MacGregor
3 weeks ago

The author talks around the topic of "Brett Kavanaugh and the true meaning of brotherhood" with the emphasis on what that brotherhood means. If this is supposed to be an opinion piece, then I wold have expected the author to relate the one ("Brett Kavanaugh") to the other ("the true meaning of brotherhood"). On the other hand, if the author is truly not judgmental - one way or the other - about Judge Kavanaugh, then the article would have served us better in the paper waste at America.

William Bannon
3 weeks ago

Innuendo. Here is something to do instead rather than read innuendo. Go to corcept dot com. They make the abortion drug mifepristone. Click research...click publications. Go down past six cites and you will begin to see Kavanaugh’s accuser co authoring research on secondary uses of the abortifacient which combined with another drug is a fifty day killer. You will see “ Blasey, CM” six times in all the publications. The ny times silenced two of my letters on their refusal to make this connection between Dr. Blasey Ford and the success of mifepristone with an extensive mention of it. Check all large media...silence. My friends do not think Kavanaugh is good for pro life.....but no one except small websites are showing the conflict of interest regarding his main accuser.

Dick Wolven
3 weeks ago

Please do not start your articles with ...."The news cycle of 2018 has brought the pain of countless people out of the shadows thanks to the truth-telling by brave survivors of sexual abuse" ..... and then state ...."I do not know if Mr. Kavanaugh is guilty". (ESPN started this with Joe Paterno several years ago....."I do not know IF he is guilty, but IF he is...." the talking heads would say and then a 10 minute segment was dedicated to excoriating the guy...twice an hour, 24 hours a day until he blithered like an idiot. This is what every article I read is doing to Kavanaugh. Yours is no different. You assume the accuser is truth-telling and, therefore, Kavanaugh is lying. Aristotle and Ignatius would be ashamed of your logic.

John Mack
3 weeks ago

"What Kavanaugh appears to have been taught, as a young person, is that goodness is working at a soup kitchen or volunteering on a mission to a poorer country; it’s granted to other people as an act of charity. Meanwhile, less good behavior would be tolerated, as long as it happened under the veil of drunkenness, or as a joke. The Jesuit fathers would turn a blind eye to the yearbook, and U.S. senators would chuckle at frat-boy antics. In this world, high school doesn’t end when you’re eighteen; it’s a lifelong circle of mutual support, an in-crowd that protects itself." ... Emily Witt on Kavanaugh and the way the ruling class protects its own.

Peter Connor
3 weeks ago

I haven't read any comments except the one from Joan Sheridan and the reply by Jeff Johnson, so if I'm restating or redundant...mea culpa.

"To be any kind of brother is to be a consoler, counselor and friend." (Bro. Wooters)

In spite of what he did in high school and college, who says Judge Kavanaugh isn't those things, today? I served in public office for 20 years. I'd not have stood a chance had 'they checked me out' prior to my service. Many if not most of us do grow up. We put old behaviors aside. The potential shame that ensued some of our less than sterling adolescent behavior was instructive. We married, created family, held responsible positions, became active in our communities and churches. Yes, we may have said "What happens in......stays in....because some tapes of our revelry need not be billboards to our former selves.
Now, if Judge Kavanaugh's professional performance and record need to be sifted, sliced, diced, and pureed, then have at it. That's the stuff upon which the Senate should decide if he is worthy for being seating on the highest court in our Land.

Kathleen Duffy
2 weeks 5 days ago

The issue isn't if Judge Kavanaugh tried marijuana with some buddies or went on drinking binges, or did something embarrassing. If it were, we'd be on the same page — young people do things they're not proud of. Clearly, however, you do not realize the gravity of these accusations. Brett Kavanaugh might have held a woman down against her will and forced himself upon her. He might have exposed his genitals in the face of another woman, also without consent. We cannot accept these actions as boyish drunken escapades. Sexual assault is never excusable. Sexual assault strips the victim of their human dignity. It inflicts pain. How are you so ready to dismiss such actions? Would you really be okay with having someone who used their power to humiliate, take advantage of, sexualize, and hurt a more vulnerable person on the highest court in our Land? I cannot imagine a person who treats another in such a way has any understanding of justice. As you said, if Brett Kavanaugh did this, of course, he might have changed. But I would hope that as a changed man, if these allegations prove to be true, he would respond with honesty and integrity, realizing the implications of his actions. I would hope he would apologize and step down. Otherwise, he clearly hasn't changed.
This is an incredibly dangerous attitude to have, whether Kavanaugh is guilty or not. Teenagers — even children — are old enough to know that touching another person without permission is a violation. To impose one's self sexually on another person is a violation far worse. If we don't want to deal with the "tapes of our revelry" there's probably a reason why. It's probably because we did something bad. And if we are not willing to reckon with our former selves, then clearly our adolescent behavior wasn't so instructive; clearly, we are still children, hiding from the bad things we did, aware of, yet unwilling to face the consequences of our actions.

Thomas Albert
3 weeks ago

Wow...reading the comments here, I am struck by the judgmental, hateful comments made in the name of Jesus. I totally get the Scripture: Jesus wept...

Andrew Wolfe
3 weeks ago

It’s a disgrace to condemn a brother Catholic like this. It’s vain and disingenuous to cover with “I don’t know if he’s guilty” while using Kavanaugh to illustrate “toxic brotherhood.” It’s unworthy of a Jesuit.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 weeks ago

Brother Wooters
Show me a brothhood more tightly bound as a fraternity than the Jesuits.....a fraternity complete with steps required to be worthy to take a final vow of obedience to the Pope. Your lecture would be best internalized before it is applied to the laity.
Frankly I believe that the Church Crisis has become so fraught with deserved clerical embarrassment that the great pendulum now has swung to where the clerics now urge us to believe every allegation. This article is an exemplar of this new problem. In the process Brother Wooters subtly asks us to jettison the basic underpinning of our entire legal system embodied in the presumption of innocence.
The entire gist of this article and Fr Devrons companion article (replete with its headline "Toxic Masculinity") are of a single piece: Kavanaugh must prove he is not guilty.
Both articles use and abuse the word "toxic" ....here Brother Wooters uses "toxic brotherhood" as a springboard to tar and feather Judge Kavanaugh while like Pontius Pilate he claims that he passes no judgement on his guilt or innocence.
Brother Wooters and Father Devron both need a serious lesson in "the presumption of innocence"....what it means and how the burdens of corroboration and proof remain at all time on the accuser. Questions of the accusers and accused's genders have no bearing whatsoever on that fundamental principle. Allegations of sexual misconduct are not a category exempt from the presumption of innocence. Clerical sensitivity to their own dirty laundry should not infect other situations. There is no clerical redemption in hurling the subtle equivalent of Robespierre 's "J'accuse" with its concomitant requirement to prove one's innocence.

J Brookbank
3 weeks ago

Stuart, one need only read Kavanaugh's in-his-own-words yearbook entry to know that a Christian "brotherhood" was not the defining brotherhood experience of Kavanaugh high school years. Have you read about the woman who vouched for him, only to learn a few days later that he and his buddies humiliated her for posterity in their yearbook?

THAT is the brotherhood of which they consider themselves Alumni?

In his own words.

Never mind the sexual assault allegations.

This was a group of boys to warn your daughter about.

The Jesuits definitely have some things to answer for in this whole disgusting mess.

Attempting to do the right thing now is not one of them.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 6 days ago

J Brookbank
I have three daughters who grew up in Judge Kavanaugh's era; went to an all girls school;and dated guys from an all male jJesuit School (which I attended) . Based on my experience spanning 30 years of direct and indirect action with Jesuit High School students I can confidently tell you that your are all too presumptuous in your conclusions concerning those Jesuit High Schools fostering a brotherhood of self centered teenage predators.
The articles written by by Brother Wooters and Father Devron represent in large measure their own reaction to the problems within their own clerical ranks and the seeming need to be "with it". This "transference " is infecting multiple constituencies and represents a threat to the basic principles of justice upon which this country is founded. Your own presumptuous conclusions are blatant evidence of this problem

J Brookbank
2 weeks 6 days ago

Stuart, I commented on the contents of KAVANAUGH's self-composed yearbook summary. Combine that with statements about THAT school by students who attended THAT school and socialized with students from THAT school. And, yes, the Jesuits are accountable for what happened at THAT school. THOSE were out of control boys, by their own accounts.

BTW, I went to a private prep school in the same era, and the guys we knew from a local Jesuit high school were no more and no less rowdy than the boys from my school or most other schools, pblicuc and private. By the published accounts of the kids who went to and socialized with Georgetown Prep at this time, there was a lot of out of control behavior that wasn't healthy or safe. It is coming home to roost for Kavanaugh: his current description of himself in high school is in stark contrast with his own published summary of himself in high school and THAT apparent dishonesty matters because he wants a lifetime appointment to the country's Supreme Court.

John Love
3 weeks ago

Pendantic, overreaching and sanctimonious. Wooters sits as prefactum judge and jury of Brett Kavanaugh based soley on one off-handed comment directed toward his GTP brothers, and not the general public. This, when EVERY SINGLE interviewed GTP, Yale and appellate court brother (and sister) and intern who knows him has stated he is a brother figure, a prince of a guy, a man of faith and that he treats women and girls extraordinarily well. Why does this choir and fraternity of many not count? It's pretty clear to me that Wooters has his own idea of what a fraternity is, and that he would enjoy seeing this guy burn. He should be honest enough to admit it in his hit piece.

Vince Killoran
2 weeks 6 days ago

I went to a Jesuit, all male h.s. in the late 1970s and there were some Kavanaugh types around. Let's face it: the toxic masculinity is in our schools, college campuses, fraternities, and business world.

Still, it's disappointing to read articles such as the one in the ATLANTIC that characterize Jesuit secondary schools as wanna-be old-line protestant prep schools. My urban h.s. was focused on community engagement, peace & justice initiatives, and having a great debate team (!).

Edward Graff
2 weeks 6 days ago

It’s ironic that in the very moment the Church is acknowledging decades of revelations that sexual abuse victims went unheard and were ridiculed for coming forward, a woman comes forward with her own story and the “faithful” reject it because they’re too focused on political victories. Truly we will never be free from this sickness of abuse if Catholics keep placing their own agendas ahead of the search for truth.

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 6 days ago

To summarize the new code of feminist justice:
1) "Women don't need to be listened to. They need to be believed." (men shut up) - Sen. Mazie Hirono
2) The accusation is itself conclusive evidence of the assault. (Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand etc. etc.)
3) The failure of witnesses to corroborate proves how horrible the abuse was (Gov. Granholm)
4) Women accusing a Democrat are lying & part of a Right Wing Conspiracy (Hillary Clinton)
5) “American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads” Nina Burleigh
6) If the accuser is a woman, no evidence is necessary. If the accused is a man, no evidence will suffice.
1. https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/30114-senator-hiron…
2. https://www.city-journal.org/kirsten-gillibrand-16191.html
3. Granholm - http://wbckfm.com/former-michigan-governor-granholm-embarrasses-michiga…
4. Clinton - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vast_right-wing_conspiracy
5. Burleigh - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Burleigh (& Washington Post)
6. substituted accuse for faith.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 6 days ago

Determining a person's guilt is a matter of faith.

Tim O'Leary
2 weeks 6 days ago

Yea. What a circus! Deborah Ramirez now refuses to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Christine Ford refuses to be questioned by a woman prosecutor who is experienced in prosecuting sex crimes. Ford claimed she was unable to fly because of abuse-induced claustrophobia, and would need to drive from California. Yet, she did an internship in Hawaii and said she was vacationing in the mid-Atlantic in her letter to Feinstein. Judge BK has submitted sworn testimony. Ford refuses. BK has to tell the world he was a virgin through college. Should the accusers answer the same question? This is a travesty. I now think Ford is not mistaken - she is lying, plain and simple.

JOHN GRONDELSKI
2 weeks 6 days ago

Once upon a time, I would have counted on Jesuits to stand up for a person's right to his good name until proven otherwise. This article continues the trend in America to be politically correct at the price of potentially calumniating a public official, who also has a right to a good name. I am beginning to wonder why so many Jesuits are apologizing for their preps -- Georgetown, Fordham, etc. I can say that, having observed this wishy-washy behavior as a student at Fordham, I quickly disabused myself of an idea of a vocation in this "brotherhood."

Kathleen Duffy
2 weeks 5 days ago

Are you really going to reduce this down to a matter of political correctness? Of course Judge Kavanaugh has a right to a good name. That "good name," however (especially considering how public it is, what position of power it could potentially hold), can and should be critically examined. I am not saying you have to believe the allegations, but you at least have to understand that Brett Kavanaugh might have assaulted two women. That possibility should concern you. His good name does not privilege his word over theirs. Your comment implicitly suggests that we should not even listen to these allegations. A willingness to listen to these women, to empathize with the experience of sexual assault, should not be considered mere "politically correctness," especially as you invoke it. To listen to these women is MORALLY correct; it is just; it is the Catholic thing to do. Brett Kavanaugh is not being victimized. In this situation, he clearly has the upper hand. Please do not write off these accusations because of your perceptions of Democrats, or your own political philosophy. If these women are lying, then Brett Kavanaugh's reputation was injured. That is sad, indeed, and the repercussions are devastating for those who actually have been assaulted. If Dr. Blasey Ford and Ms. Ramirez are telling the truth however, then Brett Kavanaugh, lacking consent, put his genitalia in the face of a woman, and pinned another down to a bed, rubbing himself against her. If they are telling the truth, then he committed a crime and stripped these women of their human dignity. It is noble to scrutinize Kavanaugh at this time, to investigate these accusations, and realize what is at stake. This article isn't condemning Brett Kavanaugh. It is a piece which understands the possibility of his guilt, It is a piece which understands that we STILL live in a society wherein women are assaulted, harassed, abused, and raped daily, and are regularly dismissed. The fact that so many men treat women in such a way and are not held accountable IS a problem; toxic is not just a trigger word to make Republicans angry — it's the reality of the way we allow men to treat women! Kavanaugh needs to be scrutinized. I for one would rather have a Supreme Court Justice whose name has been tarnished but is ACTUALLY proven innocent than one who might have stripped women of their human dignity because we blindly accepted reputation as proof.

pbtax@yahoo.com
2 weeks 3 days ago

Agreed that accusers should be heard if there is some there is a reasonable basis. Dr. Ford was given that opportunity on her terms. While credible, so was the Judge. But she has big holes in her story, no corroborating evidence and no memory of details that would allow her story to be verified or discredited. If you believe the Ramirez and Swetnick accusations should be taken seriously, there is just no hope for you. This is a smear.

George Roose
2 weeks 3 days ago

Funny how she so conveniently forgets the important details

Kathleen Duffy
2 weeks 2 days ago

The "holes" in her story are not unusual when considering the circumstances and effects of trauma. I do not find judge Kavanaugh credible. The fact that he consistently refused to directly answer reasonable questions from Democrat senators — going off into unprovoked monologues about the fact that he got into Yale, his high school sports career, and how much he likes beer — and also refused to call for an FBI investigation seems incredibly strange to me. We didn't learn anything from the hearing. So I am glad the FBI is getting involved. The fact that Mark Judge wasn't there to be questioned is awful. The design of the hearing was set up for Judge Kavanaugh's benefit. If you look critically at it, you can't deny its nature.

Kathleen Duffy
2 weeks 2 days ago

The "holes" in her story are not unusual when considering the circumstances and effects of trauma. I do not find judge Kavanaugh credible. The fact that he consistently refused to directly answer reasonable questions from Democrat senators — going off into unprovoked monologues about the fact that he got into Yale, his high school sports career, and how much he likes beer — and also refused to call for an FBI investigation seems incredibly strange to me. We didn't learn anything from the hearing. So I am glad the FBI is getting involved. The fact that Mark Judge wasn't there to be questioned is awful. The design of the hearing was set up for Judge Kavanaugh's benefit. If you look critically at it, you can't deny its nature.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 5 days ago

J Brookbank
As I noted elsewhere your referenced article is by one Lili Loofbourow who is famous for her multiple tracts decrying male insensitivity and feminist oppression, (Google her multiple extraordinarily wordy tracts). She finds toxicity in every male act including baseball games and empathetic tv shows featuring men. She would find King Henry's great St Crispian Day speech to be emblematically " Toxic "

Edwin Hess
2 weeks 5 days ago

Matthew, as far as I can tell from what you wrote, you are not sure if Kavanaugh is guilty of sexual harassment and attempted rape, but you do seem find him guilty of false brotherhood which you believe can lead to things such as what the two women are talking about. However that accusation is based on a one-second remark that he used in a lengthy speech. I can understand your suffering because of the current revelations about the secret brotherhoods of priests and brothers. Maybe you know first-hand of bad behavior that the Bothers at Georgetown Prep did not properly handle but the timing of your remarks is certainly unfortunate.

If, however, you really have decided that he is guilty, then back off and gather a few more facts. At least for starters, listen to the whole speech as James Barry did and as I did. Then do some research on Blasey (and her mother possibly since allegedly Brett’s mother was involved in a court case that dealt with her). And finally, wait until you hear what is said at the meetings this week when both parties are scheduled to talk.

And America, how could you publish this sort of thing? As a graduate of a Jesuit college, I find that incomprehensible.

Nora Bolcon
2 weeks 4 days ago

But do you Brother Matthew extend that understanding of just brotherhood to your sisters-in-christ too. To women called to priesthood? As you have stated false Brotherhood becomes code for exclusion and secrecy: I could not agree more. Would you stand up against all the forces supporting misogyny in our church today? Just asking. . .

pbtax@yahoo.com
2 weeks 3 days ago

Brother Matthew, perhaps you should have made some reference to Judge Kavanaugh's EXTENSIVE service to the church and community instead of a throwaway response to another comment. You article is otherwise reasonable; tarnishing Kavanaugh is not.

Thomas Friedman
2 weeks 3 days ago

Wow! Is there any other single sentences Brett Kavanaugh said in the last 40 years that America magazine would like to take out of context to advance their one-sided agenda? Whatever you do, please don't look at both sides of the issue before ranting in all of your "smear-atorials". I am so disappointed in the editors of this publication.

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks ago

Rachel
I believe the basis for this investigative divide is Senator Feinstein's politicization of the Ford disclosure by withholding the nature of her complaint under the rouse that she was required to keep Ford's name confidential. The Judiciary Committee has long standing practices and methods for handling such allegations which are fully in keeping with Ms Ford's demand for remaining anonymous. Feinstein instead bypassed all of these procedures; referred Ms Ford to a specific lawyer -Debra Katz ; and either leaked or had Ms Katz leak Ford's name in the week of the vote. Feinstein also then finally sent the Ford Letter to the FBI -some 40 days after receipt. That whole approach is a "submarine attack" fully consistent with the very obvious and public senatorial stunts to delay the Judiciary committee vote. This sordid "time table manipulation" causes one to doubt both the sincerity of a "moral based" demand by the Democrats. In short, an investigation could have been done which met the requests of Dr Ford and protected the good name of Judge Kavanaugh but that would not have provided the delay the Democrats were /are insisting upon. If you doubt that just check the headlines now that another investigation is underway in fact: The Democratic Senators are demanding an endless series of rabbit hole investigations having nothing to do with Ms Ford's assertions......delay...delay ...delay even to the point of repudiating their own agreement to have this 7th investigation wind up by this Friday

Advertisement

The latest from america

Arturo Sosa, S.J., the superior general of the Jesuits, identified three “signs of the times”: secularization, the digital world and multiculturalism.
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 15, 2018
For years, the Polish church has been torn between supporting the government’s anti-migrant stance and adopting Pope Francis’ commitment to foreigners.
Melissa VidaOctober 15, 2018
The cast of “Girl From the North Country” (photo: Joan Marcus)
How did an old war horse manage to outrun a rolling stone?
Rob Weinert-KendtOctober 15, 2018
El Salvador celebrates the canonization of their patron saint—but should the ceremony have taken place in San Salvador?
James T. KeaneOctober 15, 2018