In 1994 Father Gordon MacRae was sent to prison as a sex offender. These are terrible crimes and the sentence was 67 years. MacRae is in prison today, 18 years into his sentence – with 49 more to go. Justice has been served and fair restitution paid to the victim.
There is just one small problem. He is innocent.
The injustice heaped upon Father MacRae and otherfalsely accused priests is beyond words. They are victims, along with Holy Mother Church, of people seeking money or simply working to harm the faith. This problem has been reported at Our Sunday Visitor(among manyotherplaces). Dave Pierre has written a book on the topic.
Father MacRae would be a free man today, and would have been free for 15 to 17 of the last 18 years, if he would only have plead guilty. Instead of a 33½ to 67 year sentence it would have been 1 to 3. He refused and therefore sits in prison today.
He refused because he is innocent, but that does NOT mean that priests who have accepted plea deals were necessarily guilty. Many certainly are, but there are others who were forced into such arrangements vs. risking life sentences like Father MacRae.
Father MacRae’s sorrowful story was chronicled in theWall Street Journal by Dorothy Rabinowitz in 2005 (see part 1 and part 2). Another excellent and informative review was written by Ryan MacDonald entitled Truth in Justice. Many other people have also written about this particularly glaring injustice.
Sowell points out that intellect is not wisdom; there can be “unwise intellect:”
Brilliance–even genius–is no guarantee that consequential factors have not been left out or misconceived. Intelligence minus judgment equals intellect. Wisdom is the rarest quality of all–the ability to combine intellect, knowledge, experience, and judgment in a way to produce a coherent understanding…Wisdom requires self-discipline and an understanding of the realities of the world, including the limitations of one’s own experience and of reason itself. The opposite of high intellect is dullness or slowness, but the opposite of wisdom is foolishness, which is far more dangerous.
One of the interesting things that Sowell discusses is the tendency for intellectuals to think that because they are brilliant in one area, that they are brilliant in all areas. They make asinine predictions–think global warming etc.–and are ultimately unaccountable to the external world should their ideas be found to be wrong.
If an engineer or surgeon made a similar mistake, there would be hell to pay. For today’s intellectuals, there is a shrug of the shoulders and they continue without repercussions in their ivory towers while being awarded grants and honors. Without consequences, it’s no wonder they rarely think about what they say, or the effect it has on the public.
However, the public has started to discount what they say and with the internet and other technology, has started to understand that without judgment and wisdom, the intellectuals are often not so smart after all.
Our foundation was very strong, in fact is very strong. But over time that great, acidic quality of time corrodes away even the strongest foundations. And Satan has done so by attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality as the route to attack all of these strong plants that have so deeply rooted in American tradition. He was successful. He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions.
The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first -- first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest. They were in fact smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different -- pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia a long time ago fell.
You say, well, what could be the impact of academia falling? Well, I would make the argument that the other structures that I’m going to talk about here had the root of their destruction because of academia. Because what academia does is educate the elites in our society, educates the leaders of our society, particularly at the college level. And they were the first to fall. And so what we saw, this domino effect, once the colleges fell and those who were being educated in our institutions.
Santorum was speaking to a Catholic University and doing nothing more than attributing to Satan what Sowell apparently sources as merely the lack of wisdom.
Yet Santorum is painted as a fanatic or a kook... largely frankly by those Sowell might argue lack wisdom.
At Shippensburg University, female students who hook-up for drunken sex on Saturday will find it easy to dispose of just-conceived babies on Monday or Tuesday. A quick trip to the vending machine is all it takes.
Easy. Kind of like buying a bag of Doritos.
Women who wake up in unfamiliar beds or sober up and wonder, “What were you thinking, girl?” needn’t worry much. Stride across campus, past the dining hall (grab a doughnut for later), and into the University Health Center. Flash a student ID and head to the vending machine in the “self-help” area. There, next to the cough drops and Mucinex, in discreet, feminine packaging, is Plan B One Step. No questions asked. Feed the bills into the slot, grab and go. Empowered with “choices,” these women pop the package blister, swallow the pill, and breathe easy.
Problem solved. Glad that’s over.
Only it’s really not.
Billed as “emergency contraception,” according to the package insert, Plan B inhibits ovulation and thus prevents conception. But it also alters the lining of the uterus, preventing a newly conceived child from implanting in its mother’s womb. Without implantation, that tiny human being cannot draw nourishment and will die. (Occasionally, Plan B fails and the pregnancy continues.)
In most cases, however, Plan B succeeds.
But “success” is not pretty. Our Shippensburg student will have a one-in-three chance of heavy bleeding. And 13% of women who take Plan B One Step end up curled up in bed with nausea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Worse, nearly one in ten women who use emergency contraception (compared to 2% of pregnancies in the general population) develop severe abdominal pain and require emergency treatment for an ectopic pregnancy.
But no worries, this is a private decision between a woman and her vending machine.
And none of our business. That's the mantra. What a woman does to her body is no one's business but her own.
That mindset forms the basis of the notion seeking to paint anyone opposed to contraception as religious loons attempting to subjugate women and deny them their rights.
A couple of weeks ago, our priest gave a homily about contraception. While speaking about the Health and Human Services mandate, our associate pastor, Fr. Jonathan Raia, made a few allusions to the fact that the Church believes that contraception is bad. There were over a thousand people packed into the building, and a slight but noticeable tension developed as he inched closer and closer to the subject. This most controversial of Catholic teachings had been splashed all over the news in recent days, ridiculed and denounced throughout popular culture, and the question hung in the air: “Is he going to go there?”
You can hear the whole homily on our parish website here. In the second half of his talk, he gently but unflinchingly explained that the Catholic Church teaches that contraception is wrong. He gave a bit of background about the reasoning behind this stance, cleared up some common misconceptions, and pointed people to resources where they could find out more about methods of Natural Family Planning. As he spoke, the thought came to mind:
I think we’re finally ready for this.
In the seven years that I’ve been going to Catholic churches, I’d never heard a priest speak so directly about the Church’s teaching in this area—and I can understand why. For decades our culture has perceived contraception as being akin to air or water: a universally good resource with no downside. Only an institution with the most nefarious motives would oppose everyone incorporating this invaluable blessing into their lives, the thinking went. And so I’m guessing that many of our priests felt like the misunderstanding on this topic was so deep and so widespread that they’d need hours of speaking time to even begin to address it properly, and thus avoided it in homilies. (I’ve seen quite a few parishes, for example, where it may not be preached from the pulpit, but parishioners are encouraged to get involved in marriage and family ministries, where the issue is discussed in a more interactive, personal setting.)
The society-wide experiment of artificially severing the sexual act from its life-giving potential has been going on for four decades now, and people have had time to see that it’s not the cure-all solution they were told it would be. The tension is building as more and more men and women are disappointed by the “solution” of contraception, and the time is ripe for the message that there’s another way. I’m not naive enough to think that one homily would be enough to inspire everyone in the pews to throw out their birth control pills the moment they get home; but I do think it could get them to consider it.
Do yourself a favor. Take the few minutes it takes to listen to the sermon. Listen to it with the vending machine story as backdrop. Listen to it while understanding the impact on society that vending machine story is telling.
Listen to it and pass it on.
It's unabashed truth presented well... and hopefully, effectively.