Tags: Come | Let | Litigate

Come, Let Us Litigate

Tuesday, 07 May 2002 12:00 AM

I've been yelled at and had pieces of chalk thrown at me by my Jesuit teachers, had the stuffing knocked out of me by various Sisters of St. Joseph, but I have never experienced sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

As a result, I cannot begin to imagine what having been molested or seduced or fondled by a trusted Catholic priest that one looked upon with something approaching awe does to one's psyche.

From what I have read, it is a devastating experience that haunts the victim for life. It's just beyond my imagination.

I have known many people who were sexually abused by close friends or relatives – I even had a secretary once who had been propositioned by a Catholic priest who was more interested in her body than in her soul. But being what she was – a woman who as a child actress had been seduced by a famous radio producer – by the time the reverend father got his hands on her she was a pretty tough piece of work and the experience did no lasting damage (except to the priest, who she tattled on).

Anyway, most of the people, mainly women, who spoke about their problems with molesters admitted that they were never quite able to put it out of their minds, especially when the molester was a close relative.

That gives me some idea of what it must be like for those who, as innocent youngsters, were betrayed by a parish priest or parochial school teacher. It has to sit there at the back of their minds ready to pounce at the first opportunity – an unwanted lifetime companion determined to forever molest the victim's mind.

One probably inevitable result of the molestation of a boy or teenager by an adult male is the real consequence of forced indoctrination into homosexuality. I haven't heard any of the victims who have come forward specifically complain that this was one of the aftereffects of their molestation, but there have been enough hints that this is the case to convince me that it's a valid supposition. If so, it is horrendous and unforgivable.

OK. Now that I've got that out of the way, I want to get to the heart of what's bugging me. Given the terrible nature of the offense committed against the victims, how exactly is gouging money out of the various dioceses going to help restore the victims to wholeness? Sure, if there are medical or psychological expenses arising out of the molestation, they should be reimbursed. That's only fair and just.

But taking the matter to court and demanding multimillion-dollar awards smacks solely of vengeance, impure and simple. Don't get mad, get even – and collect money.

I'm not going to place the blame on the victims who have come forward – at least not the lion's share of the blame. That's reserved for the vultures who defame the legal profession by gathering up small armies of alleged victims and parading them before the nation's courts.

We have already heard about the millions already paid out – that outrageous award in Dallas, for example, which has now been modified. And now we're being warned by these bottom-sucking ambulance chasers that Holy Mother Church can look forward to laying out a billion dollars in settlement of pending lawsuits.

A billion dollars – all meant to compensate the victims? Not quite. There is the little matter of the fees the lawyers collect – on a contingency basis. Let's see, what do they get for their labors? Thirty percent? Fifty percent? They don't work for free.

That billion dollars they're chortling about would mean anywhere from $300 million to half a billion going into the lawyers' pockets. That's almost as good as suing tobacco companies.

Just whose money is this they're hoping to collect, to teach the bishops a lesson? Well, it ain't the bishops. It's my money and the money every Catholic puts in the collection basket or contributes to various fund appeals. Much of it is meant to go to the hundreds of hospitals, schools, food banks, overseas charities – the hundreds upon hundreds of Catholic organizations doing what are known in the church as "corporal works of mercy."

That's the money we're talking about. It doesn't go into the bishops' pockets, and if these litigious bloodsuckers get their way, 30 percent to 50 percent of it will end up in their pockets, at the expense of the sick, old and hungry. And it won't do a damned thing to heal the psychological wounds of the victims they claim to represent.

Years ago, Bill Buckley called upon National Review readers to join with him in organizing a National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson – an especially sleazy gossip columnist.

I'd like to revive the idea. How about a National Committee to Horsewhip the Trial Lawyers Suing the Church?


Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute.

He can be reached at

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I've been yelled at and had pieces of chalk thrown at me by my Jesuit teachers, had the stuffing knocked out of me by various Sisters of St. Joseph, but I have never experienced sexual abuse by members of the clergy. As a result, I cannot begin to imagine what having been...
Tuesday, 07 May 2002 12:00 AM
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