Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Carpenter

Two miraculous things to point out.
First of all, I'm in substantial agreement with Shea on this post about getting a joint email from Jonathan Carpenter accusing him and me (and a couple of mutual friends) of being some sort of blogospheric oligarchy. In fact I already had sent a reply email to Carpenter (but not cc'd to Shea), which read in part:
(2) The notion that I am part of "the clique [Dom] shares with Rod, Mark Shea..." Tis to laugh. I am facetime friends with Rod, and cyberfriends with Dom ... but ....
I won't embarrass Carpenter by reprinting some of his earlier correspondence with me, where he makes some insinuations (actually they weren't insinuations) in re my praise for BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Nor will I go into Rod's act of schism, beyond saying that I consider Carpenter's "outing" him the blogospheric equivalent of a capital offense, an act so despicable that it cancels out the underlying issue. I will never be interested in anything Carpenter says about anything.

And then the second miraculous event, at Shea's blog. The post itself was fine; he does nothing more than note my dislike for him -- a manifest undeniable fact. But then he says something quite amazing in his combox.
For what it's worth, I disagree with Victor profoundly, but I don't consider him an enemy, except in the sense that he considers me one. I'd be happy to see some reconciliation with him and the other Fogsters, but unfortunately I don't think that will happen, though I do pray for it.
I am genuinely curious -- nay, floored at -- how anybody can publicly spread serial lies, misrepresentations, smears, moral libels and groundless imputations for years against someone -- without considering him an enemy. I mean, if these years have been how Shea acts toward someone whom he DOESN'T consider an enemy (regardless of the rights and wrongs on the underlying issues themselves), then what is left, short of physical violence, for those he DOES consider enemies. And if one were to say on pietistic or pacifistic grounds "I have no enemies, I luv everyone," etc., etc. -- then saying "Person X is not my enemy" is meaningless, a classification that doesn't classify.

I should note that whatever I may have done on the same front (and I won't pretend to have never hit below the belt, though there ARE some things I would never do, like ... lie) is not relevant to that narrow question -- how can Shea act like this toward a non-enemy. I quite openly say that I consider Shea a detestable enemy.¹

And what can "except to the extent he considers me one" mean? One either does or does not consider another his enemy. The reasons for this consideration or lack of it are a separate issue.

As for the "reconciliation" that Shea says he would like and says he prays for -- well, to repeat myself: Tis to laugh.

First of all, I have it on good authority that Shea doesn't think he has committed any sins of misrepresentation against me or anyone else (this post in this combox alone commits at least four forensic sins). On that grounds alone, I'm confident that I have nothing to say to him or him to me.

Second, he has asked before "what can I do here ... I'm not used to having enemies." But in the combox, the minute anybody suggested that he might be at fault, at least in part -- well ... it wasn't pretty (though it was funny, in a sick way). As Andy said:
You wring your hands about why you have enemies, and then you instantly get nasty, defensive, and sarcastic when someone asks if you may be contributing something to the animosity others feel toward you. Possibly there is a lesson to be learned in that.
On that grounds alone (as well), I'm confident that I have nothing to say to Shea or him to me.
-------------------------------------------
¹ His very accurate, for a change, words about my regard for him: I "feel[] cold contempt fill [my] viscera at the sound of [Shea's] name"

42 comments:

Phillip said...

"I am genuinely curious -- nay, floored at -- how anybody can publicly spread serial lies, misrepresentations, smears, moral libels and groundless imputations for years against someone -- without considering him an enemy."

I think it possible if one considers that Mark is not a deep thinker. His responses are almost always the result of reflexive invective backed by often clever sarcasm. Then when Mark is cornered with his illogical points he again lashes out, not with reason, but with more irrationality. Thus, it is frequently out of the depths of ignorance rather than hate that most of his comments come.

Not that there isn't hate there either. I think he frequently hates people. But usually his comments are of ignorance. He is becoming more and more a sad parody.

Bubba said...

I for one have never understood the animosity Jonathan Carpenter generated for "outing" Rod as an ex-Catholic.

Nor will I go into Rod's act of schism, beyond saying that I consider Carpenter's "outing" him the blogospheric equivalent of a capital offense, an act so despicable that it cancels out the underlying issue. I will never be interested in anything Carpenter says about anything.

Am I wrong that Rod promoted himself as a specifically Catholic conservative, that his book was explicitly informed by his Catholicism, most notably in the idea of sacramentalism? Was the fact that Rod Dreher a Catholic utterly irrelvant to his appearances on the Hoover Institution's Uncommon Knowledge, where, alongside Gary Wills and Father Joseph Fessio, he discussed John Paul II and the Catholic sex abuse scandals?

If a blogger who vocally supported economic libertarianism privately gave large sums of money to a lobby group dedicated to socialized medicine, discovering and publicizing this apparent change of heart wouldn't be a despicable act, too, would it? If a supposed hawk quietly joined International ANSWER, would reporting this be "the blogospheric equivalent of a capital offense"?

I certainly understand the sanctity of one's private life, and like Michelle Malkin, I think posting someone's home address is truly despicable and moreover dangerous. But one's religious affiliation isn't a private thing if one chooses to build much of his writing career on that affiliation.

I don't see Jonathan's behavior as any worse than Rod choosing, for whatever reason, to be coy about his changing affliation for two or three months. I'll grant that maybe my personal irritation at Rod Dreher may be clouding my judgment on this, and so I would sincerely appreciate it if someone were to explain what exactly was so wrong about what Jonathan did.

Phillip said...

I take it back. The man is a hate-filled pig. Sorry Victor and too bad Torq. Go ahead and delete this if you will. But Shea is now making political hay from Andrew Bacevich's son's death in Iraq. A contemptible hate-filled pig he is.

Dave Armstrong,if your cowardly soul is out there, let me tell you this - I will never accept lay Catholics as apologists will a pig like Shea goes uncorrected by his "profession."

What a contemptible excuse for humanity Shea is.

Victor said...

Phillip ... please dont call Dave Armstrong a coward. What you say about Shea is right (too kind, actually), but Dave has done what he can within his powers.

I won't delete your comment though.

Victor said...

Bubba:

By the time Carpenter acted in 2006, the fact that Rod was standing at the shores of the Bosporus was public knowledge. People could and did take this into account. The two events you linked to were in 2002 -- Rod's crisis of faith began brewing later -- so there was no bad faith or misrepresentation.

As for Orthodoxy, whatever else may be said of it, including its errors and its objectively schismatic character, it is still sacramentalist and "informed by" Catholicism to a great extent. I really don't think its relationship to Catholicism can be compared to ANSWER or the Institute for Socialized Medicine to war-hawkery or libertarianism -- so again, no problem here.

I sometimes rebuke myself for not trying harder behind the scenes. But it was also perfectly obvious that Rod's reasons were of the heart, not the head. Hard to deal with. And with reasons of the heart, and I don't mean this to patronize Rod, you cannot either persuade them back (I could have done this, if I thought it would have helped), but most certainly, you cannot bully or hound them back (what Carpenter tried to do).

It really does come down to what you say -- the sanctity of one's private life. Much as I disapprove of Rod's leaving the Church, I know that it tore him up. If he didn't think he had to, he wouldn't have. And to have the moment of personal disclosure over something painful and difficult ripped from you by an enemy and made a public matter before you want it to -- well, in secular terms, it's unforgivable. Truth isn't an excuse for everything.

No, what Carpenter did is not as bad as posting Malkin's home address (which I think should be a criminal offense, but that by-the-by), but it is a kissing cousin. Particularly since (1) Carpenter had declared himself Rod's enemy, for whatever good or bad reasons; and (2) Carpenter engaged in deliberate and thought-through leg work to get the information under false pretenses.

Let me make an analogy on point (1). If I were to find out that Mark Shea were cheating on his wife, would I be the person to (a) tell her; or (b) make it public knowledge. There are different considerations on both. But the common thread is that the bad blood between myself and Shea, regardless of who is right or wrong, would make it impossible to believe that I was acting in good faith and not from a desire to "get" Shea. (My actual motivations are irrelevant; the point is, once you make an enemy, that colors everything.)

As for (2), people engage in thoughtless disclosure of embarrassing facts about others they might know. But this wasn't either something Carpenter happened upon or a personal confidence. It was a deliberate effort to "get" Rod. Nothing more.

Phillip said...

Victor,

You're right. I retract my statement about Dave and apologize.

But let me say again, if a man who presents himself as a Catholic apologist takes advantage of a man's death to promote his own agenda, then that man is a digusting stain on Catholicism. He should be shunned in polite company and mocked among men. What a disgusting excuse for a man.

Victor said...

then that man is a digusting stain on Catholicism

Phillip, your continuing slanders against disgusting stains will not be tolerated. You have been warned.

Phillip said...

Victor,

Sorry. I also apologize to all disgusting stains and any other stains that may have taken offense.

Bubba said...

Thanks, Victor: much of what you write makes a great deal of sense, and I admit in hindsight that my analogies weren't great, that the difference between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy is minor compared to my hypotheticals between diametrically opposed positions.

Still, while it's true that many wondered in late 2006 whether Rod was considering Eastern Orthodoxy, I don't think his doing so was public knowledge. He seemed to have admitted that he was trying to keep it from being public knowledge by admitting that he was being coy about his religious affiliation.

It is probably the case that Jonathan acted out animosity toward Rod -- as you say, to "get" Rod -- so I can understand the disapproval, but not the disapproval to the degree that you and others have shown.

For me, I don't think his was "an act so despicable that it cancels out the underlying issue," and so Jonathan's behavior is weighed against Rod's behavior. I believe that joining a church isn't a private affair and shouldn't be treated as such. As difficult and painful as Rod's conversion may have been, I don't believe the emotional hardship justifies keeping secret his joining a different congregation, and I cannot fathom a professional obligation that would require such secrecy (even in the short term), much less an obligation that should actually be honored.

To stretch a biblical metaphor, Rod moved his candle from a prominent place in one house to under a basket in another house. Particularly because of his animosity toward Rod, I can agree that it wasn't Jonathan's place to remove the candle from under the basket, but it should have never been under that basket in the first place.

When a Christian joins a church, the "moment of personal disclosure" is when he joins that church: separating the membership from the public admission of membership is not something that we are morally permitted to do. If Rod was unwilling to admit being a member of the Orthodox church until November, he shouldn't have joined the church until November.

Anonymous said...

I for one have never understood the animosity Jonathan Carpenter generated for "outing" Rod as an ex-Catholic.

Nor I.

And I still don't.

I'm telling the honest truth here. At the time Rod was "outed," I for one was genuinely surprised. Yes, I knew he had been contemplating the move. But in the days leading up to his "outing," he seemed (to me at least) less insanely hostile, less hair-trigger "bashy," toward Catholicism than he had in a while. I naively took this to mean he was reconsidering his attraction to Orthodoxy. Silly me!

I remain convinced that Jonathan rendered us all a service by doing what any good investigative journalist does every day of the week: digging up the truth. The Truth, after all, shall set you free. And, I'm sorry, but Rod's coyness, his studied silence re his defection, struck me then and strike me now as duplicitous and deceptive. It is passive lying, but it is lying nonetheless. It is precisely the sort of concealment that Rod deplores so much when Catholic bishops do it. But apparently his standards are different when he applies them to himself.

Since his defection, Rod has kept right on bashing the Catholic Church, relentlessly and even obsessively, often in an extremely picayune way, often over mere trivialities. (So, the new Dallas bishop, apparently a very holy and orthodox prelate, doesn't answer a question re his mentors exactly as Rod would have liked him to...and he gets taken to task for that? Hoo-boy. What's next? "Catholic Bishop Burps in Public"?)

Meanwhile, Rod's double standard is transparent. His own communion, the OCA, is roiled by financial scandal (possibly involving sexual blackmail, BTW, and definitely involving coverups at the highest levels)...and Rod scarcely peeps about it. The long-time pastor of a prominent Dallas Greek Orthodox parish is exposed as a serial pedophile...and, again, Rod barely peeps about it. Gimme a break, y'all. If the perps in these cases had been Catholic prelates, Rod would have been all over it like a dust cover. We would NEVER have heard the end of it. Never.

Jonathan correctly notes and exposes this double standard--and, for that, he is vilified by his fellow Catholics. Wonderful. I'll retire to Bedlam.

One more thing, Victor. I think you may be rather naive about the Eastern Orthodoxy Rod has embraced. From the Catholic POV, yes, very little separates West from East, Rome from Constantinople (or Moscow). But alas, on the Eastern Orthodox side of the divide, it's not so simple. The vast majority of Orthodox one encounters over the Internet--and many whom one encounters in Real Life as well--are viciously anti-Catholic, define themselves against Rome and the West, emphasize differences rather than points in common, invent differences where none exist, calumniate Catholics and Catholicism at every opportunity, claim that Rome and Constantinople are "ontologically different," and even argue that Catholicism ceased to be recognizably Christian around the time of Origen/Augustine/the Evil Franks/Take Your Pick.

Rod claims not to be one of these anti-Catholic Orthodox, but his own words belie him. Non-anti-Catholics do not waste countless pixels bashing the Catholic Church on any pretext while studiously avoiding similar censure of OCA swindlers or GOA pervert-priests. If it quacks like a duck, etc., etc. Rod Dreher behaves precisely like the anti-Catholic ex-Catholic he claims not to be. Maria Monk could take his correspondence course.

Lately Rod has even subscribed to that tired old chestnut re the Oh=So-Mystical East versus the Legalistic/Juridical/Ratiocinative West. His transformation into a Catholic-Bashing / West-Bashing Eastern Chauvinist is apparently proceeding apace.

Jonathan sees this and objects to it. So do I. If that means I also qualify as an object of the Jonathan Pile-On, then bring it on. On this score, I am happy to align myself with Jonathan.

Diane

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

You know, I would love to know why people keep discussing Rod even after his conversion. The only think I can think of is that Rod told the truth about the pervasive corruption, arrogance and insularity within the Catholic hierarchy, and a lot of Catholics don't want to beleive him. Instead, they want to abuse the messenger.

Yes, abuse is the proper term here. People have been abusing Rod over and because of his legitimate criticisms of Church authority. Rod exhibited a tremendous amount of courage in exposing the malfeasant bastards in our midst, and at great expense to his own emotional psyche.

Unfortunately, most of the Catholics I've run into on the Internet revile him -- apparently because they don't want their theological fantasies threatened.

Catholics refuse to believe that it's the nature of bureaucratic hierarchies to be insular, arrogant and self-serving. Just look at the Soviet nomenklatura, which was ideologically opposed to anything Christian. Or, for that matter, look at the East German Stasi as portrayed in the film, "The Lives of Others."

Add the kind of blind deference that the hierarchy demands from naive Catholics, and you have a recipe for the abuse of power.

Jonathan Carpenter's obsessive behavior toward Rod is no different than Mark Shea's obsessive behavior toward me or anyone else who has the temerity to disagree with Shea.

I just wish we had a Pope who had the courage to summon all these malfeasant slime to Rome, have them arrested by the Swiss Guard, have them hanged publicly in St. Peter's Square and let their bodies rot for a week as an example to their "brother" bishops.

Anonymous said...

The only think I can think of is that Rod told the truth about the pervasive corruption, arrogance and insularity within the Catholic hierarchy, and a lot of Catholics don't want to beleive him.

Oh puhleeze.

What we object to, Joe, is the DOUBLE STANDARD.

I have a suggestion. Spend some time at ocanews.org. Read the background on the OCA scandal. Read the archives. Read the comments section.

Then spend some time at orthodoxreform.org. And at pokrov.org.

Then ask yourself: Why is Rod nearly silent about this stuff?

Do "pervasive corruption, arrogance and insularity" qualify as heinous (and newsworthy) crimes only if Catholics commit them?

It's called a double standard. And IMHO it's disgusting.

Diane

Bubba said...

Joe, few of us could be wholly persuasive in repudiating the charge of "obsessive behavior", and that includes you and your obvious animosity toward the Catholic church. Not everything under the sun can be traced back to "the pervasive corruption, arrogance and insularity within the Catholic hierarchy."

For one thing, as a confident and committed Southern Baptist, I could hardly be called an apologist for Catholicism. It's just that there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and in both the manner in which he changed religious affiliation and in the manner in which he bashes the Roman Catholic church, even a Protestant like me can see that Rod Dreher's gone about things the wrong way.

For another, if Rod's central criticism mirrors your assertion that "it's the nature of bureaucratic hierarchies to be insular, arrogant and self-serving," he had a funny way of showing it in joining a church that is hardly known for its thin and transparent bureaucracy and for its flat hierarchy.

Phillip said...

Hey Bubba,

What's a Southern Baptist like you hanging out with us Catholics. I think I've caught you on Mark's blog too.

kathleen said...

"I just wish we had a Pope who had the courage to summon all these malfeasant slime to Rome, have them arrested by the Swiss Guard, have them hanged publicly in St. Peter's Square and let their bodies rot for a week as an example to their 'brother' bishops."

ahhh, it's so nice to hear from the pro-dreher contingent. i feel validated somehow. you too diane?

Bubba said...

Phillip, I stumbled into this particular neck of the woods through my contentious disagreements with Rod Dreher. Shea had less than kind things to say about me and others who parodied Rod in our own minor blog, and it was through seeing Shea write in the same irresponsible manner about foreign policy that Rod indulges that I found this blog.

Truth be told, I have a great deal of respect for quite a few devout Catholics, and I believe that devout Baptists and devout Catholics have quite a bit in common, despite serious disagreements that will prevent full reconciliation in the forseeable future.

That said, in Rod's moving from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy, I don't have a dog in the fight. I just think that the manner in which he changed affiliation is of a piece with his writing about other topics: beyond issues of substance, he is often tactless, graceless, and utterly tone-deaf in style, blind to hypocrisy and how he comes across to those who don't already adore him.

Mark Adams said...

Joseph D'Hippolito,

One of the great ironies that has occurred to me on repeated occasions is how remarkably similar you are to Mark Shea. Your latest comment is a good example: People cannot possibly have meritorious reasons for their disgust with Rod's conversion so instead you impute all sorts of nefarious motives. It's just another opportunity for you to repeat your "all Catholic bishops are the slime of the earth and I'm the only one courageous enough to say anything about it" shtick for the one thousandth time (just as every time someone from the Weekly Standard writes something Mark doesn't bother with the content any longer than it takes to slap one of his trademarked categories on it).

Mark can't comprehend that there are people who who support Israel for any reason other than that they think Israel was immaculately conceived, or question his interpretation of Church teaching on torture for any reason other than their slavish devotion to the GOP, or support the surge for any reason other than their belief in Salvation through Leviathan by Any Means Necessary. And you can't comprehend that anyone could hold a different opinion on the Catholic hierarchy for any reason other than that "they don't want their theological fantasies threatened."

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

So many issues, so little time....

1. Diane, you object to the double standard. That's a fair challenge that Rod must address. OTOH, have you ever considered the possibility that Rod is so tired of reporting about sexual abuse that he no longer has any desire to do so?

2. Bubba, I realize that you and others have had problems with Rod's often-impatient behavior toward you. Nevertheless, what does it matter to you or they whether he's Catholic, Orthodox, Southern Baptist or anything else?

3. Mark, you say I can't comprehend that people might have "meritorious reasons" to criticize Rod's conversion. I ask, why should you be so concerned with that conversion? Why should you and others take it so personally? I doubt that you would have agreed with anything he said in the first place, so his conversion is a secondary issue.

4. As far as being a Mark Shea on this issue is concerned, I make my assertions based on the fact that I have never seen any Catholic on the Internet stand up for Dreher when he was reporting on the sex-abuse crisis. Indeed, I've seen Catholic after Catholic assault his character, merely for having the audacity to criticize the bishops (Shea, ironically, being one of the few exceptions, along with Amy Welborn).

I have personally learned that a vast majority of Catholics on the Internet have such a view of the hierarchy that they effectively confuse it with Christ Himself. Many of these same people don't know the difference between a prudential decision and a de fide one. The late pope's actions concerning the sex-abuse crisis are by their very nature prudential decisions that can be evaluated by Catholics without jeopardizing their standing in the Church.

Let's suppose that Rod had never written anything about the clerical sex-abuse crisis. Let's suppose that Rod never converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. Furthermore, let's suppose that Rod Dreher never existed. Would the pertinent facts about episcopal corruption and malfeasance in this issue be any different?

BTW, Kathleen, if you think my "modest proposal" for episcopal punishment is bad, wait till you see what God has in mind.

Back to the point of this thread: What Jonathan Carpenter did was akin to somebody reporting a fellow citizen to the Stasi, the Gestapo or the KGB. The fact that people applaud Carpenter's behavior is frightening. It shows that at least some Catholics care more about the Church as an institution than about the victimization of the innocent.

Besides, nowhere did Christ say, "Thou shalt spy out thy neighbor if he appears to be politically incorrect."

Anonymous said...

OTOH, have you ever considered the possibility that Rod is so tired of reporting about sexual abuse that he no longer has any desire to do so?

All I can say is that his ennui comes at a very convenient time. It lets him off the hook WRT his new communion. How convenient!

Meanwhile, he is STILL BASHING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH at every opportunity--and often on really dumb, trivial pretexts.

Sorry, Joe, I'm not buying it. It stinks of Double Standard.

Diane

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

BTW, for the record, I think Rod's views on the Iraq War are becoming more and more inane. Nevertheless, that doesn't negate his moral power in exposing episcopal corruption and insularity.

Dreher himself is not the issue. The issue is the facts involved and the interpretations that follow.

kathleen said...

"What Jonathan Carpenter did was akin to somebody reporting a fellow citizen to the Stasi, the Gestapo or the KGB."

i guess dreher's gulag lets him blog.

Mark Adams said...

"I have never seen any Catholic on the Internet stand up for Dreher when he was reporting on the sex-abuse crisis. Indeed, I've seen Catholic after Catholic assault his character, merely for having the audacity to criticize the bishops (Shea, ironically, being one of the few exceptions, along with Amy Welborn)."

You actually give emphasis to the word "never" and then go on to list exceptions. Remarkable.

Bubba said...

Joe:

Bubba, I realize that you and others have had problems with Rod's often-impatient behavior toward you. Nevertheless, what does it matter to you or they whether he's Catholic, Orthodox, Southern Baptist or anything else?

It doesn't, beyond the general principle of believing certain belief systems being closer to the truth than others and desiring to see the truth be persuasive with more and more people.

Like I said, "in Rod's moving from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy, I don't have a dog in the fight." It's just that I think that there were much better ways for him to have handled that move. Being coy about his religious affiliation for three months is hardly the honorable, Christian way to behave.

The transition from X to Y was handled poorly; his being in X or Y is not the issue for me.

Mark Adams said...

Besides, nowhere did Christ say, "Thou shalt spy out thy neighbor if he appears to be politically incorrect."

Ah yes, Jonathan Carpenter, standard bearer for political correctness . . .

From what I can tell, Mr. Carpenter is a certifiable idiot. But the idea that he outed Dreher's conversion as an act of political correctness is an indicator of how incapable you are Joe of discussing this issue rationally.

kathleen said...

Shea and Welborn didn't give dreher a hard time because, for among other reasons, they were all logrolling each other. Shea and Welborn clearly saw dreher as a ticket to getting published in dead tree media. I don't say this to criticize them, it's just clear that they felt this way about Dreher, as almost any blogger interested in publishing their work and dealing with an "establishment reporter" would.

Mark Adams said...

I doubt that you would have agreed with anything he said in the first place

Once again Joe, just like Shea, you think you can read the minds of your opponents but you cannot.

I happen to agree with 90-95% of the criticism Dreher had for the Catholic hierarchy as it related to the sex abuse crises (in fact I think I have told you this once before). I aplauded much of what he wrote and was glad someone with a large audience was able to say what he was saying.

Stop your efforts at telepathy. You are no better at it than Shea. This is my point. If someone is critical of Dreher's conversion, it must be, in your mind, because they are apologists and enablers of the corrupt Church hierarchy.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

You actually give emphasis to the word "never" and then go on to list exceptions. Remarkable.

Mark, there's a difference between standing up for somebody and not attacking him. The first is active; the second is passive. While Shea never attacked Dreher, I never saw him write that Rod was right. I don't believe I ever saw Amy Welborn come out and say the same thing, either.

BTW, Diane, if what you say about Shea's and Welborn's motivations are correct, then it was absolute cowardice on their parts not to defend Dreher more vigorously, especially if his conclusions had substance and merit.

But the idea that he outed Dreher's conversion as an act of political correctness is an indicator of how incapable you are Joe of discussing this issue rationally.

Mark, why else would somebody do what Carpenter did, besides the prospect of personal gain (which I don't think was Carpenter's motivation)? Granted, "politically correct" might not have been the best term for me to use. A better term would have been "thoughtcrime" from Orwell's 1984. Essentially, Carpenter outed Dreher for committing thoughtcrime.

Once again Joe, just like Shea, you think you can read the minds of your opponents...Stop your efforts at telepathy.

Mark, since I don't know you or where you stand on issues, why do you think I used the word "doubt"? If I'm wrong about your opinions, then I'm wrong and I apologize for mischaracterizing you (which, frankly, is a lot more than you'll get from Shea). My assumptions, as I stated before, are based on how the majority of Catholics have behaved on the Internet concerning Dreher. It's not about "reading minds" but generalizing from others' behavior (which, admittedly, is risky in any event).

Besides, Shea doesn't "doubt." He knows.

kathleen said...

"BTW, Diane, if what you say about Shea's and Welborn's motivations are correct, then it was absolute cowardice on their parts not to defend Dreher more vigorously, especially if his conclusions had substance and merit."

this is kathleen, not diane. er, has it occurred to you that maybe they *don't* believe his conclusions have substance and merit? shea has said as much about dreher's conversion.

dreher's obsession with the scandal became its own scandal. no one had a gun to dreher's head making him report on it. nor was he the only one reporting on it. he assigned that task for himself, indeed made it his own personal calling card, for reasons i can only guess at.

FWIW my disapproval of dreher's behavior has zero to do with my opinions about the scandal. in fact, back when i first read dreher's open book comments and thought his coverage of it was sane i emailed him congratulating him for his argumentation. there were a lot of milquetoast catholics out there trying to softpedal the outrageousness of the scandal. But the timidity of some catholics doesn't make dreher's multi-year one-note rage-fest any less reprehensible.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

er, has it occurred to you that maybe they *don't* believe his conclusions have substance and merit? shea has said as much about dreher's conversion.

Kathleen, my comments about Rod's conclusions deal with the sex-abuse crisis and the corruption of the hierarchy, not about his conversion. I don't care about Rod's conversion. Why should anybody else?

If you say that he made it a public issue, fine. You, I and others have the choice not to engage in debating about his conversion.

But the timidity of some catholics doesn't make dreher's multi-year one-note rage-fest any less reprehensible.

Kathleen, have you ever been betrayed by somebody you trusted? I can tell you from personal experience that betrayal, and the anger that follows, is one of the most powerful emotions in human experience. My guess is that what Rod views as a betrayal is what's driving him to keep venting his anger at the Church.

So why doesn't he vent his anger more at the Orthodox for the same reasons? I don't know.

Mark Adams said...

I don't care about Rod's conversion. Why should anybody else?

Do you really need someone to explain to you why the ecclesial affiliation of a writer who writes on matters religious and who made much of his name as a forceful critic of the the Catholic hierarchy might be of interest to some people? Do you really not know why the religious faith of someone who writes a blog at Beliefnet might be important for his readers to know?

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Mark, your point is well taken. But people already know about Dreher's Orthodox affiliation. Rod himself made it a public issue. You and others seem to be saying that the issue is "when." Well, if he continues to criticize the Catholic Church -- regardless of whether he's Catholic or Orthodox, regardless of his conversion date -- then what difference does the "when" question make?

Besides, since when did being a member of one faith prevent somebody from criticizing the policies of another church? That happens on the Internet all the time.

I still believe it's because Dreher gored a particular sacred cow that nobody who venerated that cow wanted (or wants) gored.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

What I mean by "when," if I didn't make it clear, was Rod's conversion date.

Bubba said...

Joe, for me if no one else, the issue of "when" matters in judging the morality of Jonathan's investigation and announcement of Rod's conversion.

The "when" of Rod's making public his conversion was about three months after the conversion itself, during which time he (by his own admission) deliberately refused to answer questions about whether he converted, engaging in behavior which can charitably be called "playing coy".

Rod wrote:

"I did not intend to make this public until the end of this month, to honor a personal and professional obligation that, the violation of which stood to hurt some innocent people. This is why I've taken care since the day I entered Orthodoxy not to claim I am Catholic in writings here, and not to rise to the bait of certain people in the comboxes who have demanded that I declare myself."

When some suspected an interest in Eastern Orthodoxy, he thinks he was being baited to answer a question about what ought not to be hidden under a bushel basket, not for a Christian and certainly not for one who lives in such a tolerant, pluralistic society as ours and whose professional career was built in part on his self-identification as a Catholic.

Honestly, I cannot fathom what "personal and professional obligation" would have required this deception of silence -- of being careful not to continue claiming to be a Catholic but not making clear that he had left that particular group, and of repeatedly side-stepping the honest question of whether he had left. I further cannot imagine an obligation that would have hurt innocent people, much less one that should have actually been honored.

With this obligation that he has never explained, he defends his duplicity and even attacks those who asked about his religious affiliation even though he confirms that their supposed "bait" was on the mark! Because of all this, and while I can certainly understand the belief that Jonathan Carpenter acted improperly and revealed information that was not his to reveal, I do not see the justification in comparing him to "somebody reporting a fellow citizen to the Stasi, the Gestapo or the KGB."

kathleen said...

"Kathleen, my comments about Rod's conclusions deal with the sex-abuse crisis and the corruption of the hierarchy, not about his conversion."

it doesn't matter if we are talking about "The Scandal" or dreher's conversion, the point is dreher's prudential judgment about matters spiritual has been questioned by hordes of catholics, even those like Shea who have a vested interest in sustaining dreher's dog and pony show. Joe, you are simply wrong to state we resent dreher because we're living in catholic fantasy world where every cleric is a hero -- or even competent. you're. simply. wrong.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Joe, you are simply wrong to state we resent dreher because we're living in catholic fantasy world where every cleric is a hero -- or even competent. you're. simply. wrong.

Very well, Kathleen, then why do you resent Dreher?

For his conversion? That would hold merit only if he was masquerading as a Catholic for the entire time he was criticizing the hierarchy. When Dreher began reporting on the sex-abuse crisis, he considered himself (based on his writings) a committed Catholic. The public record is there.

For his intense anger? Why should that concern you if you don't feel the same anger?

For his criticism? Why, if you admit that every priest and bishop isn't competent or a hero?

For the way he has treated you personally? That I can understand, since I was the target of Mark Shea. But I gather somehow that isn't the only issue.

For his "prudential judgement on matters spiritual"? Do you believe he is actually leading others to Hell or substantially misrepresenting the faith? If not, then why should his "prudential judgement" cause such resentment. Nobody thinks that Rod is infallible.

kathleen said...

"Very well, Kathleen, then why do you resent Dreher?"

joe, if you're actually interested in an answer to that question, the entire archive of concrunchy.blogspot.com is still online for your perusal. i would refer you to dreher's NR and beliefnot blogs if he had actually ever engaged our arguments, sadly he did not -- but if you want to read his gratuitous litttle jibes at us the dreher blogs will prove useful.

Anonymous said...

Very well, Kathleen, then why do you resent Dreher?

Speaking for myself, not Kathleen: I do not resent Dreher himself. I resent his double standard.

How many times must I say "double standard" before it sinks in?

It's the DOUBLE STANDARD. Get that? Double standard.

In a sense, I would not care if Rod became a whirling dervish (and I wouldn't be a bit surprised). I just want him to stop bashing the Catholic Church. No, not because I'm an "enabler" who's in denial, yahdadayahda. But simply because I'm sick and tired of what Mark Adams aptly called Rod's one-note rage-driven mania, which got very old a lonnng time ago...and which is especially tacky now that he is no longer Catholic himself.

Rod needs to move on. If he cannot move on--if he must keep relentlessly bashing the Catholic Church on the slightest pretext--then the least he can do is give equal time to his own communion, which has EXACTLY the same problems the Catholic Church has. IOW: What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Turnabout is fair play. Fair and balanced...remember?

Sex abuse is sex abuse--equally heinous whether it's committed by a Paul Shanley (Catholic) or a Nicholas Katinas (Orthodox). Victims are just as victimized, just as traumatized, whether they were victimized at the hands of a Shanley or a Katinas. Sin is sin, crime is crime, heinous acts are heinous acts, whether the perp wears a Roman collar or an Orthodox beard. If Rod insists on taking the Catholic Church to task for every one of her sins -- large or small, real or imagined -- fine. But, in that case, he'd better be prepared to do the same for the OCA and GOA. When the criticisms are directed in one direction only, that's not an example of journalistic courage. That's an obsessive hobby-horse with "DOUBLE STANDARD" written all over it.

If you, like Rod, are so genuinely concerned about episcopal malfeasance or traumatized victims, then how come you show no concern when the perps and the victims are Orthodox?

Again, I have to ask: What sort of concern is this, that expresses itself only vis-a-vis Catholic victims of Catholic predators? Forgive me, but ISTM such "concern" is more agenda-driven than real. If you (and Rod) really cared about victims, you'd be as concerned about Fr. Katinas's victims as about Paul Shanley's or Rudy Kos's. You'd be as outraged by the recent suicide of Eric Ifill (victim of sustained sexual abuse at the OCA's St. Vladimir's Seminary) as about any similar incident in Catholic circles.

Sin is sin no matter who commits it. Crime is crime no matter who commits it. Trauma is trauma no matter who suffers it. If Rod and you are not prepared to denounce the corruption and perversion in Orthodoxy as vociferously as you denounced such things in Catholicism, then, I'm sorry, but your anti-Catholic tirades ring hollow.

It's the double standard. Rod spent years lobbing one rage-fired volley after another at the Catholic Church. Now he joins a communion rocked by scandal and rife with hierarchical corruption--and he scarcely peeps. You'd have to be blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other to miss the appalling double standard at work here. It could not be more obvious is it bit you.

Diane

Pauli said...

Kathleen: "i guess dreher's gulag lets him blog."

LOL

Victor said...

Carpenter:
Go away. I will never give you any forum.

I deleted other comments responding to him, from others (Diane, Bubba and Mark A., IIRC) simply because it made it read "huh?" I'm sorry to lose the grammar fart exchange. Nothing personal is intended against any of you.

Victor said...

I realize there was one thing from Diane that would still have made context-sense without Carpenter's comments. Here it is:

I am frankly getting tired of this Open-Season-on-Jonathan crap. And I do not understand it. It's just weird.

Diane

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

Diane, the reason I emphacize the Catholic dimention to the sex-abuse crisis is because I'm Catholic. Of course, sexual abuse is horrible regardless of who performs it. who enables it and whom it victimizes; frankly, I think the Orthodox bishops who enable this abomination also should be hanged in public. But I believe that people who are outraged must first call their own to account. It's as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

But I believe that people who are outraged must first call their own to account. It's as simple as that.

I completely agree. That is precisely why I believe it is so tacky when Rod, now an Orthodox, keeps bashing the Catholic bishops while scarcely peeping about his own Orthodox bishops/perps/scandals.

Thass all. :)

Diane