I'm sure there are people seeing this front page of the Post today who think, "How disgraceful." I'm sure there are others thinking, "Just what they deserve, the hypocrites." Me, I'm thinking that Rupert Murdoch overstepped his bounds here. Way. And not the first time, obviously.
I think celibacy is fine for a vow, but it's been pretty bad as a policy. What's even worse is to mask a policy as a vow. People don't join the priesthood because they don't want an intimate relationship. They become priests probably among other reasons because they want an intimate relationship with God and His people, in general. And the church's own teachings, and our own experience, is that this doesn't have to preclude a relationship with a particular one of His people.
But whether or not someone keeps that vow, regardless of the reasons to take it, really has nothing to do with whether his or her affair gets plastered across a major metropolitan daily if he or she breaks it.
Here's the lead, as found on the Post's Web site:
St. Patrick's Cathedral's top priest and his longtime leggy assistant turned a quaint Hamptons hideaway hotel into their personal love nest keeping their tryst so hush-hush, they didn't even use their own names in the registry, sources told The Post yesterday.
As a church member albeit of another church, in another denomination I can certainly see some concern with a clergyperson who is having an affair. But as it's not my church, I can't see that it's otherwise any of my business. And, other than the people who are supposed to have some oversight on the priest's role in my church, it's the parish vestry and the bishop; in the Catholic church, I think it's only the archbishops and cardinals between this monsignor and the Pope I'm not clear on how it's anyone else's business here in New York or elsewhere.
You can maybe make the argument that a congregant of St. Patrick's Cathedral has a right to know and be concerned. You could even since that's the New York Catholic archdiocese's cathedral make the argument that Catholics have an interest in whether he's having an affair or not, though I'd argue they didn't. I'm not sure how I, or any of my New York Episcopalian brethren and, uh, sistern or the myriad Jews, Muslims, Methodists, Buddhists, etc. in New York have any interest or right to know in this situation, however. Yet this right-wing rag seems to think we all do.
I shouldn't be surprised. Conservatives have long whined that there's no right to privacy inherent in the Constitution as if a prohibition against "unreasonable search and seizure" somehow only applied to jack-booted thugs at the door, and not even then, necessarily and libel law is murky on many issues. Which is exactly the kind of environment that the Post thrives in.
Joe Biden is apparently considering a run for the presidency again. I couldn't even remember when it was he ran before, I only remembered that he was forced to drop out of the primary race when he was caught or, rather (because I know how these things work), his speechwriters were caught, but he got tagged with plagiarizing parts of speeches by Neil Kinnock, a former Labor party leader in the U.K. Apparently he was accused of plagiarism back in law school, and in looking through his other speeches, he'd borrowed, uh, "liberally" from other Democratic candidates in campaigns past.
All I can say is: how quaint. Given that we're currently involved in a war on the basis of the current president's lies "oh, but would you rather Saddam Hussein had stayed in power?" somebody is going to ask, as if that were even a logical cause-and-effect when it comes to going to war; it's not, so save yourself the embarrassing display of idiocy Biden's speech transgressions of nearly 20 years ago are almost cute in their naivety.
I used to discount Biden on the basis of that "scandal" even though I otherwise didn't follow the Democratic primary all that much that year, or remembered much else beyond the Kinnock appropriations. Since Biden didn't speak up a whole lot in the four to eight years after that, I never really paid him much attention until the past year or so. But increasingly, whenever I've seen him on television or read a quote from him in the paper even if someone else might have said it first, just to get that in there first I have to say I'm consistently impressed.
I'm sure there's already a counter-attack plan underway in the event of a Biden nomination. Or else they'll just dust off the Hillary Clinton attacks and innuendos they've been using for 13 years and are burnishing for her potential 2008 run and just apply them to him. (I can see the "Lesbian? Say It Ain't So, Joe" headlines in the New York Post already.)
It would completely upset the political process as we know it, but there's even been a rumor albeit based on a recent Biden interview on the Daily Show, for what that's worth, and the fact that the two men are friends with a great deal of respect for each other of a Biden-McCain (or McCain-Biden) ticket. Okay, that probably won't happen. But since I already wrote in one for president and think I'd be vote for the other, it sounds good to me.
The headline on weather.com says "Sizzling Summer Takes Toll on Northeast." And ain't that the truth. It's 11:45 p.m. and 87 degrees outside. Which is better than the 96 degrees it was earlier. And humidity has dropped to a mere 52 percent, down from the 60s it was earlier today. But then, I see that it's still 91 degrees in Tulsa; the humidity there is in the low 40s. So I suppose it's all relative. At least, I know it's probably feeling hot for my relatives.
I don't have anything coherent to say tonight, just some odds and ends. Mostly odds. But I figured I'd start plowing a fresh 40 acres worth of blogging here on the old digital farm, since it's a new month. My, how the time passes.
That headline was from memory. On checking, I left out "obedient" and "cheerful." I've been accused of forgetting the first one often and given the news lately, I'm not certain how many Boy Scouts could remember the latter, either.
I really mean this sincerely, not in some kind of sick, ironic commentary way: the Boy Scouts are really having a terrible, tragic summer, aren't they? I know many aren't sympathetic to them because since they turned so homophobic and theocratic, but I was a Boy Scout and, by comparison, I don't remember there being anything very, uh, heterosexual or religious about them back then, either, to be honest. They've always had that taint of militarism, too, but other than a merit badge for rifle shooting (837,284 awarded since 1911) and uniforms that look kind of Gurkha-esque, there's not a whole lot of military stuff going on with the scouts, either.
(Just for comparison, they've awarded fewer merit badges for stamp collecting in that time (378,149) but far more for reading (1,421,927) and scholarship (1,211,852). And an encouraging 1,633,148 for the merit badge "Citizenship in the World." I think those last three may have been the only ones I managed to collect in my time served.)
But really, these are just boys, they're not responsible for the political stances of either side, and it's them or their troop leaders who have been most affected by all these events. Four scout leaders were electrocuted at the recent national "jamboree" in Virginia, right in front of several scouts. The day before, a volunteer had a heart attack. And 300 boys at the jamboree got sick while waiting to hear George Bush address them. (No jokes this time.) Last week, an assistant scoutmaster and a 13-year-old scout were killed by a lightning strike in California's Sequoia National Park. And just today, there was the report that another scout was killed by lightning, and three more were injured, while they slept in a log shelter during a thunderstorm.
I never went to the national jamboree, but I did go to a statewide jamboree once. It was fun. And I did go to scout camp one time at Camp Garland, near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. It was a completely eerie and creepy time, and yet somehow we managed to have fun. I think. I was 12 at the time, had just finished elementary school and would be starting junior high in the fall.
What made it eerie and creepy is that just the week or two before, in June 1977, three Girl Scouts at nearby Camp Scott had been murdered, and the killer was still on the loose. Camp Scott was closed, but someone I now have to really wonder who in their right mind would think this was a good idea; the two camps were only a few miles apart figured it was okay to keep Camp Garland open if everyone would just "stay alert." The old Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," I suppose. So for the week we were there, there were police and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation officers searching the woods, we'd hear gunshots down by the creek, and no one was supposed to approach the canteen after dark unless he was wearing the shirt of his scout uniform. Or else... I don't know. They'd shoot a 14-year-old in a T-shirt? Possibly.
So a bunch of 12- to 16-year-old Boy Scouts spent a week swimming, hiking, and for once didn't feel much like telling ghost stories. I don't remember a lot else (except one kid cut himself very badly with a knife, and possibly did it for the attention, and had to be taken to the emergency room), but I do remember that it was a pretty scary time. Even though I'd begged my parents to let me go. And, against their better judgment, they let me, as did many other parents of other scouts.
They didn't catch the guy they thought it was Gene Leroy Hart until the following April. He was later acquitted; his defense attorney had argued that sending him to prison on circumstantial evidence would serve no purpose, since he was already being returned to prison to serve over 300 years on prior rape, burglary and escape convictions, and the jury seemed to buy this, despite a great deal of circumstantial evidence. He died a year later of an apparent heart attack while jogging at the prison. However, after his death, more and more evidence came out and investigations got re-opened and closed down, and it now looks as if either Hart didn't do it after all or, if he did and he very likely had a hand in it, given the evidence he wasn't alone.
They were grisly murders, the kind for which we have to really reserve the word "grisly." If you're interested in knowing more I had forgotten many of these details myself, and particularly the really horrible ones that either I was never told or chose not to remember someone has created a rather sensationalistic-yet-seemingly-accurate account of the whole case. One of those little girls lived a few blocks from our house, I remember.
That's a pretty horrible memory lane to go down, occasioned by the thought of these (albeit wholly unrelated) tragedies the Boy Scouts have undergone lately. The world can be a rough and ugly place sometimes, can't it? Somehow "be prepared" hardly seems sufficient anymore.