There are four people on board of a burning plane: a priest, a young mother, her six-year-old son, and the pilot. The crying mother is persuaded to grab the first of only three parachutes, and jumps. The pilot takes the second parachute, and gives the third to the priest. The priest yells “What about the child?” The pilot yells back, “Screw the kid!” The priest brightens and says, “Do you think there is time?”
BONUS — The most popular joke told at last week’s papal conclave in the Vatican:
Q: What’s the best thing about fucking twenty-eight-year-olds?
A: There’s twenty of them.
And the second-most popular:
A priest and a little boy walk into a forest at night. The child whimpers, “I’m scared, it’s dark in there!” The priest responds: “You‘re scared? I’m the one who has to walk back alone!”
Fox motormouth Bill O’Reilly is a devout Catholic and a fairly generous contributor to the Church (at least $65,000 in 2011 alone). His views regarding marriage couldn’t be more public. O’Reilly has blustered on TV that the institution of holy matrimony will be harmed, and families destabilized, if gay people gain the same rights as straight people. He equates same-sex relationships with beastiality and frequently mocks European countries where marriage equality is seen as perfectly normal, claiming falsely that in the Netherlands, “You’re allowed to marry a duck.”
But the talkshow host’s own marriage, to the equally hardcore Catholic Maureen McPhilmy (photo), has been on the skids for at least a couple of years. Now, courtesy of Gawker, there’s confirmation that the two got a divorce — a no-no according to the Pope — and that O’Reilly subjected their kids to a nasty custody dispute.
The first public evidence of strains on the marriage came in 2003, when Falafel-gate broke out. Andrea Mackris, a member of O’Reilly’s production staff at Fox, claimed that her boss had subjected her to a sustained barrage of sexual innuendo. She said he frequently referred to threesomes and the size of his manhood; talked of vibrators he wanted her to buy; invited her to phone sex with him (she declined); and initiated business calls during which he appeared to be masturbating. According to Mackris’ 23-page complaint, O’Reilly also informed her that he’d love to take her on a Caribbean vacation, where he would massage her “spectacular boobs,” and do exciting things involving a “falafel” and her “pussy.”
O’Reilly and his lawyers decided to pay off Mackris — that is, they persuaded her to take a settlement, reportedly in excess of two million dollars — a move that allowed the Fox celebrity to deny any wrongdoing.
Presumably, through it all, O’Reilly’s wife (who in 2003 was pregnant with the couple’s youngest child) was not amused.
When she and O’Reilly finally split up for good, they worked out a shared-custody arrangement for Spencer, then about 8, and Madeline, then about 13. A family therapist, they agreed, would “act as a neutral mediator to help them resolve any parenting disputes.” Gawker now reveals that O’Reilly immediately set to rigging the deal: Unbeknownst to McPhilmy, he offered the therapist they picked, Lynne Kulakowski, a six-figure salary to work long hours in his home, with his kids — and incredibly, Kulakowski accepted. Naturally, this made a mockery of the therapist’s so-called “neutral” status.
O’Reilly now has his icy heart set on erasing his entire marriage — not just from his memory, but from the Catholic books, Gawker says:
He is … seeking an annulment of his 15-year marriage, which produced two children. Null and void. Invalid in the eyes of God. Never happened. This despite his manifest belief in the “stability” that straight marriage brings.
The author and history professor Garry Willis is both a practicing Catholic and one of Catholicism’s most ardent critics. To his great credit, Willis has been at the forefront of the movement to finally shine a spotlight on child abuse by clergy.
After I read about the exploits of Baptist preacher Jack Schaap, who had sex with a troubled teenager entrusted to his pastoral care and then told her that their extramarital affair was blessed by Jesus, I went looking for something Willis wrote eleven years ago. This is the passage. Emphasis mine.
Priestly pedophilia is … set apart from other varieties by the fact that the seduction technique employs religion. Almost always some form of prayer has been used as foreplay. The very places where the molestation occurs are redolent of religion — the sacristy, the confessional, the rectory, Catholic schools and clubs with sacred pictures on the walls. One of the victims of Father Paul Shanley, of the Boston archdiocese, says that his ordeal began in the confessional, when he confessed the “sin” of masturbation. The priest told him that masturbation could be a “lesser evil” and that he would help him work out his problem. He did this by taking him to a cabin he kept in the woods, where the priest taught the boy how they could masturbate each other.
This pattern occurs over and over — a conjunction of the overstrict sexual instruction of the Church (e.g., on the mortal sinfulness of masturbation, even one occurrence of which can, if not confessed, send one to hell) and a guide who can free one of inexplicably dark teaching by inexplicably sacred exceptions. The victim is disarmed by sophistication and the predator has a special arsenal of stun devices. He uses religion to sanction what he is up to, even calling sex part of his priestly ministry.
Schaap is a Baptist, not a Catholic — but we see the exact same scenario play out, full of faux-holy lecherousness and the kind of betrayal that makes Judas look like a saint. These are kids, for fuck’s sake: many times more vulnerable — and infinitely more susceptible to claims of authority — than those of us who have safely crossed into adulthood.
You could call it a divine sign: a Saugus man said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw Jesus Christ on a drop cloth at his home. “My heart went a million miles an hour. I was hyperventilating,” said Brian Krantz.
Facepalm-worthy stuff, but at least we get a new exclamation out of it; here at Moral Compass HQ, our future expression of frustration or astonishment will be “Sweet Jesus Christ on a drop cloth!” Thank you, Mr. Krantz.
For fun findings on the human brain’s face-detection proclivities, see here. Cliff Notes version: the more gullible people are, the more they’ll “recognize” random patterns as meaningful images.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God premiered last fall on HBO. It shouldn’t be too long now before the film, about the sexual abuse of young deaf boys at a Catholic institution, is available for streaming via Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, and/or Hulu. The reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and iMDB have been stellar, so here at Moral Compass HQ, we’ve added it to our watch list with a good deal of anticipation.
• Rabbi Yehuda Rosilio stole $130,000 worth of Torah scrolls from his own synagogue, and replaced them with cardboard-and-paper replicas.
• The former pastor of an Arkansas church, 42-year-old Hank D. Guilliams, is in jail, accused of multiple counts of sexual assault. Some of the crimes allegedly occurred in the church.
• A pastor in Jamaica invited the police into his church in an effort to quell rumors that his wife had been sleeping around. The service then erupted in “pandemonium,” according to the Jamaica Star.
• Pakistani-born Lord Ahmed, Britain’s first Muslim peer, caused an accident while he was thought to have been driving-and-texting. Although his sentence was postponed so that he could keep “building interfaith bridges,” that didn’t prevent him from going on a radio show and complaining the verdict was the result of a Jewish conspiracy.
• According to Human Rights Watch, there are at least 15 people on death row for blasphemy in Pakistan, and more than 50 people have been killed while facing trial for the charge.
• Indiana pastor Jack Schaap (55, photo) had sex with a 17-year-old girl who had been sent to him for counseling. He told her that Jesus approved of his advances: “Christ wants to marry us + become eternal lovers,” he wrote her in a text message.
• Muslim Mali, a new video game for would-be jihadists, features a button in the corner of the screen that reads: “There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his messenger.” Click on it and it sends a pulverizing black laser beam of death at the French enemy, courtesy of Allah.
• The FBI has apprehended a former Missouri pastor wanted on suspicion of child sexual abuse in New Orleans. George Spencer, 48, was arrested Friday on several charges of forcible sodomy of a child and child molestation.
• Jason Lee Ray, treasurer and youth pastor at a church in Tennessee, admitted to stealing money from the church from more than a year. He is thought to have taken more than $60,000.
• A retired Roman Catholic priest was given an 11-year sentence in a Newfoundland (Canada) court on Thursday for sexually abusing children. George Ansel Smith, 75, was sentenced for offenses involving 13 children he assaulted between 1969 and 1989.
• The deadliest mass killing in Orange County, Calif. history (Seal Beach, 2011, 10 dead) might have been God’s way of protesting the community’s treatment of homeless people, believes pastor Shirley Broussard. City Councilman Michael Levitt offered, however, that God wouldn’t kill a group of people just “because we didn’t pay for housing.”
• More details emerged in the Fairfield, Calif. sex-abuse case involving the Rev. Robert Ruark. Known by parishioners as “Father Silas,” Ruark was charged with more than 30 counts of committing lewd acts on children as young as 13 and, in some instances, photographing them while naked. The victims told detectives that most of the molestations took place either at the church or at his home.
• To prove that he wasn’t hungry for companionship or sex, a 59-year-old priest in Britain who is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl announced he had in fact been secretly married for more than a decade. William Finnegan claims he couldn’t have attacked the 17-year-old because, despite his vows of celibacy, he was enjoying a healthy sex life with his wife.
• Robert Lyzenga, a former pastor at Sunrise Christian Reformed Church in Lafayette, Ind., has been charged with five counts of child exploitation and five counts of voyeurism. He had installed small video cameras inside air fresheners in the women’s bathrooms at the church.