Monday, September 16, 2019

Woke Doctors

By Rod Dreher
September 16, 2019

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You might remember the post here about “Moralistic Therapeutic Med School,” in which medical schools are starting to remove or relocate images of white men affiliated with the school who accomplished great things. This is about something related, but much more serious.
A reader who is a physician sent me this WSJ op-ed column the other day. He said that this is bad news for the medical profession. The author is Stanley Goldfarb, a former administrator at Penn’s medical school. Excerpts:
A new wave of educational specialists is increasingly influencing medical education. They emphasize “social justice” that relates to health care only tangentially. This approach is the result of a progressive mind-set that abhors hierarchy of any kind and the social elitism associated with the medical profession in particular.
These educators focus on eliminating health disparities and ensuring that the next generation of physicians is well-equipped to deal with cultural diversity, which are worthwhile goals. But teaching these issues is coming at the expense of rigorous training in medical science. The prospect of this “new,” politicized medical education should worry all Americans.
The zeitgeist of sociology and social work have become the driving force in medical education. The goal of today’s educators is to produce legions of primary care physicians who engage in what is termed “population health.”
This fits perfectly with the current administrator-rich, policy-heavy, form-over-function approach at every level of American education. Theories of learning with virtually no experimental basis for their impact on society and professions now prevail. Students are taught in the tradition of educational theorist √Čtienne Wenger, who emphasized “communal learning” rather than individual mastery of crucial information.
Where will all this lead? Medical school bureaucracies have become bloated, as they have in every other sphere of education. Curricula will increasingly focus on climate change, social inequities, gun violence, bias and other progressive causes only tangentially related to treating illness. And so will many of your doctors in coming years.
Read the whole thing. At some point, reality will take its revenge, and the woke will be banished. But how much suffering will innocent people have to endure before it does? And how many people of faith will be deterred from seeking a medical career because the militant left has placed absurd barriers to keep out the politically incorrect.
This morning, on the drive to the airport (I’m on my way to New York City now), I heard a radio piece talking about the need for transgender health care, and how medical educators in Oregon are meeting it. There’s not yet a transcript available for the broadcast, but I can tell you that it begins with the reporter framing transgender surgery in a politically correct way — something like, “the patient had surgery to realign her body with her gender identity.” This, by the way, is an example of how the media re-engineers society by changing language. Later in the piece, a doctor says that in years past, people with gender dysphoria would typically have been referred for mental health treatment. Today, though, they get surgical intervention.
This is massively important! What if psychiatric treatment, or some adjacent treatment, is what is better for them than gender reassignment? What if that is what would restore them to health?
Here’s a little personal story that came to mind as I was listening to this piece.
The transgender person in the story says that he (a biological male presenting as female) always felt uncomfortable in his body. No doubt this is true. I think this accounts for the disproportionate number of autistic people among gender dysphorics. Autism is often accompanied by something called “sensory processing disorder.” Nobody knows why this is, but it is common.
As I learned about autism and sensory processing disorder in my own family, a number of things about myself became clear. I am confident that I would not meet the threshold for a formal autism spectrum diagnosis, but I am equally confident that I have many of the traits of people who are (and that includes a member of my family). In fact, the sensory stuff is fairly widespread in my family.
As a child, I had very strong legs. My father recalls me doing 400 deep knee bends when I was nine years old; he stopped me because he thought I would hurt myself. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not strengthen my upper body. I had poor muscle tone, and nothing could fix that. Decades later, I learned that this is something that people on the spectrum sometimes have.
I have never felt comfortable in my body, though I thought for most of my life this was simply neurosis. No, I have never had the faintest thought of gender dysphoria, but it manifested itself in something feeling … not right. Something hard to define. To be frank, one reason I drank so much in college — aside from the fact that LSU in the 1980s had a massive binge-drinking culture — was to overcome that sense of not-rightness, so I could talk to girls. The point is, when I read about officially-diagnosed autistic young people seeking sex changes because they say they don’t feel right in their bodies, I get that. I can’t pretend to know about that from a sexualized point of view, but that sense that things aren’t right is quite familiar to me. And it never goes away. You just have to learn how to cope with it. For me, it got better as I grew older.
I can remember in my childhood, how my mom had a big heart (still does), but was not particular physically affectionate. I couldn’t understand that at all, especially when our father was physically demonstrative. Once I started learning about autism and sensory processing a decade or so ago, and began to understand things about myself, and why I could be so prickly about ordinary bodily things, I understood her in a new way. This was almost certainly not an emotional disposition for her, but a neurological-sensory disorder. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but my mom and I are so much alike in so many ways that I think this is what was going on. It’s how it is with me. I can see this trait — sensory processing disorder — manifesting to some degree in most of my mom’s six grandchildren too.
I bring this up only to say that at least some of these young spectrum people who seek gender dysphoria treatment, including radical, irreversible steps (e.g., mastectomies, hormone treatment that arrests sexual maturity) could surely benefit from ordinary therapies to help them cope with their sensory issues. If I had known as a teenager and a young adult that what I was feeling in and about my body was due not to a character or psychological flaw, but probably due to neurobiology, it would have been much easier to manage it, and to learn how to live with it.
I’ve come to see, for example, the fact that I have unusual superpowers when it comes to taste and smell to be an advantage. This is why I love food and wine so much: I can experience aromas and flavors more intensely than most people. And I’ve stopped feeling so bad about my inability to tone my upper body, though I am also sure that I will never feel quite at home in my body (I have always been terrible at dancing and athletics; I can be a graceful writer, but in the flesh, am a shambling galoot). Fortunately for me, this is all relatively minor — discomforting, not tormenting. I wouldn’t judge the subjective experiences of spectrum people suffering from gender dysphoria.
My point here is simply this: for whatever cultural reasons, young people who report a serious disjunction between themselves and their bodies are being encouraged to express  and to affirm that disjunction in sexual ways — and now the medical profession is eager to confirm that concept. Often this results in permanent surgical or hormone-driven alteration to the body. Dr. Goldfarb’s column makes me afraid for those young people and their families, being driven by the popular culture and the culture of medicine into asking for life-changing procedures that will not actually cure them of their sense of alienation from their bodies, because it may not really be about gender.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

It’s Not The NRA Stopping Gun Control, It’s America’s 100 Million Gun Owners

By Mark Overstreet
September 13, 2019

Rally in Denver on May 18, 2019.

Rally in Denver on May 18th. (Michael Ciaglio/USA Today)

During the Reign of Terror, the most bloodthirsty member of France’s revolutionary government, Jean-Marie Collot d’Herbois, a “vehement, emotional and vulgar man, craving the center of the stage, dramatizing and gesticulating and bellowing when excited” (Ch. 7), called for the executions of “merchants.”
For Adolf Hitler and the German national socialist workers party, the enemy was instead “the Jew.” For Joseph Stalin, it was “the capitalists.” For Mao Zedong, “the bourgeoisie,” “the intellectuals,” and “the reactionary classes.” And for Che Guevara, “rich landowners.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson cannot be placed in the same category as those miscreants. Nevertheless, when the Gun Control Act of 1968 didn’t require the registration of all guns and the licensing of all gun owners as he had hoped, LBJ singularly blamed “the gun lobby.”
President Bill Clinton more specifically blamed “the NRA” when, after Congress imposed the firearm background check system and a nearly make-believe “ban” on “assault weapons,” 62 Democrats, including Speaker of the House Tom Foley, were defeated in the 1994 congressional elections, giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954.

Pick The Target and Polarize It

Participants in this year’s Democrat presidential debates have also pointed their accusatory fingers at “the NRA,” along with a laundry list of other groups and individuals, including “corporations,” “big corporations,” “the 1 percent,” “big pharma,” “big insurance companies,” “the rich and powerful,” “those with money,” “the special interests,” “PACs,” “the Koch Brothers,” “Mitch McConnell,” and, of course, “Donald Trump.”
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where vagrants reportedly cover the sidewalks with feces, urine, and needles—a condition aspired to for Austin, Texas, by its mayor, Steve Adler, and its like-minded city council—the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution labeling NRA a “terrorist organization.”

Throughout history, the left has achieved power by rallying its mob, and rallied its mob by giving it someone to hate. Vladimir Lenin encouraged “language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us,” Saul Alinsky advised radicals to “pick the target . . . and polarize it,” and leftists continue the practice today.
So, a few days ago, left-wing columnist Michael Tomasky wrote that the gun laws Democrats are now pushing can be imposed if “The NRA Can Be Beaten.” Having worked in the NRA’s political division from 1991 to 2016, I might laugh at Tomasky’s notion, if I had a sense of humor about such things. The left’s everyone-on-message vilification of “the NRA” may inspire high-pitched squeals of approval during the Democrats’ presidential debates and campaign rallies, but anyone who thinks that the NRA is all that stands in the way of disarming the people of the United States has another think coming.

It’s Not the Electoral College When You Lose Congressional Elections

Those 62 Democrats who were defeated in the 1994 elections didn’t lose just because of the several hundred of us who worked at NRA headquarters, nor even because of the NRA’s 1 million or so members at the time. There were 60 million other gun owners in America in 1994 and soon thereafter polls showed that more Americans identified with the NRA than with either major political party.
NRA’s membership roughly doubled to 3 million after Clinton and the Democrats imposed gun control and rose to 5 million after President Barack Obama tried to impose more gun control during his second term. There are now 100 million gun-owning Americans, and gun owners tend to be single-issue voters.
Tens of millions of Americans own handguns, which anti-gun activists tried to get banned in the 1970s and 1980s. Seventeen and a half million Americans have permits to carry handguns for protection away from home. A comparable number own semi-automatic rifles that Democrats in Congress have been trying to ban since 1989.
Since the 1990s, every time Democrats inside the Beltway have acted against the right to keep and bear arms, or threatened to do so, purchases of guns, particularly those that Democrats want most to ban, have soared. For example, in August, the first month of Democrats’ new push against guns, gun purchases increased roughly 16 percent, compared to the number in August 2018.
Yet Democrats believe they have reason to hope. Polls show support for some of the gun laws they are demanding, though support for gun control typically falls once the public becomes informed about the details and it has fallen this year. Also, some have recently claimed that there are internal troubles within the NRA, inspiring some of its detractors to speculate that the organization can now be defeated and gun control now be imposed.
Speculations about defeating “the NRA” may titillate the mob, but even if NRA disappeared overnight, there are still 100 million gun owners, their family members, and their friends. Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election because he won “swing states” Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida, all of which have large populations of gun owners. If gun control supporters achieve their goals, it will be because gun owners are complacent or don’t understand the details and ramifications of what Democrats are demanding, not because of rumors about the NRA.

Don’t Forget the Supreme Court

Conventional wisdom holds that you shouldn’t predict what the court might do in a specific case. But three of the justices who voted with the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, are still on the court, and most observers think the most recent appointees to the court, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, have similar respect for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms.
Heller observed that self-defense is an “inherent right” that is “central to the Second Amendment,” and ruled that the amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation” and “extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms.” One needn’t a crystal ball to conclude that might not bode well for state laws that impose unreasonable restrictions on carrying arms for protection or that ban firearms and ammunition magazines owned for the inherent right the amendment protects.

Confiscate Guns?

Finally, while “Beto” O’Rourke—another “vehement, emotional and vulgar man, craving the center of the stage, dramatizing and gesticulating and bellowing when excited”—says Americans would agree to hand over their semi-automatic rifles, the last time our government tried to confiscate guns from the people, it received a revolution in return.
As Meghan McCain said on “The View” several days ago—courageously taking a stand while Republican members of Congress we elected to protect our rights hide in the shadows—“If you’re talking about taking people’s guns away from them, there’s going to be a lot of violence."

Or, as Alinsky observed, paraphrasing Lenin, the radical left cannot begin murdering its political opponents in the United States, because it’s the rest of us who have the guns.

Mark Overstreet is a firearm instructor and author in central Texas. He retired in 2016 as the senior research coordinator of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, after 25 years with the organization. He is also retired from the Army Reserve, after 23 years including duty as a combat cameraman in Iraq. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the NRA or the Department of Defense. He can be reached at

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Turning Brexit into a crime

By Brendan O'Neill
13 September 2019

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John Bercow
This week, the Remainer elite’s war on democracy reached fever pitch. There is now a distinct whiff of autocracy in their campaign to overthrow Brexit. Their aim seems to be to criminalise Brexit, to make it an actual offence to walk away from the European Union.
Remoaner politicians constantly complain about the rhetoric of Brexiteers. But this week their own rhetoric became genuinely alarming. They now speak openly about imprisoning those who try to bring about a clean-break Brexit (‘No Deal’). They compare politicians who refuse to extend Britain’s membership of the EU to common criminals.
So John Bercow, the puffed-up Speaker who abused his position in parliament to try to subvert the people’s will, says Boris Johnson will be no better than a ‘bank robber’ if he refuses to delay Brexit and take No Deal off the table.
Because the Benn Bill voted through by MPs last week outlaws No Deal and demands an extension to our membership of the EU, anyone who defies it is just a no-good criminal, Bercow says.
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Jolyon Maughan
Meanwhile, anti-democratic lawyers are taking legal action in Scotland to ‘compel Boris Johnson to seek an extension to Article 50’. One of these lawyers – Jolyon Maugham – has said of Boris: ‘he’ll either see the extension or he’ll go to prison.’ That is, keep us in the EU or you will go to jail.
These people have lost it. It is a striking insight into their tyrannical mindsets that they can so casually speak of criminalising and jailing anyone who wants a clean-break Brexit and wants it now.
They are using the law to make it a crime to pursue the thing that millions of people voted for: leaving the EU. This genuinely feels like a coup, where a tiny but powerful elite uses its power and its connections to make it a crime for politicians to be faithful to the people’s will. They are tearing apart the democratic fabric of this nation.

Adventures In Christian Grift

September 12, 2019

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Jerry Falwell Jr. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If not, you should. It’s about how Falwell Jr. runs the Christian college as a family fief, a de facto dictatorship, and a vehicle to enrich the family’s coffers, even at the expense of the university’s mission and reputation. The piece once again forces the question: where on earth is the university’s board of trustees? They remind me of a colorful phrase of my late father, who was once a farmer:  “useless as teats on a boar.”
Well, apparently some of them are speaking to Ambrosino. From the piece:
But these new revelations speak to rising discontent with Falwell’s stewardship. The people interviewed for this article include members of Liberty’s board of trustees, senior university officials, and rank-and-file staff members who work closely with Falwell. They are reluctant to speak out—there’s no organized, open dissent to Falwell on campus—but they said they see it as necessary to save Liberty University and the values it once stood for. They said they believe in the Christian tradition and in the conservative politics at the heart of Liberty’s mission.
Most of the long story is about business shenanigans that appear to violate, or come close to violating, the university’s tax-exempt status, and certainly are at odds with the school’s Christian mission. But the juiciest stuff has to do with Jerry Jr.’s life as a player. Ambrosino got his hands on 2014 shots of Jerry Jr., his wife Becki, their son Trey and Trey’s wife partying at a Miami nightclub. Ambrosino writes:
According to several people with direct knowledge of the situation, Falwell—the president of a conservative Christian college that frowns upon co-ed dancing (Liberty students can receive demerits if seen doing it) and prohibits alcohol use (for which students can be expelled)—was angry that photos of him clubbing made it up online. To remedy the situation, multiple Liberty staffers said Falwell went to John Gauger, whom they characterized as his “IT guy,” and asked him to downgrade the photos’ prominence on Google searches. Gauger did not respond to requests for comment.
Jerry Jr. denied to Ambrosino that the photos were real, and claimed that his image had been photoshopped. The photographer who snapped them was so incensed by the claim that he released more of them the next day. 
And there’s this:
In May 2019, Reuters reported that Cohen helped Falwell contain the fallout from some racy “personal” photos.Later that month, Falwell took to Todd Starnes’ radio talk show to rebut the claims.
“This report is not accurate,” Falwell said. “There are no compromising or embarrassing photos of me.”
Members of Falwell’s inner circle took note of the phrasing.
“If you read how Jerry is framing his response, you can see he is being very selective,” one of Falwell’s confidants said. Racy photos do exist, but at least some of the photos are of his wife, Becki, as the Miami Herald confirmed in June.
Longtime Liberty officials close to Falwell told me the university president has shown or texted his male confidants—including at least one employee who worked for him at Liberty—photos of his wife in provocative and sexual poses.
At Liberty, Falwell is “very, very vocal” about his “sex life,” in the words of one Liberty official—a characterization multiple current and former university officials and employees interviewed for this story support. In a car ride about a decade ago with a senior university official who has since left Liberty, “all he wanted to talk about was how he would nail his wife, how she couldn’t handle [his penis size], and stuff of that sort,” this former official recalled. Falwell did not respond to questions about this incident.
More than simply talking with employees about his wife in a sexual manner, on at least one occasion, Falwell shared a photo of his wife wearing what appeared to be a French maid costume, according to a longtime Liberty employee with firsthand knowledge of the image and the fallout that followed.
Ewgh. If you think Politico is just making this stuff up, let me assure you that charges like this don’t make it into print unless they’ve been lawyered to death. That doesn’t mean that they’re true, but it does mean that Ambrosino and his editors almost certainly had to prove to the publication’s lawyers that these allegations could withstand a court challenge. If you’ve ever had to deal as a writer with your newspaper or magazine’s lawyers — I have — you know that they are a very conservative (not necessarily in the political sense) bunch who try to rein their clients in to reduce their potential legal exposure. Again, the fact that Politico published these allegations do not make them true, but it does show that the magazine is so confident in their factual accuracy that they are prepared to face down a very wealthy plaintiff in a libel suit, if it comes to that. That’s not nothing.
Read the whole thing. The final paragraphs are harsh. You should know, if you don’t already, that unlike his father, Jerry Jr. is not a preacher. But he is the head of an Evangelical Christian university. So, here:
One source pointed to a tweet Jerry Falwell Jr. sent out in June 2019 criticizing David Platt, an evangelical Virginia pastor who apologized for welcoming Trump to his church. “I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God,” Platt said. “Sorry to be crude,” wrote Falwell in a since-deleted tweet, “but pastors like [David Platt] need to grow a pair.”
After Falwell came under criticism for his tweet about Platt, he responded to critics with a two-part Twitter thread, which, in the words of one current high-ranking Liberty official, “a lot of people found troubling.”
“I have never been a minister,” Falwell tweeted. “UVA-trained lawyer and commercial real estate developer for 20 yrs. Univ president for last 12 years-student body tripled to 100000+/endowment from 0 to $2 billion and $1.6B new construction in those 12 years. The faculty, students and campus pastor @davidnasser of @LibertyU are the ones who keep LU strong spiritually as the best Christian univ in the world. While I am proud to be a conservative Christian, my job is to keep LU successful academically, financially and in athletics.”
To those who worked for Liberty under the late Rev. Falwell, the sentiment appeared to signal a serious departure from his father’s legacy. “Bragging about business success and washing his hands of any responsibility for spiritual life at the university—that was frankly a pretty Trumpian line of commentary,” said one former university official with longstanding ties to both Liberty and the Falwell family.
Jerry Jr. says he has asked the FBI to investigate whether employees who leaked his e-mails to journalists broke the law. He’s not denying their content, so I guess that’s all he has left — that, and claiming that he’s being targeted from within because he’s a defender of Donald Trump.
Jerry Jr. says he has asked the FBI to investigate whether employees who leaked his e-mails to journalists broke the law. He’s not denying their content, so I guess that’s all he has left — that, and claiming that he’s being targeted from within because he’s a defender of Donald Trump.
As he complains of being targeted by critics, Reuters has found that Falwell himself was disparaging Liberty students, staff and parents for years in emails to Liberty administrators.
The several dozen emails reviewed by Reuters span nearly a decade-long period starting in 2008. In the emails, Falwell insults some Liberty students, calling them “social misfits.” In others, he blasts faculty members and senior Liberty staff:
-Ronald Sones, then the dean of the engineering school, was “a bag of hot air” who “couldn’t spell the word ‘profit,’” Falwell wrote in 2011. Sones is no longer the dean and could not be reached for comment.
-Richard Hinkley, the campus police chief, was “a half-wit and easy to manipulate” and shouldn’t be allowed to speak publicly. Hinkley could not be reached for comment.
-Of Kevin Keys, then Liberty’s associate athletics director, Falwell wrote in 2012: “Only get Kevin involved in something if you want it not to work.” Contacted by Reuters, Keys said: “I don’t know anything about that and I would prefer not to comment.”
The selection of emails provides a glimpse of the management style Falwell employs to run the nonprofit Christian university, which reports $2.8 billion in assets. Several of the emails take a derogatory tone toward Liberty parents, students, and other university officials.
In one 2012 email, Falwell dismisses Liberty parents who begged the school not to move their kids from on-campus dorms to off-campus housing in the middle of their freshman year when Liberty sought to raze some dorms to build new ones.
In response to one mother’s letter expressing concern for how the move could affect her daughter, emails show, a top Liberty administrator sent a reassuring letter. Falwell struck a less sympathetic tone. “Tell them, if they keep complaining, we’ll tear them down over Thanksgiving break!” Falwell wrote to Liberty officials.
Who wants their kid to attend a Christian (!) college under the stewardship of a creep like that? How can you be president of a Christian university, but then claim that you have nothing to do with its spiritual quality? Falwell Jr. may not be a pastor, but he is unquestionably a Christian leader. Seems to me that the board of directors ought to be doing more to defend the university than speaking without attribution to reporters, and leaking e-mails.
Meanwhile, in other Religious Leaders Behaving Badly, the Washington Post has a new piece up about the lush life of former Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling, W. Va. It begins like this:
It was billed as a holy journey, a pilgrimage with West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield to “pray, sing and worship” at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. Catholics from remote areas of one of the nation’s poorest states paid up to $190 for seats on overnight buses and hotel rooms.
Unknown to the worshipers, Bransfield traveled another way. He hired a private jet and, after a 33-minute flight, took a limousine from the airport. The church picked up his $6,769 travel bill.
That trip in September 2017 was emblematic of the secret history of Bransfield’s lavish travel. He spent millions of dollars from his diocese on trips in the United States and abroad, records show, while many of his parishioners struggled to find work, feed their families and educate their children.
 Pope Francis has said bishops should live modestly. During his 13 years as the leader of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bransfield took nearly 150 trips on private jets and some 200 limousine rides, a Washington Post investigation found. He stayed at exclusive hotels in Washington, Rome, Paris, London and the Caribbean.
Last year, Bransfield stayed a week in the penthouse of a legendary Palm Beach, Fla., hotel, at a cost of $9,336. He hired a chauffeur to drive him around Washington for a day at a cost of $1,383. And he spent $12,386 for a jet to fly him from the Jersey Shore to a meeting with the pope’s ambassador in the nation’s capital.
You have to read the whole thing. This Bransfield is extravagantly corrupt — and the diocese’s own investigation (the source of the Post‘s report) documents it with receipts. His reputation from his lengthy tenure at the Basilica in DC was that of a player, and not just in matters of luxury. Matthew B. O’Brien’s powerful, detailed First Things piece back in April, detailing the corruption at the Papal Foundation involving then-cardinal Ted McCarrick, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and Bishop Bransfield, explains how sexual corruption is tied up with financial corruption in the Catholic hierarchy. Along these very same lines, one prominent Catholic layperson who worked at a very high level within the Church (though not with Bransfield) told me earlier this year that they had never imagined that there was such a close connection between sexual and financial corruption until they took a job working closely with the hierarchy.
It’s about the sex and the money. It was like that with Bishop Bransfield, it seems, and in a different way, it might be about that with Jerry Falwell Jr. Though no one has alleged that he has committed adultery, the weird photo thing with his wife (supposedly photos of her in a position unbefitting the wife of a conservative Christian university president), and this allegation that Jerry Jr. brags in the workplace about his sexual prowess, indicates profound moral and spiritual disorder.
How can the churches, and church institutions, minister to the world when they cannot clean up their own messes, and hold their own leaders accountable? It’s a more than fair question. It’s also a necessary one.
The Rev. Ryszard Biernat is by the side of Bishop Richard Malone as Malone celebrates Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in 2017. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

UPDATE: A Catholic reader sends me updates I missed about the unfolding gay sex scandal engulfing the Diocese of Buffalo and its bishop, Richard Malone. Here the successor of the apostles in Buffalo meets the press to discuss the disclosure of a love letter between Father Ryszard, his assistant, and a seminarian with whom Father Ryszard was intimate:
In the midst of an ongoing crisis surrounding Bishop Richard Malone’s governance of the Diocese of Buffalo, newly revealed correspondence suggests a romantic relationship between the bishop’s priest secretary and a former diocesan seminarian who resigned last month.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Malone called the content of the letter “a bit concerning” and the entire situation “a very complex, convoluted matter.”
Yeah — it involves a gay love triangle with two priests and a seminarian. You can read the entire 2016 love letter here. 
It’s the morning of Friday, Aug. 2, and Bishop Richard J. Malone hasn’t slept for two nights.
“We are in a true crisis situation,” Malone said. “True crisis. And everyone in the office is convinced this could be the end for me as bishop. It could force me to resign if in fact they make a story…”
Malone is at his sprawling residence on Buffalo’s East Side for a one-on-one meeting with his trusted secretary, Rev. Ryszard Biernat, and the embattled bishop is concerned about a brewing story regarding Christ the King Seminary, allegations of love letters and claims of sexual harassment by a diocesan priest.
“I think we’re gonna blow this story up into something like an atom bomb if we start talking about that. You know?” Malone said to Biernat. “Cause then it sounds like, it sounds like a soap opera. It sounds like a love triangle. And you know what the media can do with that.”
Biernat goes on to say that he made the secret recording and released it because the bishop sees these messes, but never acts on them, or acts too late. It turns out that the third member of the alleged love triangle was a Father Nowak, at the seminary, who tried to blackmail Biernat’s apparent lover, seminarian Bojanowski, into having a sexual relationship with him. The blackmail allegedly included going through Bojanowski’s private things, finding the love letter, and photographing it.
Get this: even though Malone knew back in January what Nowak was up to, and is on tape worrying that a guy he believed used information gathered in the confessional for sexual blackmail might be dangerous to leave in parish ministry … he left him in parish ministry.
The big thing that Bishop Malone is worried about, according to the August 2 recording, is whether or not he will be allowed to keep his own job.
So: three clerical queens are engaged in a knife fight, and the do-nothing bishop is worried that the people will find out what’s really going on, and push him out.
Why would anybody want to be priest of that diocese? Why would anybody want their sons to be a priest of that diocese? Why do people still believe that the Catholic Church scandals are only incidentally about gay men having sex behind the veil of holy orders?