Saturday 24th February 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

January 11, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By STEPHEN M. KRASON

(Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Among his books are: Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution; The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic, and most recently Catholicism and American Political Ideologies. This column originally appeared in Crisismagazine.com.)

+ + +

The sexual harassment frenzy of the last few months — and it can only be called a frenzy — is disturbing in many ways, and decent and right-minded people need to speak up about it. It’s only the latest poison from the sexual revolution and the regime of moral relativism generally.
First, it is troubling that in the minds of the media and political powers that be in Washington mere allegations — often backed up by nothing more than the fact that a woman, often out of the blue, made them — are held to equal proof. No more evidence is necessary, even though the stakes are high indeed: the destruction of careers and livelihoods, the permanent damaging of reputations — even who is going to hold a Senate seat from a state.
To be sure, while only some of these claims rise to the level of criminal acts so that proof beyond a reasonable doubt is not the formal standard in play, fundamental fairness demands that there be genuine proof that a person engaged in an act — to say nothing that the act even occurred — before he’s labeled a miscreant.
In the case of Justice Roy Moore in Alabama, we witnessed a situation where there was no firm evidence that he did anything untoward, there were inconsistencies in the claims made, at least one of the accusers had big credibility problems and a criminal background, the alleged incidents happened forty years ago, and some of the allegations — such as a thirty-something man seeking the affections of teenaged girls — were hardly an issue in the culture of that time and place.
Today it’s sexual harassment concerning which mere allegation is held to be proof. Tomorrow, it will move onto other things, until we end up having moral confusion, an undermining of law, injustices left and right, and a society of deepened interpersonal suspicion that comes to resemble something like Hobbes’ state of nature.
Allegations concerning incidents of the distant past — some, as with Moore, decades old — is another particularly disturbing element in all this. Even if the criminal law is not involved, we can learn from it. There is a reason statutes of limitations exist in the criminal law. Memories dim about things in the distant past, misimpressions about them often abound, and witnesses are often not around anymore to confirm or dispute claims.
What has been painfully evident in this frenzy has been a lack of charity. This isn’t surprising, since the secular culture that is suddenly rife with sexual harassment has overturned Christianity and with it the greatest of the Christian virtues, charity.
The imperviousness to facts and proof, the willingness to let the accused flap in the wind and be destroyed, and the subjection of innocent people to grueling investigations — whether by congressional committees supposedly in the name of ethics or within private institutions — even without anything like probable cause as a threshold so as to determine if anything happened in the first place and if it could reasonably be believed that a person did anything wrong hardly bespeaks charity.
The last time I checked, calumny, libel, and detraction were sins, but then the secular culture doesn’t think there’s such a thing as sin. So, should we be surprised that many don’t blink an eye when a person’s reputation is unjustly destroyed? Also, isn’t it uncharitable to conclude the worst about someone — for example, to read a nefarious intention into what may be an innocent comment or action?
If we can take a reference point for this whole subject of sexual harassment such criminal law principles as the desirability of statutes of limitations and probable cause, we can also add the need to spell out clearly what the forbidden actions are.
One of the most basic reasons, from the standpoint of sound ethics, why a positive law might be determined to be unjust is because it is vague. If anything has been apparent from the recent exposés, it is that what constitutes “sexual harassment” is up for grabs.
It readily reminds one of the law respecting child abuse and neglect over the past forty-odd years: There are no clear definitions anywhere so pretty much whatever someone — whether it be a neighbor who dislikes a family and anonymously calls the authorities or a child protective system operative (many of whom have no firsthand experience with childrearing and whose education and training betray an anti-parent perspective) — wants to call “abuse” or “neglect” is.
Directly on point with sexual harassment, we are seeing feminists and some others pushing an expansive definition of rape that goes well beyond what has always been understood. We’re now even told that it’s sexual harassment for a young man to keep asking a young, unattached woman for a date if she keeps saying no. Didn’t at one time we think that gentle persistence would pay off in the end for both parties, that the woman might change her mind over time and wish that she had responded positively sooner?
There is another danger of open-ended definitions of such things as sexual harassment and child abuse and neglect. If they apply to everything they become trivialized and as time goes on the true cases and perpetrators too often are missed or ignored.
In the midst of this, has it dawned on anyone that we have to be wary of the self-interest of accusers? One doesn’t doubt that there legitimately is what might be called “sexual harassment” out there (for example, unwanted touching of a genuinely sexual nature — but not something, say, like a man putting his arm around a woman’s shoulder at a public photo shoot).
Also, in a sex-saturated age, it probably happens much more frequently than in the past. By the same token one can hardly ignore the fact that some people — women are no more virtuous than men in this respect — are motivated by raw self-interest and will allege untrue things for the sake of it.
Speaking of self-interest, it’s noteworthy that some of the accusers of recent months — from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and media — say that they tolerated the harassment or agreed to provide sexual favors for fear that their careers would otherwise not advance. Were their careers more important to them than sexual virtue? Can’t they truly be viewed, at least to some degree, as cooperators with wrongdoing?
As has now become apparent in the supposed campus rape crisis, it is not unheard of that a young woman who has been involved in a consensual sexual affair that has gone sour will allege that she was raped as a way to get back at the man.
Can all the high-profile actresses and female entertainers who have alleged unwanted sexual advances by their male counterparts and bosses — whose own lack of virtue, to be sure, one has no illusion about — escape all responsibility when the movies and other types of entertainment they readily take part in are hardly examples of wholesomeness when it comes to sexual morality? Can we ignore the possibility that since big name men and entities are involved money might be a motive for some of the accusers?
One does not have to look too far to find enough cases of allegations of sex discrimination or even sexual harassment by women in workplace, educational, and other institutional settings to see such self-interest at work. One is foolish not to believe that there are enough unconscionable people ready to make untrue allegations to get something they want or to retaliate against someone.
Sometimes they can get others to join the bandwagon with them to think that they too have been mistreated and so they pile on. Sometimes, for some people, the power of suggestion can be strong in riling them up to see a supposed (but unreal) injustice.
While it would not excuse true sexual harassment, don’t women have to be attentive not to create situations that could open the door to it? For example, no one seems to see a problem with provocative dress by women. In fact, the whole notion of modesty is laughed at. Even some young Christian women don’t seem to be adequately attuned to the need for modest dress.
It’s interesting that the people telling us that we have a crisis of sexual harassment say nothing about rolling back the sexual revolution or restoring the lost ethic of the gentleman, even though at bottom line these are its causes.

Seeking Power

In good feminist fashion — copying Marxism and Hobbesianism — it’s all about power. The solution is to “empower” women. Hasn’t that been what the current wave of feminism has been about for almost half a century, however? They have had one success after another, helping to transform the landscape of American culture and the male-female relationship. Still they would have us believe that women are more vulnerable than ever.
The contradictions abound. Women are the same as men, androgyny rules, the old protections enshrined in law for women had to go by the boards — yet they say that women now need protection, even from the smallest of slights. Women, they say, are as tough and capable as men. Yet, we have to respect every kind of sensitivity they might have — even if it’s an oversensitivity.
Isn’t this just another version of ensuring the “safe spaces” that some students insist upon on the campuses, so that even ideas they don’t like are considered offensive and so off-limits? We are told that women should be in every workplace alongside men and can handle all the challenges as well as them — in fact, women who choose to stay at home are denigrated — but at the same time, every small or merely perceived offensive action or injustice is pounced on and can literally become a federal case. So, institutions are constantly on their guard for fear of lawsuits.
The effect of all this — and almost all of what feminism has to offer — has been to sour relations between men and women. Oh, and by the way, check out the studies done about women’s attitudes in the era of the current feminism: Women are unhappier than before.
Like so much today, this topic cries out for realism, common sense, mutual respect across the board, norms of civility and charity, and traditional — true — morality. Don’t expect the people who are screaming about sexual harassment as one of the crises of our time to pay much attention to such things, however.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

World famous preacher Billy Graham dies at 99

MONTREAT, North Carolina, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – World-famous American evangelist preacher Billy Graham has died. William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina. He converted to evangelical…Continue Reading

Pope’s special envoy in Chile sex-abuse case hospitalized on first day of investigation

ROME, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just one day into his investigation of alleged sex abuse cover-up by a bishop in Chile, the Pope’s special envoy in the “Barros case” has been hospitalized after suffering gallbladder complications, Church officials in…Continue Reading

FRENCH CATHOLICS TO PRAY NATIONAL ROSARY

PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) – Catholics in France are rallying for a nationwide Rosary on April 28. In the past five months, Church Militant has reported on about a half dozen national Rosary rallies organized in countries such as Poland and Ireland. Inspired by…Continue Reading

Told he has not long to live, Catholic Studies founder Don Briel reflects on dying well

Don Briel, founder and longtime director of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, was diagnosed in mid-January with two forms of acute leukemia. He was told the cancers were untreatable and he had a month…Continue Reading

Pope Francis says Paul VI will be canonized this year

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 08:53 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During his annual Lenten meeting with the priests of Rome last week, Pope Francis confirmed that Blessed Pope Paul VI will be made a saint sometime this year. “Paul VI…Continue Reading

Pope reappoints O’Malley to head further work of safeguarding commission

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2018 / 05:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Saturday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has reconfirmed Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston as head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, also reconfirming seven members…Continue Reading

The Latest: Trump to visit Florida after school shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s response to the Florida school shooting (all times local): 11:36 a.m. President Donald Trump says he’ll visit Parkland, Florida, the site of Wednesday’s shooting that killed 17 people. Trump said from…Continue Reading

U.S. bishops: federal budget should not be balanced ‘on backs of the poor’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the Trump administration’s 2019 federal budget proposal on Monday, the U.S. Catholic bishops are urging for a budget that shows greater concern for “‘the least of these” and warning that the U.S. “must never seek…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood sticker stirs controversy at Connecticut Catholic high school

A Connecticut high school student may have to decide whether to remove a Planned Parenthood sticker on her laptop or leave her Catholic school after administrators told her to remove it, her parents said. Sophomore Kate Murray’s parents told the Greenwich Time that…Continue Reading

Fr. James Martin: ‘People take the Bible…out of context’ on homosexuality

February 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Bible’s condemnation of homosexual acts should be taken in “context” with Biblical times, Jesuit Father James Martin toldGeorgetown University students recently. Martin said as well that Catholics who support gay “marriage” should have no problem…Continue Reading

Mississippi state house votes to ban abortion after 15 weeks

JACKSON, Mississippi, February 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A bill banning abortion on babies more than 15 weeks old passed the Mississippi state House today 79-31. House Bill 1510 would make Mississippi the state with the most pro-life laws if it…Continue Reading

All But Three Democrats Voted to Allow Unlimited Abortions Up to Birth

Just three Democrats in the U.S. Senate supported a bill on Monday that would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which has strong public support from Republicans…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Catholic Bishop Denies Communion to Pro-Abortion Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin: “Until He Repents of His Sin”

Pro-life Catholics who wish Catholic Church leaders would step up and deny communion to leading politicians who support abortion are getting good news today. One Catholic bishop is denying communion to pro-abortion Democrat Dick Durbin, a top Democrat in the Senate who has long supported and promoted abortion. Durbin joined other Democrats to block a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois says Durbin is “cooperating in evil” and persisting…Continue Reading

CDL. MÜLLER: TALK OF ‘PARADIGM SHIFT’ A LAPSE INTO MODERNISM

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Vatican’s former doctrine chief is warning against re-interpretation of Church doctrine. In a First Things article Tuesday, Cdl. Gerhard Müller slammed recent talk of a “paradigm shift” in relation to Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the pastoral care of families. The former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Müller observed that “In commenting … some interpreters advance positions contrary to the constant teaching of the Catholic Church, by effectively denying that adultery is…Continue Reading

State senator rebuffs Planned Parenthood activists: ‘Abortion is murder’

BOISE, Idaho, February 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Mainstream media is slinging mud at a pro-life Republican state senator in Idaho after he was filmed in a heated exchange with a dozen or so pro-abortion college students affiliated with Planned Parenthood, telling them that abortion is “murder.” When State Sen. Dan Foreman (R) canceled a meeting with University of Idaho students on Monday, the Planned Parenthood

Catholics urged to affirm ‘liberating truth’ of Humanae Vitae

The document ‘defended the integrity of married love and warned us against the danger of reducing sexuality to a source of pleasure alone’ The “liberating truth” of Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae” is as relevant today 50 years after its promulgation, and maybe even more so, said Archbishop of Denver Samuel Aquila in his new pastoral letter, “The Splendor of Love.” “The 50th anniversary of ‘Humanae Vitae’ is an occasio

Correcting Fr. James Martin

Fr James Martin SJ has tweeted his rage against the firing of a gay teacher from a Catholic School. The story is here in the New York Times. It concerns a female Catholic school teacher who “married” her girlfriend and was then dismissed from her job. Fr Martin tweets: Again, where are the comparable firings of straight employees who do not follow Catholic church teaching? Men and women living together before being married? Divorced and remarried without…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Myth And The God-Given Order

By JUDE DOUGHERTY “The Myth of Scientific Objectivity” is the title William A. Wilson gave to an insightful article recently published in Modern Age (November 2017). Wilson examines how unacknowledged beliefs often influence investigation, especially in the so-called social sciences. Scholars whose work focuses on colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, he believes, are especially…Continue Reading

AWOL Conservatives Desert The Culture Wars

By JACK KENNY While fiscal conservatives are still reeling from the latest spending spree sanctioned by another congressional budget-be-damned continuing “irresolution,” social conservatives may be suffering a similar sense of betrayal over a recent decision to ban an exhibit by MassResistance at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week in the Washington, D.C., suburb of…Continue Reading

Youth’s Predicament… The Longing For Love And Meaning

By GEORGE A. KENDALL Living in a nursing home has had an unexpected effect on my life — putting me in more contact with young people than I have been used to since I was young myself (about a hundred years ago). I am talking about the nurse’s aides who provide the day to day…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Professor… Criticizes University’s Provision Of “Simple Contraceptives”

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNA/EWTN News) — After the University of Notre Dame announced it would fund “simple contraceptives” in its insurance plan, one Notre Dame professor has criticized the move, calling it “a giant leap into immorality.” “Now the University [of Notre Dame] is to be sole funder and proprietor of a contraception giveaway,” wrote…Continue Reading

Fulton Sheen’s Final Resting Place Not Yet Final

NEW YORK (CNA/EWTN News) — Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s niece has said her uncle’s remains belong in Peoria, Ill., but a lawsuit seeking his internment there has been returned to a lower court for further consideration. “I just hate that this is dragging on and on and on,” Joan Sheen Cunningham said, according to The New…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. We have always been taught that there are eight Beatitudes, but when I read Matt. 5:3-12, it seems that there is a ninth beatitude, the one in verses 11-12. What do you think? — M.C., via e-mail. A. Verses 11-12 read: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you…Continue Reading

Our Hearts Are Like A Marketplace

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: Exodus 20:1-17 1 Cor. 1:22-25 John 2:13-25 In the second reading St. Paul tells us Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom. We see in the Gospel reading that when our Lord overturned the moneychangers’ tables and drove out the dealers and their animals, the Jews immediately ask…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen . . . “A Schismatic Church With The Pope’s Blessing Will Be Horrible!”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Hong Kong’s Joseph Cardinal Zen issued another strongly worded criticism February 13 of the Vatican’s proposed deal with China’s Communist regime, suggesting it would amount to a papal endorsement of schism. “There is no reason to fear a schismatic church created by the [Communist] Party. It will fade with the collapse of the regime,”…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The “Inner Room” Of Lent

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “Go to your inner room and pray to your Father in private.” Another Lent is upon us. With the Mass of Ash Wednesday we hear once again the Lord’s call to grow into a deeper awareness and love of the Father who is always lovingly aware of us. The tasks of Lent in prayer, fasting,…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ . . . Delving Into The Great Mystery Of The Eucharist

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 16 The Holy Eucharist is the greatest Mystery left to our faith by Our Divine Redeemer. Thus, to delve into it is something we do on our knees, as it were, spiritually speaking, since we are considering the Presence of a Divine Person under the appearances of bread and wine. We have His word…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Bohemia

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the thirteenth century, many alliances were solidified by a marriage between members of royalty from other nations. There were also quite a few royal persons who were known for their holiness by following Christianity, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Ludmila and St. Wenceslaus of Czechoslovakia. Related to all of these saints, Princess Agnes also…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Cortona

By CAROLE BRESLIN Great sinners make great saints. It takes a strong-willed child to become a saint. These are statements which would easily fit saints such as Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine. In the thirteenth century, a young lady free in spirit and strong in will led such a life that she was essentially driven from her home village, but…Continue Reading