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Simon Schama On ‘The Story Of The Jews’

In the week of Passover and anti-Semitic gunfire, we look at the history of the Jews with acclaimed historian Simon Schama. Plus, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church today.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in final preparation for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 14, 2014. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites' escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men burn leavened items in final preparation for the Passover holiday in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, April 14, 2014. Jews are forbidden to eat leavened foodstuffs during the Passover holiday that celebrates the biblical story of the Israelites’ escape from slavery and exodus from Egypt. (AP)

It is a holy week, on many fronts.  Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter coming.  And of course, Passover.  In Jewish homes, the Passover dinner – seder – is a time to remember the Bible stories of slavery, exodus and freedom.  But this has also been a week of anti-Semitism.  Of sickening gunfire and death at Jewish community centers in Kansas City.  We’re talking this hour with celebrated historian Simon Schama about the story, the history, of the Jews.  And we’ll turn to the latest from Pope Francis.  This hour On Point:  a holy week, and the history of the Jews.

– Tom Ashbrook


Simon Schama, professor of art history and history at Columbia University. Writer and presenter of “The Story of the Jews.” Author of “The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words — 1000 BC – 1942 AD.” Also author of “The American Future: A History,” “Rough Crossings: Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution,” “The Power of Art” and “A History of Britain.” (@simon_schama)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Observer: Simon Schama: a man always making history — “There is a tendency when considering any historical documentary series to hark back to the glory days of Kenneth Clark’s Civilization, as if it were itself the embodiment of civilisation after which the barbarians were let loose. But Schama’s five-part series stands by itself without any need to invoke earlier cultural high points. It is not just a bravura piece of television, but an astonishing recapitulation of a 4,000-year story.”

New York Times: The Historical Becomes Personal – “With Jewish history, the producers knew that ‘any kind of attempt to move toward some unproblematic consensual place was going to just suck the juice out of the whole enterprise,’ he said. ‘So they gave me rein — more than probably I’ve ever had — to make it a kind of impassioned personal essay.’”

Los Angeles Times: ‘Story of the Jews’ is also story of writer Simon Schama – “Schama is quiet as to the precise details of his own religious beliefs, which among people who identify as Jewish can vary all the way from orthodoxy to atheism. We do see him hosting a Seder, which settles nothing. He is a practical Zionist — given a long history of marginalization, (literal) demonization and (again, literal) annihilation, he subscribes to the necessity for a Jewish homeland — but is wary of those who would see their claim to the land as divinely approved.”

Read An Excerpt of “The Story of the Jews” By Simon Schama

 Pope Francis And The Catholic Church Today

Father James Martin, Jesuit priest and author. Editor at large at the national Catholic magazine, America. Author of “Jesus: A Pilgramage,” “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything” and “Between Heaven and Mirth.” (@JamesMartinSJ)

Boston Globe: Pope takes responsibility for child abuse scandal – “Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church on Friday, the first time he’s done so as pope, and also said the church must be ‘very strong’ in responding to the ongoing legacy of that crisis, including imposing forceful sanctions.”

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  • Oh bummer

    Israeli Crimes against Humanity: Targeting Palestinian Children with “Pinpoint Accuracy”


    • Shag_Wevera

      This is just jingoistic. Not really a contribution to the topic of the history of the Jewish people.

      • jefe68

        And also ignorant of the Simon Schama’s views on the subject.

        • Oh bummer

          I agree that you choose to be ignorant about the inhumane treatment being levied
          against innocent Palestinians living in the West Bank, and Gaza Strip, many of whom are refugees.

          • Don_B1

            Maybe if YOUR comment had not been so snarky and one-sided, you would not be the subject of such a response.

            The posters in this thread are well aware of the way force begets force and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a poster child for the way it redounds to no one’s benefit.

            The Israelis often talked about how Arafat never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, but they are just as guilty of that sin. And I believe Simon Schama well believes that. He talks about it in Part 3, I believe.

    • brettearle

      Well, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…..Look!

      Oh Bummer may have posted a website that has,as one of its commitments, HOLOCAUST DENIAL.

      Aren’t we PROUD to have `Oh Bummer’ in our Forum?

      ” University of Ottawa: one of its
      faculty members, economist Michel Chossudovsky, maintains a web site that includes postings alleging Jewish conspiracies and denying the
      Holocaust. Articles on Chossudovsky’s web site, http://www.globalresearch.ca include “The Hilarious Auschwitz Story,” “The HolyCo$t Lie is Finished,” “Jewish Lies of Omission (about the ‘Holocaust’),” and
      “Jewish Hate Responsible For Largest Mass Killing at Dachau.”

      • jomuir

        he has hit a new all time low!

        • brettearle

          Thank You

          • Oh bummer

            You hit a new low bertearle for your support of genocide against Palestinians.

      • Oh bummer

        There is no reference to Holocaust denial in the article. You’re trying change the subject, which is Israel’s terrible and inhumane treatment of the Palestinians.

        Plan to transfer Arab-Israelis to new Palestinian state seeks legal approval

        Israel’s hardline foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman who suggested the controversial idea is seeking secret legal advice


        Have you no shame Bretearle?

        Are you proud of the fact that you brettearle, that you support the genocide against innocent Palestinian women children?

        • brettearle


          Do you know what we have in our midst?

          Do you really want to know?

          We have a Denier of supporting a Recognized Sympathizer of Holocaust Denial?

          Have we ever seen such a Fascist Zealot in our Midst, Ladies and Gentlemen?

          • Oh bummer

            Yes Bertearle, I know what you’re all about,

            supporting genocide against the Palestinians.

        • Jack

          If it is a source of Holocaust denial an/or minimization, it would be difficult to justify that there is not an anti-Semitic bias to all of its “reporting.” For that matter, you show your own dispassion by labeling the problems facing the Palestinian people as genocide; oppression would be reasonable (but debatable), but it’s not the same thing as genocide.

          • Oh bummer

            “oppression”? Talk about the understatement of all time!

            Is that how you describe Palestinians who are being forced to live in the miserable conditions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip? Many of whom are refugees and were FORCED AT GUNPOINT to leave their homes and belongings.

          • Jack

            Sure; it’s a less loaded of a statement than “genocide.” And, as unfortunate the situation in Israel is at the moment, there are a couple of facts to keep in mind:

            1) There has never been a time, since the Exodus, when members of the people Israel did not live in the region between Lebanon and the Sinai, between the River and the Sea, in demographically appreciable numbers.

            2) For all of the Israeli forcing of Palestinians out of homes (and not all of them were forced out by Israelis during the 1948 war), Jews have been shuffled around at the point of a sword for the last thousand years. This applies equally to Christian and Arab lands…when, of course, those who would force Jews out of their homes didn’t just decide to murder those same Jews where they stood.

            3) Much of the current refugee crisis for the Palestinians is as much the fault of surrounding Arab governments who have prevented Palestinians from settling outside of those camps as it is the fault of Israel.

            4) While not expelled directly, most Jews living in other Arab countries were severely persecuted, even when loyal citizens. This doesn’t just apply to the post-1948 period.

            5) The Arabs refused to accept any kind of two-state solution in 1948 which would have been far more generous to the Palestinians than they would have any hope of ever getting even if Israel returned to the 1963 borders.

            All of that is to say that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a very, very complex conflict with wrongs on both sides and with a history of oppression, primarily by the Arabs, that pre-dates the 1948 war. To deny any of that context by simply looking at the immediate history (the last fifty years or so) or by tossing linguistic grenades (like apartheid or genocide) is unhelpfully simplistic and should be avoided. Even oppression is potentially loaded and ignores the fact that the blame for Palestinian suffering is based just as much on the results of the 1948 war as the advice they received from their coreligionist and fellow Arabs before and after the same war, as well as the ineffectiveness of their own leadership. As I said, it is very complex.

          • jefe68

            Well said sir.

          • brettearle

            Jack, your truly stunning oration is wasted on someone like that.

            But not on the rest of us.

            I support Israel–but not all of its strategies policies.

            The concept of History is so often ignored
            –especially by the anti-Semitic community.

            It is important to point out that many of the Middle-East countries, or their regions,
            have been historically, and perennially, anti-Semitic.

            Your point about the callous discrimination, of Palestinians, by its Brethren, is so often under-emphasized, in the Convoluted Mosaic of Central Asia and The Middle East.

            Something else to keep in mind about the future is that Palestinians will far outnumber Israelis, quite soon.

            If I have more time later, I will add some things.

            Thanks for taking the time to write something so strong and eloquent.

          • Jack

            I am inclined, very strongly I might add, to agree with you that it is difficult to support every policy of Israel and the IDF. Simultaneously, if the shoe were on the other foot, as it was in the 1950s and 60s when there were still Jews living in Arab countries, I don’t think too many people would notice. The Palestinian plight is a terrible calamity of human indifference to fellow humans, and any ethical person, whether they support the right of Jewish people to have a Jewish state in their historical homeland, must be saddened and dismayed by the history of the last seventy years.

            But, in many cases, we hold Israelis to a far different standard than we would hold to Arabs. Very little has been said about the official discrimination that Copts face in Egypt, for example, even when Muslims started murdering Copts in their churches. Considering there are more Copts than Jews or Arabs in Israel, it’s a shocking oversight, to say the least. The only reason I think we hold Israelis to the standard we do is because we in the West see so much of ourselves in Israeli society, in part because it is very Western and very European. Whether that’s fair or not is perhaps irrelevant, but I think we should be aware of it so we do not allow ourselves to become exploited by those who would see our emotions and seize on them.

            I certainly appreciate your praise and look forward to anything you might have to add.

          • brettearle


            Israel’s Land For Peace request goes unheeded and ignored and disrespected because none of Israel’s neighbors–including Jordan–can reconcile the raw fact that Israel returned to its Homeland, to stay, in 1948.

            That, alone, has made it virtually impossible for the Jews to gain essential traction.

            And that alone, people forget and disregard.

            That having been said, I do not fully support how the Israelis went about first establishing themselves in their homeland.

            But, ultimately, they may have had no choice.

            The other matter that is utterly disingenuous is the relationship between Hamas and Fatah.

            As long as the radical wings of Arab politics drive policy, I can understand, to a fair degree, Israel’s position.

            It is easy for Abbas to hide behind the credo, “it’s not us”, when the question of acknowledging Israel’s Right to Exist comes up.

            The suicide bombings and the war against the Jews, on Yom Kippur, were beyond the pale.

            The apartheid accusation is grossly, grossly exaggerated.

            It doesn’t mean, however, that Israel’s security plan isn’t, at times, too harsh.

            If an individual, or a group, or a region, or a country support and feel anti-Semitic sentiment, anything that Jews do or say will be misconstrued or blown far out of proportion.

            But that does not totally excuse Bibi, Peres, or other leaders–now and in the past.

          • brettearle

            Thanks for trying to point out something closer to Reality

            And even though I can’t fully agree with what you said, to me, what you said is reasonable.

          • Oh bummer

            That’s because you deny the inhumane, ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people

          • Jack

            Well, even in disagreement, we can all stand to be a little more reasonable.

          • brettearle

            I encourage you to be a more frequent contributor to this Forum.

          • Jack

            I have been contributing a bit more and more, but sometimes I don’t have an opportunity to contribute when it’s relevant: teaching, grading, and writing up research results are always a pressing concern!

      • Steve__T

        He reminds me of that nut case Frazier Glenn Miller, AKA Frazier Glenn Cross

        • Oh bummer

          You remind me of someone who supports genocide against Palestinians.

          • Steve__T

            You don’t know me.

          • StilllHere

            That suggests he might be close.

        • brettearle

          I see where you’re comin’ from….

      • jefe68

        I think it’s an interesting reveal of what’s out there.
        On one level I find myself wondering if this person is just trying to post the most outrageous idiocy he can come up with to get a reaction. One wonders if this person is just a misanthrope with much to much time on his hands.

        • Oh bummer

          Another individual, jefe68, who wants the ignore the issue of the genocide which is being being inflicted against the Palestinians.

          • jefe68

            Not in the least. And neither does Simon Schama. I know you have problems with thinking beyond one dimension, but at least try to parse things beyond that dimension.

          • brettearle

            He’s much worse than that.

          • Oh bummer

            When denial of the inhumane treatment of Palestinian women and children is required,

            then you will be summoned brettearle.

          • Oh bummer

            You and partner, brettearle, want to conveniently overlook the terrible conditions in which the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are forced to live under.

        • brettearle


          That would be too compassionate of a view, I think.

          The ACLU can support the Free Speech of Nazism in America.

          And I often support the ACLU.

          But wherever such ugly ignorance arises, we need to oppose it with strong and convincing words.

          You and I–and perhaps I am being presumptuous, but I’d be surprised if you don’t agree with me, in large part–know that 20 or 25 years from now, if our country doesn’t `Get its Act Together’, then groups like the `Tea Party’ will grow and we will find ourselves with a Right Wing Revolution on our hands.

          • jefe68

            True that.

          • jefe68

            Simon Schama just mentioned the incompetent anti-Semite, well we have one here in the guise of the bummer boy.

          • brettearle

            I welcome accurate and justifiable criticism of Israel.

            Netanyahu’s stance on the Settlements is especially ill-advised.

            Nor do I think the IDF are Angels.

      • hennorama

        brettearle — this individual is unbound by reason, taste, discretion, respect, ethics, knowledge, etc., and cannot restrain his disdain of others.

        I was personally disgusted and offended by this post, for all the reasons you delineated, and especially the fact that it was the first post in this forum.

        I immediately flagged it, obviously to no avail.

        it is increasingly difficult to ignore this ignorant miscreant, and I applaud your efforts to call him out.

        • brettearle

          Thanks much.

          Hold on To Your Hats, It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride.

          Check Graham, later.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Fascinating how many countries banned or legislated against Jews. Look it up sometime.

    • Grigalem

      What’s your point?

  • TFRX

    Unqualified recommendation for anything he writes or hosts.

    Watched the show with rapt attention. Currently rereading A History of Britain.

  • jefe68

    Been watching this series with great interest and have learned so much about the history that I was not aware of before. Simon Schama also has such a distinct and clear way of relating history which in and of itself makes his documentaries so compelling, despite the subject.

    His series the Power of Art is also well worth watching.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      I saw the first couple of episodes, and I’ll have to watch the rest online.

      • Don_B1

        Do watch them online, but, particularly if you are fortunate enough to have a large HDTV, look for the inevitable (at least I hope) rebroadcast later this year, maybe around for Rosh Hashanah.

  • J__o__h__n

    I just watched a good documentary, When the Jews were Funny.

    • TFRX

      Did it reference that Bryan Cranston clip in Seinfield?

      • J__o__h__n

        I’m actually only halfway through it (I’ll finish it when I get home tonight). Seinfeld was mentioned by Gilbert Gotfried about how all the characters were really Jewish even though they named them Costanza, etc.

  • Human2013

    The story of the Jews is fascinating and tragic. Before the rise of Islam when Persia was controlled by Cyrus the great and the Achaemenid Empire, it was Cyrus that advised the Jews to return to their homeland.

    Fast forward to the “year of our lord” and we find that Islam and Christianity can’t and will not produce another compassionate leader such as Cyrus.

    For all the good religion has done, it has done twice as much in dividing humanity.

    • brettearle

      Well said.

      Everyone deserves a Homeland:

      The Palestinians, the Jews, the Kurds, the American Indians, among others.

      • Oh bummer

        That’s pretty rich coming from you, as you deny the genocide that is being inflicted against the Palestinian people, Bert.

    • Don_B1

      I found the part of The Story of the Jews where Mr. Schama reveals a letter from the first Abdullah (I believe) around the period following the end of WWI where Abdullah welcomes the Jews in their desired return to Palestine. If my memory is incorrect, maybe the program guides can get a clarification from Mr. Schama.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    I’m well into the book now. Love the bits about letters to and from “the front” dealing with ordinary matters in the lives of people in the region. Unlike the Old Testament fragments, there must be tons of that everyday life material available for study.

    {Elephantine: Dear Mom, send more woolen socks.}

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    On a somewhat related note, we rented “The Book Thief” from Redbox this week, a story about a girl who is adopted by a German family who also hides a young Jewish fellow. It also starred Geoffrey Rush of “The King’s Speech” fame. It gives good insight into the experience of “normal” German families that were caught up in the Nazi political madness. It is easy to forget that many Germans probably realized early on how disfunctional their country became and did not agree with it, but the political winds were too strong to stand against it (not to give any excuses as some were willing to bear whatever punishment the Germans would retaliate with in order to stand on principles). I would highly recommend this movie.

    • brettearle

      The untenable position of any citizen–embroiled in a region or a country where there is genocidal hatred, especially based on a strong political framework–is virtually impossible to reconcile.

      We salute and we revere those who are willing to give their lives, to oppose it.

      But we understand when many, many others are not necessarily equipped to do so.

      The challenge is to know who the Sympathizers really are and were…..

    • Grigalem

      A good insight into the experience of “normal” German families that were caught up in the Nazi political madness does not tell you a damned thing about the 3500-year story of the Jews.

      Let the Germans tell their own story … some other day.

  • Ed75

    In Catholicism we argue that three things can’t be explained by natural explanations (there are more, but these three): the Jewish people, the historical person Jesus, and the continued existence of the Catholic Church. In the Jewish people we need to include the continued existence of the Jewish people.

  • Ed75

    The understanding of God develops: at times Yahweh is the only God, at times he is one among others, the greatest.

  • Ed75

    No doubt in the further history of the Jewish people carries out the words of Jesus on his way to the Cross to the women of Jerusalem, “Do not cry for me, cry for your children, and your children’s children”.
    Did the orthodox Jewish group celebrate the Passover on the site of the Temple as they hoped?

  • Ed75

    It seems to me that the recent visit of the Israeli government to the Auschwitz site a few months ago symbolizes the triumph over that horror, and perhaps it’s close.

  • Ed75

    Can you explain the position of the Spanish Jewish people in the Jewish people as a whole?

    • Grigalem

      Look it uyp under “Sephardim”.

    • jefe68

      Do yourself a favor, watch the Simon Schama’ documentary as it will answer a lot of you questions.
      Might have helped in in listening to this show as well.
      At least on would thing understanding the content of the show might be a prudent idea.

      • Ed75

        Yes, I did see one episode but missed the others because things came up.

  • Ed75

    The Septuagint was written in the 2nd century BC for the Jewish people living in Egypt, who could only read Greek.

  • skelly74

    The followers of Akhenaton were considered outcasts and enemies of the resurgent polytheistic pharaohs and culture. Often, these sun worshipers were enslaved and persecuted as any trace of their worship of Aten was unsuccessfully marked for destruction. This seem like as close of a theory showing archeological evidence of early Judaism as any.

    • Jack

      Aside from the fact that only Akhenaton and his family were truly allowed to worship Aten. It is also decidedly different from the ethical monotheism described in the Pentateuch.

      • skelly74

        Customs and rituals evolve over time. Although this is a speculative thought, it is not new: see Freud’s “Moses and Monotheism” for a different angle to this same theory.

    • Grigalem

      1) There were no followers of Akhenaten. Either no one cared or they were openly hostile.

      2) There were no Hebrews, Israelites or Jews in Egypt at the time of Akhenaten’s little Egyptian adventure. None.

      3) There was nothing ethical about Akhenaten worship. There was nothing that created a national constitution or judicial system either.

      4) Declaring that the Sun was more important than a mountain, an ocean, a sky or a storm is not really monotheism.

      • skelly74

        Any custom evolves over time. Also, although your four points are rather narrow, downplaying the recognition of the sun as a monotheistic god worth worshiping is trivial considering Christians worship a man as God, and Jews still await the Messiah. Isn’t the sun life sustaining? Without the sun, would man exist?

        Lets not forget that Akhenaton considered himself one with the sun as well. The ritual sounds awfully familiar.

        • Grigalem

          Honestly, I don’t think anyone can construe “1) There were no known followers of Akhenaten. Either no one cared or they were openly hostile” and “2) Tthere were no Hebrews, Israelites or Jews in Egypt at the time of Akhenaten’s little Egyptian adventure. None.” as narrow points.

          Who the hell gives a good goddamn what Christians believe? We are discussing Judaism.

          And since it is obvious that you are utterly unfamiliar with the Babylonian origins of Judaism, or Jewish ritual, there is no point in conversing with you.

          Plus, of course, 3) There was nothing ethical about Akhenaten worship. There was nothing that created a national constitution or judicial system either.

          Call that narrow, if you want to.

  • Ed75

    The Christian view is that the leaders of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus made a mistake, not the Jewish people as a whole.

    • J__o__h__n

      Explain the crowd responses in the Easter Sunday mass that identified the crowd as the Jews not the Jewish leaders. I know that they have made changes lately but that doesn’t let them weasel out of centuries of blaming the Jews as a whole.

      • Gregory Allen Perry

        Explain the fact that the crowd responses are spoken by all the people in the Church … perhaps because we see ourselves as all equally guilty.

      • Ed75

        The verse I like is after the raising of Lazarus when the Jewish leaders decide that Jesus must be killed because otherwise ‘everyone will believe in him’. Many of the people accepted Jesus (see Palm Sunday response). So the Catechism states that not all Jewish people were responsible for Jesus’ death, and not Jewish people today, and overall that Jesus freely died because of our sins, and to save us from our sins, so each of us is responsible in that ultimate sense.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    2 Qs for Simon Schama: How many languages did you master in order to read/understand the earliest fragments that undergirds your book? Or did you just rely on the translations of others?

  • Ed75

    From a Catholic point of view, the Jewish people are special to God, it’s through them that the world is saved by God’s plan (see St. Paul). As a result, they are the particular aim of the devil, and when people turn to evil, they first turn on the Jews.

    • Ray in VT

      So how does that square with the history of Catholic anti-semitism? It seems that much historical antipathy towards Jews comes from their sin of rejecting Jesus and their insistence upon retaining their own ways and language.

      • brettearle


        I would also argue, too, that part of the resentment comes from the Jewish people being referred to as, “the Chosen People”.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that there is something to that. Historically they’ve been an easy group to scapegoat due to their differences and their commitment to their beliefs.

  • Ed75

    The character of Shylock in Shakespeare (Joseph Pearce argues) would have been understood by the people in England at the time as a disguise for a Puritan, not as a Jewish person, with whom Shakespeare had little contact.

  • Oh bummer

    Plan to transfer Arab-Israelis to new Palestinian state seeks legal approval

    Israel’s hardline foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman who suggested the controversial idea is seeking secret legal advice


    This isn’t genocide?

    • Arkuy The Great

      Are you similarly sanctimonious about Abu Mazen’s desire to make a West Bank “Palestine” a Judenrein Arab state?

  • Scott B

    Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the shows on PBS.

  • Ed75

    It might be because there’s not much time left …

  • Ed75

    What has pushed Pope Francis is that beyond the realistic problem, there is a group that no matter how much you do they are never satisfied with what the Church is doing to address the problem, so he is going the extra mile. Maybe some will be satisfied, maybe one can’t satisfy them since their intent is to damage the Church, not to help children.

    • J__o__h__n

      His Eminence Cardinal Law is still on the lam in Rome living like a Prince of the Church.

    • philipus cooley

      Did you not notice their wholesale foot dragging outright obstructions? Actual illegal and immoral actions in response to being caught covering up the tens of thousands of rapes attributed to their “sub contractors” as they call them? Now you cannot seem to look for facts, REAL non-church based reports on progress(see untied nations study) (bishopsaccountabilty.org) and then you can be taken seriously. Look closer and you will see they have done little but shine the little they have into a momentous disproportionate feat. Until then, watering down their crimes with your laziness is a disservice to children.

      • Ed75

        Bishopsaccountability.org is one of those sites that is attacking the church, if I’m not mistaken, like SNAP. I think the situation is more an occasion for weeping and sorrow than for attack. Of course the Church has to pay reparations and help treat people, dismiss dangerous people (Pope Benedict dismissed 400 priests in his last year as pope) and set up standards, which she has done, but we all should be crying over the damage done to the Church and others.

        • philipus cooley

          it is as it’s name implies holding bishops accountable, simple. 2/3rds of american bishops shuffled pedos, (dallas morning news 2002) numbers, reports and findings are vetted legitimate and unfortunate FACTS yes, but not for weeping or bashing anyone except those responsible for the rape of targeted kids, the infirm like orphans and the disabled. you may learn there for example 46% of victims are female. The founder (I know personally) and everyone involved were/are loyal caths who are/were blown away at the obtuse reaction by bishops and others who buy into “cosa nostra like behavior” (quotes gov keating hired by rcc to study the problem 2003″ and policy directly out of rome. as in.. shuffle the rapists before they are caught again, pay off families WITH secrecy- non disclosure agreements in them (generations of these before 2002) . weeping while maybe cathartic is weak and a “non response” were it your kid or loved one if you don’t like kids, I reckon a different urgency would be in your heart. oh and defrocking pedo priests a paltry 400 out of the 6000 carefully documented criminals at bishopaccountability.org WITHOUT notifying local or any law enforcement hardly will do. I bet they have their new jobs at schools and parks where kids are in present danger. Good for nothing and impresses no one except the hand wringing, ignorant selfish who need their cult to believe their weeping actually will win them points. While it may do that with this so called church, who I notice you put first as damaged followed by “others” Just because you tremble weakly under their influence does not mean the “others” will or do. That damned institution is rotten to the core, rapists, nazis mafioso, wake up and smell the coffee. Many good people are dependent on the institution but it does not make these charges wrong. They are just the facts, read em and weep if that’s what does it for you.

          • Ed75

            Well, your reply started out very well and thanks for all the information. I’m sure the truth is somewhere between what you and I say, respectively.

            There are some mitigating circumstances, though. For example, when this happened before 1986 or so, bishops sent the offending priests to psychiatrists, and were told to send them to clinics, and reassign them, and they could get better. A few years later it was found that this illness isn’t curable. So they did transfer them, but some were transferred having been told they were reformed.

            The cold response by bishops is partly explained by the fact that they didn’t understand the damage it would cause young people. But the other reason is that this involved legal issues and fines, and they had to protect the Church’s money, which is used to keep the Church’s buildings going where Mass is celebrated, pays for social services, etc. They were scared, and it ended up costing far more than anyone imagined.

            I don’t see why sexual abuse would occur more in the priesthood than in other institutions (sociologists say 2-4% have any involvement), and other institutions aren’t mentioned (I don’t accept the celibacy argument).

            Then there is the problem of repressed memories, etc., etc. The statistics are hard to nail down, and many of the incidents were years ago and the priest and the witnesses are dead and can’t defend themselves, there have been several very visible cases of wrongful accusation.

            But the Church, of course, never promoted such behavior, never has it as a policy, etc. The Church has now put in a good system for reporting on abuse, has implemented training, has a system that is a model for other organizations.

            In total, it’s a complex and completely sad situation. When the Church is damaged this badly I look for the influence of evil, and it no doubt is here. So what can we do? We cry for the Church, damaged, we cry for the victims, we even cry for the offending priests, and for other priests who are always looked at askance.

    • JS

      Just because some people are “out to get” the Church, doesn’t negate the fact that the Church has done too little, too slowly, to address this problem.

      Excommunication for supporting abortion moves swiftly, yet excommunication for anally raping young boys, and protecting those rapist, moves slowly, and all you can do is say people “are never satisfied with what the Church is doing to address the problem.” Should any Christian (myself included) be satisfied with this situation? I think not.

      • Ed75

        Well, I think it’s more an occasion for weeping and sorrow than for attack. Of course the Church has to pay reparations and help treat people, dismiss dangerous people (Pope Benedict dismissed 400 priests in his last year as pope) and set up standards, but we all should be crying over the damage done to the Church and others.

        • JS

          Bishops and Pastors shuttled abusive rapist from parish to parish, isn’t that something that SHOULD be attacked?!? Yet how many of these enablers were dismissed? Yes,lets weep and cry, and hope it all blows away, with NO accountability for any of the monsters who put the Church ahead of children.

          And I’ll save my tears for the damage done to little boys and girls, yet you suggest crying for the Church ahead of them (others?!?!?)

          • Ed75

            Well, there is sorrow all around. For the Church, and for the victims.
            Pope Benedict, on his trips to Australia, the U.S., etc., always met with a group of victims to encourage them, but it wasn’t publicized, so does Pope Francis.
            Of course the idea of moving priests from parish to parish is horrible (it usually wasn’t rape but fondling). And of course we need to attack it and end it (as Pope Benedict said ‘we have to remove the dirt from the Church’). But at the same time I must say that many of these priests had one fondling incident three decades ago, have lived a life of penitence, and have been decades later removed from priesthood with no means of support, the Church has gone the extra mile in removing people now. Some priests were removed on an accusation, and lost all this, but were never tried and were innocent.
            Pope Benedict, in his last year as pope, returned 400 priests to the lay state who had been guilty of some sexual crime with children, and found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Last year there were six creditable allegations of abuse in the U.S., so the program the Church has implemented is doing well.

          • JS

            And yet none of the rapist enablers have been excommunicated. Or sanctioned. Or demoted. Cardinal Law, and enabler of rapists, not fondlers, got a cushy job in Rome for his efforts.

            Aw, the pope encouraged victims of abuse, how sweet of him, while hiding the enablers.

            370 new allegations, and you think only 6 are credible? And I like how the Church celebrates that abusers are “out of active ministry”, not excommunicated, not kicked out, not arrested. And they STILL can serve Mass

            And, as long as the Church is protected, you are ok with all of that. You are as bad as the Bishops who enabled the abusers: putting the Church first, and ahead of those abused.

            To me, doing whats right is more important: I pray that Pope Francis (who I like) cleans house, and kicks out all priests and bishops who covered up (in the slightest sense) any abuse and moved abusers around, even fondlers. This would probably mean Francis himself, and Benedict, would have to get kicked out also.

            Is this harsh: Yes.
            Will priests be hurt by this: Yes
            Did those abused suffer less? No
            Did Jesus suffer any less? No.
            Will it ever happen: No, because power is more important to the Church than doing whats right.

          • Ed75

            You certainly show the kind of ferocious animosity the Church faces from people on this issue.

            I wish we could have this kind of ferocious animosity and outrage at the thought of abortion.

            (I liken it somewhat to this situation: a family has a member who is a drunk. And he is the only drunk in the family. And the family tries to get him treatment, but it doesn’t work. And he does some damage while he is drunk. But the family is well respected and an asset to the community and well liked.

            But then a rumor starts that the whole family is a bunch of drunks, and people believe it, as rumors are believed. And that they subjected the community to the danger of this person and all of them. And they are persecuted.

            And it’s very difficult to disprove this kind of thing.)

          • JS

            Shouldn’t everyone show that kind of ferocious animosity to the Church since they enabled the rape of children?

            I like your analogy, with one little twist. If I may:

            (I liken it somewhat to this situation: a family has a member who is a drunk, and rapes children. And he is the only drunk who rapes children the family. And the family tries to get him treatment, but it doesn’t work, and he still rapes children. And he does some damage while he is drunk, like raping children. But the family is well respected and an asset to the community and well liked, and they rather keep up appearances then stop the raping of children.

            But then a rumor starts that the whole family is a bunch of drunks and children rapist, and people believe it, as rumors are believed, and vecause the family has done nothing to stop the raping of children. And that they subjected the community to the danger of this person, a child rapist, and all of them. And they are persecuted, as they should be.

            And it’s very difficult to disprove this kind of thing, especially when the family hides records and tries it’s hardest not to cooperate)

  • philipus cooley

    Given the holiday approaching I guess you just gave the church a slide.

    Fawning collar guests aside, the history of weaseling boston specific add a very recent united nations report damning the roman main operatives all muted in your conversation. I also wonder why in fact no calls were accepted on the segment.

    Okay so these guys win the p.r. battle “on point” just a part of it, but their actual lack of action continues to loose the war for kids, women, science, infirm and the reality absence that is tenant of catholisim for the above and many more.
    Count me out as anyone remotely fooled by this new leader “de jour” of the rcc.
    The people impressed by francis are those who have little investment beyond the addiction to feel good at the expense of those incapable of caring for themselves as history shows us all.

    And before anyone gets impressed prematurely at the catholic charities they ought to know it is the worst bang for buck charity of all majors by far and away spending 21 cents on administrative costs per. This explains wilton gregory’s new place or bishop weasel in new york.
    Lest we ignore anyone else’s take I urge you to have a show with local survivors advocates to examine from a source NOT wearing a collar, the actual lack of progress the church has made barely addressing it’s sexual abuse problem. After ten years it ought to be examined, and sans some dude in a dress by the way.

Sep 1, 2014
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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

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War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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