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Sexual Violence

Knowing the Mind of God

Knowing the Mind of God

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In the midst of the campaign, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock was asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. He responded negatively with this explanation: “I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something the God intended to happen.” Apparently, Richard Mourdock knows the mind of God.

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Fifty Shades of Depressing

Fifty Shades of Depressing

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First, a confession: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I intend to. When I choose a novel to read, I pay attention to reviews or suggestions of my friends. The thought of spending time reading second rate prose about dominant-submissive heterosexual sex just doesn't seem very appealing. Life is too short.

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Weary Beyond Words

Weary Beyond Words

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“Legitimate rape” has now been added to the lexicon of sexual assault thanks to Representative Todd Akin, candidate for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. One wonders about the definition of this new term; perhaps its synonym “real rape” and its opposite is “illegitimate rape.” It’s a mystery to me.

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Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

Dear Pope: About Sr. Margaret . . .

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I am just writing to thank you for denouncing Sr. Margaret Farley’s excellent book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.” This is the best PR any author could possibly get and, as a result, the book has soared to the Best Seller list at Amazon overnight. I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways, but this is too good.

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“The Wedding Season . . . for Some”

“The Wedding Season . . . for Some”

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So it is the season of marriage and my partner and I delighted in attending our niece’s wedding in Baltimore last weekend. It was a three day party bringing together family and friends in celebration of their love for each other, their hope for the future, and their commitment to journey together, come what may.

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Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief

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International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 and has been observed each year since as a day to recognize women’s achievements as well as to lift up the issues of gender inequality such as violence against women that continue to plague the human race and diminish the lives of women and men.

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Rape is Rape is Rape . . .

Rape is Rape is Rape . . .

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The U.S. Department of Justice has updated its definition of rape. Now we can name more clearly what victims of rape have known for centuries.

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16 Days is Not Long Enough

16 Days is Not Long Enough

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This time last year I was on my way to Capetown, South Africa, to visit my friend, Elizabeth Petersen and the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI). This was my first trip to this massive continent and, like so many people, I immediately fell in love with South Africa.

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The Church of College Football

The Church of College Football

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A former defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team, Jerry Sandusky (a priest in the Church of College Football), has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of boys over a 15 year period.

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“Corrective Rape”?  No, Hate Crime

“Corrective Rape”? No, Hate Crime

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“Corrective rape.” When I first heard this term, I stopped dead in my tracks. Having thought that I had heard it all when it came to violence against women, here was yet another perverse variation of rationale for sexual assault.

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“Nothing New Here”

“Nothing New Here”

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The only real news in the case of the charge of sexual assault against a powerful French politician is that the victim came forward and filed a complaint. The outcome is classic and predictable.

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"Do Not Make Any Statements . . ."

"Do Not Make Any Statements . . ."

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This is the advice given by many insurance companies to clients who are churches or religious organizations when faced with a disclosure of abuse by one of their leaders. Frankly, it is advice that will very likely lead to lawsuits brought by survivors of abuse and to significant settlements paid out by insurers.

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Who Needs to Confess? And What?

Who Needs to Confess? And What?

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Actress Ashley Judd recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi recently disclosed that she was sexually abused as a child; Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts recently disclosed that he was sexually abused as a child. When each made a public disclosure, the media described these disclosures as “confessions.”

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Dear Cardinal Mahony

Dear Cardinal Mahony

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I realize that you are soon to retire as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I can only assume that you are exhausted from dealing with sexual abuse by priests in your diocese for so many years and from all of the subsequent scandals. I hope that you will have time to reflect on your role in addressing this longstanding problem of betrayal by your priests.

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Preparing for Spring

Preparing for Spring

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I look forward to the beginning of February, not in anticipation of February 2 as Groundhog Day (which I have never understood anyway), but in celebration of February 1 as the Feast Day of St. Brigit—she who breathes life into the dead of winter.

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Rape Victim Apologizes to Church?

Rape Victim Apologizes to Church?

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That’s right. In 1997, a fifteen-year-old girl was raped (allegedly) by Ernest Willis, an adult church member. As a result, she became pregnant. She was instructed by her pastor, Chuck Phelps, to come before the church, confess, and apologize for getting pregnant, and then she was kicked out of Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, NH.

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Dear Pope: Are We Talking?

Dear Pope: Are We Talking?

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I’m so glad you seem to be finding my advice helpful as you move to respond to the growing crisis over sexual abuse in the church. Your comments this week suggest that your understanding has deepened and your analysis is more on target.

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Dear Pope: Check This Out

Dear Pope: Check This Out

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I don’t know if you follow the National Football League in the U.S., but I think you will be interested in this.

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Women’s Work Is Never Done

Women’s Work Is Never Done

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March 8 is International Women’s Day. So I was pleased this past week to be in New York City for events surrounding the 54th Annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Not only is women’s work never done, our agenda continues to expand.

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It Looks Like a Duck, Walks Like a Duck...

It Looks Like a Duck, Walks Like a Duck...

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It seems that we have a really difficult time in our culture calling rape “rape.” Plus we are inclined to give celebrities a free pass when it comes to sexual assault.

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