Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today on Kresta - March 23, 2010

Talking about the Things That Matter Most on Mar. 23

Best of Kresta in the Afternoon

4:00 – Mission Work in Ethiopia
Marcie Erickson was born and raised in Naples, Fl. In her senior year of high school she was discerning a call to religious life as a sister and instead heard God calling her to the missions. She has now been in Ethiopia for more than 5 years and has adopted 4 Ethiopian children. She has forrmed a project called Grace Center for Children and Families, which now serves 850 women and children and provides jobs for 70 Ethiopian employees. This program is “GRACE,” an integrated, holistic approach to meeting the needs of a broad range of very underprivileged children. The Centre, like the whole program, is non-discriminatory. Children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds are accepted, based only upon the recognized need of the family. She is with us in studio to discuss her work in Ethiopia.

4:20 – Supreme Court to decide military funeral protest case
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide on the outer limits of free-speech protection for public protests and to rule on whether the family of a dead Maryland Marine can sue fringe religious protesters who picketed near his funeral with signs that said, "Thank God for dead soldiers." The court's action is the latest twist in a long legal battle that arose out of a funeral for a soldier. The case triggered a multimillion-dollar damage award and attracted national media attention. The Supreme Court will now hear the case and rule on whether the right to free speech includes the right to intrude on a solemn ceremony. The justices will hear arguments in the fall. Pat Gillen of Ave Maria Law School joins us.

4:40 – The Crusades
Dr. Jeff Hass teaches the history of the Crusades at Ave Maria University - a comprehensive history that ranges from the preaching of the First Crusade in 1095 to the legacy of crusading ideals and imagery that continues today. We look at the ideas of apologists, propagandists, and poets about the Crusades, as well as the perceptions and motives of the crusaders themselves and the means by which they joined the movement.

5:00 – “Vianney” – The Drama
Pope Benedict XVI opened the “Year for Priests” last June, with the theme “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests.” The year also marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, known as the “Curé of Ars.” The prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, is encouraging local dioceses and parishes to plan events that will “celebrate and show appreciation for priests.” As a key contribution to the celebration, a new theatrical drama “Vianney” has launched a worldwide tour. The play focuses on the question, “What is a priest?” and tells the story of St. John Vianney, whose exemplary life was so remarkable that the Pope has named him the patron of this jubilee year, and will, at the close of the year, declare him the patron of all the priests of the world. The drama, starring actor and film director Leonardo Defilippis, is playing for packed houses around the country and is touring SE MI this week. We talk with Leonardo.

5:20 – Scripture and the Mystery of Israel

5:40 – Gray Land: Soldiers on War
No one indicts war more powerfully than experienced professional soldiers, and no one enumerates more eloquently the reasons for serving. Gray Land is a collection of photographic portraits of veterans accompanied by excerpts from candid, unsupervised interviews and images documenting the realities of life in a war zone. The nobility and wisdom of these men and women will change the way we see war. Given extraordinary access by the U.S. Army, Barry Goldstein spent two years photographing and interviewing more than fifty actively serving members of a veteran battalion, including two month-long trips during which he lived and patrolled with the unit. He joins us to share his experiences.


  1. Dear Al,

    "I am on the road but have already started preparing a response worthy of your questions."

    I continue to look forward to hearing this. As was previously pointed out, defaulting to Kinsey is a testimony to a lack of even basic knowledge regarding the subject matter.


    Doug Sirman

  2. Dear Doug, I intend to respond as time permits. I was tied up all weekend and am off the air today to deal with administrative matters.

    I would have thought you better understood the presuppositions and prejudices of researchers. Defaulting to Kinsey is simply describing the ethos in which academic work was being done. His statement wasn't presented as normative or even descriptive of first rate clinical work but an example of what one academician could get away with saying publicly based on what he thought he had observed. I fail to see the fault with using him as a cultural barometer.

    Of course, Kinsey was not a clinical psychologist and he had professional conflict over his sex studies. Nor does the Catholic Church baptise his work.

    Nevertheless, he basically won out over his colleagues and his work has been perpetuated by an institute that now gives Ph.D's in human sexuality. The institute was established a year before his famous or infamous first book on sexuality. This indicates an openess to his work among academics.

    The questions shouldn't all be one way:
    Are you denying that the attitudes of Kinsey and Pomeroy that I cited had an impact on the world of therapy during the forties, fifties and sixties?

    Are you also denying that there were, at the time, culturally plausible professional attempts to eliminate pedophiliac desire and behavior?

    This was the time of great conflict between the three forces of psychoanalysis, determinism and an emerging humanistic school.

    I know of, at least, one case, where a combination of classical and operant conditioning was applied to a seminarian who wanted to stop masturbating.

    In the memoir, the "therapist" claims this was one of a number of new practices from modern psychology. The book written decades after the event acknowledges how silly it now seems. But that is the point. This counselor thought it was plausible and good practice.

    Again, this isn't a study from a refereed journal but it is telling about the ethos surrounding practitioners of new therapies.

  3. Dear Doug,
    Before I spend more time on this. Would a history of the DSM diagnosis and treatment options meet your criteria? I would think so.

    Further, to clarify, are you saying that there are no articles in refereed journals dealing with treatment of sexual deviance and pedophilia which presume that therapies like aversion, drug, surgical or relapse-prevention therapies are being widely used by professionals? I'm not even talking about various Freudian or Jungian schemes which I'm sure must be in the literature.

    Are you saying that there was no professional attempt to treat sexual deviants? And that sending people to such 'treatment' facilities was considered unprofessional?

  4. Mr. Kresta,

    if you could first address the question that was originally asked, I will be more than happy to follow whatever trail you see fit to embark upon. Now, you originally said:

    "...mainstream professional opinion did not regard child sexual molestation as especially damaging over the long haul."

    And I asked:

    “Can you quote ANY primary sources for that assertion? They would have to be from peer-reviewed journals in Psychology or Psychiatry since they are the only professionals competent to address such a thing.”

    The only thing I can add to this is that you and I may have very differing ideas as to precisely whom the term “mainstream professional” refers. Fair enough. My reasoning is that we are dealing with deviant behavior and its detrimental effects on victims which is usually covered by psychology, and therefore it is from that field that I would look for a competent opinion offered by a mainstream professional.

    Another directly related question I asked was: “…can you or anyone else source a reputable voice within psychology that has put forth ANY treatment for pedophilia that proved itself worthy of any hope?”

    See the problem with aversive conditioning with its plethysmography and electric shocks, and the depo-provera injection therapy is that they were and remain experimental treatments which had a very limited effectiveness; none of them proved anything like reliable. The D-P therapy lasts as long as the shot does (and once you’re out of prison, are you really going to be giving yourself a shot to NOT pursue sexuality?), and the aversive conditioning? Well, that just makes some people associate the pain of electric shocks, or extraordinarily loud noises with sexual excitement. And as far as talk therapy goes, as far as I know, no reputable psychologist has ever claimed that he developed an effective model of therapy for pedophilia or the assocated paraphilias. The most anyone ever offered were therapeutic models which "might" have a "mitigating" effect. Behavioral therapists, cognitive therapists, addiction therapists, freudian psychoanalysts, jungian therapists… as far as I know, none of the “mainstream professionals” has ever claimed to come up with a model that worked.


    Doug Sirman

  5. Dear Doug,

    I just posted and was told by the program that I had too many characters, not too much character; too many. I will try again.

  6. Dear Doug,

    After reading your last paragraph, we may not be so far apart.

    1. I know of no “cure” for pedophilia. Claims to treatment haven’t panned out. However, this doesn’t mean that treatments weren’t considered possible. The fact of aversion, drug, surgical and various talk therapies only speaks to my point: During this period of therapeutic wonder that hit the middle class after WWII, it’s not surprising that the bishops would have been carried along with it.

    Enough time, research, observation, experience has passed so that when I was pastoring in the late 1980s I wasn’t seduced by the belief that all ills are treatable. For the few months between his relapse and imprisonment, I pastored a pedophile. I only know that he was one because of his admission and he was probably trying to cultivate relationships that might lead the courts to mitigate his sentence.

    At church he was always escorted by a deacon and never left alone. After his imprisonment began, a therapist associated with our church visited him regularly. The pedophile continued to blame others for his actions and the therapist stopped visiting him. Neither he nor I expected any change to occur. Nor did we have any special way of “fixing” his desire for young boys. Nor did we expect mainstream professionals to so claim.

    2. By mainstream professional opinion I was referring to a broader category than you are. If in 1955 a family physician is asked what to do with a family member who likes little boys, he probably responds something like, “Keep him away from little boys and call this hospital or this doctor.” Most people figured there was some kind of treatment for pedophiles, drunks, and mental patients. The bishops don’t strike me as unusual. Even in the church, there was the “triumph of the therapeutic”. Patients accepted treatments far less critically than we do today.

    3. From bloodletting to lobotomies, therapies come and go. What counts for responsible treatment in one generation may come to be regarded as futile or irresponsible in the next. How many “psychosurgeries” did Walter Freeman and his followers turn out before the advent of anti-psychotic medications and the long term results of his butchery were observed? Freeman was controversial but given the problem in state hospitals that he was facing responsible people trusted him. He headed professional organizations. Hundreds of patients’ families maintained that he helped them. This might be self-serving but until, at least, 1954, when the medical community had a way of performing “non-surgical lobotomies” with Thorazine, patients and their families welcomed him.

    I suspect you know all this and would argue that lobotomy was never demonstrated in a peer reviewed journal to be effective. I don’t know. If I knew that some bishops had sent some priests for lobotomies, I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe lobotomy is too crude but I think you know what I mean.


    4. Even today isn’t there a debate over how pedophilia will be dealt with in DSM 5? Does one have to act upon one’s urges toward children to generate a diagnosis or is it only if one’s urges cause personal distress or impairs one in one's work and relationships. If a man with urges for pre-pubescent children isn’t bothered by his sexual orientation and it doesn’t interfere with his otherwise smooth functioning in society, is he to be diagnosed as a pedophile?

    Will pedophilia continue to be considered a mental disorder by psychiatrists and psychologists or their professional organizations?

    Again, I suspect you’ve worked through all this. The debate may be resolved or much further along than I realize but in working on my response to you I read Richard Green’s article in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 6, December 2002 where on page 470-71 he argues that “The APA position with its DSM catalogue is logically incoherent. Confronted with the paradox that in contrast to other conditions designated a mental disorder, such as with persons who hand wash to the point of bleeding and can’t touch a door knob, or who are harassed by voices threatening their personal destruction, many pedophiles are not distressed by their erotic interest, aside from the fear of incarceration. Some celebrate their interests… So to deal with this paradox, DSM dug itself deep into a logical ditch…These people with these [erotic child] fantasies do not have a mental disease unless that person translates thought into action. This turns psychiatry on its head. Certainly a society can set rules on sexual conduct and proscribe child–adult sex and invoke sanctions for transgressors. But that is the province of the law and the penal system. The DSM should not provide psychiatry with jurisdiction over an act any more than it should provide the law with jurisdiction over a thought”

    Green concludes: “Sexual arousal patterns to children are subjectively reported and physiologically demonstrable in a substantial minority of “normal” people. Historically, they have been common and accepted in varying cultures at varying times.

    “This does not mean that they must be accepted culturally and legally today. The question is: Do they constitute a mental illness? Not unless we declare a lot of people in many cultures and in much of the past to be mentally ill. And certainly not by the criteria of DSM.”

    It’s morally repugnant but peer-reviewed.


  8. Dear Al,

    “1. I know of no “cure” for pedophilia. Claims to treatment haven’t panned out. However, this doesn’t mean that treatments weren’t considered possible. The fact of aversion, drug, surgical and various talk therapies only speaks to my point: During this period of therapeutic wonder that hit the middle class after WWII, it’s not surprising that the bishops would have been carried along with it.”

    Well first, I would wish to regard that beautiful piece of prose, “period of theraputic wonder” with the gaping awe it so richly deserves. :-)

    Again, the first original point you made was that “mainstream professional opinion” held that being sexually abused as a child wasn’t that harmful. Could you please stop conflating that with issues of treatability? Your assertion regarding mainstream professionals concerned harm, not treatability. In any event, I know of no way to defend such a statement, except to expand the definition of “mainstream professional” to the point where it becomes utterly meaningless. The social sciences have demonstrated that such experiences are quite harmful. Prior to that quantified demonstration, it was assumed to be harmful on the basis of the western, christian understanding that sexual behavior is extraordinarily important and that the imposition of sexual congress on the unwilling damages the soul (you remember the soul, don’t you?). That so very many Bishops, who allegedly practice a teaching in which sexual behavior is regarded as rich with consequence, would simultaneously claim that they didn’t know seduction or anal rape were harmful reveals nothing but the mercenary, thoroughly prostituted nature of their character.


  9. With regard to treatability, we cannot ignore the issue of risk. Let us be VERY clear on this: I may, as a Christian, choose to make sacrifices and take risks as I live out my faith. I may walk into the lion’s den, confident in the knowledge that God will either protect me, or hopeful that He will accept the sacrifice of my life on behalf of His will. However, whether I am a ploughman, priest or pope, I have NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to place other peoples’s children in harm’s way so as to express my faith that Jesus will “bring teh healin’”, or simply because I’m in tune with the optimistic zietgeist “of the time”.

    The possibility of treatment, with the *unavoidable* knowledge that such attempts are experimental and unproven, and therefore promise NOTHING in terms of outcome necessarily points out the therapist’s professional, ethical and moral duty to the community; this has NEVER been in question. That the vast majority of therapists in this context also wore roman collars does nothing but increase the weight of that duty. Whether lobotomy or talk therapy, or an 80mg aspirin once a day – to knowingly subject others to such danger, to be willing to have OTHERS pay the price for your exercise in wishful-thinking-masquerading-as-faith, is inexcusable. It is also an undeniable expression of narcissism which very nearly matches that of a textbook pedophile. Nevertheless, according to the John Jay study, over 60% of American Bishops who were confronted with this situation repeatedly did precisely that: they were willing to continue placing someone else’s children in harm’s way as long as they got to pretend they were doing something other than nothing at all.


  10. Regarding Green’s article, which is entirely beside the point of the discussion, this is not a new situation regarding the field of psychology and the DSM. When the first DSM was being formulated, the question of what actually constitutes a mental illness had to be contemplated. One of the criteria settled upon for determining this was whether or not the subject experiences any negative consequences as a result of their condition. This leaves, as an open question the issue of pedophiles who never act out against others and are at peace with their proclivities(an imaginary creature, I would think). Green’s pursuit of this points out the failure of the criteria to produce a finding with any inherent meaning.

  11. Dear Doug,
    There is much I'd like to say but let me begin with how pleased I am that you liked my 'therapeutic wonder' flourish.

    How about the following as a substitute for my earlier remark?

    "While adult-child sex was clearly regarded as criminal, society, including many professionals in law, medicine and ministry, was less aware of the frequency of and serious damage caused by pedophilia than we are today. Experiments in therapy implied that cures or controls were not implausible."

    I'll leave it there for now although I do want to ask for some documentation and to provide a notable observation from a Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald to Pope Paul VI in 1963 regarding the likely incorrigibility of certain priests abnormally attracted to young ones.

  12. Dear Doug,

    The social history is important because it forms the environment in which the players are acting and renders behavior more understandable.

    This Fr. Gerald Fitzgerald, director of Via Coeli and founder of an order to deal with problem priests, wrote to Pope Paul VI in 1963 recommending the 'total laicization' of perpetrators. One report has him as early as 1953 convinced of the near impossibility of recovery for abusers. http://ncronline.org/print/12703

    From the 1963 letter to the Pope: “Personally I am not sanguine of the return of priests to active duty who have been addicted to abnormal practices especially sins with the young. However, the needs of the Church must be taken into consideration and an activiation of priests who have seemingly recovered in this field may be considered but is only recommended where careful guidance and supervision is possible. Where there is indication of incorrigibility because of the tremendous scandal given I would most earnestly recommend total laicization. I say ‘total laicization’ designedly because when these men are taken before civil authorities the non Catholic world definitely blames the discipline of celibacy for the perversion of these men.”

    How representative was he of the "therapeutic" community? He recommended buying an island and putting the abusers on it to isolate them. That hardly sounds representative even if it would have saved a lot of trouble.

  13. Dear Doug,
    Here is a primary source on treatment which minimizes what we now know but which I think is representative for period. Agree or disagree that it meets your criteria for treatment at the time. While it doesn't directly address questions of impact on victims, its tone of therapeutic reasonableness certainly doesn't set off any alarm bells for victims.

    Aspects of Sexual Medicine
    Management of Sexual Deviation
    British Medical Journal, 1975, 3, 149-151
    Few men go to their doctor complaining of

    “The role of phantasy in the shaping and fixing of sexual deviation has been seriously underestimated. There is little doubt that the human male orgasm, with its very close temporal
    relationship between excitation and orgasm, is readily conditioned, and, even in individuals whose learning or conditioning is defective, repetition in phantasy of the exciting stimulus can lead to firmly developed behaviour patterns. It seems likely that whatever the exciting stimulus the phantasy or thought picture present in the few seconds before orgasm and ejaculation is a powerful factor in conditioning, and this has important implications in the treatment of sexual deviation. At its simplest level any deviant wishing to give up his practice should be encouraged, whatever the stimulus to erection or the method of achieving orgasm, to think of normal heterosexual intercourse in the five
    or six seconds before emission......”

    Attraction to Children
    A sexual attraction to children of either sex must always be
    taken seriously, but it is important to distinguish between paedophilia and curiosity or a craving for human contact in a mentally dull or socially isolated individual. Exploratory behaviour motivated by curiosity or a craving for physical contact may appear in dull or emotionally immature people and, if encouraged may pass on to mutual masturbation or other activities. Such behaviour should of course be firmly discouraged, but even in very young boys a sharp distinction should be made
    between those who are coercive, aggressive, or rough in their approach to another child and those lacking in aggression. Any tendency to aggressive behaviour calls for urgent, specialized intervention and close supervision, for the risk of physical harm to the victim is great. In the treatment of the non-aggressive
    offender explanation, education, adequate supervision, and the provision of appropriate opportunities for social contact may be sufficient. If doubt exists, the patient should be referred to an appropriate clinic."

    University of Leicester Medical School, Department of Psychiatry,
    Leicester LE1 7RH
    S. BRANDON, M.D., F.R.C.PSYCH., Professor of Psychiatry


  14. This may be unnecessary but here is another "therapy" from the 70s.

    J Appl Behav Anal > v.12(3); Fall 1979 Formats:Summary | Page Browse | PDF (1.5M)
    J Appl Behav Anal. 1979 Fall; 12(3): 377–389.
    doi: 10.1901/jaba.1979.12-377. PMCID: PMC1311423

    Copyright notice
    Satiation therapy: a procedure for reducing deviant sexual arousal.
    W L Marshall
    Two single-case experiments demonstrated the efficacy of satiation therapy with adult males who had long-standing deviant sexual interests. The procedure involves the pairing of prolonged masturbation (1 hour) with the verbalization by the patient of his deviant sexual fantasies and in both cases the designs permitted the attribution of control over aberrant responding to the satiation therapy. The results are discussed in terms of the possible active ingredients of the procedure

  15. "While adult-child sex was clearly regarded as criminal, society, including many professionals in law, medicine and ministry, was less aware of the frequency of and serious damage caused by pedophilia than we are today. Experiments in therapy implied that cures or controls were not implausible."

    Two points regarding that: Firstly, your conclusion isn’t logical. The conducting of experiments exploring possible controls/cures certainly does not imply plausibility, nor are they even meant to. One of the points of conducting an experiment is to determine *if* a given hypothesis is plausible in the first place. You’re assuming a conclusion, based not on evidence, but upon the existence of a method used to determine if such evidence exists. Secondly, even though they were experiments regarding therapy, they were still empirical and not applied science. To make the leap from the existence of experiments to assumptions about the common theraputic practice is completely unwarranted, and is, I suspect, rooted in wishful-thinking.

    The first article restricted itself to discussing only the perpetrators, since that’s what the article is about. Trying to draw some conclusion from this regarding the author’s view of the damaging effects of childhood sexual abuse is definitely reading into the text what is NOT there and is, to put it kindly, wishful thinking. Regarding the second article, we can discuss it further but it is an experiment with a grand population of two.

    The main point in my view, and still unaddressed in your response is that while the Church’s teachings have always held that sexual congress was always a grave, and gravely affecting matter, Bishops and their flacks *repeatedly* recounted the lie that they didn’t realize that seduction and/or rape were that harmful to children and adolescents. If such were even remotely true, these Bishops wouldn’t be qualified to determine if one “wanted fries with that,” much less serve as a Bishop. Even the most wide-eyed Pollyanna would have to regard such an assertion as an evasive, culpable lie. That this lie was so consistently passed on COMPLETELY WITHOUT QUESTION by so many in the catholic media is inexcusable.

    While social history may be important in regarding the widespread social view, it has little bearing on what was actually known scientifically. And let us ALWAYS remember that the claim of so many Bishops and indeed the USCCB was about “the best science of the time,” not the prevailing social view. The issue of social history and social views is entirely irrelevant to the what American Bishops claimed, and can only be regarded as beside the point. As to the next logical question of whether its an intentional diversion, I leave to your good judgement.

    Regarding good ol’ Fr. Fitzgerald, he founded an order for troubled priests, not dangerous sociopaths, (IMO, the island idea while well-intentioned, was a bit cracked). Unlike the majority of American Bishops, at least Bishop Brady still had the balls he was born with (just a rhetorical flourish), to actually take Fr. Fitzgerald’s advice seriously. Sadly, you might try looking into just what happened to Fr. Fitzgerald after he wrote his letter. Don’t be fooled by McNamara’s testimony, try looking deeper into precisely Who it was who made it happen. Try contacting Dr. Leon Podles; he’s done a lot of the legwork that certain water-carriers in the catholic media still refuse to do.