Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Here is a tough one for me: “10 ways to stop yelling” brought to you by Parents magazine. Okay, must take a deep breath…

Another tough one for me: California Gov. Jerry Brown just increased the age for booster seats from 6 to 8, or 4 feet 9 inches — whichever comes first, according to the Oakland Tribune. I swear, the booster seat manufacturers are going to milk this one until the kids are in junior high school. If they are really that important, why aren’t they automatically built into cars?

Dana over at Mombian posted an excellent story on how same-sex parents, who in some states are not allowed to marry, should fill out financial aid forms for their children.

South African Wendy Luhabe, considered one of the 50 leading women entrepreneurs of the world, proposed a salary for stay-at-home mothers, according to CNN. She said that husbands should pay their stay-at-home wives 10 percent of their salaries to honor the work that they do. What say you?

The details in this news story are sick, but at the end justice was served. A Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas was indicted for failing to report a priest who had been sexually abusing children, according to the New York Times. Also, the New York Times published a report on the high infant mortality rate in the African American community, which is twice as high as the Caucasian infant mortality rate and higher than Sri Lanka’s. Yikes.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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What To Do About Priest Sex Abuse

A few days ago I caught this long thread in “Dear Prudie” about a seminary student receiving unwanted advances by a Roman Catholic priest. Here is the original letter:

I have a young friend of 22 who recently visited a Catholic Seminary as a potential applicant (I’m not Catholic and may have terminology wrong.) He spent about a week there and during that time one of the senior priests made sexual advances toward him. My friend would like to report this to someone but doesn’t know who to call. He insists this priest is like the big kahuna in his particular order so there is nobody he can call. I figure there must be someone. Granted my friend isn’t a child, but I still think what this priest did was inappropriate and needs to be reported. Does anyone have any ideas?

I agree that for the sake of everyone involved, including previous and potential seminarians, this priest should be reported to the proper authorities. Here is what Prudie and others said:

Emily Yoffie (Prudie): Absolutely this needs to be reported.  If this guy is propositioning potential applicants, you can be assured he has been sexually abusing people for years. If your friend were a minor, the police should be called in. But even if the proposition doesn’t rise to the level of something actionable by the legal authorities,  it still might be worth a call to the District Attorney’s office. Perhaps there have been some previous allegations against the priest, and your friend’s new testimony could help, or they might have other suggestions on what to do. For how to report this in the Catholic diocese, your friend might want to contact the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests www.snapnetwork.org — they should have some advice for the best path to take. Readers, any other suggestions?

Reader comment #1: I adamantly agree that sexual advances toward applicants into the Priesthood are extremely inappropriate and wrong, but how can we make the jump that he has assuredly been a sexual abuser for years? I think it’s just as dangerous to presume anything other than what is known for sure: sexual advances were made by one adult to another adult. Should it be reported? Absolutely, but we can’t draw conclusions about what this man may be guilty of because of an isolated incident.

Yoffe: I’m just going to take a flyer that an avowedly celibate older priest who makes a sexual advance toward a young potential seminarian has not found himself for the first time in his life overwhelmed with desire for a particular young man.  This behavior is so out of control it virtually guarantees it’s part of a pattern.

And another reader has suggested contacting the National Bishops Council.

Reader comment #2: Sure…. report it to the church. Hitting on job applicants is inappropriate. But older men who are attracted to 22 year old men are not necessarily pedophiles. I’m 46 years old and gay, and I might oggle younger men, but I am not interested in children. It’s kind of insulting that you assume he is guilty of this behavior. Would you automatically assume that an older man hitting on a 22 year old woman was also out hunting for little girls?

Yoffe: No it’s not insulting to assume that a priest who hits on an applicant for the seminary has a huge problem (I didn’t call him a pedophile,  but who knows what a priest who thinks it’s okay to make a sexual approach to a young seminarian is capable of). The priest needs to be reported and removed from his position. I would also strenuously object to an older maleboss hitting on a 22-year-old female applicant for a job and say he should be reported, even if his explanation was that he found the young woman physically desirable.

I would report the priest to the organizations mentioned above like SNAP and the National Bishops Council. The reader might even consider the local police as that is what we were taught in our local Catholic parish. To lead our children’s liturgy, I was told to report any suspicions of abuse to the police — not the church.

What would you do in this young seminarian’s position?

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Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Here is a friendly reminder that I am co-hosting the Netroots Nation Parents Caucus this Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Rio Hotel & Casino “Miranda 5″ room. I have among other prizes, an iTunes gift card, a Target card, and chocolates, to give away to the winners of our parenting trivia challenge. (Hint: brush up on your reading of the Motherhood Manifesto, MomsRising.org, and MotherTalkers.) All are welcome!

Here is more evidence of that disconnect between Catholics on the ground and the Vatican in the Iowa City Press-Citizen. There are more than 100 ordained women priests, including the chaplain at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She said she has received nothing but support from fellow parishioners and “many people I didn’t even know were Catholic” after the Vatican issued a “clarification” calling the ordination of women priests a “grave sin” and akin to pedophilia. Oy vey.

Again, I don’t know how I get on all these lists, but the FedEx newsletter had an article of all its offerings for college students, like, specific boxes and packaging for video game consoles, laptop computers, picture frames, and other items that college-aged students tend to own. Just FYI.

Here is a frightening article in the Washington Post by a retired journalist who has no money, urging people under the age of 40 to save — and save big.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Thank you all for the compassionate advice on my sister. I vented, I took it all in, and then I took it down. I am grateful for this community.

Nine high school students in Massachusetts have been charged for bullying a girl who eventually committed suicide, according to the Associated Press. Surprisingly, school officials will not face charges, even though they knew of the bullying.

The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has launched a sex abuse hotline to document all allegations of sexual abuse by priests, according to BBC News. So far, “hundreds” of people have come forward to say they were abused by priests as children between the 1950s and 1980s.  

I really do wish the new health care law’s stipulation on pre-existing conditions took effect right away. Here is a tragic story about a newborn baby in Texas being denied healthcare coverage due to a heart defect. Death panels, anyone?

Here is an hilarious Bloomberg story on tea party activists. They want government out of their lives, but want it to create jobs, reign in Wall Street bonuses, and continue to dole out medicare and social security. Okay.

The Environmental Protection Agency listed bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is found in hard shiny plastic products, as a “chemical of concern,” according to the Washington Post.

Yahoo! listed five jobs that are flexible and offer at least $40K in pay.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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