Archive for June, 2010

Two things before leaving for our daughter’s graduation on Saturday from Knox College in Galesburg, IL. (Whoo-hoo!)

:: KU athletic director Lew Perkins says, “I’m the victim.”

What a joke.

Here’s the story in a nutshell. Perkins makes $900,000 a year, but he accepted a free loan of $15,000 to $35,000 in exercise equipment for four years in return for prime Allen Fieldhouse seats for the equipment provider.

Then, after the school’s former director of sports medicine threatened to go public with details of the swap unless he was compensated for the cost of storing the equipment the last year or so, Perkins went to the cops.

Not only was Perkins’ acceptance of the loan unethical, it was also illegal, in all probability. The law states that “no person subject to the provisions of this section shall solicit or accept any gift,economic opportunity, loan, gratuity, special discount or service provided because of such person’s official position.”

You know what gets me about situations like this? In many, many cases, those caught on the take are people who could whip out a check and write it for however much is needed to conduct an honest and above-board transaction. Perkins could write the check and forget about it, probably without even having to transfer funds from his brokerage to his checking account. 

But, no, he takes the freebie. I guess Perkins is so used to having people throw gratuities at him in return for low-down, center-section seats that he couldn’t push himself away from the table.

Low-down is the right term, all right. But now I’m not talking about seat location; I’m talking about Perkins’ morals. 

Last week, if you’ll recall, Perkins said, “I accept responsibility” (but not full responsibility) for a multi-million-dollar ticket scam that occurred under his nose. Now, the other shoe has fallen, and I don’t see any way that Perkins can survive. I say he’s gone by Independence Day.

:: Talk about victims.

How about the 25-year-old man and 21-year-old woman who were ambushed behind Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside last Friday morning? Two thugs beat the couple with handguns and kicked them mercilessly, even though the couple handed over their belongings.

The woman suffered a broken jaw and vertebra and three skull fractures. She was initially listed in critical condition. I don’t know what it is now, but from what I read on a KCTV-5 online story, she’s been able to communicate with police. 

The cowardice of the perps is infuriating. There was no reason whatsoever to harm the couple. And to kick and stomp on the woman? Two pieces of space junk named Durrell D. White and Andre D. Valentine have been charged. The victims identified their attackers from photo lineups, according to the KCTV- 5 story. 

I’ve been waking up early in the morning, thinking about this case, thinking mostly about the woman…a girl, really. Thinking about her parents, other relatives, friends, who have to suffer along with her. Thinking about my own, beautiful, 22-year-old daughter and how vulnerable she — and almost any other young woman — would be to such an attack. 

The unfairness of it and the inability of anyone to change what has already happened make me rage against fate…and a little bit against God. And yet, at the same time, I pray. Please, God, let both victims make complete recoveries; help them and their families to cope with the physical and psychological injuries they have suffered at the hands of  unthinking, unsympathetic individuals. I ask You, why does the world have to be like this? I ask You, don’t let anything like this happen again…And yet, I fear, I know, it will. Damn!

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Talk about a club that’s hard to get into.

Whew. The priesthood. Yes, that club that is dying even faster than daily newspaper subscribers.

The priesthood, and the rigorous psychological gauntlet one has to survive to get in, was the subject of an astonishing front-page story in The New York Times on Monday. The story, written by Paul Vitello, focused on the screening of seminarians in the wake of the long-running priest sexual-abuse scandal.

And let it be noted that the enhanced interrogation techniques for prospective priests came about as a result of the sexual-abuse scandal of 10 or more years ago. With the issue re-heating this year in Europe and the U.S., the interviews probably will become even more intrusive, if that’s possible.

You can’t get in the priesthood if you’re gay. You used to be able to but no more. And you can’t get in if you’re heterosexual and you’re sexually active. You can get in, however, if you’re straight, provided that you are “capable of abstaining from genital activity” and you have a good strategy “for managing sexual desire.” 

Here are some of the questions that candidates for the priesthood have to answer:

— When was the last time you had sex? (The preferred answer is three years, at least.)

— What kind of sexual experiences have you had?

— Do you like pornography?

— Do you like children?

— Do you like children more than you like people your own age?

Those are just the general questions. The story goes on to say that most candidates for the priesthood are likely to be asked about “masturbation fantasies, consumption of alcohol, relationships with parents and the causes of romantic breakups.” 

Msgr. Steven Rosetti, a psychologist at Catholic University who has screened seminarians, was quoted as saying, “We are looking for two basic qualities: the absence of pathology and the presence of health.”

Well, I’m just not sure what answers to the above questions would be considered healthful, in the church’s view. For example, if  a prospective priest were to say that he had not had sex in five years, I guess he would get a check mark (good) from the interviewer. But if he was being interviewed for just about any other job and the interviewer cold ask that question, what kind of margin notes do you think the interviewer would make? Maybe…”Yikes!” or “Weirdo!”

And suppose you were to say that, no, you don’t like children. How would the priesthood police rate that answer? Good? 

It looks to me like the questions form a maze from which there is no reasonable way out. Or, as Harvard Divinity School professor Mark D. Jordan observed in The Times’ article, “A criterion like this may not ensure that you are getting the best candidates. Though it might get you people who lie or who are so confused they do not really know who they are.”

Ah, the perfect priest!

God, help the Catholic Church. Please.

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