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Monday, July 26, 2021

Integrity and Credibility: Church Militant's Attack on Fr. Pierre Duverger

Hmm...Is that one of
Fr. Duverger's eyelashes?
"The games afoot" at Church Militant (CM) as they continue to focus their magnifying glasses on the SSPX. Is Fr. Pierre Duverger collateral damage in the SSPX offensive, one more stick with which to beat the society? Inquiring minds want to know.

Some of CM's reporting has facts to back up their assertions. And that's fine. Present the facts; ask the questions; see where they lead. If someone's committed a crime bring criminal charges. Hold those accountable who are proved to be guilty by solid evidence not by rumor, hearsay, and innuendo. 

How much of CM's "reporting" is based on hearsay and wild accusations? How much comes from questionable "witnesses" who appear to be part of the "me too" generation of women like Christine Blasey-Ford and Anita Hill. CM has a history of reporting half truths and suppressing information to skew their accusations to look more credible and put the accused in the worst light possible. (See Matt Gaspar's article about the Fr. McLucas case which shows irresponsible reporting on the part of CM and indicates either incompetence or serious bias.)

The challenge in dealing with CM is to separate the truth from the embellished fairy tales. Or, as last Saturday's gospel reading says, separating the wheat from the weeds. There appear to be plenty of weeds growing in the CM studio.

The fact is that when you equate accusations based on hard evidence with accusations based on thin air, you damage your credibility. The same happens when you omit important facts because they tend to exonerate an accused person you want to find guilty. Oh...and it doesn't help when you call anyone with legitimate questions about your reporting a "pedophile enabler" or follower of a "cult" which is the default position at CM toward those who disagree with their narrative about the SSPX. 

CM's cheap tactics call their integrity into question and, judging from comboxes on many sites, viewers wonder whether some hidden agenda is at play -- especially when CM attacks other Catholic media like LifeSiteNews, The Remnant, Catholic Family News, EWTN, etc. -- outlets with whom they used to be friendly. 

Michael Matt addressed CM's calumnies and slanders back in 2015 several months after Voris came out swinging against the same groups he previously worked closely with. The first ten minutes of this video are a must listen!

When you throw stones, like accusing LifeSiteNews of being a lackey of the SSPX and calling The Remnant and other Catholic media "spiritual pornographers," you better make sure your own house isn't made of glass. 

Who bankrolls Church Militant? Who paid for their studio? It's common knowledge that Opus Dei's Marc Brammer poured $250,000 into the Real Catholic TV start up (before they changed to Church Militant). Connections to Brammer and Terry Carroll, another Opus Dei persona, have been influential in CM's war against traditionalists.

Perhaps the pot shouldn't call the kettle black. Both Randy Engel and Louis Verecchio delved into CM's background, researching what changed them from a group friendly to traditional groups to one that turned its cannons on former friends. Money and the Opus Dei connection loom large in their reports. 

Catholics need to be critical thinkers. We need to practice discernment. Sorting fact from fiction is what discernment is all about. And so...let us discern.

We're going to limit the focus of our inquiry at this point to only one thing: Church Militant's attempt to paint Fr. Pierre Duverger as a "groomer" and an "abuser." 

Has CM treated Fr. Duverger fairly? Have they made a strong case for their allegations? Is there any hard evidence supporting their attack on the priest or is it slander and rash judgment?

The accusations against Fr. Duverger seem to be based entirely on claims made by Jassy Jacas, Hannah Merz, and their unidentified "therapist." Jacas was interviewed recently by Christine Niles who, while calling herself an investigative reporter, did not investigate at all. The interview was a Jacas puff piece. Niles simply accepted as fact every claim Jacas made. She even used Jacas' loaded terminology. Jacas "backed up" her testimony by mentioning her anonymous "counselor" and another supposed victim of Fr. Duverger, Hannah Merz.

Is Jacas credible? Is her counselor? Is Hannah Merz? Are they women of integrity? Is their testimony credible? Who is this "counselor?"

Let's start by examining the meaning of the two words, "integrity" and "credibility," and their etymology. 

The noun "integrity" is based on the Old French integrité meaning "innocence, blamelessness; chastity, and purity." It's also grounded in the Latin integritatem which means "soundness, wholeness, completeness" and figuratively "purity, correctness and blamelessness." (from etymonline.com) Integrity is obviously something that needs to be nurtured and carefully protected. It is also easy to compromise one's integrity. In fact, people often trade their integrity for certain quid pro quos, a dangerous practice. "In whose hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts." (Lavabo from the Traditional Latin Mass) True integrity is not for sale!

Moving on to the adjective "credible," it comes from the Latin credibilis and means "believable, worthy of belief, capable of being believed, involving no impossibility, of known or obvious veracity or competence." (also from etymonline.com)

Since the accusations against Fr. Duverger are based on statements by Jacas and her reported hearsay  about Hannah Merz and the counselor, the question is....Are Jassy Jacas, Hannah Merz, and the counselor credible witnesses? Are they "worthy of belief?" Is their "veracity or competence obvious?" 

A person can be a non-credible, unreliable witness in several ways: by lying, exaggerating, misinterpreting, embellishing, creating and sharing false memories (often with the "help" of an unethical therapist), etc. 

In the clip below from A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More faces and responds to the perjury of Richard Rich. He asks an important question about Rich's testimony. "Is it probable? Is it probable that after so long a silence... I should open my mind to a man such as that?" 



So again...the question: Are Jassy Jacas, Hannah Merz, and the counselor women of integrity? Are they innocent, sound, pure and correct in their intentions and their testimony? Do they have an ax to grind? Are they credible? Is their testimony worthy of belief involving no impossibility and are their characters such that they are known for veracity and competence? Is what they say "probable?" Did they misinterpret sincere efforts by Fr. Duverger to help them, putting a lewd spin on everything he allegedly said? Or, on the other hand, are they deliberately lying?

A priest's good name is at stake and every one of us has a right to our good name. 

And then there are questions about the reporting and motives of Church Militant. Are they biased? Do they have an ax to grind? Is there someone behind the curtain pulling the strings or framing the narrative? Does their animosity toward the SSPX color their stories? Do they give the accused the benefit of the doubt or take any rumor or claim against a person as gospel truth with little or no evidence? Do they twist facts or omit important information? These are all fair and legitimate questions. 

We all know the mainstream media is unworthy of trust, but what about some of the Catholic media? Is CM the conservative version of The National Catholic Reporter, also known as the fishwrap?

When Clarence Thomas was attacked by Anita Hill, it was a clearly orchestrated attempt by Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy to "bork" him. They couldn't stand the thought of a conservative black judge on the Supreme Court. Thomas went on the offensive and described the effort as a "high tech lynching." The lynching failed. Liberals are doing the same thing now with Brett Kavanaugh who survived their initial assault but is back in their sights with threats of impeachment. 

Is CM orchestrating such an effort against Fr. Duverger as one more way to get at the SSPX whom they (and Opus Dei) wish to discredit? Unfortunately, Father can't respond as Thomas did. Much of what Jacas claims took place in confession and in spiritual direction. Father can't defend himself. So the approach has to be to look at the witnesses and determine whether they are credible and whether their testimony is worthy of belief....as well as whether those reporting the stories are credible. Are Christine Niles and Mike Voris worthy of trust?

According to Jacas, there were emails which would be hard evidence, but Jacas has two versions of why they can't be produced. 1) She gave them to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and 2) She didn't save them. So at this point we have only her words and her claims and her hearsay about something that happened a decade ago. 

Credible?

Probable?

Stay tuned! 

4 comments:

Grace's sister said...

I have lost track of how long ago I quit watching or even thinking about Mr. voris (?sp) and his glitzy whining sessions.

Catholic Monitor said...

Hi Mary Ann, May I post at the Catholic Monitor at some point? Thanks. Fred

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Of course! You are always welcome to post and link to anything on the blog.

Fred Martinez said...

Thanks.