Shock of the Day

Journalist Emily Yoffe has a story up on Slate called “My Molesters.”  She talks about being molested three times before she was 20 — once by a cousin, once by a friend’s father, and once by Fr. Robert Drinan, when he was serving as her congressman.

That last accusation caused my jaw to drop.  Fr. Drinan, a Jesuit priest who died in 2007, was famous for his anti-Vietnam War protests and for being the only Roman Catholic priest to serve in Congress.  He was a Massachusetts congressman in the 1970’s, until Pope John Paul II forbade priests from holding elected office in 1980, and Drinan didn’t run again.  He taught at Georgetown Law School, where he specialized in ethics and human rights.

Since, like Yoffe, I grew up in Massachusetts (she is four years younger than I am), I followed Fr. Drinan’s career very closely and always admired him.  I was dismayed to read her piece today, another tarnished hero.



15 comments on “Shock of the Day

  1. The accusation against the deceased Father Drinan is not only shocking to me because I admired him greatly, but also I think a horrible thing to say about a dead ms .
    If the allegation is true, because he cannot possibly defend the charge, it should have been made in a timely manner, so he could have either plead guilty to the charge of defended himself.
    When a person accuses a deceased soul,
    I believe the burden of proof should be greater than beyond a reasonable doubt. It should be beyond all doubt and
    To me, Emily Yoffe is a a real creep for bringing this up to tarnish the reputation of a truly remarkable man. There vs no excuse for her. If it did happen, which I doubt, she should have gone to the grave with it.

  2. I had a much longer, detailed comment, but your website ate it, and I’m too sleepy to rewrite it. Briefly, I think she’s telling the truth because she has a reputation for honesty, she did not sensationalize the charge, and within the context of the story it’s far easier to believe she’s telling the truth than that she isn’t. Besides, Father Drinan would be a strange sort of target for a posthumous trashing. He’s been off the radar since 1980 and few people under 40 even know who he is.

    • Thanks very much for this. I agree with all your points. I’m so sorry your comment got eaten. That happened to me at Politico today when I was trying to object to their treatment of Joe Williams.

      • I will have to read her article now that there are “jurors of opinion” who believe her. But to make one quick point in rebuttal to the blogger, Anita Hill did not wait until Thomas died and couldn’t defend himself from the grave. I watched all of the hearings regarding Thomas’confirmation and hours of testimony of Hill. I found her totally credible and him totally a prevaricator of monumental proportions. He has shown through his performance on the Court that he is not believable because he says nothing. That’s probably how he was confirmed, like taking the 5th. But of course, he simply lied and with no other witnesses on hand, the burden of proof was not sustained by Hill.
        I will read Yoffe’s article and get back to you.

      • I have read Ms. Yoffe’s article. My comments stand!
        She is a good writer, but what she has written here, at least with respect to Father Drinan, is pure fiction.

      • And how on earth would you know for sure that it’s fiction? All any of us can do is say that we find her credible or not.
        I can’t believe that you made your vituperative earlier comments calling her “despicable” BEFORE you even read her article!
        I stand with her.

  3. momshieb says:

    Oh, no……I, too, find the accusation terribly disturbing, but credible. I can’t find any reason for the writer to have made up that particular pint, against Fr. Drinan. While I long ago lost my respect for the Catholic Church in which I was raised, I have also always admired Fr. Drinan.
    I think that there is tons of research into why victims of sexual abuse remain silent; its far too easy to say “go to the criminal justice system” as if this was a robbery or something. A posthumous accusation is sometimes the only one that a victim can manage to bring.

  4. I feel the same way, EF. It would be a very tough battle, and probably over before it started. No one would have believed Yoffe. As for the other negative comments here and elsewhere, it seems to me that people simply don’t want to believe she’s telling the truth, so they either find reasons not to or they just simply decide she’s a liar. I’ve decided she’s telling the truth, but that comes from decades of reading her. She’s a fine, witty writer of features and think pieces, she’s not a controversialist, and I can’t imagine any reason she would make up such a story. If she was going to make it up, don’t you think it would be a lot worse, a lot more ugly and damaging, full of far more lurid details than groping?

    • I believe her simply because I can’t imagine why she would make up such a thing and choose Fr. Drinan out of all the possible candidates in the world. I actually find the critical comments even more shocking than the original story itself. I truly didn’t seem them coming.
      I’m so tired of Blame the Victim.

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