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An Open Letter to Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York

March 29, 2010


I am an amateur magician. In fact, I have just returned from a four day fact finding mission to Las Vegas, Nevada, arguably the best place in the world to see stage magic performed. As you may know, one of the pillars of prestidigitation is the necessity of misdirection. If there’s a coin in your right hand, you gesture wildly with the left. The basics are easy to understand.

By drawing the audience’s attention away from the place where the ‘work’ of the trick is being performed, magicians can do seemingly miraculous things. Without misdirection, the audience would be far more likely to see what actually goes on, and the tricks would possibly lose their luster. At worst, their effectiveness would evaporate entirely. We’d be left with a lonely loser on stage and an audience un-wowed when his right hand revealed the coin they all knew was there.

Archbishop, in the 2 magic shows I have seen in the past 48 hours, I did not see one piece of misdirection as clumsy as the shit you tried to pull when you said this at yesterday’s Palm Sunday mass:

All we ask is that it be fair and that the Catholic Church not be singled out for a horror that has cursed every culture, religion, organization, institution, school, agency, and family in the world

The problem isn’t in the Church, and it isn’t exclusively the molestation. The problem is the Church, and it’s the cover up. Molestation is unforgivable, but it’s also a sign of some grave programming errors in the abuser’s mind. Protecting rapists at the expense of children’s lives is a calculating, callous, wicked act. The Church has done this more times and in more countries than I care to tally, but you know that as well as I do.

Don’t for a second think that by talking about the ubiquity of child rape (a claim I also challenge – there are PLENTY of organizations that don’t rape children) you have drawn my attention from the cover ups. They are the acts that damn your wicked Church.

We’re not as stupid as you’d like us to be.



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