The Liberal Sex Abuse Scandal

Beginning with the avalanche of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein a few months ago, each week has revealed more and more allegations primarily against liberal men in Hollywood and politics.

As women (and men) are encouraged to step forward, we’ve seen the rapid demise of moguls like Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Russell Simmons, Steven Seagal, Brett Ratner, Dustin Hoffman, James Toback, and Louis C.K.

It’s safe to assume that, ere the year ends, we’ll see another score of popular male actors and politicos accused of sexual assault, abuse, or harassment.

What’s shocking to me about all this is that people are shocked that these revelations are coming out. None of this is surprising. These reprehensible actions are the expected rotten fruit of a society ruled by lust.

From the Church to the Schools to Hollywood

When I entered the Catholic Church in 2001, the sexual abuse scandal was about to break open. I was not surprised or shocked. I knew what men were capable of, and that went for atheist, Protestant, and Catholic.

What surprised me was that people thought that this problem was unique to the Catholic Church. Growing up, my junior high and high school Spanish teacher, an incredibly popular teacher who had taught in the school system for a long time, was eventually accused of abusing students. Rumors had gone around for years but nothing ever came of them. But now the accusations were not being ignored or dismissed, and my old teacher went to his home after school and set it on fire with him inside of it. He burned to death.

A friend of mine has been afraid to have his children go to Catholic school and has been thinking about sending them to the local public schools. I told him that every week my google local newsfeed has stories of abuse, misconduct, and molestation occurring in public schools down the street, in our metro area, and in our state. And these are just the stories that happen to show up in my feed–I don’t even go looking for them to see what more there are. Our chat history just has link after link to news story about the men (and many women!) caught abusing students in the public schools.

My decision for my own family and my recommendations to my friends is: be vigilant, no matter if your children go to public school, private school, co-op school, and no matter which activities they are in. Know that there are predators out there, both sociopathic ones and ones that operate on circumstance.

And now Hollywood stars, directors, and producers are being outed for their lustful, abusive behavior. It’s disgusting, and yet you see the same thing as in all cases: cover-ups, people looking the other way, and people afraid to come forward, until finally the dam has burst and the skeletons are all falling out of the closets.

What Is the Problem? What’s the Solution?

The problem is the Fall of man through sin, and lust as the particular sin.

Conquering porn

How boring, right? Yet it’s the truth. These men were not virtuous. They were not strong in the virtue of purity. They were instead slaves to sin, slaves of their own lust, that seeks to use people as objects for their own pleasure.

Love seeks the good of the other, wills the good of the other.
Love sees the other person as a human being made for their own sake, in God’s image.

Love is self-gift, self-sacrifice, and one can only give what one himself possesses. If a man is not self-mastered, and these men are not, then they cannot love. Bottom line. Sorry, no soup for you, come back one year.

The simple yet difficult solution is to grow in virtue. To be transformed in mind, body, and heart by Jesus Christ. To follow the truth that He has revealed to us in divine revelation, safeguarded and promulgated by the Church.

None of these men have done this. They never learned the self-mastery of chastity, and so they hurt lots of people, mostly women.

There’s Hope

I have now worked with over 600 (mostly Catholic) men through my purity courses. I’m working with many as we speak.

These are men who 1) have acknowledged that lust is wrong, 2) are striving to overcome it in their own lives, and 3) who have chosen to avail themselves of all the graces God wants to give them to conquer this vice.

And yet even for them it is an uphill battle!
Even for them it takes months, years, decades to grow strong in purity.

Yet they are increasing in virtue, in faith, hope, and love, and gaining mastery over themselves, becoming noble men, saints. It is possible. God gives us what we need to do it, but it requires turning away from evil and to good.

These Hollywood liberals ought to try it.

The program they’ve been following has failed utterly. In fact it has produced the opposite result: women have been victimized by the very men who supposedly knew better, who supposedly championed their rights. It was hypocritical hogwash of the worst kind perpetrated by these guys.

The solution is to change programs. Follow the program of Jesus Christ, where women are created in God’s image to be cherished, respected, and sacrificed for by virtuous men. Imagine if every man chose virtue tomorrow: no more assaults, no more abuse, no more painful wounds inflicted by selfish men!

So each day I’ll watch the news stories confirm all of this. I’ll watch the shock on female hosts’ faces as their male former colleagues get canned and come out with half-hearted, legal-squirming “apologies”.

And I’ll keep striving to help men grow, one at a time, in the virtue of holy purity.

Become a Saint, Through Novena Prayer

I’m pleased to announce that we have released version 2.0 of our Pray: the Catholic Novena App!

The Novena Year In Review

A little over a year ago we launched the novena app, and to our delight it has helped tens of thousands of Catholics pray more novenas than they ever had in their life.

Our goal was to help Catholics pray (and complete!) more novenas, deepening their faith, and thus transforming the world for God and truth.

We launched with about 15 novenas, and each month I added more. We are now at 37 novenas and counting. We started with only an iPhone version, but through a successful Indiegogo campaign we crowd sourced the funds to pay a developer to port the app to Android.

Along the way, I’ve been inundated by emails every single day from Catholics praying novenas using the app. I wish I could have responded to every one of them, but just reading them has been a blessing.

Pray 2.0, Based on Your Feedback

No app is perfect, and over the past year we heard the feedback from our users on the features that would make the app better. We have begun implementing them and in the new version of the app on iOS the first one is already live: configurable reminders.

The app had a default reminder set to go off at 8 am each morning. Obviously that doesn’t work for some people, so now when you start a novena you can choose what time to get reminded to pray each day.

Boom! Now you’re reminded at just the time each day that you usually pray your novena.

You can also instantly add a reminder for the start of the novena to your iPhone’s calendar, so that the upcoming novena you don’t want to forget that starts in four days, will automatically notify you.

UI Refresh to Help You Pray

One neat thing about having so many faithful Catholics installing our app is that we can see on the backend the statistics:

  • How many people install the app, launch it, and immediately start praying a novena?
  • How many people install the app, and then some time later start a novena?
  • How many people install the app, but never pray a novena?

This last use case was one that made us sad: the whole point of our app is to help Catholics pray novenas! So if someone gets the app and never prays a novena, we have failed to help them in their prayer life.

“Well,” you may say, “that happens sometimes, what can you do about it?”

In fact, we can do quite a lot. The initial experience after installing our app is…you get dropped into a list of novenas. It is not obvious what you are supposed to do, tap one of them? Scroll down? Which one is the next one?

So, my fellow Devoted Coder Chad Pav and I got our heads together and streamlined the app to make it clearer as to what you should do when you open the app for the first time, selecting the next few novenas that are starting soon and encouraging you to pray one of them.

Hint hint: pray the Immaculate Conception novena!

Now, some Catholics know the exact novena they want to pray, so they can tap the See all Novenas link or tap the Novenas tab in the bottom middle of the screen, and they will go to a list of novenas, grouped by month, with a handy search bar at the top.

This new design we think we funnel people into the action they are looking for, namely, to pray a novena! And once they have prayed a novena, if it is a new devotion for them, they will see the power of such prayer before the throne of God and be encouraged to continue to pray.

Immaculate Conception Novena Begins

Providentially, the Immaculate Conception novena begins today!

This novena was the first major one that our community prayed when we launched the app a year ago.

The novena is “locked”, and you can unlock it by becoming a patron for a small amount through an in-app purchase.

Originally, people could unlock novenas by sharing the app with their friends. But we received emails from people asking us to allow them to be patrons to unlock all novenas, as they had already invited all their friends to the app!

So we introduced the patronage model, and wonderfully, many people have become patrons, enabling us to continue adding novenas, features, and pay the monthly hosting bills.

Here’s to another year of growing in faith through novena prayers. Happy praying, happy Immaculate Conception novena starting, and happy beginning of Advent in just a few days.

God bless,
Devin & Chad
Devoted Coders