Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gynogate: More From Dr. Bader and Most Likely Scenario

Fr. Federico Lombardi

You will recall that The European Society of Aesthetic Gynecology (ESAG) advertised its "1st World Congress" to be held in the impressive and well-advertised conference facilities at the Patristic Institute, just outside the precincts of the Vatican. It quickly became known as the "Vatican G-Spot Conference," even though only one program dealt with that sensationalistic matter. The Patristic Institute is supervised by the curial Congregation for Catholic Education.

As far as the Bear can tell, the story was broken by the Daily Mail, which set the sensationalistic tone. As you can imagine, the story proved irresistible to bloggers, particularly of the lazy sort who played it for laughs, such as the Bear. (Rest assured, however, that the Bear is on this story for real, now.) Maureen Mullarkey wrote a story for the Federalist, which they pulled (more anon).

Why It Matters

The reason this is important is that it appears the Patristic Institute and Fr. Federico Lombardi are not being truthful, and are damaging the reputations of respected writer Maureen Mullarkey, and, for that matter, Dr. Bader, the surgeon behind the ESAG Congress. Think what you want about his field, but he is evidently a respected surgeon in it. Add every other blogger who discussed this and has been accused of reporting a hoax, many of them issuing apologies, and you've got quite a number of aggrieved parties. 

Of course, that is small potatoes compared to the Vatican deliberately lying to save itself some embarrassment. Perhaps the relevant parties should review the lessons of Watergate.

A Look at the Evidence: More From Dr. Bader

Dr. Alex Bader
In order to believe the Vatican, you would have to conclude that Dr. Bader is (a) delusional; or (b) perpetrating a senseless hoax on himself and his own organization. On the other hand, you may conclude that Dr. Bader (with whom the Bear is in communication, and who sounds like a reasonable surgeon who is bent out of shape by his treatment) at least believed he had an agreement with the Institute.

Based on all the evidence, it seems likely that ESAG did have an agreement, but the Institute (or the Vatican) grew skittish after people started laughing at it, and broke off the agreement at whatever stage it had reached.

The Bear has set up legal conferences for hundreds of lawyers and many presenters from all over the country. No one would just assume they have some venue as they're scheduling incoming speakers, assuring that they have the equipment they need, planning catering, and providing for some down time. Not to mention advertising for attendees! The Bear would grow extremely angry if he thought he had a venue and it disappeared.

Against Fr. Lombardi and the Institute we have Dr, Bader's unequivocal statement. [Sic.] (English is obviously not Dr. Bader's native language, but he does well enough.)
We had a clear agreement with the Vatican to rent their premises in order to organize the Congress. Recently and in unfair way they regret and escalate the issue just to slip away from their responsibilities. We have evidence and documents to prove this and soon we will come out with an official press release as well as we still keep our rights for all legal actions against all involved parties who defame our Society and me personally.The Congress still will take place on the same dates in a different venue which will be announced soon.
The Bear now makes available additional information from Dr. Bader. [Sic.]
I understand completely the Vatican position but they where the one who promised the rental of the Patristic institute. We never had the target to embarrass the holy chruch. We are a scientific organisation who are organising a meeting which will come with conclusions and guidelines and that's why we invited 30 different speakers from all over the contents [continents] and with all varieties of religions just to expose their opinion as this will give a big asset  to the whole thing. Even the G-Spot topic which was the one which all your colleagues used to defame the congress,  the society and me personally it is under the title G-Spot truth and myth? which obviously shows our goal to investigate and to come one step beyond what we know now. The word hoax is unfair and totally illegal and this will be considered from us on all our next action.
Sounds to the Bear like Dr. Bader has a point. He is obviously not very happy. In defense of my "colleagues," the Bear does not believe any disrespect was intended toward Dr. Bader and ESAG. The thrust of the story was the incongruity of a sex surgery congress being hosted by the Vatican. For that matter, inject "G-Spot" into a conversation and you're likely to elicit some juvenile humor. At least if you're a Bear. It's sort of a defense mechanism we use when we're uncomfortable with frank discussions about sex.

Which brings us back to the claims by the Vatican and the Institute that there was never an agreement, and the implication (if not outright claim) that it was a hoax. One of the reasons it is vital to obtain a copy of the Institute email is to see how they characterized the matter, and whether they used the word "hoax."

The Email from the Institute

Once the Congress was publicized, The Federalist published an article by respected writer Maureen Mullarkey (You may remember that she was let go by First Things due to her criticism of the Pope. She is definitely one of the good guys, and the Bear encourages you to read her wonderful writings via the link to the right.)

The Bear is hoping to obtain the original of the "forwarded email" from the Institute or The Federalist, with whom he has established a line of communication. He has also contacted the Institute with a number of questions, including seeing their communication to the Federalist. They cannot complain that no one has inquired, now. Whether they are interested in someone probing their narrative is a different matter.

Based on the communications quoted above, Ms. Mullarkey issued her apology.

We're waiting for Dr. Bader's press release, which, for all the Bear knows, has documentation that will prove ESAG's version.

Vatican vs. Dr. Bader: Credibility Contest

It is difficult to imagine a scenario that brings the Vatican's statements and Dr. Bader's statements into agreement. The best the Bear can do is that the parties did enter into some sort of preliminary agreement that caused Dr. Bader to think he had a solid contract, but the Vatican canceled at some point.

To avoid further embarrassment, the Vatican then took the additional, unwise, step of denying that there had ever been any agreement or discussions, and possibly called the whole thing a hoax. The Patristic Institute communicated a denial strong enough to cause The Federalist to pull Ms. Mullarkey's story without further investigation.

The Bear really wants to know if the Institute used the word "hoax."

Fr. Lombardi has doubled down on the complete denial story.

The Bear has decades of experience sorting facts, assessing evidence and judging people's credibility. If Dr. Bader is not being truthful, the Bear's a monkey's uncle.


  1. Replies
    1. Better make a lot of it, because this is going to go on awhile. In the end, Fr. Lombardi will announce that he was correct in saying there is no truth to the story about the ESAG and the Patristic Institute. There were initial inquiries made by Dr. Bader, but the Institute did not enter into any formal contract to host the Congress. If Dr. Bader wanted to advertise a venue based merely on assurances from the Institute that they would handle it, that's his problem. (Actually, probably not that last sentence.) Of course, there's always the possibility Dr. Bader produces a written agreement. Then what does the Vatican do? Blame some minor functionary at the Institute? Admit to it, but say the Institute backed out once it realized the nature of the conference? The Vatican certainly does not want to be in the position of breach of contract, especially if it called the whole thing a "hoax," damaging Dr. Bader's expensive reputation. Bear does not understand why the Vatican keeps digging itself into what looks like a hole, when it would be so easy to admit they made a mistake in judgment, and corrected it.

  2. "In defense of my "colleagues," the Bear does not believe any disrespect was intended toward Dr. Bader and ESAG. The thrust of the story was the incongruity of a sex surgery congress being hosted by the Vatican. For that matter, inject "G-Spot" into a conversation and you're likely to elicit some juvenile humor."

    If you are going to hold the Vatican's feet to the fire for misrepresenting the truth in some way that's fine. But be sure that you are holding yourself and your colleagues to the same standard.

    Maureen Mullarkey in her article said: "Why is a pontifical house of scholarship lending itself to a showboating ("world renowned") plastic surgeon whose practice adds fresh dimension to the term bottom feeding"
    Many of the articles and blogs that covered this situation misrepresented or exaggerated something in an attempt to make the Vatican look not only incongruous but lewd with no regard to the collateral damage that may have been being done to Dr. Bader and the ESAG. Because when going after the Vatican anything is fair game. But now it's the Vatican that is damaging Dr. Bader's reputation because it may or may not have backed out of an agreement and may or may not have been dishonest about it?
    If you really want to get to the bottom of this thing then do it but don't let some off the hook. Don't make excuses for the bloggers and writers but instead take a good hard look at the whole thing. This is actually a narrative about the behavior of Catholics as much as it is about the Vatican. The hype, the bias, the immature prurience, the sensationalistic salacious nature of many of the headlines, the speculation, as well as who misrepresented what and when. There were a lot of mistakes in judgment made here. Maybe if we want the Vatican to admit their mistakes we should start by admitting our own without excusing them.

    1. You make some excellent points, Vickie. And I believe I have begun to address them. I believe I have treated Dr. Bader fairly and with respect. After all, I am the only one (as far as I know) that reached out to Dr. Bader and got his side of the story.

      Why are you venting on poor old Bear, who is ahead of the pack on the issues you raise?

      My original story was brief, and wondered if Bears have G-Spots. Juvenile, yes, but didn't mention Dr. Bader or ESAG. It did capture the spirit of the blog coverage, though. "Whatever this mysterious G-Spot is, the Bear is glad that Pope Francis is on top of it."

      There is no question that in our zeal to make fun of Pope Francis, many lost sight that there was an innocent party with aims and a reputation at stake.

      Honestly, to a bunch of lay bloggers, the tone begun by the Daily Mail was low-hanging fruit most just couldn't resist. The story was sensationalized with no thought for Dr. Bader. It would have required a heroic degree of discipline and forethought to avoid dashing off a clever piece on yet another misstep by the Vatican.

      Is hosting a medical conference of surgeons who specialize in the enhancing female genitalia consistent with the image and dignity of the Vatican? I am sure you would say yes, Vicky. Is it likely to generate publicity? I'll leave that for you to answer yourself. But as to the congress, others might have different opinions. It is certainly fair game for bloggers.

      However, it is not my job to police my fellow bloggers or call them all blackguards for their roles. Catholic Blogdom is a wild and wooly place, and if you think Maureen Mullarkey is the worst, you should familiarize yourself with the rest. There are things I could say, right now, that I won't. But I will at the right time.

      Blogging has its own idiom. It isn't a newspaper, or a television show. Part of it is getting that memorable phrase down, that hard-hitting analogy. Although we might be much more careful in cases involving innocent third parties, a lot of it is "just Chinatown."

      As for "who misrepresented what and when," I assure you that this is more than speculation. I know there are documents, I know what they say word-for-word, and I know who has them. Getting them is another matter. Stonewalling is a time-honored tactic.

      Ultimately, I hope that Dr. Bader has the documents that will resolve this matter decisively. Right now there is additional evidence in this case, though. That consists of the firm declarations of Dr. Bader himself. I happen to find that his claims fit best with all the evidence. So the case remains open for now. It is hardly speculation, though.

      I stand by my comment that no one intended harm to Dr. Bader or ESAG. Their gunsight reticles were set firmly on the Vatican. But I agree with you 100% that the hits scored on the Vatican were shared with Dr. Bader. That was wrong. No excuses. The same story could have been told in a mature manner, although the ultimate issue would remain: is it consistent with the dignity and image of the Vatican to hold such a congress? ESAG would have inevitably been part of the story, even if all the sensationalism were eliminated. You do understand that, don't you Vicki?

      Is it your opinion that this is a non-story? That it was wise for the Patristic Institute to agree (if it did, as Dr. Bader says) to host the Congress? Do you blame bloggers for addressing the issue, or just the way in which they did it?

    2. My problem is in the way it was done. Don't mind the link at all. Did you watch the pod-cast? Because it too was more about manner of criticism and not that criticism is never warranted. Do you want links to my blogs as well, lol.

      Look, I know that bloggers can't help having some bias in what they write. Bloggers do not merely report events but rather write from their own perspective and experience. And sometimes, bloggers even write purely because they had what they thought was a witty take on the whole thing. Writers (myself included) are sometimes in love with the dance of well formed words and thoughts and will write purely for the enjoyment of expression. Sometimes we can't help ourselves. Even so we should be cognizant of the impact of our words and their influence. Don't you think that Catholic writers should set a higher standard of integrity, fairness, charity and self-discipline?

      I apologize if poor Bear thought I was venting. I saw an inconsistency in something you wrote and thought I would address it. Because it speaks to the fairness of the narrative. I was speaking of most of the blogs in general and not yours in particular which I could have made more clear.

      "Is hosting a medical conference of surgeons who specialize in the enhancing female genitalia consistent with the image and dignity of the Vatican? I am sure you would say yes, Vicky"

      First of all Bear, that is quite an assumption about me now isn't it? Second, do you realize that you spelled my name three different ways?;)
      When I know for sure that is what they did I will have a definite opinion. But that evidence has not yet been presented. But let's say just for the sake of this discussion that it is true. Then I actually would have found it inappropriate. But I would have put the blame on the people at the Institute who booked the conference and not necessarily seen corruption to the highest echelons of the Vatican because of it. Would I think also that after the fact, after having been somewhat embarrassed, that it would be wise for the Vatican to put some policies in place so that something like that doesn't happen again. Yep.

      "The same story could have been told in a mature manner, although the ultimate issue would remain: is it consistent with the dignity and image of the Vatican to hold such a congress? ESAG would have inevitably been part of the story, even if all the sensationalism were eliminated. You do understand that, don't you Vicki?"

      Of course I do. And I will chalk up what I perceive as a condescending tone to be merely perception. When the story is told straight then the chips fall where they may. The ESAG is of course part of this story and neither of us has control over the opinions of others concerning what they do.

      "Is it your opinion that this is a non-story?"

      Not necessarily. But the story was not actually told now was it? It is my opinion that the story was over exaggerated, over sensationalized, overly sexualized. I commend that you are now trying to get to the real sources. As a matter of fact, early on, I had thought that the article at Mahound's Paradise to be somewhat even handed in its treatment of the story. I also agree that your first post was merely a commentary on the commentary. But you have posted more since then and now source and consistency are becoming more important.

      I have indeed read worse than the Maureen Mullarkey article. I used her quote because you said that other bloggers had not been intentionally disrespectful. Idk, it's merely my opinion, mind you, but it seems to me that to call someone a bottom feeder just might qualify as being deliberately disrespectful.

      Well, I see that you have posted another comment for me so I will finish this for now and listen while you talk.


    Vickie, I gave you a link, so your comments might be seen in perspective? Do you believe Jews do not need to acknowledge Jesus Christ to be saved? That Jesus is reduced to some sort of impersonal salvation mechanism for strangers to Him? Do you believe that global warming poses a clear and present danger? Do you believe that one's capacity to receive holy communion depends on a decision made in the interior forum of the conscience, and no one may question that decision? Do you believe that Muslims who drown attempting to illegally enter Europe are automatically "with the Lord?" Do you believe that Mary shook her fist in anger at God from the foot of the cross?

    These are just a few items I rattled off from the top of my head. My blog is full of examples why people should NOT trust this Pope.

    I am curious. What is the source of your animus against Catholic bloggers, admittedly a rather scruffy bunch, some of us barely housebroken, especially the ursine member. Do you really care about Dr. Bader, or are you secretly hoping the Vatican's story is proven, so you can remain secure in your belief that all is ice cream and helicopters?

    Why don't you put your considerable talents at the Bear's disposal, and help him prove that the Vatican is lying, and is really who damaged Dr. Bader, not a few Catholic blogs of questionable readership numbers. Without denying an element of the Catholic blogosphere could have done much better, just as you point out, you have to admit we are less than a flea on the Vatican's elephant, who is now flat out calling Dr. Bader a liar. So, if you're concerned about Dr. Bader, why attack the bloggers?

    Because your mantra is "trust the Vatican, ignore evil bloggers."

    And, by the way, what did the Catholic blogosphere get wrong in its admittedly overly colorful reportage? That the Patristic Institute was hosting the ESAG Congress? But wait, that would mean YOU are calling poor Dr. Bader a liar. Now who is damaging his reputation? Have you bothered to call him and get his side, and publish it in an effort to get to the truth? Have you developed leads, obtained closely-held information you have to sit on, and worked your butt off to get at the TRUTH?

    We provided commentary on an apparently credible story from the Daily Mail. Bloggers often provide commentary and perspective. We're not reporters (usually). Why would we suspect that story was a hoax (not that it was)?

    You were right in some of what you said, and I'll agree. But I suspect you saw an opportunity to beat up on the Bear's sort of Catholic bloggers, whom you apparently don't care too much for. Fair enough. Who knows? Maybe your concern for Dr. Bader and ESAG are actually genuine. I've exchanged emails with the man, and, you know what? I think he's credible and a decent guy who got shafted by your "trustworthy" Vatican. Maybe I'll be able to prove it, maybe not. But even you have to admit this mess stinks like week old salmon.

    Vickie, SCB is probably one of those horrible blogs you like to talk about. But I challenge you to spend some time here. I'm just an ordinary Catholic (well, that happens to be a Bear) and a lawyer who has a God-given charism for detecting BS. And your attempt to tie the famous "smoke of Satan" quote of Pope Paul VI to the spirit that animates blogs like this is absurd.

    Bear out.

    1. Ah, I see that somehow I have poked the Bear and am now facing the claws. Ok then.

      Let me first say that I did not come looking for a fight. I was researching this story. I had thought that I might write a blog of my own. Your blog comes up when you Google this story. I generally read all I can when it comes to controversial stories. Makes me a little fashionably late for the parties sometimes but the investigation of researching is interesting to me. It helps me get a more accurate picture of things.

      So, no I did not see an opportunity to beat up on the Bear's sort of Catholic Bloggers. Nor am I overly sympathetic to the ESAG. It was purely about being even handed and fair. Not that I thought you had been particularly heavy handed yourself. It is what I saw as a willingness to disregard or excuse a previous lack of concern for reputation in many blog posts while at the same time calling out the Vatican. If you are going to call it out then call it out across the board is all I'm saying.

      The thing is, Bear, that we have to determine who lied. That's the bottom line. Was it Dr. Bader? You seem to think not. But then again, in Dr. Bader's case, it may be more about misunderstanding than an outright and deliberate lie. Was it the Patristic Institute that misrepresented the truth to both Dr. Bader and then turned around and misrepresented it to Fr. Lombardi as well so that his comments were inaccurate? Is it actually a deliberate Vatican cover-up or someone who works for the Vatican through the Patristic Institute covering their butt? Do you know, Bear? These distinctions just might matter. At least they matter to me.

      I am sorry that you disagreed with my podcast and felt it was directed at someone like you personally. Most of my podcasts are food for thought type of commentaries. Examine ourselves and see where we can do better type of things. And yes, I am of the opinion that we can all do better most of the time.

      Ok then, I see that you have yet to post my last comment. That's ok. It's ok if you don't want to post this one either. I won't hound you about it.

      Btw, I was going to mention your blog as one that was trying to get to the bottom of what was going on. That the jury was still out but there might be more information available. I might still do that despite the claws. I can give you the benefit of the doubt that you misunderstood my intent. If I even get the darn thing written. I have a pretty full plate at home so my blogging can be a little sporadic.

      If you really come up with the evidence, I'll give you props for it and a tip of the hat. If it is actually the truth it doesn't scare me one bit.

    2. The mistake excuse is out if the Institute affirmatively called the matter a "hoax," wouldn't you agree? The mistake excuse is out if the Vatican huffs and puffs about the story not being true, but then does not admit that there were at least discussions that were broken off. Both positions: The Institute's and Fr. Lombardi's, leave no possible conclusion other than Dr. Bader is delusional or a liar. And I don't read this that way.

      So now who is damaging Dr. Bader? A few mangy Catholic blogs or an Institute under the supervision of the curia and the official Vatican spokesman, who presumably does not step before microphones and say whatever pops into his head with no prior planning?

      You see, I have already thought your objections through. As a trial lawyer, this stuff is not a hobby for me.

      Either Dr. Bader has concocted the world's greatest publicity stunt, or the Vatican is engaging in a despicable cover-up at the expense of a physician's reputation. This is a situation where one party is simply not telling the truth. It is common in the criminal courts.

      The Vatican has staked out an absolutist position: Dr. Bader made it all up out of whole cloth. If he has evidence of discussions, meetings, proposals, even things far short of a signed contract, the Vatican's credibility still fails. Then I suppose Fr. Lombardi will say, "Well, of course, there were some initial discussions, but they broke down." And that will be a another lie, because pulling out and breaking down are two different things,

      Additionally, I have respectfully given the Institute the opportunity to say to me what they said to respectable journals in their email. A simple explanation that resolves everything. It was a hoax. In their email they complained that no one had checked the story with them. Now I have. Is their failure to respond evidence of the sincerity of their complaint? Or maybe they just hate Bears, too.

      I am still curious what your answers are to the few questions I posed. These are all novelties introduced by Pope Francis for reasons the Bear can only guess at. (Add Jesus having to beg forgiveness from Mary and Joseph for missing the caravan.)

      Do you think they're swell? Do you just close your eyes and stop your ears? Do you feel any cognitive dissonance?


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