The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: Neither Religious nor Civil

Catholics for Choice
July 21, 2008

[with link to the full pdf-format report]

The latest report in the Opposition Notes series examines the work of the Catholic League and its president, Bill Donohue, who has waged a long and lonely campaign to bully into silence anybody he deems to have insulted the Catholic church. According to an annual report put out by the League, the number of examples of anti-Catholicism grew from 140 in 1995 to 320 in 2006, yet the only thing that seems to have actually increased is the League's definition of what constitutes anti-Catholic activity.

from the report:

Another attempt to silence the loyal opposition involves the pedophile scandal that has dominated news about the church over the past few years. Unable to explain away the Catholic

church's embarrassing pedophilia scandal, Donohue tried to turn it back on progressive Catholic activists, claiming that they were exaggerating the scandal to try and bring down the church: "For the past few decades, so-called progressive Catholics have been itching for large-scale reform in the Catholic church. What they object to most of all is the church's teaching on sexuality. Representative of the fringe, they are now seizing the moment to install their agenda…Make no mistake, the Catholicbashers are loving this moment."61

View full document Overall, Donohue has been an apologist for the church on the issue of clergy sexual abuse and echoed the conservative line that the problem was not one of pedophilia or mandatory celibacy but of homosexuality: "For 2000 years, the Catholic Church has been the subject of countless lies, especially on issues that touch on sexuality. Today, the biggest lie is that the Church suffers from a 'pedophilia' problem. And now that the Vatican has released its document on

homosexuals in the priesthood, look for the lie to grow like a cancer."62 In advance of two major studies on the extent of sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests, the Catholic League

produced a study which appeared to be trying to whitewash the scandal by claiming that the rate of sexual abuse in the church was no higher than in other religious denominations: "the incidence of the sexual abuse of a minor is slightly higher among the Protestant clergy than

among the Catholic clergy, and it is significantly higher among public school teachers than among ministers and priests."63 The study also claimed that "almost all the priests who abuse

children are homosexuals."64 In fact, studies have shown that many child molesters don't have an adult sexual orientation at all, so they cannot be meaningfully described as homosexuals

or heterosexuals. Their sexual attraction is based on age, not gender, so the data suggest that gay men are not any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children.65


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