Bill Donohue, self appointed cheerleader for the Roman Catholic church, has declared that the problem with the recent child abuse scandal in the church is not the abuse – the problem, according to Donohue, is that people are criticizing the church for the abuse. Seriously. Find it hard to believe that anyone could make such a case with a straight face? Read his article, Criticism of Catholic Church is unfair (oh, boo hoo), which starts:
The rash of stories about priestly sexual abuse in Europe, especially in Ireland and Germany, has put many Catholics on the defensive. They should not be. While sexual molestation of any kind is always indefensible, the politics surrounding this story is also indefensible.
Note the words “While sexual molestation of any kind is always indefensible…” – and consider that is the only indication Donohue gives in the entire 650 word article that sexual molestation of children is bad. Go on, read the whole thing. There is nothing else in the whole piece – nothing – that indicates that raping children is wrong, it’s all about how everyone is being mean to the Catholic church. Incredible.
Donohue starts with the old false equivalence trick:
Employers from every walk of life, in both the U.S. and Europe, have long handled cases of alleged sex abuse by employees as an internal matter. Rarely have employers called the cops, and none was required to do so.
He’s comparing rape of children to “alleged sex abuse by employees.” Is he saying that companies in the US and Europe have been aware of their employees raping children as a part of their work? Well, it’s hard to know for sure what’s in the mind of this old idiot, but somehow I don’t think even he is saying this. What he is trying to get away with is equating workplace sexual harassment – the boss groping his secretary, say – with raping children. And while it is certainly true that, say 30 or 40 years ago, sexist bosses could get away with things they would likely be sued and/or fired for now (watch Mad Men), this is nothing like what the church is accused of covering up. Not even close.
Anyone who maintains that in North America or Europe it was common practice for employers outside the Catholic Church to file a police report about suspected wrongdoing by their employees needs to put up or shut up: Where is the evidence?
No one is saying that employers had to file a police report about any suspected wrongdoing by their employees. That would be ridiculous. I think most people would suggest that if an employer knew one of his employees had committed rape of a child while doing his job, then the employer should certainly report it. And most probably would. And the duty to report would be even greater if the employee’s job was to supervise the child that he had raped. A job such as, for example, a schoolteacher, scout leader or a bleeding Roman Catholic priest.
Beyond that issue, the focus on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is far out of proportion to the attention given by the media to the sexual molestation of minors when committed by non-Catholic clergymen. According to a report by the New York Times in October, the Brooklyn district attorney's office had filed charges in 26 cases of sexual abuse involving members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
Donohue just has to bring the Jews into it. Hey, some Jews in Brooklyn abused children, so we can too. Sorry, not an excuse. If a Jewish religious community has been abusing children then that is just as bad, and the guilty people should be jailed. If that didn't receive as much publicity as the Catholic church’s abuses, it’s because the Catholic church has a wider congregation, and the abuse affected many more children.
The reason the church is rightly getting all the criticism is that they claim to be god’s representatives on Earth, and they routinely preach their morality to the rest of us, including those of us who don’t believe their particular fairly story. They demand obedience from their followers. They (the priests) as part of their jobs are in positions of authority over small children. They should be above reproach, but they have been shown to be unworthy of the trust placed upon them. Most Catholics know this. Even the pope seems to recognize it (belatedly). But Donohue, while paying lip service to the “indefensible” nature of such abuse, thinks that the real problem here is with people criticizing the church for the abuse. He actually says that this criticism – just the criticism mind you – is “immoral.” If anything is immoral it is Donohue and this vile article.