Catholic League President Bill Donohue and friend

Catholic League President Bill Donohue and friend RNS

A couple of days ago Bill Donohue of the Catholic League emailed to ask if I’d heard Tom Doyle‘s speech at the Voice of the Faithful conference I wrote about last week. “Anxious to know your thoughts on what he said about me,” wrote Bill.

Jeez, I thought, now I am sorry I skipped the afternoon workshop run by the Dominican priest who’s been fighting clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic church for the past 30 years. However, a quick online search turned up an outline of Doyle’s remarks, in which “failing to muzzle Bill Donohue” is listed as evidence that the U.S. bishops “continue to treat victims with disdain at the very least.”

I told Bill I didn’t know anything more than what I’d found on the internet, to which he responded:

Does it bother you that one of the heroes on the Catholic left, and a priest at that, is recommending that the bishops silence a Catholic layman? I thought the Catholic left was aghast at bishops who “silence” dissident  theologians when they are asked to explain why they teach something other than Catholicism in courses on Catholicism.  I will deal with this publicly. This is not the first time someone has demanded that the bishops muzzle me, but when someone like Doyle makes it public at a conference, with no apparent push back, it breaks new ground. I would assume you would not agree with Doyle. Am I right?

I will deal with this publicly. I am, for the record, opposed to the U.S. bishops muzzling Bill Donohue.

Yet inasmuch as he uses his bully pulpit to defend the likes of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City and Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark and Archbishop John Nienstedt of St. Paul, the U.S. bishops might consider removing themselves from the choir. Finn is the one and only American hierarch ever to be convicted of failing to report a priest sex offender. Here’s what the federal prosecutor had to say last week in giving an award to the detective who investigated the case.

When it becomes clear at the outset of the investigation that the entire hierarchy of a centuries-old religious denomination does not seem willing to recognize that the children depicted in the images are, in fact, victims of child exploitation, nor seem very willing to help establish the identity of the children depicted, and instead are spending millions of dollars on legal counsel in an ill-advised effort to avoid having the priest and bishop accept legal responsibility for their crimes, then you know, as an investigator, that your work is cut out for you.

And here’s what the New Jersey prosecutor had to say last fall about Myers’ adherence to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the Newark archdiocese agreed not to allow now defrocked priest Michael Fugee to work with children.
It has appeared, based on many public comments by Archbishop Myers, that the Church had no intention of monitoring Fugee any further and … it has not appeared that the Archdiocese made any significant effort to adhere to the terms of the MOU such that, at this juncture, we no longer have confidence in its ability as a signatory to honor the clear intent of the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding.
If anyone thinks that the pope’s appointment of a coadjutor bishop in Newark last fall had nothing to do with the Fugee affair, there’s a big church in Vatican City I’d like to sell him.
For his part, Nienstedt (among other things) failed to remove from ministry a priest whose abusive behavior was known to him in 2009 and who was subsequently convicted of criminal sexual misconduct. “Sadly, these crimes might have been prevented if the archdiocesan officials in positions of authority over the abusers had responded appropriately to misconduct,” declared a report released Monday by the task force authorized by the archdiocese to examine its handling of abuse cases. 

Under the circumstances, you’d think that responsible leaders of the Catholic church in the U.S. would be wary of associating themselves with Donohue. I mean, I’m not suggesting that they actually return the $250,000 that the Catholic League gave to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops two years ago. But it might at least be a good idea for Cardinal Dolan of New York, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, and especially Cardinal O’Malley of Boston to ask that their testimonials be removed from the Catholic League website

O’Malley, after all, is top dog in Pope Francis’ new commission on sexual abuse. It doesn’t do for him to be supporting an organization effectively opposed to punishing bishops for covering abuse up.

Categories: Institutions

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Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

19 Comments

  1. Michael Skiendzielewski

    Muzzle Bill Donahue ? Please don’t, he’s necessary for “comic relief”. Rumor has it that he was a runner-up to take over Letterman’s spot on Late Night.

    Please, oh please keep Bill Donahue out there. He reminds me so much of Archie Bunker in style, personality, appearance and demeanor during the “All in the Family” era.

  2. Cardinal O’Malley of Boston has a testimonial on the Catholic League website! WHAT? I agree that it would be wise for him to remove it, but the fact that it was ever on there at all has considerably diminished him in my eyes.

    CLERGY SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE CHURCH TODAY: TURNING TALK INTO ACTION

    Fr. Tom Doyle’s speech presented to the “Voice of the Faithful” in Hartford,CT on 4/5/2014 can be found on the link below, and is well worth reading.

    http://www.votf.org/2014Assembly/2014AssemblyTomDoyleWorkshopPresentation.pdf

    • Carolyn Disco

      Your link does not work. Try:

      http://marksilk.religionnews.com/2014/04/17/who-wants-to-muzzle-bill-donahue/

      It was my privilege to hear Tom’s talk in person. Muzzling Donohue would only give him an issue where he could spew more of his bullying drivel.

      That the hierarchy gives any sign of support to him speaks of how convenient he must be for their purposes in distorting genuine discussion. Their backing of Donohue reveals more about their low credibility than anything. Something about the company you keep…

      Bishops need to ignore him, but they won’t.

    • Frank LaFerriere

      Tom is my hero. He offered, without hesitation to come to my trial against Donohue and testify for me against Donohue.

      Donohue is a drunken, pig faced bully…time we take out the trash.

  3. Nanabedokw'môlsem

    Mr Donohue has been so consistently unique in his views, I’ve found myself wondering if his League consists of more than himself. It seems Mr. Donohue is in for some truly stressful times, in that it’s clear our current Holy Father and he are leagues apart in their attitudes. As for Cdl. O’Malley being referred to on Mr. Donohue’s site, I would expect Mr Donohue did not ask consent for that and sought to garner more attention with what many would wrongly assume to be an endorsement.

  4. How to muzzle Bill Donahue? He simply needs to be rebuked. Tim Dolan has embraced Donahue several times. Dolan, Chaput and O’Malley simply need to state publicly that the exaggerated and hurtful views of this Catholic pit bull simply do not represent the views of the Conference of Bishops. Why haven’t they so far? Wild bill only gets wilder and more off the hook as times goes by.
    by the way, O’Malley has some explaining to do quite aside from the Donahue factor. why did he appear openly at an event at the Dominican House in Washington in the company of Cardinal Law. The community & guests were asked to keep this appearance of the poster boy for abuse quiet. Shame on Sean for being party to this disgrace. /i actually believe that he was unaware of Law’s ignominious presence. Many others are not so convinced. Cardinal Sean can clear this up quite simply. Or is anything so simple at those Olympian heights or Hadian depths of the clerical system?

  5. Lynne Newington

    Well at least we know there will be no re approachment by Tom Doyle, it’s been pretty full on from all quarters since Jorge Bergoglio became pope.

  6. I think Bill Donohue has some smart points, but not on gay marriage. He should have other people at the Catholic league who speak on it’s behalf. Donohue seems to have appointed him self as the spokesperson for the Church.

    The cause of being against gay marriage didn’t help the catholic church or the republicans. In fact, the RC may have to change the position because it is so unpopular. At some point such unpopular positions can push a institutionalized religion in to an abyss. The position is similar to the views Scientology holds on drugs.

  7. Ron, you stated, “I think Bill Donohue has some smart points…” Would you please list a few?

    I see Bill Donohue as being to the RCC what Rush Limbaugh (both self-appointed spokesmen) is to the Republican Party. Their message is viewed as coming down from “The Mountain” by a small group of hard core followers, but it results in alienating the centrists in each of these groups.

    • Cardinal Timid Dolan has no control over himself what with his pontificating every question and grandstanding when in public. He’s still running for pope.

    • Sure Dolan does have power over the League. Bill Donohue receives a salary of $400,000 a year, part of it paid for by the New York Archdiocese through donations to the Catholic League. The Pedophile Pimp and Clown Prince Dolan is the head of the Archdiocese of New York and the Bishops Conference…he has the power to muzzle Donohue by cutting off his funds for one…but why should he?

      He uses Donohue to defend himself against attacks. Take for instance Dolan crying his eyes out about New York passing the same sex marriage law which he felt was a personal betrayal to him by the people and legislature of New York. Yet at the same conference where he said this, he also attacked New York legislature that sought to end the one year statue of limitations against child rape and abuse with the following quote..in which Donohue backed up to the hilt:

      Dolan also explained that he wanted to keep the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims to one-year, because if the church gets sued, “The perpetrators don’t suffer. There’s no burden on them. What suffers are the services and the ministries of the apostolates that we’re doing now. Because where does the money come from? So the bishops of 30 years ago that allegedly may have reassigned abusers, they don’t suffer. They’re dead. So the people that suffer are those who are being served right now by the church. We feel that’s a terribly unjust burden.”

      http://gothamist.com/2012/03/12/cardinal_dolan_still_sore_about_gay.php#.

      Nope, not one mention about predatory, pedophile, hebephile and ephebophile priest victims and their terrible unjust burden forced upon us by these disgusting priests. Nope not one mention about our pain and suffering at the hands of people like Dolan, or the priests and nuns whom abused us. Nope not one mention about anything about priest abuse victims and how they should even be taken care of.

      EVERYTHING said in his statement is designed to protect the church and say hey look..we should not suffer in the least bit for all the rapes of children, or the fact that I put these pedophiles first, moved them around, then when it came time for the victims…I took money meant to pay them for their damaged and destroyed lives, like I signed several declarations that we would do for the victims….and moved it into the churches cemetery funds…then declared my diocese of Milwaukee bankrupt..so we would not have to pay the victims…for this acts the Roman Catholic Church rewarded
      Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whom was in essence, then made the Pope of the American Branch of the Roman Catholic Church.

  8. I am doing all I can to muzzle Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. Here is proof after I went after Bill for what he says about us priest abuse victims. He had me arrested for the phone calls I made to him. He even tried to get New York to arrest me for hate crimes against him. Right now the appeal to the conviction is before the N.H. Supreme Court for overturning due to the judge admitting to bias against me. We appealed the case to the Superior Court, the prosecutor there stacked on some more charges, but my brave Public Defender, Jay Dugay fought tooth and nail for me and eventually the charges in the Superior Court were nol processed.

    This is a link to the local Berlin Daily Sun newspaper about the case.

    http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47861:laferriere-found-guilty-on-harassment-charges-it-appealing&catid=103:local-news&Itemid=442

    I will continue to stand up to Bill Donohue. I am NOT afraid of that punk assed bully. My daddy taught me a valuable lesson. Do NOT go looking for fights, but when a punk tries to bully you…then you take their power away by standing up to them.

    Bill is a joke…he loves to boycott those whom he deem wrong…in his psychotic twisted mind? Well then good…how about what is good for the goose, is good for the gander…

    BOYCOTT BILL DONOHUE AND HIS CATHOLIC LEAGUE.

    • I have been working on a blog since I finally came out and started talking about former Fr Leon Gaulin, whom one night, at St Thomas More parish in Durham NH…he raped me and soul and mind tortured me. One page of my site deals specifically with Bill Donohue..exposing him through his own words…for the psychotic, drunk, pervert defending p.o.s. he is.

      http://rapevictimsofthecatholicchurch.wordpress.com/bill-donohue-psychotic-bully-president-of-the-catholic-league/

        • Frank LaFerriere

          I’m not asking for ANYONE to fall on their sword for me.

          Donohue can seemingly act like the drunken bully he is. He can insult, denigrate, defame anyone and feels is below him.

          Instead of posting all kinds of examples of Donohue and his sewer mouth bully attacks against people one only has to do some research on the topic and you will find many, many, many examples of his loudmouth spewing lies, twisting facts, insulting whole classes of people and seemingly getting away with something he would be slammed and called on the carpet for by everyone….blaming rape victims for their rapes.

          Hey…I am actually WILLING to go to jail over this…I said win or lose…I am NOT going to back down from the likes of Bill Donohue. When he said in the courtroom about me:

          “If a 15 year old boy is being messed with by a priest and he doesn’t smack him, that means he wanted it, he enjoyed it and he is a homosexual.”

          He refers to the John Jay report about his false claims and assertions that there is NOT a pedophile problem in the church but that it is a homosexual one. He plays with semantics to make his disagreement with all of this. Pedophilia is the common term used by us to describe an adult whom has sex with under age people. We could break it down to common terms used since the 19th century, hebephile or ephebophile, but why should we change our description or term used to talk about these scumbags of the church, whom were protected by their leaders….whom raped children and destroyed our souls?

          They should all be in prison, finding out how to protect themselves from predators and see how they like it.

          Donohue can insult priest rape victims but when he does…he freaking better expect to get insulted back by us. Yet when he did…he did the typical…diaper wearing, crap my panties punk assed move and sought to have me charged originally with Hate Crimes against him by N.Y., but when the detective came out to interview me? He saw the ONLY ONE perpetrating hate crimes against anyone was Donohue against priest rape victims.

          At no time did I ever threaten Donohue…well only with that he would be burning in hell for all eternity…suffering the nightmares that I suffer from…being gang raped in hell….but did I ever threaten him? Out of all the recorded phone calls I made to him….NOT ONCE DID I EVER THREATEN HIM NOR HIS DAUGHTERS…but when he went to court…he made it seem that I was Charlie Manson.

          Again, Donohue can threaten people, can insult and denigrate them, can say that priest rape victims were not victims because they did not punch their rapist in the face.

          Let me ask you Lynne….
          If heaven forbid you got raped….would you not be pissed off if the judge and everyone else said it was perfectly alright for your rapist to say…well you did not punch me in the face or kick me in the balls…that meant you wanted me to rape you and you enjoyed it….
          or is it only other rape victims whom should be disgusted when this is said about them and not us victims of priest rape and abuse?

          • Frank LaFerriere

            What I forgot to add is the following:

            Concerning the John Jay report he falsely bases his claims that it is not a pedophile problem but a homosexual problem, even the researchers called him on it…and said he was wrong….but he still says the same crap out of his lying mouth again and again:

            But in an interview with Media Matters, Margaret Smith — a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the 2004 study — said that while Donohue “quoted the study’s data correctly,” he “drew an unwarranted conclusion” in asserting that most of the abusers were gay.

            Explaining that it is an oversimplification to assume to that priests who abuse male victims are gay, Smith said: “The majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature. That participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.”

            As an example, Smith pointed to the case of Marcial Maciel Degollado, a prominent Mexican priest who allegedly abused male children and also allegedly carried on affairs with multiple women. Smith noted that while Maciel allegedly abused boys, most people would not think of him as a gay man.

            Now here is a link to that story:
            http://mediamatters.org/blog/2010/04/02/expert-donohues-claim-that-most-abusive-priests/162640

            Here is a link to a Catholics United page that will give you some of Donohue’s greatest insults against people:

            http://www.catholics-united.org/content/release-its-time-bill-donohue-hang-it

          • Lynne Newington

            Heaven for bid if…..no I haven’t and if any of my children had or one hair on their head hurt, I wouldn’t be writing comments here or anywhere for that matter, I’d be in jail….I don’t have the fear many Catholics have not being reared as one from the knee.
            The mentioning of Australia was to mean, many are stepping up in support of others such as yourself….Joanne McCarthy Newcastle Herald, Senior Det. Sergent Peter Fox are two who automatically come to mind. Look up Shine the LIght and read up on it, then you’ll get the connection.
            We all have to do, what we have to do and as a mother my heart earnestly goes out to her, absolutely, knowing her child is suffering so much.
            And remember, nothing goes unseen that won’t be reckoned with and I don’t mean only on the other side of heaven.
            Be well.

          • Frank LaFerriere

            Many are stepping up…but more have to. The RCC is a monstrous organization. Not only have there been tens of thousands of us raped by priests, you add in the nuns from the Magdalene/Good Shepherd Laundries and the victims from those, then how about all those mass graves found with babies in them..whom because they were born of unwed mothers, were dumped into unmarked graves by nuns? Or the drug experiments the church allowed on orphan children under it’s care?

            The Crimes of the Roman Catholic Church should put most of them into prison for life…but because they are the Roman Catholic Church, they feel they are above the law.

            While some parishioners seem to finally be waking up…more have to. A parishioner has to decide…do they support these Pedophile Pimp leaders, the Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom covered up these crimes of the rapes of their own children? Or do they finally say…Our children are not for sale?

            It is time all parishioners immediately cease all tithes and contributions to the Roman Catholic Church until the church truly does clean up it’s act.

            Let me make this clear too. We are NOT out to destroy the church. We are out to clean it up. It seems the leaders will not truly do it because they were a huge part of the problem…well then someone has to do it for them if they do not have the balls to do so themselves.

            I applaud those in Australia, along with all others throughout the world whom have taken a stand against this evil.

            If the Roman Catholic Church and it’s leaders, priests and nuns and parishioners want the bashing of them to stop…then they gotta clean up their acts and do so NOW. Or again…we will do it for them.

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