...they were adolescents and they were just touched. :)
His writing is eerily reminiscent of JW apologists.
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, wrote a remarkable document that appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times on Monday. It's very long and printed in very small type, presumably so all of Donohue's somewhat repetitious views could be shared with the reading public. The Catholic League is an influential conservative group, not funded by the Catholic Church but supported by conservative commentators and Catholic clergy.
His point, basically, is that the Roman Catholic priest pedophilia scandal is way overblown, and it's all the fault of the church's enemies, including those who are "pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-women clergy." He does not describe the mechanism by which these enemies mounted their attack on the church, but he does allege that if the church held other, more liberal views, the whole pedophilia thing would have been played down.
"Played down" is exactly what Donohue thinks should have happened. It's not that big a deal, particularly since it all happened a long time ago, and besides, it's been fixed now. I am paraphrasing.
Then there's this charming paragraph: "The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let's get it straight. They weren't children and they weren't raped. We know from the John Jay study [conducted in 2004 by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice] that most of the victims have been adolescents and the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape). The Boston Globe said of the John Jay report that 'more than three quarters of the victims were post-pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.' In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia."
Note here that it is aberrant desires of the homosexual that are blamed for this problem. What does Donohue think about the 30 percent (Donohue's figure) of abuse cases that involved girls? Are gays to blame for them too? I suppose we should be grateful that the homophobia that has sometimes bolstered the Church's LBGT policies has been displayed in a public forum.
"The gays made us do it" is just not going to work as a viable defense.
There's more: Unfortunately for Donohue, the clinical definition of pedophilia is not at issue here; what's at issue is the legal definition of child abuse. "Adolescence" is not a legal term; indeed, it's not even a medical term, because the criteria by which adolescence may be gauged are vague. There are kids who are physically mature and emotionally very much children; the reverse is also true.
More important, adolescents or not, children put their faith, literally and metaphorically, in priests. They trust them, and when that faith is shattered by the ever-so-inconsequential inappropriate touching, a young human life is damaged. The amount of concern Donohue shows for the victims is tiny. In his view, the priests are the real victims.
Why? Because they can't ride in airplanes in priestly attire lest people say rude things to them. Really - that's in the letter. Got your abused kids on this hand; got your priests in mufti on the other. See how hard that is to balance?
Donohue does not deny that sexual abuse by priests occurred. How could he? But he does have an unlikely villain to bring forth: psychiatrists. In the '60s, '70s and '80s, he says, psychiatrists were recommending that pedophiles and child abusers be rehabilitated and eventually reassigned. The church followed their advice.
"Quite frankly," says Donohue, "it is more acceptable in our society to defend the rights of Gitmo detainees than the rights of priests." Cute one-liner; not remotely true. Only a very small group of people care about the civil liberties of Guantanamo detainees. Priests, on the other hand, are backed by a worldwide organization of great power and wealth. This organization is politically strong and entrenched; the group defending Gitmo detainees is not.
Most tellingly, none of the Gitmo detainees or their advocates seem to be able to scrape together enough money to publish a full-page jeremiad in the New York Times. It's yet another manifestation of the paranoid conservative fringe's "oh poor me; everybody hates me" whines that periodically crop up in speeches and magazine articles.
So thanks to Bill Donohue for showing us the resentment that lurks behind the talk of penance and forgiveness in some parts of the Catholic Church.
A message from a darker side of the Catholic Church, right out there in print and everything.
Oh, sir, to wilful men, the injuries that they themselves procure must be their schoolmasters. Shut up your doors; he is attended with [email protected].
This article appeared on page E - 10 of the San Francisco Chronicle