Conservative Catholic Bill Donohue Regarding Priest Child Rape: "They Weren't Children And They Weren't Raped"

by Justitia Themis 11 Replies latest jw friends

  • Justitia Themis
    Justitia Themis

    ...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

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  • flipper

    JUSTITIA- Incredible. And incredibly disgusting . It is similar to the WT society's views on child abuse and JW apologists. Thanks for posting

  • whereami

    This stuff makes my blood boil!!!!

  • No Apologies
    No Apologies

    I saw this in the news, this Donohue guy sounds despicable.

    Its infuriating to see how they can minimize and condone truly vile and abhorrent acts, and somehow paint the perpetrators as victims!

    No Apologies

  • yourmomma

    good, he just slit his throat for all to see. no one but a cult member or crazy fundy would view his writing as anything other than disgustingly evil. this is a great example of why there needs to be standards set by the government for all organized religions to follow because clearly they are not capable of self governing as they claim.

    only a very twisted sick and evil person would make an argument like "they werent raped, they were just touched"


  • TheClarinetist

    Thank you for grouping me in the "sick and twisted category"... Though you're probably right about both me and him. While his defense of the priests who sexually assaulted youths is despicable, he is technically accurate. In fact, he described the actions of the priests as "inexcusable"."Child rape" just sounds better than "sexual assault", and the news probably DID play it up just to make it worse... which only increases the damage that it does to the victims.

    I'd like to see what he ACTUALLY wrote. This news article seems incredibly biased and I have a feeling there was some quote mining going on. The only paragraph they actually quoted was not nearly as bad as the rest of the article makes him sound.

    tl;dr: I wouldn't judge the man based on this article. I want to see what he ACTUALLY wrote.

  • Terra Incognita
  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    His comments infuriate me. It reminds me of apologists for statutory rape. It was consensual. Duh, no, an underage person cannot consent is a societal rule. The are precluded from consenting because it is impossible to actually consent when you are so young. I say let the perps rot in hell.

    Some groups get extra drama and excitement from being persecuted. Frankly, I am a progressive New Yorker. I would love to visit this land where progressive and liberal values reign so freely. Lord knows I've been in NY and DC and neither is the Garden of Eden to me.

    Sometimes you have to admit guilt and move on. The statistics prove the Catholic scandal is unparalleled in any other religion. Unlike my father, I don't think Catholics are the farthest you can go from righteous Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't pop out venal. I attribute the problem to celibacy, somewhat, but mostly, the authoritarian nature of the church. It holds power to hold power and abuse occurs. I am certain the vast majority of Catholic priests are chaste. The problems the Catholics face have not so much to do with actual pedophilia but with church officials having complete knowledge of abuse and actively protecting the criminal. Until the church, admits and atones, it will be mired. Reality may not matter as much as this point as the perception of venal wrongdoing and arrogance of power.

    Whatever the Church has lost in successful lawsuits, the Church has lost far more from parishioners choosing charities outside of Catholicism and esp. the diocese. My sister and brother in law are not deep people. Yet they are moved by the circumstances to donate money to a charity rather than the diocese. These actions magnified by many others holds hope.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I had another thought that might be interesting in a thread. When I grew up in the late 50s and early 60s, there were vague rumors concerning particular priests. No one knew for certain, though. As I recall, the girls did not feel threatened but the boys always did. I don't think that pedophilia activity has only been going on recently. This must be as old as celibacy and the power invested in priests. What changed? Was it the struggles for self-determination? Was it class action law suits? Why now?

    Part of it can just be people's willingness to not bear shame but to blame the perps publicly rather than living as a victim forever. I wasn't surprised when the contours of an epidemic were revealed. I am astonished to hear the breadth and depth. My father spent his free time writing antiCatholic diatribes. He was almost fired for berating Catholic co-workers. Men's wives called my mother imploring her to make my father stop b/c they were literally sick from his aggression. As a result, I try to give Catholics a big boost. The evidence against high church officials knowing and actively helping these scum to go on to abuse even more innocent children shocks the conscience. The law would say it is unconsciable. Every group is going to have pedophiles. The cure rate is so low that it is nonexistent. The CAtholic problem is about authority. I visited my sister's parish one Christmas eve.

    It was very telling. The priest delivered a sermon that was so bad a Protestant storefront church would have fired him. A middle aged woman responded to him, full of sick, cloying love, Yes, Father. I may be wrong but it chilled me to the bones. The Witnesses could win awards for blind authority. In all my time around Witnesses, including Bethelites, I never encountered anyting similar. It grabbed be as very bad at an instinctual level. Perhaps these are the birth pangs of a new church with a more mature laity.

  • GLTirebiter
    I wouldn't judge the man based on this article. I want to see what he ACTUALLY wrote.

    Ask, and you shall receive. The linked article quotes the full text of the ad.

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