Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists.Adding disgusting to the creepiness, Bill Donohue has sidled up to the bishops and adds his two-cents to the mix.
William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”That last line is particularly gruesome in light of a decade of revelations from around the world that Roman prelates considered altar boys little more than a buffet line for their predatory habits (I know, nuns wear habits). One would think that (a) hundreds of priests in countries all over the world being serial rapists was a menace to the Catholic Church; (b) the hierarchy, up to and including the current occupant of the throne of St. Peter, covering up the abuse, shuffling the pedophilic predators from parish to parish like deck chairs on the Titanic is a menace to the Catholic Church; (c) having a public advocate who says things like this were a menace to the Roman Catholic Church:
Mr. Donohue said leading bishops he knew had resolved to fight back more aggressively against the group: “The bishops have come together collectively. I can’t give you the names, but there’s a growing consensus on the part of the bishops that they had better toughen up and go out and buy some good lawyers to get tough. We don’t need altar boys.”
The overwhelming majority of those abused are postpubescent males—they are not children. Breaking the seal of the confessional could not have saved any of them; nor will it protect anyone in the future.As we move through this next phase of the Holy Mother Church's public defenestration, let us remember that, while it is true enough both those accused of abuse and the Church as an institution have every legal right to defend themselves against the accusations made against them.
When it became clear, a decade or so ago, that the various cases of clerical abuse were revealing both a network of priests in contact with one another, as well as an effort by the hierarchy to hide evidence of the abuse, the Bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church released a statement that I recall in detail. Bishop Joe Sprauge said that the on-going cases in the Roman Catholic Church effected all clergy, all denominations, all persons involved in the work of the Christian Church. He called upon all United Methodists in northern Illinois to pray for forgiveness, to reach out and advocate for victims of abuse by clergy. Instead of whining about how horrible it is that everyone is saying mean things about the Christian Church because its clergy were revealed around the world as predatory pedophiles, he came out squarely on the side of the victims.
Would that we all took a lesson from that. Especially Bill Donohue.