Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has sunk to an unprecedented low, even for a blowhard of his caliber. In an opinion piece for CNN, Donohue defends the Vatican’s cover-up of sexual abuse by priests by arguing (1) sex abuse happens in lots of places, so why is everyone picking on the church, and (2) corporations handle sexual harassment claims confidentially, so why is everyone picking on the church? In Donohue’s own words:
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.
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.
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Donohue is equating the rape and molestation of children by priests with the sexual harassment of one adult against another. And he’s arguing by implication that, because there isn’t a legal obligation for employers to report sexual harassment claims to the police, the Catholic Church should not be judged for failing to report the rape of children. That’s the moral yardstick he holds his church to.
Oh, but he’s not done:
Public school teachers accused of sex abuse are either transferred to another school district — it’s so common that it is called “passing the trash”– or they are assigned to what, in New York, they call a “rubber room” (these are places where teachers draw full salary and benefits doing makeshift administrative work). Both the teachers unions and state law allow this outrage to continue. Maybe if the media concentrated on this problem, solutions would follow. But the politics of the day being what they are, don’t bet on it. It’s a lot sexier to nail the Catholic Church.
If it’s true that school teachers accused of sex abuse are transferred to other districts (I’d like to see Donohue’s evidence on that), that’s deplorable. If anything, it just serves to confirm that what the Catholic Church did is horrendous. It means, contra Donohue, that there shouldn’t be less criticism of the church, but more of any other perpetrator. Add to that an institution that claims to speak on behalf of an omnipotent, omni-benevolent god, and the sleaziness of Donohue’s arguments galls all the more.
Mr. Donohue, have you no sense of decency, no concern for the children abused at the hands of your holy men? Is your devotion to the rot at the heart of the Catholic Church so absolute that you’ll defend it rather than the innocents sacrificed on its alters? How do you look at yourself in the mirror, you monster?