Bill Donohue

Blowhard Bill Donohue is delighted that Bill Maher went after him in an HBO stand-up comedy special on Saturday. Maher has a considerably larger and broader audience than Donohue. Maher gave Donohue an opportunity to launch into one of he favorite themes:

More important, Maher errs when he says the Catholic Church has a record of tolerating pedophile priests who sexually molest children. The problem has always been about homosexual priests abusing postpubescent males.

Maher knows the problem is homosexuality but does not want to appear to be anti-gay. Here’s the proof. On November 20, 2010, in a discussion with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, Maher brought the subject up again. Speaking sarcastically, Maher explained how the Church addresses this issue. “You know, ‘our priests are not sinning, they’re just giving into temptation when they’re molesting children and going gay and stuff like that.’” Going gay? That’s quite an admission.

Even if Donohue were correct (he is not) then the Church has a record of tolerating “homosexual priests abusing prepubescent males.” The Church moved these priests around to new parishes where they could abuse children anew. The Church did much more to protect pedophile priests than to protect children from victimization. Maher is correct when he states:

Bill, I’m no anti-Catholic. I’m anti-child fucking. Your organization has been caught doing that, so that doesn’t make me the bad guy.

Bill Donohue is wrong. First of all about 20% of the victims of Catholic priests are little girls. An article in Psychology Today hypothesizes:

The disproportionate number of male compared to female victims is seen as a reflection of the role that priests traditionally were expected to play as role models to young males. Keep in mind the fact that until fairly recently, only boys could be altar boys (servers) who got to work alongside the priests.

Additionally I think that it is reasonable to suggest that in Catholic orphanages girls are not exposed to priests in a way that would foster grooming and then molestation. They are largely supervised by women. Ultimately, priests have far more opportunity to molest boys. Outside of the Catholic Church, about 60% of the victims of pedophiles are girls.

Linda Lowen at ThoughtCo writes:

Many pedophiles follow career paths that provide steady contact with children and earn them the trust of other adults. Priests, coaches and those who work with troubled youth are among the professions that child molesters have gravitated toward.

In other words there are people who are pedophiles who intentionally choose the priesthood for opportunities to molest children. Pedophiles usually have no sexual orientation. They are attracted to children. That correlates to some peer reviewed research which concludes that “…in fact, the guilty priests are child predators who differ little from other child predators.”

An enormous amount of peer-reviewed research exists regarding child molestation in general and child molestation by Catholic clergy specifically. Blowhard Bill cites none of it. Bill Donohue’s point of view is that of the Vatican.

Furthermore, numerous prelates and Donohue have blamed those sexy alter boys including the bishop of Syracuse:

The victims of child-molesting priests are partly to blame for their own abuse, the bishop of Syracuse said in a sworn deposition that revealed his views on the church’s sex abuse scandal.

Bishop Robert Cunningham testified in a 2011 deposition in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a man who said a priest in the Syracuse diocese sexually abused him as a child.

The man’s lawyer asked Cunningham whether, in the eyes of the church, a child molested by a priest has committed a sin.

“The boy is culpable,” Cunningham said Oct. 14, 2011, according to a transcript of the deposition.

That is simply disgusting. For his part, Bill Donohue has a trail of dishonesty. He would make this criticism go away if he would simply acknowledge the fact that the Church made many mistakes including an official policy of covering up child abuse. Donohue is too must demonizing gay people men is one of his favorite hobbies. After all, we are “objectively disordered.”

Various studies have suggested that 20% to 40% of Catholic clergy are gay. According to Psychology Today:

4 percent of Catholic priests in the U.S. sexually victimized minors during the past half century. No evidence has been published at this time which states this number is higher than clergy from other religious traditions.

That statement is carefully hedged but if the author is correct and if so many priests are gay then gay men are less likely to be child molesters. Meanwhile the Vatican is attempting to eliminate this problem with background checks to eliminate gay priests. The Church is content to blame gay men for pedophilia just as it blames gay people for supposedly ruining marriage. It is shameless sophistry from people in the shaming business.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.