Friday, October 01, 2010

Donohue’s reprehensible response to clerical abuse claims

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Bill Donohue
Bill Donohue

If you’re a masochist like I am and you like to keep in touch with the happenings on the “other side” (of the spectrum/debate/sanity aisle/whatever you wish to call it), you may have subscribed to the Catholic League’s mailing list where, nearly every day (and sometimes more than once daily), you receive a whiny missive in which League president Bill Donohue gripes and snarls at whatever pet peeve happens to be bothering him and his precious (and oh-so-sensitive) religious sensibilities that day. The man is a walking, talking and incessantly complaining anti-Catholicism detector set to eleven, and while most of the time it’s merely boring or even inanely amusing, it sometimes gets a bit offensive in how mean-minded and -hearted his rants are. This is one of those times.

You may recall that Donohue is not exactly happy with the Catholic Church’s reigning clerical child sexual abuse scandal. And by “not exactly happy”, I mean how he prefers to defend the Church, attack the critics and actually try to trivialize the abuse suffered by the young victims. You can’t get a much clearer example of this than his response to the original blow-up of the scandal in Ireland where a decades-old pattern of systematic abuse from rapes to beatings were uncovered, and all that Donohue had to say was, “well, only some were raped and the rest probably deserved it!”. I think “despicable” would describe this sort of a reaction aptly.

These sorts of blithe defenses of widespread child abuse have been fairly consistent with Donohue, and I thought this would be a good time to examine his latest, which is fairly representative of the rest and tellingly titled “NOT ALL SEXUAL ABUSE IS EQUAL”:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on a news story about a former priest who molested a male listed as John Doe:

On September 28, the Chicago Tribune reported that "former Chicago priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormick sexually abused him [Doe] while he was a grammar school student." We then learn that the student was really a middle-school student, in the eighth grade, when the abuse began. The abuse reportedly continued for five years. According to the lawsuit, "McCormack inappropriately sexually touched, hugged, rubbed and/or abused Doe."

And so Donohue’s evasion begins. Notice how he makes it clear that “John Doe” was an eighth-grader – ie. that he was roughly 13 or 14 years old. You would think that all the difference this distinction made could be summarized by “jack shit”, but that’s not how Donohue thinks, now, is it? Here’s where the blabbering begins:

It's time to ask some tough questions. Why did this young man not object earlier? Why did he allow the "abuse" to continue until he was 18? The use of the quotes is deliberate: the charge against the former priest is not rape, but rubbing. While still objectionable, there is a glacial difference between being rubbed and raped.

Wow. Does Donohue really know nothing about psychology, especially how victims act and react when undergoing physical, psychological and emotional abuse? What is he saying – that if a victim of molestation doesn’t immediately run to the cops to report it (bearing in mind that these are children and young teens we’re talking about), therefore, the abuse must not have happened? Is he really incredibly foolish or demented enough to believe that?

Also note how he attempts to differentiate between “rape” and “rubbing”. Let’s get one thing straight, you sick man: Sexual abuse is sexual abuse. It doesn’t matter if the priest is touching, diddling, groping, rubbing, (inappropriately) kissing or outright buggering; it’s sexual abuse, period. These are not distinctions made by any rational or moral person when evaluating how to approach a case such as this. The amount of physical/psychological trauma inflicted may differ (if only very slightly), but the result is assuredly the same: a child who’s left hurt, terrified into submission and unable to reach out to anyone for help out of fear of repercussions and thus doomed to undergo the same horrors over and over again.

But if you thought that was egregious enough, Donohue actually manages to crank the offensiveness up even higher:

Here's what we know. We know that this case, like most of them, was the work of a homosexual, not a pedophile. And like most of the cases of priestly sexual misconduct, there was no rape involved. Inappropriate touching is morally wrong, and the offenders should be punished, but the time has come to object to all those pundits who like to say that the scandal is all about child rape. Most of the cases did not involve children—they were post-pubescent males—and most weren't raped.

You know, I don’t think there’s any additional way Donohue could have so blatantly misrepresented everything about this. Blaming the gheys, an irrelevant distinction, the victim was “older”, etc. – it’s all there. All that’s missing is him somehow lay this at the feet of the Church’s critics … wait for it …

[T]hose looking to sue the Catholic Church for being inappropriately rubbed decades ago are not exactly the poster boys for the victims of child rape.

… and there you go.

I’ll make it easy for you, Bill, and put it in simple terms even a flaming cad like you can understand. Child abuse is child abuse. Inappropriately touching a child, especially in a sexual manner, is child abuse. Those who commit child abuse do not do so due to homosexuality, as being attracted to people of the same sex does not translate into promiscuity. They are child molesters; that is the only title they need or merit. The age of the children is irrelevant. Whether they’re five or fifteen, they are underage, which makes sexual contact from an adult, especially unwanted and harmful contact, child abuse. And the reason that everyone labels priestly sexual misconduct towards children “child rape” is because it’s a handy label that accurately describes the nature of the acts – ie. sexual abuse, whether penetrative or not.

Any questions?

Whenever Defenders of the FaithTM start whining about how all those mean secularists are constantly attacking their beliefs and the actions of their governing bodies, one need only point them towards the actions of the Vatican and its hardlined protectors like Donohue to make it very, very clear why our mercy and leniency towards such institutions and the ass-kissing ghouls who support it are nonexistent.