It would take the patience of Job and a lifetime as long as Noah’s to correct all the errors and calumnies perpetrated by William Donohue and his so-called Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Donohue claims to speak in defense of Catholicism, but he spends much of his time attacking and misrepresenting other Catholics. Most of this is done through brief press releases, not reasoned argument. For example, Donohue was a vocal proponent of the Republican Party’s effort to politicize the Terri Schiavo tragedy. In the course of this shameful campaign, he issued a March 23 press release calling Commonweal a “left-wing” publication that endorses a position on euthanasia “directly contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Donohue is wrong on both counts, but what can you say to someone who regards principled disagreement as subversion?

Responding to Donohue is like agreeing to participate in a mud-wrestling contest, but in this instance it is necessary to set the record straight. As readers know, Commonweal has long been an outspoken opponent of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Our 1992 special supplement opposing the effort in California to legalize euthanasia was widely distributed by that state’s bishops. Donohue does not know what the tradition has taught about useless and burdensome medical care. If he wants to learn more about Catholic moral teaching, he could begin by reading our editorial “Extraordinary Means” (April 8). He should also read Michael Place’s letter on page 2.

It is not surprising that Donohue doesn’t know the difference between a liberal magazine and a left-wing one. Making such distinctions might hamper the flow of vitriol.

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Published in the 2005-04-22 issue: View Contents
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