A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors


The solution to sexual abuse

As usual, Catholic League President Bill Donohue has it all figured out. In his press release on disgraced Republican Rep. Mark Foley, he has some "tough questions" for the congressman. Such as, why did he let himself be molested by a member of the clergy when he was between 13 and 15 years of age:

As for the alleged abuse, its time to ask some tough questions. First, there is a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr. Foley? Second, why didnt you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldnt allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?

Really looking forward to getting this by fax tomorrow morning. (HT: Daily Dish.)

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

Does Canon Law sanction physically attacking a cleric? Under what circumstances. How many teenage boys has Donohue interviewed who have told him that when Fr. X , tried to molest them, they belted him. Or how exactly did Donohue find out what he apparently knows for certain. I think there may be more to this than at first appears.

Mr. Donohue, in my younger days in n\New York, would probably been referred to as a BIC (Bronx Irish Catholic), a derogatory term used by Irish Catholics I knew for the narrow minded and often bigotted individuals of their community who had an overestimated view of their intelligence.Mr. Donohue's comments here demonstrates the last and how little he knowd of sexual abuse by those who have power in a situation. In fact, he hardly seems to "get" in his statements on the tiopic that sexual abuse is a power and control crime.A few words need to be said also on theFoley matter. Mr. Foley's attorney noted he had enterred alcohol treartment and other therapy. It should be noted that alchololism is not an excuse in a criminal activity - it is an aggravating circumstance.In this discussio nwe need to prioritize the needs of victims and potential victims, not those who perpetrate or are likely to.

Foley's trying to claim that his behavior has something to do with his homosexuality, his alcoholism, his molestation--anything to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.NPR had a commentary from Marc Acito, gay author, about this last night. just prior to Bill Moyers' documentary on PBS last night about Abramoff, Delay, Ralph Reed and others, people need to start remembering that Republicans, despite their claims to be the party of life, family values and Jesus Christ, are still just politicians.

I sometimes think that Donohue is actually a paid performance artist whose artistic mission is to parody actual Catholics. Put another way, a non-Catholic would probably be called bigoted if he accused Catholics of believing the kinds of things that Donohue actually says, as in "You probably think the kid was asking for it because he didn't punch the priest's lights out." See what I mean?

Fascinating -- that Foley did not have a violent reaction to his molestation invalidates the truth of the experience for Donahue. I am highly suspicious of someone who defends abuse by acting abusive in mocking a non-abusive reaction to an abusive experience. Makes me think he is building a straw-man argument.

Unfortunately, Donohue has enough media attention that unless some prominent American Catholics--especially cardinals, archbishops, etc.--come forward and counter Donohue's clueless statements, there will likely be a significant number of non-Catholics (and perhaps some Catholics) who will conclude that Donohue speaks in some official manner for the Church itself.

BIll knows how to get people riled up doesn't he? I have to say though...I do wonder how these situations arise and can't say that I haven't wondered the same thing myself.Now granted, there's a lot more that goes into this --trust, companionship, etc. And from the people I know who have been abused they often tell me that it was simply the ultimate betrayal from someone that they trusted.I would also say that I think Donohue's beef here stems from the fact that I don't think he believes Foley. Quite frankly, I don't think he's telling the truth either and he's using the church as a conveinent scapegoat. And when there's anti-Catholic bias'll find Big Bill screaming like a loon.If nothing else it makes for good entertainment.

I wonder if Donhue sees the obvious parallels here between abusers and their superiors. Foley, after all, resigned in disgrace as soon as the story came out; how many abusing priests and others acted as quickly?More to the point: if we believe that Dennis Hastert knew what was going on, and covered things up, we have ways of getting rid of him, either by voting him out of office, or bringing enough pressure to bear on him to resign, at least as House leader.Of how many bishops, who engaged in cover-ups, is this true?

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment