My Response to ‘Catholic America’

It is nothing short of amazing to read the piece by Anthony Stevens-Arroyo. He starts by saying, “The Catholic League … Continued

It is nothing short of amazing to read the piece by Anthony Stevens-Arroyo. He starts by saying, “The Catholic League is not the ‘All Catholic’ League. It is not official Catholicism: still less does it speak for each and every one of the nation’s 60 million Catholics.”

That’s right, the Vatican is the “All Catholic” League and we never claimed to represent “each and every one of the nation’s 60 million [we’re actually closer to 70 million, but never mind] Catholics.” But I hasten to add that the Catholic League is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and is not, therefore, some wayward organization that goes about willy nilly slapping the name Catholic on its masthead.

The next part is priceless. “As someone who once endeavored to work with the League, I was disappointed to learn that it is run out of a single office by a single ego. So while I find newsworthy the recent exchanges between the League’s president, Bill Donahue [sic] and Evangelical pastor, John Hagee, they don’t amount to dogma.”

I asked our staff if anyone had ever heard of this guy, and no one had. So I take it that when he says he “endeavored” to work here, what he really means is that he didn’t get an interview. Perhaps that’s because he can’t spell my name. In any event, it is true that we don’t have multiple offices, but it is not fair to say that our office has just one ego—there are ten others. All of whom can spell my name.

Stevens-Arroyo questions why the Catholic League “waited until February of 2008 to become angered by Hagee’s career of bigotry over two decades?” He says it is because February was when Hagee endorsed McCain.

Now if he had bothered to read our website, he would have learned that I first wrote to Hagee in 1997. Therefore, the answer he supplies to his own question implodes. But this is small potatoes compared to this gem: “The Catholic League demanded the dissolving of Obama’s Catholic support committee, accusing all of the members of disloyalty to the faith and labeling the actions of the Democratic Senator as ‘Hitlerian.’”

In actual fact, I never made such an accusation. What I did was to report on the NARAL voting record of those members of Obama’s advisory group who were, or currently are, public office holders (by the way, the overwhelming majority agree with NARAL 100 percent of the time and one advisor was told by her archbishop this week not to go to Communion). And I never labeled “the actions” of Obama “Hitlerian.” What I said is that Obama made a “Hitlerian decision” when he voted to allow a baby who survives an abortion to die without attending medicinal care. I stand by that accusation.

Stevens-Arroyo makes a desperate, and failed, attempt to equate abortion with “major Catholic teachings like forgiveness of Third World debt” and other such issues. Quite frankly, I never heard of a Catholic teaching on forgiving Third World debt. That’s because there isn’t one. There are bishops, and no doubt cardinals, who have pronounced on this subject, but unlike abortion there is no such listing in the Catholic Catechism.

Finally, he says that “ALL varieties of Catholic politics deserve tolerance.” Really? Does that mean that those who are pro and con on any given issue—genocide, slavery, infanticide, the intentional killing of innocents—deserves dialogue? He must be talking about some other religion. My religion holds to certain truths, moral absolutes that deserve more than tolerance—they demand acceptance.

Bill Donohue is president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

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  • Tom

    I find it very interesting that Mr. Donohue ignored the most damning of the assertions of Mr. Stenens-Arroyo — that Donohue is a “Cafeteria Catholic” who only seems to be interested in abortion, but does nothing to support the Church’s teachings and stands on social justice issues and the death penalty. If so, he would be cricizing all of teh McCain supporters who support the death penalty with the same vehemence as he criticizes NARAL. I guess Donohue had no response for the truth.

  • james

    Mr. Donohue, you spent a lot of time in your rebuttal of the Stevens-Arroyo article talking about him rather than addressing the main thrust of his article. It appeared to me that Mr. Stevens-Arroyo was questioning the position of or more accurately the lack of position taken by the Catholic League with respect to the comments made by John Hagee. Would you please be so kind as to address (more than one sentence as you did in the rebuttal) the issue of Hagee’s accusation against the Catholic Church.

  • JBE

    Since you’re suppoting NEO-CON republicans you are in total opposition to Catholic ethics and morals of honesty, compassion, love, truth, foregiveness, and grace.You are a hypocrite, and un-Catholic as a result.YOU should stay away from communion until you repent and ask forgiveness for lies, hypocrisy, and hate!Even a non-catholic like me can see the obvious difference between a hypocrite wrapping himself in religious claims and arguments like you, and a genuine loving and compassionate good Catholic like Mother Theresa.Yes, the bar IS that high.

  • John McPhail

    Bill Donohue sounds like a typical reactionary. He doesn’t like criticism of his church or his ideas. As a 76-year old graduate of a Catholic university I can tell you that the Bill Donohue’s of the world have little or no influence on the thinking of 21st century Catholics because Donohue is stuck in a 1955 time warp. He still believes it’s a sin to eat meat on Fridays. Or that only Catholics go to heaven. The guy is totally irrelevant.

  • Jack O’Rourke

    Who said, “Now is the time for new hope, which calls us to expel the paralyzing burden of cynicism from the future of politics and human life…We must learn not to be afraid, we must rediscover a spirit of hope and a spirit of trust. Hope is not empty optimism springing from a naive confidence that the future will necessarily be better than the past. Hope and trust are the premise of responsible activity.”Barack Obama? Wrong. It’s a quote from Pope John Paul II in his UN address in 1995.He went on to say, “there is a moral logic which is built into human life..which makes possible dialogue between individuals and peoples. It we want a century of violent coercion to be succeeded by a century of persuasion, we must find a way to discuss the human future intelligibly.”If JPII were alive today he would be a logical candidate to be Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.

  • Anonymous

    So Donohue wrote Hagee a letter in 1997? Boy, am I impressed! Glad to see that he is moving heaven and earth to protect the church from demagogues trying to destroy it.

  • Gasmonkey

    Donohue is a hypocrite, plain and simple. He accepted an “apology” that was no apology at all, in order to present a united front against Obama.Hagee – “I’m terribly sorry if my words made YOU feel bad.” Oh! That’s like Jesus saying I’d really like you to get salvation, instead of actually giving us salvation.If Donohue reads this, and takes offense, I’m really sorry YOU had the wrong reaction to my words.

  • Keith England

    Hey Bill… any idea how many pregnant Iraqi women were killed along with their fetuses or miscarried during “Shock and Awe” and the subsequent invasion/occupation of Iraq? I noticed you conveniently ignored the “unjust war” portion of Mr. Stevens-Arroyo’s piece…Presumably you considered the proper spelling of your name more important…

  • Richard P. Best

    Anthony Stevens-Arroyo is an idiot. My forefathers came to this beloved country for sep-aration of state and church, which is dear to my heart. For my pennies, no church of any denom-ination should be endorsing/mixing into the politics of local/state/or national elections.

  • Lu Franklin

    One prime example of dogmatic, unrealistic, ignorance of Life in this old world is the baseless notion by the Vatican that a single-cell fertilized homo sapiens egg is a “soul-bearing” human being. That is unbelievably stupid.

  • paul c

    I don’t know why Prof. Stevens- Arroyo felt it necessary to write an article condemning the Catholic league and Bill Donohue. What was the point? Was he really attacking the church position on abortion by attacking Bill Donohue? In the last two weeks, he has seen fit to attack the church positions on women in the priesthood, celibacy in the priesthood and finally, suggested part time priests. How DID he get the position of representing Catholic America anyway?

  • Neal:

    Maybe we ought to cut Mr. Donohue some slack. It can’t be easy defending one’s faith against a theological powerhouse like John Hagee. I mean, it’s not like Hagee’s a homosexual dressed up as a nun or anything.

  • Steve Lindsey


  • Anthony J. Lockwood

    It’s obvious from the personal attacks and your bullyboy blustering, you, Mr. Donohue, know nothing of being a Catholic. You would not know Jesus if He gave you his business card. I know your type Mr. Donohue. I grew up with guys like you. I was one.You are wrong, Mr. Donohue. The Catholic religion and its truths do not demand acceptance. That is dictatorship. The individual has the freedom of will to accept or reject the truths. Acceptance of its truths is required to be a Catholic. But it has to be your free choice.A big part of Catholic doctrine, Mr. Donohue, is humility. Bullies, like you, have none. If the Catholic League is wayward, it is your leadership, Mr. Donohue, that has led it astray. You are a poor shepherd.

  • Ash

    I have never agreed with Mr. Stevens-Arroyo on anything, but he sure nailed Donohue as a egomaniac. Only someone deeply self-involved would go on and on about the spelling of his precious name.

  • candide

    Donohue is an integrist Catholic. Catholic integrism was a step towards integral nationalism, which was the antechamber to European Fascism. These traditional Catholics love Franco and all the othe Catholic dictators. They hate Jews because Jews were the first to oppose the evil of Christian belief at the turn of the first century AD. Pat Buchanan is one of them, as is Mel Gibson. These Catholics hate Vatican II and love Pius XII, that fascist-minded pope who wanted Hitler to defeat the Soviets and save the goddam church from Bolshevism.

  • Satan

    Ah, Mr. Donohue, your years of enjoying the sexual assaults on children by the Priests and Bishops you love make my blackened heart throb with anticipation of your well-deserved place by my side. See you soon!

  • Anonymous

    “Only someone deeply self-involved would go on and on about the spelling of his precious name.”A man’s name should be respected- don’t you think, Ashole..

  • Anonymous

    This Stephens-Aroyyo guy misspelled my name! He disrespects the whole Catholic Church!

  • Anonymous

    This Stephens-Aroyyo guy must have a passive-aggressive dislike of the Irish. Or maybe he mistook Bill for Phil..

  • harry

    the whole rant on both sides is sad. my religion trancends all this petty crap served up by both sides. sometimes i read it, but rarely. nowhere in my catechism does it say i need to pay attention to politics. to both, go on a retreat and contemplate for awhile. you need it and will like it.harry

  • John Ripandelli

    “Hitlerian” Decision? About an abortion situation?

  • jaime

    Mr. Donahue, if Jesus chased the money changers out of his church with a whip on his hand, what do you think he would have done to a priest after finding him sodomizing an choir boy behind the altar ??

  • John

    Bill Donohue is a insult to the Catholic religion, and and Bush apologist. Obviously, this lowlife is more interested to provide cover for the low life John Hagee.

  • alex david

    Unfortunately for the Catholic church,

  • elsie miller

    How interesting that Mr. Donohue does not respond to two very important issues: 1) unjust wars and 2) the death penalty. Then again, I am agnostic, opposed Bush’s pre-emptive war, and defend persons (mostly black men abandoned by their fathers and raised in poverty) who have been charged with capital murder. Sister Helen, I love you. Then again, I love all my brothers and sisters even when they fall short.

  • Ash

    Anonymous said:”A man’s name should be respected- don’t you think, Ashole..”Truly hilarious comment coming from someone posting as “Anonymous”.

  • Dems in 2008

    Donnahue is nothing more than a GOP hack who uses religion to push his political agenda. It’s a shame, I thought only S. Baptists did that.Get a life Donnahue, you know very well Hagaee didn’t all of a sudden start respecting you yesterday. You are a pathetic little worm.

  • kb

    Hard to believe so many people could miss he point of this essay to focus only on irrelevant trivia. Stevens-Aroyo (sic) made specific, outrageous claims about the Catholic League and then associated these unsubstantiated claims with a Democratic Candidate. The writer, Mr. Donahue, refutes these claims and makes a case that Stevens-Ayoyo is, in fact, a blooming idiot and a Republican hack (please pardon the redundancy). Yet the ensuing comments take on a Cheney/Limbaugh style of avoidance and attack, a cheap trick meant to occupy small minds, albeit quite successfully, it seems. the sad sate of public discourse provides neither illumination nor remedy for the argument at hand…

  • candide

    Donahue is not an insult to the Catholic Church. Before Vatican II most Catholics were semi-Fascists when not fully Fascists. Donahue is a throw-back to those bad old days: Father Coughlin, Franco, Archbishop Stepinac, the Ustase leader of Croatia, Father Tiso of Slovakia, Pius X, Pius XII, Torquemada, etc. they still survive: Mel Gibson, Pat Buchanan, and Bill Donahue.

  • W. F. & M. D. Dunn

    Dear Mr. DONOHUE,God bless you for your diligent, exhaustingWe are faithful and devout practitioners ofWe pray for you every day. Bill is 78, I am 71.Thank you.

  • W. F. & M. D. Dunn

    Dear Mr. DONOHUE,God bless you for your diligent, exhaustingWe are faithful and devout practitioners ofWe pray for you every day. Bill is 78, I am 71.Thank you.

  • W. F. & M. D. Dunn

    Dear Mr. DONOHUE,God bless you for your diligent, exhaustingWe are faithful and devout practitioners ofWe pray for you every day. Bill is 78, I am 71.Thank you.

  • W. F. & M. D. Dunn

    Dear Mr. DONOHUE,God bless you for your diligent, exhaustingWe are faithful and devout practitioners ofWe pray for you every day. Bill is 78, I am 71.Thank you.

  • W. F. & M. D. Dunn

    Dear Mr. DONOHUE,God bless you for your diligent, exhaustingWe are faithful and devout practitioners ofWe pray for you every day. Bill is 78, I am 71.Thank you.

  • candide

    Mr. & Mrs. Dunn, products like Bill Donohue and Sean Hannity of Manhatten’s Hells Kitchen, these people seem to think they are the last word on everything religious and Catholic. Hells Kitchen is an Irish ghetto or was, what it is now I do not know. I wouldn’t look there for wisdom.

  • Soja John Thaikattil, Sydney, Australia

    Dear Dr DonohueAs a Catholic Indian-Australian woman I wish you and all Christians visiting this thread a Happy Holy Trinity Feast! May God our Father, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ working through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit continue to guide and strengthen and use you and all other Christians for the greater glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.Soja John Thaikattil

  • anonymous

    I love being Catholic — and I try very hard to be obedient to the Church and practice what our Lord teaches. I am grateful that on so many issues my Church, my specific pastor, and my fellow parishioners recognize and respect differences of opinion. Yes, there are some things that just are wrong — abortion being one of them Still, the reasons are not simple for why some find it an acceptable, but regrettable option. Denying them Communion also is wrong, at least until we also deny Communion to those who support this so clearly immoral war, the death penalty, or the neglect and abuse of children. Nor does it take away our responsibility to love those with whom we disagree. So every time I see or hear Mr. Donohue spewing his personal gospel of hatred and exclusion, I cringe — and want to take out a full page add explaining that he is a self appointed hate monger who does NOT speak FOR most Catholics. But I am called to forgive and love him, and I will. That doesn’t stop me from wanting him to just sit down and (sorry Lord) SHUT UP! He only gets air time because he is an extremist and a side show. As such, he poorly serves the Church and Jesus’s mission.

  • Kacoo

    You know the Crusaders were only doing what they thought was right at the time. It was a long, long time ago. While the people they killed might have been peacable folk, there has been plenty of blood shed since that certainly should balance what the Crusaders did.

  • Charles

    There is quite a misconception that the Catholic Church condones Fascism. Take a look at the Vatican and Pope Pius XII during World War II. The Vatican transported 800,000 Jewish refugees out of danger. In comparison, the US took in about 10,000. Other countries were just as reluctant to accept refugees.Pope Pius XII, then Cardinal Pacelli, helped write the papal encyclicals “Non Abbiamo Bisogno” and “Mit Brennender Sorge”, which condemned the rise of fascism.In 1939 Pope Pius XII’s first encyclical letter, Summi Pontificatus, also condemned fascism. The Nazis themselves banned its distribution. (Full texts of these letters can be found on the Vatican website.)In The New York Times in 1941 praised Pope Pius XII for being one of the only voices taking a stand against fascism.In November of 1943 Chief Rabbi Herzog wrote to Cardinal Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, expressing his gratitude that the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII gave to the Jewish people.In 1945, Rabbi Israel Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, was so moved by the Church that he converted to Catholicism and even took “Eugenio” as his baptismal name, which was Pope Pius XII’s given name.I could go on, but the point is if one honestly takes a look back at history, he or she could clearly see there was no grater friend to the Jewish people at that time than the Catholic Church. Yes, there are those in the Church that felt otherwise, but the Vatican and Pope Pius XII did what they could and then some to protect all in Europe, including the Jewish people, from the grasps of Fascism.

  • candide

    Charles, you’ve been taken in! It was the Vatican which used its diplomatic facilities to allow thousands of Nazis to escape from Europe and the allied forces in 1945-46. As Cardinal Tardini observed, Vatican diplomacy began with Simon Peter’s betrayal of Jesus.

  • Anonymous

    Candide is a Muslim who posts anti-Christian comments on the forum with untiring zeal. Unwittingly he/she is trying desperately to prove the claim made by some non-Muslims that the Quran teaches hatred for non-Muslims.