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.