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Two Catholic Posts on EWL

Facts are not "anti-Catholic"

William McMurry, an attorney from Louisville, Kentucky, wants to subpoena the Pope and other Vatican officials in order to determine what the Vatican knew about both his specific case (involving three Kentucky men who allege that they were sexually abused by priests) and about the many other institutionally-sanctioned coverups of clergy sexual abuse in the United States. The information obtained from these depositions would most likely reveal the extent of the Vatican’s culpability in these matters.

Bill Donohue has (of course) weighed in on this in a statement entitled “Vatican Lawsuit Driven By Hate”. I’m so accustomed to Donohue’s persecution complex and eager willingness to twist the facts to support his opinion on any given issue that it rarely shocks me anymore. This statement, though, is particularly and unabashedly dishonest on multiple accounts, three of which I’ll discuss in this post.

Donohue begins:

It is a staple of anti-Catholic thinking that every priest on the face of the globe takes his marching orders from the pope, and that every instance of priestly wrongdoing is known to the Holy Father and his inner circle.

Wrong. Firstly, “[e]very priest on the face of the globe” indeed does take “his marching orders from the pope.” A quick look at official Church doctrine makes this clear. The following information comes from the “Hierarchy” entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Because this was written in 1910, some of the language is arcane and can be a bit confusing, especially if you are not familiar with Church doctrine. As such, for the sake of clarity, I’ve “translated” parts of it (where the text is bolded and in parentheses) into more understandable language. In addition, I’ve also bolded two especially relevant passages:

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Indignation: you’re doing it wrong

As you’ve probably heard by now, Belgian police recently raided various offices, residences, and a cathedral crypt of the Belgian Catholic church, collecting evidence regarding alleged clergy sex abuse and subsequent coverups (sound familiar?). Police sealed and searched Church headquarters and confiscated computers and files, including those detailing the Church’s internal inquiry (read: “we’ll take care of this ourselves. No need to get the pesky police involved!”) into alleged sexual abuse of children.

The Vatican is positively indignant about this, expressing anger the likes of which they have never shown towards the priests involved in the sexual abuse of children or towards the Church officials who were complicit in the widespread and institutionally-sanctioned coverups of this abuse.

Today, Pope Benedict wrote this to the Belgian bishops’ conference:

I want to express, dear brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all the Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out.

(The letter itself is available in only French and Italian. Here’s a rough English translation, via Google Translate.)

Vatican officials also expressed “shock” and “indignation” about the manner in which the raids were conducted and insisted that, in addition to civil law, canon law must also be allowed a role in abuse investigations and inquiries. (Um, no. How hard is it to understand that canon law does not (and must never be allowed to) have any authority in the non-Catholic world?)

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