Bill Donohue attacks Moi! (Applause!)

It is wrong to boast, but I can’t help myself. I am delighted to discover that I have been attacked by Bill Donohue at the Catholic League. I confess that I actually like Donohue sometimes, and I think there is a place for an organization that attends to the ways our culture is hostile to the faith. But, in the twinkling of an eye, he becomes so unreasonable and so obviously biased, I realize he probably does more harm than good.

Of course, Mr. Donohue now, as always, needs to calm down. In his rush to carry water for the Republican Party he inadvertently seconded one of the points I made in my piece. I argued that while the Church’s teachings are not to be changed simply because they are unpopular – which I accented with the words "of course" – the Church is called to engage the culture and, in the case of abortion, to change it. Mr. Donohue says the same thing but implies that I said the opposite. That is a lie. Donohue, along with so many conservatives these days seems not to have noticed that it is difficult to change a culture when you refuse to engage it, when you stay in an intellectual ghetto, refusing to permit those who do not agree with you on your campus.

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Donohue’s blast repeats many of the right wings’ talking points, such as the claim that Obama voted for infanticide in Illinois, but by all unbiased accounts, Obama did no such thing. He declined to vote for a bill that would not pass constitutional muster and sought to achieve something that was already guaranteed by Illinois statute. Donohue raises the horrific specter of Obama signing FOCA, neglecting to mention that the President can’t sign it because it has not even been introduced into either house of Congress. Most disturbingly, and unsurprisingly, he fails to admit the possibility that there is a difference between being pro-abortion and being pro-choice. He may think there is no difference, but then he owes us an argument not a rant. Sadly, ranting is Donohue’s forte.

If you doubt that Donohue’s interests are more Republican than Catholic, search their website for a denunciation of Boston College for inviting pro-choice - I mean pro-abortion - Condoleezza Rice to give the Commencement speech at Chestnut Hill in 2006. It is not there. Speaking of BC, I am waiting to hear some mea culpas from Fathers Himes and Hollenbach who did denounce Rice’s coming to BC. I was no fan of Condi but she had as much right to speak at BC as President Obama has to speak at Notre Dame and the failure to admit the similarity of the situations is shocking whether the shock comes from the Left or the Right.

I am always grateful I was a Catholic before I first encountered Mr. Donohue. If he had been my first introduction to Holy Mother Church, I might have stayed away.

 

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9 years 6 months ago
Whenever Bill Donohue is on TV, I cringe as the reputation of American Catholics takes another hit. His messages (many worthy, in the case of abortion; some not worth the time of day, in the case of ''anti-Catholic'' movies, etc.) cannot be heard or comprehended over the sound of his own yelling and explosions of his incendiary message points. If he's trying to convince or inform people of the Catholic position, he's failing. If he's merely trying to impress Catholic League donors by pushing their buttons (and no one else's), then I guess he's succeeded.
9 years 6 months ago
I have seen Bill Donohue many times on various television appearances. It always has been discouraging to listen to him. He always seems to be more interested in insulting than in engaging in any discussion. Yes, and I do think that your point about his silence about Conde Rice speaking at Boston College is an important point.
9 years 6 months ago
I find it interesting that those you disagree with become "right wing" and "Republican." Such a view becomes a set of blinders for an individual. All one needs to do is label a view, and they can attack it without thinking. I also find it interesting that you draw a distinction between pro-abortion and pro-choice. You insist that Obama is merely "pro-choice." The question becomes "The Choice to do what?" Moreover, I suggest you actually read the Illinois transcripts of Obama's opposition to the protections of the child aborted alive (the nice thing about the internet is that you can find these things online). One of his objections was indeed that he thought it would be viewed as unconstitutional, but it was by no means his only one, nor even his strongest point.
9 years 6 months ago
Anne, overturning Roe is not necessary for Congress to recognize the rights of the unborn at some stage in pregnancy. Also note that most of those who insist on overturning Roe have the mantra of letting the states decide, including Sarah Palin, John McCain ("I'm a Federalist") and my own Bishop Loverde. All are sadly misinformed at the chaos to civil rights law that judicially overturning Roe would cause (and shame on them if they are aware of it and favor overturning Roe anyway).
9 years 6 months ago
Bill Donohue rants and you don't? He is perhaps as Republican as you are Democratic. Complaining about Boston College is a waste of air. Have a nice day.
9 years 6 months ago
I agree with you, Sean, insofar as it's rich for a man like Mr. Donohue to decry what he sees as a compromise of principle to prestige on the part of Notre Dame, when he himself has steered the Catholic League into an alliance of convenience with the Republican Party, sacrificing no shortage of principles along the way. In addition to the Condi comparison, where was his outrage at pro-torture and pro-gay marriage Dick Cheney when he spoke at Catholic University of America in 200? That said, though, I think that the critics of Notre Dame's decision have a principled point. Call Obama whatever you want, but he certainly didn't repeal the Mexico City policy to decrease the number of abortions, nor is his embryonic stem cell policy motivated by a goal to prevent the unnecessary death of fertilized eggs. These ends go well beyond mere "disagreement" with the Church; they fly directly in the face of fundamental Church teaching. Now, I will grant you that the Church risks greater insularity by pressuring one of its top universities to deny a venue to our president. But insularity to me is not sufficient cause to subsume principle: the abolitionist movement ran this risk constantly, especially in England where its early leaders were Quakers. And while some have asked what good will come to the Church if it denies a podium to President Obama, I think the potential consequences of granting him that opportunity -- communicating moral flexibility and unseriousness -- are weighty enough that Notre Dame should have reflected on the invitation more than it appeared to.
9 years 6 months ago
Pro-choice and pro-abortion may not be the same to Mr. Winters or President Obama but to me they are equally evil just has being pro-slavery or pro-choice for slavery are equally evil. Anyone who defends the pro-choice mantra is defending evil!
9 years 6 months ago
Hey MSW, here’s a modest suggestion for you: Why don't you grow up? You have decided to post your opinions about Obama and Notre Dame on this blog ad naseum, presumably because you think that people are interested in what you have to say. Be man enough to accept responsibility for what you have written. Anyone who cares to follow the link can see for themselves that Bill Donahue ''attacked'' you by ACCURATELY QUOTING YOUR BLOG POST. If that is a problem, perhaps you should be more careful in what you choose to write. As to the claim that Mr Donahue lied because he supposedly ''implied'' that you meant something that you really didn't mean, it isn't his fault that you have confused the conferral of an honorary degree with a mythical opportunity to ''engage the culture'' on abortion. No one at Notre Dame is going to engage, debate, or otherwise draw attention to President Obama's anti-life agenda. Instead, they are going to say what a great man he is and give him a standing ovation. Symbolically, the most prominent Catholic educational institution in the world will be giving its informal but powerful imprimatur to an abortion rights extremist. As Hugh Hewitt has pointed out, President Obama will from now on preface his answer to any challenge to his stance on abortion or embryonic stem cells with the words “As I said in my speech at Notre Dame. . . “ Excuse me if I don't care that you are offended that a far more prominent Catholic pundit has used your own words to expose the moral bankruptcy of your (and Notre Dame's) position.
9 years 6 months ago
Mr. Winter, It is obvious that you are not worth the time to read. First you try to play nice and then you proceed to cut Mr. Donohue to ribbons in your piece with distortions and lies of your own. Mr. Donohue is aptly capable of defending his position but I must make note that what you said about him are fabrications and lies. He never said Mr. Obama voted for infanticide. Mr. Donohue has been above board in his examples of Mr. Obama and his public record. Bill Donohue has never carried the water for any political party that I have witnessed. Your pathetic example of no condemnation of Secretary Rice's speech to BC can hardly hold water to the acre feet of water Mr. Obama carries for the pro abortion side through his actions. It is not about party, it's about right and wrong. As it has been brought up many times, inviting Mr. Obama to Notre Dame to give a commencement speech and be presented with an honorarium from the university does not constitute an exchange of ideas. It sends a loud and clear message that Notre Dame does not represent the tenants of the Catholic Church. It's carelessly giving access to the Seal Of Christ by the abortion advocates for the future purpose of forgery of the Church's beliefs.
9 years 6 months ago
The lot of you miss the point of the entry. One is often known by the enemies one attracts. Being attacked by O'Donoghue is the equivalent of making the big time. The 1950s Catholicism O'Donoghue seems to pine for will never return. While he likes to think he represents the Church at large, in reality, he is representing a smaller and smaller portion of it. As for abortion - if Bill and the the pro-life movement wish to keep arguing over personalities it will make absolutely no progress in protecting the unborn. The fixation on Roe v. Wade prevents any further action - since the strategy cannot and should not win for reasons I have previously laid out. You can feel free to ignore that fact, however most Catholic voters do not and are voting accordingly - and the demographic trends are going against you in this regard. As for the difference between being pro-choice and pro-abortion: the first is a prudential decision which Catholics are free to make while the second is not. Most Catholic politicians have been too afraid of alienating Catholic voters to press the issue with the hierarchy, which is too bad for the rest of us.
9 years 6 months ago
Michael: the vitriol that has attached itself to this posting or yours proves that you MUST be doing something right! A badge of honor these days is to be attacked by the trogolodytes of the Catholic right. Watch it or you'll be denied communion by some backwater clericalist.
9 years 6 months ago
Michael, with all due Respect, you are mistaken regarding overturning Roe v. Wade. Once Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue regarding Personhood will not be left to the individual States to decide. Personhood does not depend on location. A Human Individual,(definition of Person) is a Human Individual, in EVERY location, including inside their Mother's Womb. Personhood is not a matter of opinion.
9 years 6 months ago
I'm sorry that I don't know who Bill Donahue is ... However I am greatly distressed at the Catholics who are upset about President Obama speaking at Notre Dame. President Obama, in his first 100 days in office, has ended American torture and is beginning the closing of Gitmo. Does that not count for anything? He is for improving conditions so that women do not feel trapped into having abortions. Doesn't that mean anything? George W. Bush presided over more executions in Texas than any other governor in recent history. Yet Catholics were thrilled when he agreed to speak at a commencement ceremony. We really are in a moment when the ''nuts'' are publicly taking on their real identity - and the opposition to them finally is becoming vocalized. I hope the President does not pull out, but if he does, it might make him choose to be at a secular institution to dramatize the fact that he won't be manipulated by religious, conservative fanatics - with $$$$$$$. The students want him there and I hope they're making demonstrative appeals to the university.

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