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.
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.