January 25, 2004
January 4, 2004
Statement by William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
“Most Catholics are greeting the resignation of Cardinal Law with a sigh of relief and sadness. While no one blames Cardinal Law for the entire scandal in the Church, his departure nonetheless represents an important step towards recapturing the trust of the laity. Now the mending process can proceed with alacrity.
“There is a small, but vocal, minority for whom nothing will ever satisfy. SNAP president Barbara Blaine, ex-priest and psychotherapist Richard Sipe and victims’ attorney Mitchell Garabedian are already whining and making new demands. Worse, some are given to reckless charges against the Church. Take, for example, the recent remarks of a radical group called the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors. They have accused the pope of ordering a coverup of the sex-abuse allegations.
“Their so-called smoking gun theory boils down to this: the pope in 1999 recommended that a defrocked priest ought not return to the area where he committed his offenses. They take this eminently sensible advice and use it as a hammer to bludgeon the pope. Just so everyone understands what’s going on here, what the pope did was to say that a former priest—someone who had been returned to the status of a layman—ought to start a new life in a new location. Isn’t this what parole boards recommend to released inmates—that they not return to the neighborhood that nurtured their maladies? Shame on Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly and others for disseminating this mindless charge.
“Finally, some are already beating the war drums going after bishops of other dioceses. This is absurd: everyone knows that no other diocese in the nation was qualitatively or quantitatively comparable to Boston. To suggest otherwise is to play into the hands of Fifth-Column Catholics.”