When the New York Times published a series of stories last year on child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, one of the Church's chief exorcists charged that the paper was possessed by the Devil himself, working diligently to smear the Vatican and tear the Church down. So perhaps it stands to reason that the Catholic League would choose to run a full-page ad in defense of its clergy in the paper's pages--a shot essentially fired from the belly of the beast, if the whole demonic possession thing is to be believed.Since the full page ad is called "Straight Talk..." I'm guessing Donohue is making a pun. He defends the indefensible by saying a number of things:
In a fiery letter titled "Straight Talk on the Catholic Church," Catholic League President Bill Donohue charges that the spread of homosexuality, not pedophilia, is the problem within the Church. He insists that the scores of victims to come forward in recent years were not children but young men when they were abused, nor were they always unwilling participants.
"The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let's get it straight—they weren't children and they weren't raped," Donahue writes. "The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that 'more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.' In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia."
- The allegations aren't new.
- The abuse wasn't rape.
- The abused weren't children.
- Everyone else does it.
Nice to know the Catholic League still understands the use of a straw man argument. Too bad they don't understand how useless it is.
As a rebuttal of sorts, I wanted to focus on one paragraphs of Bill's. The one the news article quoted:
The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight—they weren’t children and they weren’t raped. We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape). The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that “more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia.Oo, again with the pun ("let's get it straight - the problem's with teh gays") Looking at the numbers from the John Jay report one easily sees Donohue's strawman. In the executive summary we find:
The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7. Overall, 81% of victims were male and 19% female. Male victims tended to be older than female victims. Over 40% of all victims were males between the ages of 11 and 14.And:
Priests allegedly committed acts which were classified into more than 20 categories. The most frequent acts allegedly committed were: touching over the victim’s clothing (52.6%), touching under the victim's clothes (44.9%), cleric performing oral sex (26%), victim disrobed (25.7%), and penile penetration or attempted penile penetration (22.4%). Many of the abusers were alleged to have committed multiple types of abuse against individual victims, and relatively few priests committed only the most minor acts. Of the 90% of the reported incidents for which we had specific offense details, 141 incidents, or one and one half percent, were reported that included only verbal abuse and/or the use of pornography.See what Donohue did? 72% of the victims were 14 and under and yet because most adolescents the sexual abuse didn't involve children - to Donohue.
Then there's the abuse itself. Since most was "touching over the victim's clothing" the sexual abuse wasn't rape - to Donohue. He, of course, fails to mention the rate of the cleric performing oral sex (26%)or the rate of "penile penetration" - attempted or otherwise - (22.4%).
Of course it's not child rape. Of course it's not sexual abuse. The Catholic Church is a victim of teh gay!
To quote Christopher Hitchens, "I think it's a pity there isn't a hell for him to go to."