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« March 2010 »

Memo to Bill Donohue: SUCKS TO BE YOU.

I don't know if we all missed this a couple of years back, or only I did, but it turns out that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? In the Vatican? Turns out they're in charge of investigating sexual abuse by priests. I missed that completely. I'm pretty sure I missed it because I got caught up in the fact that it used to be the Inquisition, which is an excellent comedy touchstone.

So when the Vatican picked everyone's buddy Ratzinger, former head of the office formerly known as the Inquisition, as their new Pope, that was where my mind went. To Monty Python sketches and Mel Brooks songs and torturing confessions out of your political enemies to win the sweet love of Jesus.

If I'd realized, at the time, that the new Pope had also been in charge of investigating priestly kiddie-fiddling from 1981 to 2005, then I could have seemed, if I may quote Victoria Jackson, preeeeeescient, which means a prophet. Ratzinger was investigating abuse during the 80s? Please. Nobody in the Catholic Church was INVESTIGATING sexual abuse in the 80s. They were hiding it. Moving priests around like pedo-pawns on the cosmic chess-board of dioces...es? Dioci? Anyway, if I had my 20/40 hindsight back then, it would have been 20/40 foresight, and I could have predicted that Ratzinger would get busted for covering a bit of the old how's-your-Father-Superior.

And he has. The worst of the bunch, I figure, was in Wisconsin, where, in what has got to be bad press for the recently deceased Merlin Olsen, a completely different Father Murphy was beating off hundreds of deaf children entrusted to his care. How involved was Ratzinger? It's unclear whether they can connect the dots all the way to the top, but as a general common-sense rule of thumb, I think we can all make individual, non-legally-binding judgments based on the quality of his defense. The Church defense I will save for later, because it's more fun to mock Bill Donohue, self-appointed spokesman for conservative Catholicism in America. So, Bill, did the Pope in fact not cover up the abuse of deaf children? Hit me with your best shot. Fire away.

"While sexual molestation of any kind is always indefensible, the politics surrounding this story is also indefensible. Employers from every walk of life, in both the U.S. and Europe, have long handled cases of alleged sex abuse by employees as an internal matter. Rarely have employers called the cops, and none was required to do so. Though this is starting to change, any discussion of employee sexual abuse that took place 30 and 40 years ago must acknowledge this reality." - Donohue, in a column on CNN.com.

First of all, handling internal matter is what got these priests in trouble in the first place, so maybe you oughta rephrase that. In fact, maybe you should just retract it entirely and shut the fuck up, because if your best defense is that Merrill Lynch would have done the same thing if their CEO had somehow molested two hundred deaf teenagers who'd been kept from knowledge about sex by an international consortium of financiers? You don't have a robe-clad leg to stand on, motherfucker.

It's also worth noting that Donahue has no idea when it's a bad time to use a hypothetical. Here's how he closes, trying to take the moral high ground over those who would pick on Catholic sex abusers above all others:

"Quite frankly, if sexual abuse is wrong, it should not matter what the identity of the abuser is. Selective justice is the highest form of injustice."

Seriously, the only way he could have phrased that worse is if he'd said "In the unlikely event that sexual abuse is wrong." I'd love to try to figure out how absolving Benedict for his role in covering up the Father Murphy case doesn't qualify as "selective justice", but I'm afraid I need my skull intact for the foreseeable future.