Thursday, June 28, 2012

More News Items: Bill Donohue's Anti-Semitism, Father Euteneuer and Human Life International

A few other news flashes that follow up on items about which I've posted here (or, in one case, about which Jerry Slevin has posted) recently:

In his outstanding piece on the abuse cover-up in the Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese earlier today, Jerry Slevin calls out the pointed, gratuitous, and irrelevant anti-Jewish rhetoric that often runs through the pronouncements of Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, rhetoric that has reared its ugly head with insinuations by Donohue that the former Philadelphia D.A. Lynne Abraham instigated legal action against the Philadelphia archdiocese because she's Jewish.  

And, as if he were writing in direct contrapuntal harmony with Jerry, late yesterday Bill Berkowitz published an essay at Talk to Action on precisely the same theme.  Berkowitz's piece is entitled "Catholic League's William Donohue's Rage against the Jews."  

As Jerry Slevin states, Dononue is the USCCB's "occasionally unofficial mouthpiece," and this is part of what makes the blatant, ugly anti-Semitism that runs through many of Donohue's "defending-the-church" screeds so distasteful to many Catholics.  His is permitted with seeming impunity to mouth on our behalf, as Catholics, views we decidedly do not hold or want our faith community to hold.  

Read Berkowitz's piece--I strongly recommend that you do so--and you'll see precisely what I mean.  It's long since time for the bigoted loudmouth, Donohue, to be resoundingly repudiated by the bishops on whose behalf he claims to speak.

Unless, of course, he's braying with their explicit encouragement and blessing.

And, on another topic: yesterday, Annie Gowen published an article in the Washington Post that reports about the lawsuit being brought by Father Thomas Euteneuer's Jane Doe victim against the Catholic diocese of Arlington, Virginia, its bishop Paul Loverde, and Human Life International, about which I posted a few days ago.  Sarah Morice-Brubaker has also written about the story today at Religion Dispatches.

As Morice-Brubaker notes, one of the questions the Euteneuer story raises is about the "tie-in" of Human Life International, which Euteneuer formerly headed, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with the USCCB's "Fortnight for Freedom."  HLI is promoting a "One Million Rosary Challenge" in support of the "Fortnight for Freedom," Morice-Brubaker reminds us.

And here's part of the problem with that "tie-in"--one that goes beyond what Euteneuer has done (and has admitted), to the very foundations of the HLI group he formerly headed.  As she notes, 

Catholics For Choice produced a white paper on HLI last year which claims, among other things, that HLI’s founder, Rev. Paul Marx, engaged in tactics such as showing school children a fetus in a jar; was prone to conspiracy theories; made anti-Semitic, homophobic, and islamophobic comments that earned him the ire of some Catholic clergy and bishops; and regularly infiltrated meetings and conferences under false pretenses, secretly recording the proceedings. The CFC document also reports—as does Michelle Goldberg in The Means of Reproduction—that in the 1990s pro-life activist Don Treshman deemed a “superb tactic” the 1994 sniper attack on abortion provider Dr. Garson Romalis; and, shortly thereafter, was given a role as HLI spokesperson.

As Morice-Brubaker notes, what makes all of this history particularly troubling is that it's ostensibly being carried out by moral agents on behalf of moral causes.  The bishops certainly want to claim the moral high road with their "religious freedom" war, and they imagine themselves regaining moral credibility through this war, with its shock-and-awe tactics.

But the question that remains for Morice-Brubaker: "When is an ethical position undermined by abominable behavior of those who espouse it?"

And I think she's very right to pose that question.

The graphic is a farmer in Coryell Co., Texas, reading the newspaper in 1931, from the Museum Syndicate website.

No comments: