‘I Can’t Believe Bill Donohue Said Something So Awful!’ Said No One Ever

Over the last couple of weeks, we have found The Line that even conservative conservatives won’t cross.

When Todd Akin tried to explain Female Anatomy for Psychopaths, a fair chunk of his own party was all “Dude… cool it!”  There are some things that you really just shouldn’t try to defend or justify.

Another one of those Lines that you shouldn’t cross?  Raping kids.  You really shouldn’t try to spin that.

Apparently Bill Donohue (head of the Catholic League) did not get that particular memo.

You may have heard that Friar Benedict Groeschel said some stupid things about priests who rape kids.  You may have heard that he defended the rapists by saying that “it’s the 14 year-olds who are seducing the crap out of  the priests!  Totally not the priests’ fault that they are having sex with kids!”  And you may have felt a certain element of disgust creep through your body.

Raise your hand if I am describing you right now!

Congratulations!  You are a reasonable person with a conscience!  Hooray for you!

Now, let’s look at an example of someone who does not share those characteristics.

“You rang?”

A quarter century ago, Father Groeschel and seven other priests broke away from a religious community to found the Franciscan Friars of Renewal. His service to the Church over the past half-century has been nothing less than heroic. His ministry to the least among us is especially noteworthy.

Father Groeschel holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University, and has put his training to work by counseling some of the most mentally and socially challenged people in our society. In addition, for the past four decades he has been screening men for the priesthood, weeding out those who should not be ordained. His record is impressive.

In a recent interview, he hypothesized how a young person (14, 16 or 18, as he put it) could conceivably take advantage of a priest who was having a nervous breakdown. He also referred to Jerry Sandusky, the disgraced Penn State football coach, as “this poor guy.” For these remarks, and related comments, he is now being labeled as a defender of child abuse.

The accusation is scurrilous.In the same interview, Groeschel emphatically said that priests who are sexual abusers “have to leave.” His reference to Sandusky was exactly the way a priest-psychologist might be expected to speak: “poor guy” conveys sympathy for his maladies—it is not a defense of his behavior! Indeed, Groeschel asked, “Why didn’t anyone say anything?”

Groeschel is nearly 80 years old. A few years back, he was almost killed in an auto accident that left him disabled; it has definitely taken a toll on him. I have known him for two decades, and recently spent an afternoon with him. I’ve read his books, listened to his tapes—on sexual abuse—and have come to know a great priest. To condemn him for one part of one interview is wholly unjust.

I am completely out of words that I can use to express the utter disgust I have for these idiots.

Stop defending rapists.  Stop defending people who are defending rapists.  I don’t doubt that adult men who rape small children have a host of psychological issues. That doesn’t make it okay.

And even if Groeschel said that they “have to leave,” he still said specifically that they shouldn’t go to jail on a first offense.

Stop treating this man as some sort of victim, Donohue.  The victims of this whole thing are the children who were molested by men to whom they were entrusted, the men who the Catholic Church are fighting tooth and nail to protect, while the children are ignored or — we now find out — blamed. There are no two sides to this story, so stop acting like there are.

(Thanks to TheGoodAtheist.net for the link)

About Jessica Bluemke

Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.

  • Christoph Donges
  • Troels Jakobsen

    It’s a common (and dishonest) argument amongst pedophiles that the children want to have sex. Apparently it’s becoming a common excuse amongst defenders of pedophiles as well.

    And even if it were true - WTF? Is a priest not expected to be able to, I don’t know, not agree to having sex with a child? Is it too much to ask?

    Simply disgusting to hear such excuses. But thoroughly unsurprising.

  • Michael

    As I said in the previous post, if a 14 year old can seduce you you’ve got problems.

    Sometimes, yes, they try. You tell them to shut up because they’re being pathetic. They usually do. Sometimes they whine and huff and you have to repeat yourself, but you don’t have to fuck them to get the message across.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    Exactly. “No.” is a magic word. One syllable, easy to spell, what more do these creeps want?

  • MegaZeusThor

    Catchy tune, as all ways.

    (I also still like the animation and design.)

  • Michael

    Spelling lessons I’d say.

  • Christoph Donges

    Little bit of bad language though :)

  • CelticWhisper

     But would even that do them any good?  Sources say…”on.”

  • Bo Tait

    You know, we’re not far from hearing a response from that side saying we’re a bunch of victim-blamers for not being sympathetic to the poor, powerless priests. Its the goddamm 14-year-old, possessed-by-Satan seductresses that are to blame!

  • Michael

    Maybe we need a campaign within the church.

    Children trying to seduce you? Just Say No.

  • JohnnyYouth

    “Saying important First Amendment issues are at stake, the American Civil Liberties Union is stepping in to defend (NAMBLA), a group that advocates sex between men and boys…” 

  • The Captain

    Actually he’s said a lot of worse things than this.

  • Glasofruix

    for the past four decades he has been screening men for the priesthood, weeding out those who should not be ordained.

    He did a crap of a job then.

  • CelticWhisper

     Wow.  Think of the opportunities for satirical cold-war-style propaganda posters.

  • Edmond

    Why are they blaming this on “nervous breakdowns”?

    A Wikipedia article on the Catholic sex scandal says that more than 4 THOUSAND priests in the U.S. ALONE have been accused, and lists 25 MORE countries with similar problems.

    Are there THAT  MANY priests having nervous breakdowns?  Is the preisthood THAT stressful and destabilizing?  Does this excuse hold ANY water?

  • nakedanthropologist

    Dear Bill Donohue & Child-Rapist-Defending Friar:

    You are both so incredibly vile that words cannot truly express the depth of your repulsive putrescence.  I abhor you both.  If there was a hell, then you two sorry sacks of shit would surely roast for all eternity.  As it is, children and decent non-raping adults are happy to be rid of you.  It can’t be too soon.

    The World

  • Bo Tait

    Hehe, reminiscent of “Uncle Fucker”

  • Bo Tait

    And apology has been issued:

    “I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone”

    Its a decent apology but amounts to “I accidentally said the exact opposite of what I meant.”

  • Michael

    Absolutely. Children want to do all sorts of things they shouldn’t. Some want to drive, other to drink, to do drugs, to have sex, to steal, to cheat. Adults are expected to stop them, not to help and then blame them for our own moral patheticness.

  • Antinomian

    “Could you use ‘no’ in a sentence please.”

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    I wanted to have sex with a 14-year old once. But at the time I was 14 too, and NOT SOMEONE IN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY.

    Jesus fuck, how hard can it be for them to understand this?!

  • LesterBallard

    I wish Donohue had been in the car with the priest.

  • Michael


  • Octoberfurst

     I despise Donohue. He defends the Catholic Church with every fiber of his being even when it does horrible, atrocious things.  I have read articles by him where he DEFENDS rapist priests and accuses the victims of lying just to get money or that they “seduced” the helpless priests.  He is a poor excuse for a human being.
       FYI–I worked as a counselor in a State prison for 25 yrs and I worked with a lot of pedophiles. Almost all of them said that the victims seduced them! I had one whose victim was SIX YRS OLD and he gave me that same BS excuse. “Seduced”—by a 6 yr old!
      (I’ll spare you the details.)  Such people are sick and demented and for the Catholic church to try to excuse such behavior from their priest is inexcusable.

  • viaten

     Not to defend what he said, but we don’t know if he let any of the problems priests slip through though his methods might have done so.  But I would love to know how the Church screens candidate priests and what ended up happening to those rejected.  How many were rejected because the Church thought they might turn out to be “one of those priests” they should have been well aware existed and how many of those turned out to be such in some other profession.  I doubt the Church has any such statistics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.gwinn Don Gwinn

    Yeah, defending their SPEECH.  Not defending the abuse of children, but the right to engage in unpopular speech.

    The ACLU would defend Groeschel or Donohue, too, if either of them were actually being censored.  The fact that their speech is foul doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to say it or write it.  However, nothing entitles them to be free of criticism for what they say. 

  • Adviser_Moppet_23

    “No Splenda in my coffee sir.”

  • westley

    And to bring this full circle, ol’ Bill Donohue complained about this very song sung by Tim Minchin at the Reason Rally in March:


    I guess bad language is “bad” but defending child rape is ok.

  • ruth

    Is this the Friar’s apology or Donohue’s?

  • Alex

    This sounds so much like South Park.

    – We gotta find a way to stop kids from reporting us!
    – Wait, what? Maybe we should just stop molesting kids!
    – Rabble rabble rabble rabble!!!

    Great job, Donohue.

  • Alex

    Being a Catholic priest is an immensely stressful job. It’s all about stress: that’s why we see thousands of ATCs, airline pilots, race car drivers, firefighters, police officers and EMTs raping kids left and right… oh, wait, we don’t. Hm.

  • Alex

    Sounds like Groeschel.

  • Alex

    So, what’s the opposite of “a 14, 16, 18-year old can seduce you, and you can’t help it” that can be so easily misstated?

  • CultOfReason

    For what it’s worth, I think Donahue actually helps the atheist cause whenever he opens his mouth.

  • CultOfReason

    For what it’s worth, I think Donahue actually helps the atheist cause whenever he opens his mouth.

  • http://spacegod.tumblr.com/ spacegod

    He slipped and fell onto my penis, I swear!

  • http://spacegod.tumblr.com/ spacegod

    Just look at Donohue’s dead eyes and sour sanctimonious smirk.
    He gives humans a bad name.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    I get the sense that since they view all sex as bad, they don’t really distinguish between different categories of sex.
    It reminds me of this post by Libby Anne:
    Rape is considered bad by conservatives, but only because it’s more sex outside of marriage. So a priest who’s morals are slipping a bit might know that he’s about to do something bad, but raping a kid and having consensual sex with an adult are equally bad in his eyes. I’m sure there’s a bit more psychological issues that go into this as well because most people aren’t attracted to children. It’s just that rape isn’t something that’s condemned very strongly. Growing up, I remembered hearing tons about how wrong unmarried sex and gay sex was. Rape was pretty much never talked about unless it was on the news, and the only advice was “Be careful,” not “It’s a horrible thing to rape another person.”

  • OregoniAn

     He actually looks quite a bit like Cartman – aged fifty years.  Hmmm..

  • Michael

    I no what you mean.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Got a problem with people saying things you dislike? Sounds about typical for a Christian. 

    There’s a huge difference between *saying* something and *doing* it. And until they cross that line, they’re just as deserving of defense as you are. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    We live in a society where we teach women “Don’t get raped” and defend rapists as “Boys will be boys.” 

    But, hey. Good old ‘Murka is the best country in the world! /snark

  • Kmk

    i find it even more disgusting as i believe there were stats that said once a pedophile is caught they have appox. 60 previous victims that they got away with harming. these people should recieve the death penalty 

  • Xxtian

    Jessica Bluemke, your reasoning is sound, your outrage justified, your motives right but no one in the RC church will listen or care because you are a persona non grata in their world. A woman AND an atheist.

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    There is a point at which I think it is fair to describe some of these guys as accomplices. Donohue has been there for some time now.

  • JohnnyYouth

    That’s funny- it sounds like you have a problem because I’m saying something you dislike!

    No matter what you say, anyone who defends people who even SAY they want to have sex with children is a scumbag, end of story. Must you be so politically correct?

  • Sharon Hypatia

    Anyone’s speech can be criticized. That’s not censorship. Censorship is when the government bans, bars or prohibits the expression of opinions.
    The ACLU  only defends infringements of  Constitutional rights, such as Freedom of Speech. They don’t handle cases of criminal acts like rape, murder or pedophilia.
    Everyone deserves a defense when they are accused of a crime – people who talk about having sex with children and, yes, even people who are accused of actually having sex with children. 
    If someone made that accusation against you, would you not expect that you would have a right to have a fair trial and be defended against the accusation?
    Or can I decide you don’t deserve a trial, the government doesn’t have to prove the accusation against you and and you should be locked up for life (or worse) without evidence being presented because “anyone who defends people who ………….have sex with children is a scumbag’?

  • TychaBrahe

    What do you expect? This is the church which leader, John Paul II, soon to be the patron saint of child molestors, was very upset by the growing scandal of child sexual abuse when the news began to break. Why, he wondered, couldn’t American prists BETTER CONTROL THEIR MEDIA?!!!!!

  • TomR

    God sure fucked up when he made Donohue, he could have made a couple of chickens, a cat, and maybe a dog instead. He made a mindless, scurrying, whiny, pathetic little rat.
    All knowing? Not by this sad example.