Bill Donahue: against gay-bashing, but homosexuality is to blame for priests raping children.

This disgrace of a person needs to be seen to believed.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • SansDeus

    Ugh.. What fail. Post pubescent doesn’t mean of legal age. Then he goes on to say the accusers are 16-18. Making his point as if the victims talked out the moment it happened instead of pointing out the cases where it dragged on for years or that the victims may have finally felt strong enough to speak out.

    Just.. despicable.

  • sparkyb

    I’m sure he does believe despicable things about gays, but in this clip he does say some things I have to agree with and very few that I don’t. He keeps getting cut off, but several times he admits that not all gay men are inherently sexual predators and not all molesters/rapist are gay (he even says explicitly that gay people are no more likely to be rapists than straight people). I agree with all of that and am frankly surprised to hear him say it.

    There seems to be a debate about whether it most of the sexual abuse by priests is pedophilia or not, but even if he doesn’t admit it is pedophilia, he still acknowledges that it is abuse/molestation/rape which is horrible regardless of the age of the victims.

    The only area I see where he shows an anti-gay bias is the way he focuses on the fact that most of the victims have been male and calls it the Catholic church’s homosexual scandal. It’s just a molestation scandal. I guess I also disagree about him splitting hairs over whether it should be called pedophilia or homosexuality, that’s apples and oranges, it could be both, and preying on boys also doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re gay (though I’m not sure exactly why it is predominately boys).

    • stanz2reason

      If the children who were raped by the priests were predominantly girls rather than boys, would we say that the these crimes were a ‘heterosexual scandal’? Or might that facet of the raping simply be ignored?

      In addition, while the majority of children who were raped, were boys, this speaks more to means of opportunity (ie. not a lot of alter-girls out there) for these rapists, rather than an underlining sexual preference.

  • stanz2reason

    According to that John Jay Study he cites: “It said that 22 percent of the victims were under 10. It added that 51 percent were 11 to 14 years old and 27 percent were 15 to 17 years old.”

    His correctness here is the result of the vagueness of what age a child must be to qualify as ‘pedophilia’. Were we to say it’s 10 & under, he is technically correct. However the idea of setting the age at prepubescent (which is how pedophilia is defined in a clinical sense rather than by a specific age), means that there isn’t a specific age in mind here, so his 78% number isn’t entirely correct, especially since he’s taking the most narrow view of 10 & under. More to the point, and this is where he really shines as a disgraceful blowhard, is that he’s attempting to draw a meaningful line between pedophilia (or a narrow note quite clinical definition of it) and standard run of the mill statutory rape, like this somehow makes the actions of the church more defensible.

    • Andre Boillot

      Even if we go by his baffling criteria of “prepubescent”, the AMA’s definition of puberty would still have that group being extended to 12-13 yrs old, well into the 51% category.

      • stanz2reason

        And keep in mind the 51% is a range of kids just from the age of 11-14, so were we to say that pedophilia involved kids 14 & under, the number really becomes 73% (22%+51%). This estimate, while being just as guilty of ignoring the clinical definition by using precise ages, seems to speak far more honestly about the nature of the crimes than the semantic difference between vagueness of pedophilia & statutory rape. These numbers also suggest how much opportunity plays a part here, as kids who are 11-14 might be in the ‘old enough to be an altar boy, but young enough not to be able to do anything about it.’

        I maintain that the church and it’s members would be best served by ignoring the kneejerk reaction of getting defensive and looking worse (like Donahue does), and just give an unqualified ‘we messed up, we did a bad job, and we’ve taken steps to keep this from happening again’. Trying to quote stats to frame it in a better light or deflecting blame is a just non-winner that people are just going to keep jumping on.

  • Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

    I was actually surprised at how rational Donohue came off here considering some of the things I have heard him say. In particular I was surprised by his admission that the Church messed up by covering for the abusive priests instead of turning them over to the legal system. Before this my general impression of him was that he would do or say anything to defend the catholic church as an organization that could do no wrong, apparently I was wrong about that.

    • RobMcCune

      He’s conceding a little ground, but he’s also doing everything in his power to obfuscate the issue. He’s blaming the actions on homosexuality, and the cover-up on lax attitudes and psychiatry. Never mind the revelations about therapists were actually that priests were shipped to states where therapists weren’t required to report clients having sex with minors. I’m sure if you asked him about how high the cover up went and who was culpable he’d down play it as much as possible.

      • Dylan Walker (Skeptimus Prime)

        I think one of the big problems here is that he wanted to conflate the act of sexually abusing someone of the same gender with being gay, and that is technically speaking not necessarily true. Sexual abuse is typically about power and control not about sexual attraction, so it is entirely possible for a person who is sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex to sexually abuse someone of the same sex.

        Unfortunately the interviewer did not understand the subject material very well and thus when he tried to argue with Donahue on the issue he ended up making the argument very poorly.

        • RobMcCune

          That’s true, however the interview seemed to be about the popes comments and this seemed like a tangent, so he may have been caught off guard while battling to get a word in edgewise.

    • Andre Boillot


      “Before this my general impression of him was that he would do or say anything to defend the catholic church as an organization that could do no wrong, apparently I was wrong about that.”

      The attempts to link the abuse scandal to homosexuality are an attempt to link the supposed liberalization (specifically with regards to homosexuality) of some seminaries to fostering the kind of atmosphere that allowed for more sinister deviations.

      It’s a way of saying: “see, this is what happens when you go against Church teaching on sexuality”. It reinforces the notion that, if the Church had only stayed true to it’s teachings, this wouldn’t have happened. That this wasn’t a “Catholic” problem, but a liberal problem.

  • JethroElfman
  • Mick

    The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010
    On page 9 it is pointed out that, “The majority of priest-abusers (56 percent) had one victim…

    On page 34 those 56% of pedophile priests are defined out of existence with these words: “For the purpose of this comparison, a pedophile is defined as a priest who had more than one victim…

    Then it goes on to say that a priest can only be regarded as a pedophile if he, “…had more than one victim, with all victims being age eleven or younger at the time of the offense.

    So a priest could fuck children under eleven every day, but if he occasionally penetrated a twelve year old then he’s no longer regarded as a pedophile !?

    The report is always hard to find. This is its history so far:

    Report originally published here (now deleted)

    Republished here (now unreadable)

    A readable copy here:

    And downloading this most recent copy is becoming ever more difficult. Sometimes the link works; sometimes it doesn’t.

    • Baby_Raptor

      They’ll do anything to pass the buck.