The Catholic League was founded in 1973 by Jesuit priest Virgil Blum. William Donohue assumed leadership in July 1993.260pp1 Since then, the membership has grown from 27,000 to 200,000.260pp2 According to Donohue, the League has "won the support of all of the U.S. Cardinals and many of the Bishops as well...We are here to defend the Church from the scurrilous assaults that have been mounted against it, and we definitely need the support of the hierarchy if we are to get the job done."260pp3 Thus it can be considered an arm of the Church. It supplements or replaces priest-controlled organizations of the past described by Blanshard and Seldes. The League apparently has a single mission: suppression of all mainstream criticism of the Roman Catholic Church.According to Donohue, it is fortunate that, "the Catholic Church is there to provide a heady antidote to today's mindless ideas of freedom."260pp4 He is a strong advocate of the Church's positions on restriction of the freedoms guaranteed by the American Constitution and condemned by popes for nearly two centuries, especially those regarding the press and speech. He informs us that: "the Catholic League is there to defend the Church against its adversaries."260pp4
There are many recognizable principles governing the behavior of the League. One is revealed in a vicious 1994 attack against the New London newspaper, The Day, for an editorial critical of the Catholic Church: "What is truly `beyond understanding' is not the Catholic Church's position, it is the fact that a secular newspaper has the audacity to stick it's nose in where it doesn't belong. It is nobody's business what the Catholic Church does."260pp5
A second basic premise is the League's commitment to canon 1369 of the Code of Canon Law: "A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church."260pp6 Canon law is the law of the Catholic Church. All criticism of the pope or the Church is in violation of this law in one way or another. This chapter will make clear that the League follows this canon to the letter and demands that all others conform -- or pay the price for their violation.
Another principle is aggressive action. Says Donohue, "I defy anyone to name a single organization that has more rabid members than the Catholic League. Our members are generous, loyal and extremely active. When we ask them to sign petitions, write to offending parties and the like, they respond with a vigor that is unparalleled...We aim to win. Obviously, we don't win them all, but our record of victories is impressive."260pp7 To justify this stance, he identifies with Patrick Buchanan's resistance to the "Culture War" against the Catholic Church: "We didn't start this culture war against the Catholic Church, we simply want to stop it."260pp8
Donohue also justifies the League's aggressive behavior by claiming that it is culturally unacceptable for nonCatholics to criticize the Catholic Church. "Perhaps the most cogent remark of the day," he asserts, "came from the former Mayor of New York, Ed Koch, who politely remarked that his mother always advised him not to speak ill of other religions. It is a lesson that apparently few have learned....Non-Catholics would do well to follow the advice of Ed Koch's mom and just give it a rest. Their crankiness is wearing thin."260pp9 This cultural norm is widely accepted in America, to the enormous benefit of the Vatican. What role, one wonders, did the Catholic Church play in its adoption? Certainly, in the case of population growth control, its consequence has been catastrophic.
The Catholic League strongly discourages criticism of the Church, especially attacks by the press. Says Donohue, "It does no good complaining about Catholic bashing if all we do is wait until the other side strikes."260pp10 Prevention of such publications is of the essence. Yet Donohue is convinced that this is not censorship: "The press and the radio talk shows asked me if the Catholic League was engaging in censorship by responding the way we did. As always, I informed them that only the government has the power to censor anything."260pp11 This is patently untrue.
Another tenet enunciated by Donohue: "I think it is a gross mistake to give elevation to fringe groups. Our basic rule of thumb is this: the more mainstream the source of anti-Catholicism, the more likely it is that the Catholic League will respond....The mainstream media, after all, have the credibility and influence that the fringe lacks, and they are therefore much more likely to do real damage."260pp12 "When major universities, TV networks and government officials engage in Catholic-baiting, it is a far more dangerous situation than the venom that emanates from certifiably fringe organizations."260pp13 "When an establishment newspaper such as the Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale] offends, it cannot be ignored."260pp14
Donohue goes on to explain the Sun-Sentinel example. On February 9, 1995, it ran an ad, paid for by a Seventh Day Adventist group, which claimed that the Catholic Church is seeking to create a New World Order to take command of the world and that the Pope and the Catholic Church were in a league with Satan. "Accordingly, the Catholic League contacted the radio and television stations in the area, the opposition newspaper, and the nation's major media outlets registering its outrage and its demands. We demanded nothing less than `an apology to Catholics and a pledge that no such ads will ever be accepted again.' We added that `If this is not forthcoming, the Catholic League will launch a public ad campaign on its own, one that will directly target the Sun-Sentinel.'" "What exactly did we have in mind? We were prepared to take out ads in the opposition newspaper, registering our charge of anti-Catholic bigotry. We were prepared to pay for radio spots making our charge. We were prepared to buy billboard space along the majority arteries surrounding the Fort Lauderdale community. Why not? After all, ...we are in a position to make such threats....This is the way it works: if the source of bigotry wants to deal with lousy publicity, it can elect to do so. Or it can come to its senses and knock it off. In the event the anti-Catholic bigots want to bite the bullet and stay the course, we'll do everything we can within the law to make sure that they pay a very high price for doing so."260pp15 It goes without saying that anyone critical of the Vatican, or the hierarchy, or the Roman Catholic Church is, by definition, an anti-Catholic bigot -- including Catholics themselves.
One final element makes clear the objective of the Catholic League -- protection of the papacy against all criticism. Writes Donohue, "It is the conviction of the Catholic League that an attack on the Church is an attack on Catholics."260pp16 He offers no rationale to support this theory. Obviously, millions of liberal American Catholics would disagree outright, for it is they who have been attacking the Church.
Donohue continues, "Throughout American history, the job of combating anti-Catholicism fell to the clergy, and especially to the Archbishops. But times have changed....The type of anti-Catholicism that exists in American society today is fundamentally different from the genre that marked this country's history from the outset. From colonial times to the election of John F. Kennedy as President of the United States, anti-Catholicism was vented against both individual Catholics and against the Catholic Church itself. But over the past 30 years, it has become evident that most of the Catholic-bashing centers on the institution of the Church..."260pp17 The hierarchy cannot be effective against criticism of the institution because they are the institution. Thus, the hierarchy has had to call on the laity to protect the institution in this way. In 1971, the League's founder pointed out, "If a group is to be politically effective, issues rather than institutions must be at stake."260pp18 In other words, the laity, if left to their own devices, will not defend the institution but they will defend their interests as individuals. Hence, the League has adopted this principle and has convinced its members that "an attack on the Church is an attack on Catholics." In this way, the institution is successfully using individual lay Catholics to shield it from all criticism.
The Catholic League's Op-Ed page advertisement which appeared in the April 10, 1995 issue of The New York Times attacking Disney for its release of the excellent film, "Priest," is a good example. This attack will be described more fully later. But on the Op-Ed page the following advertisement appears: "We're leading a nationwide charge against Disney, making use of every legal means available -- from boycotts to stockholder revolts -- all designed to send a clear and unmistakable message to Michael Eisner, chairman of Disney."260pp23 This is only one of many staged or threatened stockholder revolts led by the League.
But probably the most effective means of suppressing criticism of the Catholic Church through the press is a constant "in your face" attack of local newspapers. In a 1995 report on the Massachusetts Chapter of the Catholic League, it is noted that the president and the executive director had been on the attack, "appearing in the media more than 600 times" in the previous five years.260pp24 In a single state, 600 times in five years! It is no wonder that newspapers in Massachusetts are very reluctant to print any criticism of the Catholic Church, no matter how justified, given this constant barrage of punishment.
Intimidation of the media leadership and of our government by the League is achieved through the wide distribution of frequent news releases, its monthly newsletter and an annual report. In an article on the publication of its 1994 report, Donohue writes, "The purpose of the report is to educate the public and influence decision-makers in government, education and the media....The report is being distributed to all members of Congress, the White House...and to prominent members of the media and education."260pp25 From an article regarding the 1995 annual report: "It has been sent to every Bishop and congressman in the nation, as well as to influential persons in the media and other sectors of society."260pp26 In a February 1995 letter to the membership, Donohue announced that the 1994 report will be distributed to the press, noting "there will be little excuse left for media ignorance of Catholic-bashing."260pp27 Individual attacks are often announced through widely distributed press releases which are bound to capture the attention of members of the press.
The suppression of all criticism of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy is the goal of the Catholic League. The visit of the pope to the U.S. in October 1995 was a major media event. Given all the gravely serious problems faced by the Church and the enormous amount of dissent by American Catholics, as well as the growing hostility from non-Catholics as a result of the Church's interference in American policy making, one would expect wide coverage of these realities in the media during his visit. Instead, it was treated as a triumphant return.
The Catholic League believes that it played a major role in this great public relations success -- and with good reason. In August 1994, it launched a campaign to intimidate the press in an astounding advance warning to media professionals preparing for the pope's visit to New York in late October. A letter signed by Donohue announced a press conference to be held just prior to the pope's visit that will present "10's of thousands of petitions from active Catholics" that have been collected over the past year.260pp31 The petition speaks for itself. What else but intimidation of the press is the intent of this campaign?
The November 1995 issue of the League's journal, Catalyst, is headlined, "Media Treat Pope Fairly; Protesters Fail to Score." Donohue writes, "By all accounts, the visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States was a smashing success. Media treatment of the papal visit was, with few exceptions, very fair. Protesters were few in number and without impact. From beginning to end, this papal visit proved to be the most triumphant of them all."260pp32 A month later he writes, "The relatively few cheap shots that were taken at the Pope by the media in October is testimony to a change in the culture."260pp33 And of course the desired "change in the culture" is the elimination of criticism of the pope and his hierarchy. The Catholic League is succeeding on a grand scale far beyond what all but a handful of Americans realize.
It appears that the most aggressive and extensive attack in League history was one directed at Disney for its release of the movie, "Priest." In an editorial, Donohue forthrightly says that the purpose of the intensive attack on Disney is the prevention of the production of such critical movies in the future: "Our sights were set on what might be coming down the road, not on what had already happened."260pp36
The advice given by Ed Koch's mother -- do not speak ill of other religions -- has been a national ethic for nearly all of this century. This ethic, inherent in our culture, has served to suppress nearly all criticism of the Catholic Church. As a result, until its political activities were unveiled with the implementation of the bishops' Pastoral Plan for Pro-life Activities in 1975, the Church had been relatively immune from mainstream criticism. Because this ethic has served the Catholic Church so well, the Church may very well have played a major role in its inculcation into our culture. With its political activity becoming increasingly evident, critics are more than ever convinced of the need for public criticism of the Catholic Church.
However, this ethic does not protect the Church from dissent within its confines which has been growing since Vatican Council II in the 1960s, and most remarkably in recent years. The American media, to avoid flying in the face of American culture by ignoring this dearly held belief, have occasionally provided a forum for this protest. The dissenters have been a significant source of criticism. The Catholic League has not overlooked this problem -- indeed, it takes it very seriously. All criticism is targeted from whatever source, including members of the Church.
For example, on January 22, 1995, CBS's "60 Minutes" broadcast a segment by Mike Wallace on the Catholic dissident group Call to Action. The Catholic hierarchy did agree to appear but dictated terms that were unacceptable to CBS. Then, according to Donohue, the Catholic League sent two letters to executive producer Barry Lando and issued the following press release on January 25: "The entire Call to Action segment was, from beginning to end, an exercise in intellectual dishonesty and journalistic malpractice. The decision to give high profile to the Catholic Church's radical fringe was pure politics, and nothing short of outrageous....Allowing extremists an uncontested opportunity to rail against the Catholic Church distorts the sentiments of most Catholics and provides succor for bigots. There is a difference between reporting dissent, and promoting it....'60 Minutes' made clear its preference, extending to the disaffected a platform that they have never earned within the Catholic community....This is propaganda at work, not journalism."260pp37 This press release, of course, was received across America as a powerful warning to others to steer clear of Catholic dissidents. The Catholic League then launched a national postcard mailing campaign directed at Lando personally: "...we are angered over the way you continue to present the Catholic Church....We are tired of having our Church viewed from the perspective of the disaffected."260pp38
In another example, the League attacked the October 5, 1995 edition of "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw for providing a platform for Catholics for a Free Choice and Dignity. The League's press release included the following: "The media do a great disservice to Catholics and non-Catholics alike when Catholics for a Free Choice and Dignity are presented as though they were genuine voices in the Catholic community. The effect of such misrepresentation is to promote dissent rather than to record it. As such, it is irresponsible for the media to allow itself to become willing accomplices to public deception."260pp39
The continuous intimidation is bound to have its desired effect. The April 22, 1996 issue of the New Republic magazine criticizes the League's annual report as indicative of the League's "paranoia."260pp40 The New Republic completely misses the point. One need only look at the language used in the League's attacks. It is not defense. It is intimidating language. The report is an offensive weapon used to silence critics of the Catholic Church.
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER -- "An article in the September 1994 issue of the League's journal is headlined, "Cardinal Bevilacqua Scores Philadelphia Inquirer for Church Coverage, Declines Interview". The Inquirer had requested an interview for a major story on the Archdiocese. The Cardinal refused: "I have declined your request for an interview due to your unfair and unbalanced coverage of the Archdiocese in the last year....This view is based on a review of Inquirer articles from May 1993 to May 1994. This review included 23 articles written about the Catholic Church. Of these 23 articles, eighteen were considered to be unfair and unbalanced. The unfairness and imbalance occurred in five areas including the selection of negative topics, a disregard for positive news, the use of unqualified experts, the use of negative language and a consistent omission of factual information...It is particularly frustrating to continue to read negative characterizations of the Roman Catholic Church with no regard for our role as the largest provider of social services in Southeastern Pennsylvania and our role as the most visible religious organization in the poorest areas of our city."260pp46 The Cardinal makes clear that he feels he should be permitted to dictate what is written about his church to the letter, revealing an arrogance that could never coexist with a free press. Furthermore, that he would bring up the provision of social services by the Church, fully knowing that these services the Church provides are almost entirely funded by local, state and federal tax monies, is deceptive.
ASSOCIATED PRESS -- "On March 10, 1995, the Associated Press (AP), in a story on a court ruling upholding a law barring doctors from engaging in assisted suicide, disclosed that the federal appeals court judge was a Catholic. (The judge's ruling was in line with his pope's teaching on this matter.) Donohue took great offense to the AP's identification of this judge as a Catholic and sent a letter to AP executives asking for a copy of the AP policy on the matter. The League also sent a related press release to other news outlets to inform them of this offense. Darrell Christian, AP's Managing Editor wrote an apology. "The League is satisfied with AP's quick response," writes Donohue in the League's Journal, "and expects that it will not have to call attention to such errors in the future." Donohue's message to the American press was loud and clear. It is not permissible for the press to identify public servants as Catholics when they uphold Catholic teachings in their public decision-making. If so, the League will come after them.260pp47
DISNEY -- "The May 1995 issue of Catalyst reports in an article, "Catholic League calls for a Boycott of Disney:" "The movie `Priest,' produced by the BBC and released by Miramax, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, provoked the Catholic League to lead a storm of protest against the film and Disney. The movie is arguably the most anti-Catholic movie ever made."260pp48 This attack on Disney represents the single greatest assault in the League's history. In an editorial, Donohue writes: "In addition to joining a boycott of everything that has the Disney label on it, we are asking everyone to sell their Disney stock. It would also send a message if everyone mailed Disney chairman Michael Eisner some old Disney toys or videos. If every Catholic League member sent even one box to Mr. Eisner, it would make an indelible impression on him."260pp49
The petition against Disney reads, "We, the undersigned, have a message to Disney: you bit off more than you can chew when you offended Catholics with the release of `Priest.'...We hope that everyone at Disney thinks twice before offending Catholics again. Sadly, appeals to your goodwill mean nothing anymore. That is why we are hitting you in the pocketbook....The Catholic League has already tarnished your image and we have pledged to blacken it a little more."260pp50
The League placed an Op-Ed page advertisement in the April 10, 1995 issue of The New York Times titled "What's Happening to Disney?" It includes the statement: "So what is the Catholic League doing about this? We are leading a nationwide charge against Disney, making use of every legal means available -- from boycotts to stockholder revolts -- all designed to send a clear and unmistakable message to Michael Eisner, chairman of Disney."260pp51
But the attack did not end there. On May 2, 1995, a Catholic League member, a stockholder, asked shareholders to ratify at the November meeting of the Walt Disney Company a resolution that calls for the establishment of a religious advisory committee to insure that Disney does not produce another movie like this one.260pp52 On April 29, the League picketed Disney's largest retail outlet in New England. A press release read: "The Catholic League intends to make the American public aware of Disney's contemptuous disregard of the sensibilities of 59 million Catholic Americans. It is Disney that is ultimately responsible for this travesty and it is Disney that will remain the focus of our protests."260pp53
In the July-August 1995 issue of Catalyst, an article, "Disney Protests Continue," reports that the League had asked the four U.S. Senators who owned Disney stock to sell it: "Mrs. Dole announced on June 2 that she was selling more than $15,000 worth of Disney stock." It reports that the League picketed the Dedham Community Theater in Dedham, Massachusetts, over the decision of the theater owner to show the anti-Catholic movie "Priest." The article also reports that numerous dioceses had sold their Disney stock and that "after nine weeks in theaters, the Hollywood Reporter's Boxoffice ranked `Priest' 34th out of the top 35 movies nationwide."260pp54 The January-February 1996 issue reported that upwards of 100,000 petitions were sent to Disney: "...because the movie was a flop at the box office, we do not expect to be greeted with Priest II anytime soon."260pp55
The League's campaign was not just directed to Disney but to the entire film industry and to the media in general. The message: if you place the Catholic Church in a negative light, you are going to pay.
Jane Pauley -- "In the June 13, 1995 airing of NBC's "Dateline ," Jane Pauley interviewed Scott O'Grady, the U.S. pilot who was rescued in Bosnia. Pauley commented "A devout Roman Catholic, O'Grady made his confirmation at age thirteen, and unlike many of his peers never left the Church." The Catholic League was angered by this comment and Donohue wrote to Bob Wright, CEO of NBC, demanding that Pauley be fired immediately for this terrible offense. For maximum effect, Donohue released a statement explaining his actions to the press to insure that all got the message.260pp56
Bill Press -- "On July 16, 1995, KFI Radio [Los Angeles] talk show host Bill Press, a Roman Catholic, was critical of the pope and the Catholic Church. According to the September 1995 issue of the League's Catalyst, "The Catholic League issued the following statement to the press on this matter: `The issue here is not simply the vile comments of Bill Press. The issue is the willingness of a respected radio station to keep him on payroll....The Catholic League does not want equal time to respond to Press, rather it wants him fired.'"260pp57 By distributing this press release, the League was sending a message to everyone in the press -- if you are critical of the pope or the Catholic Church, we are coming after you and your employer.
Liz Langley and the -- Orlando Weekly -- "Liz Langley wrote a light article about communion wafers in the August 10-16, 1995 edition. The League took great offense and issued a statement to the press that included the following: "The Langley piece is one of the most anti-Catholic articles to have appeared in some time....Accordingly, I will now mobilize a public relations offensive against the newspaper, using every tactic this side of the law to discredit the paper."260pp58 Donohue's press release may have been meant to intimidate other reporters. Nearly a year after the incident, I talked with Editor Jeff Truesdell. Nothing ever came of the League's threats. Of course, no one ever reported this to the thousands of reporters who read the press release from Donohue.
FOX-TV "In September 1995, Mother Teresa was used to make a comedic point in a promotional spot for the Fox-TV program, The Preston Episodes. The Catholic League complained to the Los Angeles Office of Fox and "an apology was extended and a pledge not to run the offensive spot again was made."260pp59
BRAVO Network-"Windows" -- "A program which aired on September 24, 1995 on the cable network Bravo, featured a dance routine involving a priest dealing with temptation from a nun. "The Catholic League registered its outrage to Bravo, the `Windows' producer Thomas Grimm, and Texaco Performing Arts Showcase, which sponsored the program."260pp60 In December the League reported that Texaco had apologized for sponsoring this segment. Texaco also stated to Dr. Donohue that henceforth there would be a "screening procedure for the Texaco Performing Arts Showcase."260pp61
New Britain Herald -- "Connecticut's New Britain Herald published a syndicated cartoon which shows the three Magi going to visit the Baby Jesus. One of the shepherds says, "Wait...aren't we just encouraging these teen-age pregnancies?" League members complained to the newspaper that this was anti-Catholic bigotry. The newspaper issued an apology on its editorial page.260pp62
Ann Landers -- "In an interview with Christopher Buckly in the December 4, 1995 edition of the New Yorker, columnist Ann Landers criticized Pope John Paul II. "After first making a favorable comment about the Pope, Landers remarked, `Of course, he's a Polack. They're very antiwomen.' ...Landers later apologized for the crack about the Pope...The Catholic League sent its own comments to the New Yorker and further disseminated its views via a news release and radio interviews....(T)he Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has decided to drop Landers' column beginning in 1996."260pp63
ABC's "The Naked Truth" -- "The League strongly attacked the January 10 edition of the ABC show "The Naked Truth." The League's letter to ABC included this threat: "We will contact the sponsors of the program and will alert our members to take action against them. Knowing our members, they won't hesitate to do so." This report, which appears in the March 1996 issue of Catalyst, listed the names, addresses and phone numbers of the eight sponsors of that show.260pp64
Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw" -San Diego radio program -- "The April 1996 edition of Catalyst reports on an attempt by the League's San Diego Chapter to have the "Lash Wednesday" segment of the Dave, Shelly & Chainsaw program discontinued. The local chapter charged that the "humor" was "unacceptable" and the segment must be discontinued. But it failed. At that point the national office of the Catholic League got involved and placed an ad in the San Diego Union-Tribune "calling attention to this outrage." This prompted media requests for interviews with the chapter president who appeared live on KGTV, the ABC affiliate. The tenor of this interview was "so controversial" that the station was pressured to invite him back a second time. "This time the television reporters were much more respectful." The League asked its members nationwide to contact the radio station General Manager and the President of PAR Broadcasting Company to demand that this segment be discontinued, providing his address, phone and fax numbers.260pp65
PBS' FRONTLINE -- "On February 6, 1996, PBS aired a program called, "Murder on `Abortion Row'". The two hour special was a serious look at the life of John Salvi, the person who killed two women and wounded five others working at an abortion clinic in 1994. Salvi is a devout Catholic and had planned to become a Catholic priest. The Catholic League was given an opportunity to preview the program. It immediately released a statement to the press attacking the documentary which began, "The FRONTLINE program, "Murder on `Abortion Row,'" is nothing more than a front for Planned Parenthood and an irresponsible propaganda piece against Catholicism."260pp66
NEWSDAY -- "On March 12, 1996, the Long Island newspaper, Newsday, ran a headline which read, "Ex-Alter Boy on Trial." The League protested. Donohue called the paper's editor: "The content and tone of his remarks assured Donohue that this would not happen again."260pp67 Newsday subsequently published a League letter-to-the-editor which was very critical of the newspaper.
HBO -- "On May 6, 1996, Home Box Office aired "Priestly Sins: Sex and the Catholic Church." The one hour special focused on the issue of sexual abuse in the priesthood. The League issued a lengthy news release which sharply attacked HBO: "The film is classic propaganda...HBO is not the first to float the idea that a `code of secrecy' keeps the Church from revealing the truth about clergy sexual abuse: that honor extends to the Nazis and others. The Catholic League will call on all Catholics to boycott HBO..."260pp68
Sony -- "The June 1996 issue of Catalyst reported on the Sony movie, "The Last Supper": "The movie, while not offensive to Catholics, nonetheless offended Catholics with its promotional material. The League...wrote a letter of protest to Sony Picture Releasing President, Jeffrey Blake. The response from Sony was decisive: `We have taken the unusual step of modifying our marketing campaign'....The League is satisfied with this modification."260pp69
AP -- "On March 31, 1996, the Associated Press ran a story about a suburban Chicago man suspected of assassinating a Philadelphia policeman a quarter-century ago. The story, which was distributed to newspapers all over the country, mentioned that the accused was "23, a Catholic school-educated telephone repairman, when the shooting occurred." The League sent a letter of protest to the president of AP and urged all of its members to do the same, providing his name and address to them.260pp70
QVC Shopping Network -- "Continental Cablevision in New England had conducted a survey of 32,000 subscribers and found that viewers preferred to drop the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Catholic cable network, in favor of the QVC Shopping Network. The New England Chapter of the Catholic League sharply opposed this change and Continental was muscled into continuing programming of EWTM.260pp71
Catalyst went on to report: "Within hours of releasing this statement, the television cameras were in Dr. Donohue's office. Just about every radio and television station in New York commented on the Barney exhibit....Barneys pulled the display from the window...giving the work back to the artist....In response to all of this, Barneys took out full page ads in The New York Times, New York Post and New York Daily News, apologizing for what had happened. The ads, together with the boycotts that were instituted, wound up costing Barneys hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost sales."260pp72 Now that's success!
Hard Rock Casino and Hotel -- The December 1995 issue of Catalyst reports: "When the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel opened last March in Las Vegas, it featured a restored carved gothic altar in one of its cocktail bars....The offensive use of the altar has been a source of criticism by many area Catholics." The local bishop complained to the owner, Peter Morton, who said it would be removed. After seven months of inaction, the Catholic League got involved. The League outlined its strategy to the press: "...the time has now come to put public pressure on Mr. Morton. The Catholic League will contact the media in Las Vegas about this incident, and will alert the national media to it as well. We will also take out ads in the local newspapers, as well as the diocesan newspaper, requesting Catholics not to patronize the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel and to organize demonstrations in front of the establishment. We will also contact local Catholic organizations to organize phone trees and deliver their message straight to Mr. Morton. If more pressure is needed, we will bring it to bear, including a national boycott of all Hard Rock Cafes."260pp73
The Catholic League followed through on its promise by taking out three ads in area newspapers.260pp74 Hard Rock quickly responded saying it would remove the altar on November 30. The report ended, "The Catholic League will announce its next move once it finds out what happens on November 30.260pp75
An article in its January/February 1996 issue: "Victory is Always Sweet: Hard Rock Hotel Pulls Altar" reads: "After responding to pressure brought by the Catholic League, the Hard Rock Hotel...withdrew an offensive altar from its bar...By giving the incident publicity, both nationally as well as locally, the Catholic League was able to secure the support of many influential Catholics, some of whom put pressure on Hard Rock....It cost Hard Rock approximately a quarter million dollars to remove the altar... we won."260pp76
After the college completed its investigation, it made a public statement that "the College is satisfied that the matter has been resolved fully and completely." The League, however was not satisfied. "Accordingly, the Catholic League called upon state officials to conduct a formal hearing on the campus of William Paterson College; Governor Christie Whitman, senior higher education officials and area legislators were contacted....But thus far she (Governor Whitman) has been mute....The Catholic League will not be satisfied until justice has been done. Our goal is not to simply chastise one college professor....We're taking the long view on this one and it would behoove people like President Speert (Paterson College president) to do likewise."260pp77
University of Michigan -- The University of Michigan student newspaper, The Michigan Daily, ran a cartoon that mocked Newt Gingrich's promotion of Boys Town and also related to the pedophilia problem in the Catholic priesthood. Donohue wrote a threatening letter to Dr. James Duderstadt, President of the University of Michigan: "Enclosed is a copy of a cartoon that was run in The Michigan Daily....Please be advised that as president of the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization, I am prepared to do what is necessary to rid your campus of the bigotry it presently entertains."260pp78
The very next issue of Catalyst reads: "We are happy to report that an apology from the cartoonist and a conciliatory letter from Dr. Duderstadt have brought this issue to a close."260pp79
In a news release, the Catholic League issued the following remarks: "The Population Institute proves once again that some of the anti-natalist forces are unquestionably anti-Catholic. Not content, or able, to debate the issues on their merits, these activists seek to defame the Holy See and thereby discredit its influence. Members of The Population Institute who share its politics, but not its bigotry, should make a clear and decisive break with the organization....Accordingly, the Catholic League calls upon the following advisors to The Population Institute to resign immediately: Sen. Paul Simon, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. Jim Leach, Rep. Robert Torricelli and Rep. Sam Gejdenson. Not to resign would be to give tacit support to anti-Catholicism...The Catholic League [also] wrote to each Congressman involved in this scandal."260pp80
The September 1995 issue of Catalyst reports: "Senator Daniel K. Inouye complied with the League's request and resigned from the Population Institute. Senator Barbara Boxer of California put The Population Institute on notice, warning that any future examples of `inappropriate' and `offensive' fundraising letters would lead her `to reconsider' her position with the organization. Congressman Robert Torricelli of New Jersey...warned The Population Institute to be more careful in how it phrases its letters."260pp81
Anti-Defamation League -- On December 1, 1995, the ADL notified the publisher, Hippocrene Books that it was granting a prestigious literary award to Richard Lukas for his book, Did the Children Cry? Hitler's War Against Jewish and Polish Children. Lukas was to receive the literary award, plus a prize of $1,000 on January 23, 1996 at the ADL's headquarters in New York. On January 10, the ADL's Mark Edelman, wrote to the publisher stating that a mistake had been made; that subsequent review led to a decision to reverse the initial judgment. The May 1996 issue of Catalyst reports, "When the Catholic League learned of what had happened, it was incensed." Donohue wrote a letter to Edelman: "For the record, I would like to know exactly why the book was selected for an award in the first place. Surely there are records of this evaluation. And I would also like to know why those reasons were found unpersuasive -- and by whom -- at a later date."
The report continues: "The Catholic League...did not receive a response from the ADL until the matter was favorably resolved on March 18. But the good news did not come until considerable pressure had been brought to bear. Before the ADL reversed its decision not to give the award, the attorney for author Lukas had already warned the ADL that it would be sued. When the ADL made its announcement to reinstate the award to Lukas, it noted that it still had several problems with the book. The ADL said that `we believe the book underestimates the extent of Polish anti-Semitism before and after World War II. We believe also that, while there were heroic efforts of some Poles during this time, the book appears to vastly overestimate the number of Poles who were engaged in such courageous actions. Finally, the ADL believes the book presents a sanitized picture of Polish involvement with Jews during the War and overlooks authoritative points of view of many historians, including Polish historians.' Though justice prevailed in the end, this marks a sad chapter in the ADL's history....We hope that the ADL has learned an important lesson and that such `mistakes' will be avoided in the future."260pp82
This open letter, published as a half-page advertisement sponsored by the Catholic League, ran in all editions of The New York Times on August 29, 1994. It viciously attacks Faith Mitchell and requests President Clinton to retract and apologize for her statement.260pp84
In an article published in this issue, Donohue writes: "The anti-Catholic bigots in the Clinton administration got so exercised during the Cairo conference that Leon Panetta [who is Catholic], the White House Chief of Staff, acknowledged that there was a problem with Catholic-bashing and vowed to discipline anyone who continued to chide the Vatican."260pp85 Apparently, any criticism of the Vatican, no matter how just, is off limits.
Dr. Joycelyn Elders -- In an editorial in the January-February issue of Catalyst, "We've Only Just Begun," Donohue writes, "We have rolled into 1995 with a string of victories. Dr. Elders is gone...Dr. Joycelyn Elders is one for the books. The very first news release I issued when I took over as president of the Catholic League in July 1993 was in opposition to the nomination of Dr. Elders as Surgeon General...Through the month of August, we pressed hard to stop her nomination: we held a press conference at the National Press Club and wrote to all the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but we ultimately fell short of our objective. What we did not do, however, was give up. We continued to criticize Dr. Elders whenever she made an irresponsible statement..."260pp86
An article in the same issue, "Elder's Exit Applauded," reads: "The Catholic League is delighted to see that one of the most outspoken ant-Catholic bigots in the Clinton administration has been axed. Joycelyn Elders was nominated to the office of Surgeon General by President Clinton in 1993 and confirmed later by the Senate. The Catholic League opposed her nomination and confirmation from the beginning. Her anti-Catholic statements...should have alone disqualified her from a position of national influence and authority...The Catholic League continued to speak out against her during her tenure as Surgeon General."260pp87
This is but a very small sample of the attacks by the League over this two year period. It is unfortunate that space limits the number. These examples are presented almost entirely in the League's own words. As one surveys its material, it becomes evident that all criticism of the Church or anything that places the Church in a negative light is deemed anti-Catholic, despicable and impermissible. The Church is simply above all criticism. The Catholic League obviously rejects America because it rejects what America stands for, including the freedoms of speech, expression and the press. This stand taken by the Catholic League is consistent with nearly two centuries of Catholic teaching on these matters and we should expect nothing different.
Intimidation, such as has been described in this chapter, by Catholic institutions over the past hundred years, has resulted in a populace woefully ignorant of the threat to American democracy and security posed by the Church. This intimidation has made it possible for the Church to go unchallenged.
How can Americans publicly discuss the obvious conflict between American national security-survival interests and Papal security-survival interests in this environment that the Catholic League now so effectively fosters? Obviously, it is not possible. Not only were the recommendations of the Rockefeller Commission and the NSSM 200 report never implemented, they were never publicly debated. Few Americans are even aware of NSSM 200 or this conflict in security interests. Intimidation by Catholic institutions has completely suppressed appropriate investigation of this conflict. Indeed, this intimidation has shut off the flow of the kinds of facts that resulted in these recommendations -- facts of which all Americans should be fully aware. Without this vital information and discussion in a public forum, there can be no democratic solution to this conflict between the interests of the nation and of the Catholic Church -- a dilemma well understood by the hierarchy.