FLAP OVER CARTOON REVEALS TRUE COLORS

Catalyst June Issue 2004

When Curtis Kneblik of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati contacted us about an offensive cartoon that appeared in the Dayton Daily News, William Donohue decided to write a letter to the newspaper. It printed the following letter on April 27:

“The Mike Peters cartoon of April 14 depicts a bishop who denies Communion to a pro-abortion Catholic politician, but simply moves a pedophile priest to another parish. Now if this were a common occurrence, Peters might have a point. But considering the fact that a whopping two-thirds of one percent of the 46,000 priests in the U.S. have had accusations made about them—not all of which are true—the real disgrace belongs to Peters for portraying the clergy in such an offensive manner. And by the way, whether a bishop denies Communion to a pro-abortion Catholic is nobody’s business. Ever hear of house rules?”

We thought this would be the end of the matter, but we were wrong. Instead, Donohue received a letter of complaint from Michael H. Knellinger, co-founder of the Dayton affiliate of Voice of the Faithful. “At this time,” he said, “I choose to believe that you are a decent man who cares about our Catholic Church.” He then took issue with Donohue’s comment about the two-thirds of one percent of the 46,000 priests. “The reality is,” he wrote, “that the John Jay Report (which in my opinion was an understated self-study) showed that there were 4-5% of all priests involved over the past 50 years.”

Knellinger also credited Voice of the Faithful and the victims group SNAP for changes in the Church. The letter continued in this vein, closing with this gem: “As for your ending comment about ‘house rules’…the house needs a cleaning. This is not what Jesus Christ intended for the Catholic Church. Please think before you write.”

Donohue wrote back saying that his statistic was correct and that nothing in the John Jay Report contradicted it. He also warned Knellinger not to have “an inflated idea of your influence.” Regarding the “house rules” remark, Donohue said, “My point is that it is none of the business of the secular press whether a priest denies Communion to someone who claims to be Catholic. Apparently, you did not get this point. Or maybe you just don’t want to get it, which is worse.”

Winding down, Donohue decided to crib Knellinger’s own words: “At this time, I choose to believe that you are a decent man who cares about our Catholic Church. Your contribution is not what Jesus Christ intended for the Catholic Church. Please think before you write.”

Then came Donohue’s final comment: “Now how’s that for sounding high and mighty? Get the point?”

mikepetersThis cartoon by Mike Peters appeared in the April 14 edition of the Dayton Daily News.


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Written by Bill