On July 16, 1995, talk show host Bill Press went on a lengthy tirade insulting the Pope and Catholic priests. The topic of conversation, the Catholic Church’s requirements for ordination to the priesthood, quickly descended to an obscene level. Admitting that the Pope is “not one of my favorite people,” Press proceeded to make accusation after accusation about Church teachings that showed both his ignorance and his bigotry. Here’s a sample of his remarks (some ofthe comments made during the call-in segment were even worse).
“You don’t need a penis to be a priest.”
“Do you need a penis to be a penis? I say no, not even a Catholic priest.”
“I mean, what does it- what does it take to be a priest, right? I mean, what is that job all about? It is not molesting little boys. That’s not the essence of being a priest. Okay?”
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. Incidents like this show that there are some outrages that are so indecent as to make unsatisfactory the conventional broadcasting response of ‘equal time.’ The Catholic League does not want ‘equal time’ to respond to Press, rather it wants him fired.
“Press began his bigoted attack on the Catholic Church by saying that ‘I introduce this topic knowing that I am instantly going to be accused of Catholic-bashing.’ And well he should be. His comment that it is ‘fair game’ to criticize anyone who makes public policy is true. But this issue has nothing to do with public policy: it is strictly the doctrinal prerogative of the Catholic Church (and it is one that is shared by other religions as well, though they were not, of course, ever mentioned by Press). And in any case, there is no excuse for insulting Catholics and degrading their religion.”