The following is an excerpt from Sam Roberts during the weekly New York Times podcast, “Only in New York.” The podcast ran on May 15:
“William Donohue’s calendar the other day was bookended by two historic events.
“Donohue is the president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights in Manhattan. Earlier in the day, he was scheduled to meet for the first time with the televangelist John Hagee, who had finally apologized for remarks that, he admitted, Catholics had ‘found hurtful.’ Hagee insisted that when he bandied about epithets like ‘the great whore’ he wasn’t referring to the Catholic Church…
“That night, Donohue planned to attend the opening of an exhibition celebrating the bicentennial of the Archdiocese of New York. It’s billed as the first to celebrate the common Catholicism of diverse ethnic groups.
“The juxtaposition of the two events raised an obvious question: Just how much progress have Catholics made in the 200 years since they were reviled and repressed by New York’s nativist majority?
“That question is addressed by the exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York and a companion book, Catholics in New York, published by Fordham University Press with essays by Terry Golway, Pete Hamill, the Times’s Dan Barry, by William Donohue—recalling his tenure at a Catholic school in East Harlem that since closed because of declining enrollment—and by the novelist Peter Quinn.”