Roseburg, OR – Here is what Chris Harper-Mercer said to his victims just before he killed them at Umpqua Community College: “Are you Christian?” After they stood up he said, “Good, because you’re Christian, you are going to see God in just about one second.” He then shot them. Another eyewitness account said that after he asked if they were Christian, “then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”
The following media outlets were among those that reported on this story but initially did not mention that Christians were singled out:
- ABC World News Tonight
- CBS Evening News
- NBC Nightly News
- PBS News Hour
- New York Times
- USA Today
- Daily Beast
- Huffington Post
- Associated Press [This accounts for why so many papers across the nation made no mention of Christians in their early reporting.]
If African Americans or Muslims had been singled out, President Obama would have gone ballistic, Al Sharpton would have been calling for street rallies, and CAIR would have been asking for congressional investigations. But because Christians were cherry picked for murder, there was no call to arms. Indeed, many major media outlets weren’t even telling the truth. It’s obvious—”Christian Lives Don’t Matter”—either here or abroad.
Facebook rejected an online advertisement from the makers of the independent film “I Am A Christian.” “Are You Christian?” the ad asked, “Stand up and declare, Yes, I Am A Christian!!!” Facebook responded that the ad “wasn’t approved because it doesn’t follow Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines for language that is profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback.” Facebook later clarified, “We’ve found that people dislike ads that directly address them or their personal characteristics such as religion.”
Jewishbusinessnews.com posted an article about a lawsuit over anti-Catholic remarks allegedly made by a businessman. Amazingly, the reporter who wrote the article made patently anti-Catholic remarks himself. We protested and secured a sincere and extensive apology from the media outlet’s president.
According to the lawsuit, the businessman said, “You don’t really believe Jesus was born to a Virgin Mother, or are you that big of a moron?” He was also accused of saying, “Is it that stupid Ash Wednesday again? You better not come to work with ashes on your head.” The victim sued for $5 million for harassment that led to a hospitalized panic attack.
Jewishbusinessnews.com wrote about this story, mistaking the virgin birth for Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The reporter wrote the following:
“To be fair, generations of Jews have found that story hard to swallow, but, hey, if old man Joseph the carpenter took her word for it, who are we to argue. Still, to us Jews it always sounded like a good recovery line when you start showing. Certainly better than the classic, ‘I fell for it’ folks use in emergency rooms. ‘God put it there’ is much classier.”
Less than two hours after the Catholic League issued a press release about the Jewishbusinessnews.com article, Sima Ella contacted Bill Donohue:
I am so sorry. I was not aware of this unbelievable issue, until you brought it to my attention and I read it with my own eyes. I fully understand your feelings; I would feel the same as you. I took the article down immediately. Please, please accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies—we are a lot better than that.
Donohue responded: “Rarely have I seen a quicker and more sincere apology than this. All is forgiven. It is important that Catholic-Jewish relations remain good, especially these days. Case Closed.”
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in a post on observer.com, trotted out the discredited thesis that Pope Pius XII was “silent” during the Holocaust. In fact, he went even beyond this falsehood, accusing Pius of having been “a collaborator with the Nazi government.” To do so, of course, he had to ignore the testimony of prominent media and Jewish leaders of the time, who credited Pope Pius with being a singular voice who did not remain silent. The New York Times for example, on Christmas Day, 1941, called Pius “a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas.” A year later, the Times said, “This Christmas more than ever he [the pope] is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent.”
Boteach accused the pope of watching silently when the Gestapo in 1943 rounded up the Jews of Rome. But one of the world’s experts on the Holocaust, the recently deceased Sir Martin Gilbert – author of Never Again: A History of the Holocaust – said just the opposite. “[W]hen the Gestapo came to Rome in 1943 to round up the Jews,” he attested, “the Catholic Church, on his [the pope’s] direct authority, immediately dispersed as many Jews as they could.”
On the online magazine Salon, Jeffrey Tayler, an editor at The Atlantic, attacked U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as being “of unsound mind and unfit to serve” because of his Catholic faith, and went on to attack religious believers in general as suffering from “faith-derangement syndrome (FDS).”
In an undisciplined screed, Tayler went on to attack Catholics generally, whose priests he termed “pedophile pulpiteers of your creed [who] have…warped[ed] the minds of their credulous ‘flocks’ for two millennia.” He accused Pope Francis of sheltering child rapists and suggested that “what we ought to do is send in the vice squad” for him. He also opined “we should certainly send out notice that the votaries of the bizarre Catholic cult are to stay well away from our children.”
Susan Warner, in an article on the Gatestone Institute’s website entitled, “The Scorpion, The Frog and The Pope,” attacked Pope Francis for recognizing the Palestinian state, saying, “The Pope’s declaration inspires the already hate-infested Palestinians to commit murder with a symbolic pontifical blessing.” She characterized the history of the Catholic Church as “a two-thousand year old story of anti-Judaism, conspicuous by frequent massacres, murders, forced conversions, torture, pogroms, expulsions, demonization and other unspeakable acts of violence and offense.” She tied anti-Semitism to Catholic theology and asked the rhetorical question, “Is the Catholic Church, like the scorpion, simply standing against the Jewish state because it is part of the Church’s DNA?”
On the online magazine Salon, Jeffrey Tayler, an editor at The Atlantic, attacked the Catholic Church and its clergy at length, expressing a hope that the United Nations Convention Against Torture would lead to worldwide arrests and possibly executions of Catholic priests: “Courts may well decide that the sexual abuse of children constitutes torture, which could lead to sweeping arrests depopulating the ranks of the Catholic clergy, with shackled priests making perp walks the world over. One hopes a Nuremberg-style tribunal can be set up for them – with Nuremberg-style punishments.”
He also, much less luridly, attacked evangelicals. He called for the end of tax exemption for religious organizations, lamenting the loss of billions of dollars to “federal coffers,” called on his readers to urge presidential candidates to desist from professing their faith on the campaign trail, and concluded: “We need to act on the strength of our convictions, which must exceed in firmness the determination of the faith-deranged to impose their will on us.”
The following article is the Catholic League’s official response to the movie, “Spotlight”:
SHINING THE LIGHT ON “SPOTLIGHT”
The movie “Spotlight” is bound to spark more conversation about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, much of what the American public knows about this issue is derived from the popular culture, something this film will only abet. Therefore, the time is ripe to revisit what the actual data on this subject reveals.
When the Boston Globe sent the nation reeling in 2002 with revelations of priestly sexual abuse, and the attendant cover-up, Catholics were outraged by the level of betrayal. This certainly included the Catholic League. The scandal cannot be denied. What is being denied, however, is the existence of another scandal—the relentless effort to keep the abuse crisis alive, and the deliberate refusal to come to grips with its origins. Both scandals deserve our attention.
Myth: The Scandal Never Ended
When interviewed about the scandal in 2002 by the New York Times, I said, “I am not the church’s water boy. I am not here to defend the indefensible.” In the Catholic League’s 2002 Annual Report, I even defended the media. “The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times covered the story with professionalism,” I wrote.
A decade later things had changed. In the Catholic League’s 2011 Annual Report, I offered a critical assessment of the media. “In a nutshell,” I said, “what changed was this: in 2011, unlike what happened in 2002, virtually all the stories were about accusations against priests dating back decades, sometimes as long as a half-century ago. Keep in mind that not only were most of the priests old and infirm, many were dead; thus, only one side of the story could be told. Adding to our anger was the fact that no other institution, religious or secular, was being targeted for old allegations.”
It became clear that by 2011 we were dealing with two scandals, not one. Scandal I was internal—the church-driven scandal. This was the result of indefensible decisions by the clergy: predatory priests and their enabling bishops. Scandal II was external, the result of indefensible cherry-picking of old cases by rapacious lawyers and vindictive victims’ groups. They were aided and abetted by activists, the media, and Hollywood.
Regarding Scandal II, more than cultural elites were involved. “In 2011,” I wrote, “it seemed as if ‘repressed memories’ surfaced with alacrity, but only among those who claimed they were abused by a priest. That there was no similar explosion of ‘repressed memories’ on the part of those who were molested by ministers, rabbis, teachers, psychologists, athletic coaches, and others, made us wonder what was going on.”
The steeple-chasing lawyers and professional victims’ organizations had a vested economic interest in keeping the scandal alive; the former made hundreds of millions and they, in turn, lavishly greased the latter. But it wasn’t money that motivated the media and Hollywood elites to keep the story alive—it was ideology.
To be specific, the Catholic Church has long been the bastion of traditional morality in American society, and if there is anything that the big media outlets and the Hollywood studios loathe, it is being told that they need to put a brake on their libido. So when the scandal came to light, the urge to pounce proved irresistible. The goal was, and still is, to attenuate the moral authority of the Catholic Church. It certainly wasn’t outrage over the sexual abuse of minors that stirred their interest: if that were the case, then many other institutions would have been put under the microscope. But none were.
There is no conspiracy here. What unfolded is the logical outcome of the ideological leanings of our cultural elites. Unfortunately, “Spotlight” will only add to Scandal II. How so? Just read what those connected with the film are saying.
Tom McCarthy, who co-wrote the script with Josh Singer, said, “I would love for Pope Francis and the cardinals and bishops and priests to see this [film].” Would it make any difference? “I remain pessimistic,” he says. “To be honest,” he declares, “I expect no reaction at all.”
Mark Ruffalo plays a reporter, and, like McCarthy, he says, “I hope the Vatican will use this movie to begin to right those wrongs.” (My italic.) He is not sanguine about the prospects. Indeed, he has given up on the Church.
The view that the Catholic Church has not even begun to “right those wrongs” is widely shared. Indeed, the impression given to the American people, by both the media and Hollywood—it is repeated nightly by TV talk-show hosts—is that the sexual abuse scandal in the Church never ended. Impressions count: In December 2012, a CBS News survey found that 55 percent of Catholics, and 73 percent of Americans overall, believe that priestly sexual abuse of minors remains a problem. Only 14 percent of Americans believe it is not a problem today.
Commentary by those associated with “Spotlight,” as well as movie reviewers and pundits, are feeding this impression. But the data show that the conventional wisdom is wrong. The fact of the matter is that the sexual abuse of minors by priests has long ceased to be an institutional problem. All of these parties—Catholics, the American public, the media, and Hollywood—entertain a view that is not supported by the evidence. “Spotlight” will only add to the propaganda.
In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioned researchers from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a major study of priestly sexual abuse; it covered the years 1950 to 2002. It found that accusations of the sexual molestation of minors were made against 4,392 priests.
This figure represents 4 percent of all Catholic priests. What was not widely touted is that 43 percent of these allegations (1881) were unsubstantiated. To qualify as “unsubstantiated” the bar was set high: the allegation had to be “proven to be untruthful and fabricated” as a result of a criminal investigation.
In other words, roughly 2 percent of priests were likely guilty of molesting minors. Accusations proven to be false should carry no weight in assessing wrongdoing, yet the fabrications are treated by the media as if they were true. It must also be said that this rate of false accusations is much higher than found in studies of this problem in the general population.
More than half of the accused priests had only one allegation brought against them. Moreover, 3.5 percent accounted for 26 percent of all the victims. As computed by professor Philip Jenkins, an expert on this subject, the John Jay data reveal that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.”
These data give the lie to the accusation that during this period the sexual molestation of minors by priests was rampant. It manifestly was not. Even more absurd is the accusation that the problem is still ongoing.
In the last ten years, from 2005 to 2014, an average 8.4 credible accusations were made against priests for molestation that occurred in any one of those years. The data are available online at the USCCB website (see the reports issued for these years). Considering that roughly 40,000 priests could have had a credible accusation made against them, this means that almost 100 percent of priests had no such accusation made against them!
Sadly, I cannot name a single media outlet, including Catholic ones, that even mentioned this, much less emphasized it. The Catholic News Service, paid for by the bishops, should have touted this, but it didn’t. This delinquency is what helps to feed the misperception that the Church has not even begun to deal with this problem.
In 2011, researchers from John Jay issued another report, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.” While the document was often critical, it commended the Church for its forthrightness in dealing with this problem. “No other institution has undertaken a public study of sexual abuse,” the report said, “and as a result, there are no comparable data to those collected by the Catholic Church.” Looking at the most recent data, the report found that the “incidence of child sexual abuse has declined in both the Catholic Church and in society in general, though the rate of decline is greater in the Catholic Church in the same time period.”
So much for the myth that the Church has not yet “begun” to address this issue. Every study by the John Jay researchers shows that most of the abuse took place between 1965-1985. This is not hard to figure out: the sexual revolution began in the 1960s and fizzled out by the mid-1980s. Libertinism drove the sexual revolution, and it hit the seminaries as well, especially in the 1970s. Matters slowed once AIDS was uncovered in 1981. It took fear—the fear of death—to bring about a much needed reality check.
Myth: Celibacy is the Root Cause
On October 28, 2015, a columnist for the Boston Globe wrote an article about “Spotlight” titled, “Based on a True Story.” Similarly, script writer Tom McCarthy said, “We made a commitment to let the facts play.”
No one disputes the fact that predatory priests were allowed to run wild in the Boston Archdiocese; the problem was not confined to Boston, but it was the epicenter. That molesting priests were moved around like chess pieces to unsuspecting parishes is also true. Ditto for the cover-up orchestrated by some bishops. This is the very stuff of Scandal I. Where the factual claims dissolve, however, is when the script claims to know what triggered the scandal.
“Spotlight” made its premiere on September 3 at the Venice Film Festival. A review published by the international French news agency, AFP, noted that “in Spotlight’s nuanced script, few in the Catholic hierarchy have shown any inclination to address whether the enforced celibacy of priests might be one of the root causes of the problem.”
The celibacy myth was debunked by the John Jay 2011 report. “Celibacy has been constant in the Catholic Church since the eleventh century and could not account for the rise and subsequent decline in abuse cases from the 1960s through the 1980s.” But if celibacy did not drive the scandal, what did? The John Jay researchers cite the prevalence of sexually immature men who were allowed to enter the seminaries, as well as the effects of the sexual revolution.
There is much truth to this observation, but it is incomplete. Who were these sexually immature men? The popular view, one that is promoted by the movie as well, suggests they were pedophiles. The data, however, prove this to be wrong.
When the word got out that “Spotlight” was going to hit the big screen, Mike Fleming, Jr. got an Exclusive for Deadline Hollywood; his piece appeared on August 8, 2014. The headline boasted that it was a “Boston Priest Pedophile Pic.” In his first sentence, he described the film as “a drama that Tom McCarthy will direct about the Boston Globe investigation into pedophile priests.” This narrative is well entrenched in the media, and in the culture at large. Whenever this issue is discussed, it is pitched as a “pedophile” scandal. We can now add “Spotlight’s” contribution to this myth.
One of the most prominent journalists on the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team was Kevin Cullen. On February 28, 2004, he wrote a story assessing a report issued by the National Review Board, appointed by the USCCB, on what exactly happened. He quoted the head of the Board’s research committee, well-respected attorney Robert S. Bennett, as saying it was not pedophilia that drove the scandal. “There are no doubt many outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives,” he said, “but any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.”
Bennett was correct, and Cullen knew it to be true as well. “Of the 10,667 reported victims [in the time period between 1950 and 2002],” Cullen wrote, “81 percent were male, the report said, and more than three-quarters [the exact figure is 78 percent] were postpubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” One of Bennett’s colleagues, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins University, was more explicit. “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth,” he said, “yet it is not being discussed.” It never is.
So it is indisputable that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team knew that it was homosexuality, not pedophilia, that drove the scandal. Yet that is not what is being reported today. Indeed, as recently as November 1, 2015, a staff reporter for the Boston Globe said the movie was about “the pedophile priest crisis.” This flies in the face of the evidence. In fact, the John Jay 2011 report found that less than 5 percent of the abusive priests fit the diagnosis of pedophilia, thus concluding that “it is inaccurate to refer to abusers as ‘pedophile priests.'”
The evidence, however, doesn’t count. Politics counts. The mere suggestion that homosexual priests accounted for the lion’s share of the problem was met with cries of homophobia. This is at the heart of Scandal II. Even the John Jay researchers went on the defensive. Most outrageous was the voice of dissident, so-called progressive, Catholics: It was they who pushed for a relaxation of sexual mores in the seminaries, thus helping to create Scandal I. Then they helped to create Scandal II by refusing to take ownership of the problem they foisted; they blamed “sexual repression” for causing the crisis.
So how did the deniers get around the obvious? Cullen said that “most [of the molested] fell victim to ephebophiles, men who are sexually attracted to adolescent or postpubescent children.” But clinically speaking, ephebophilia is a waste-basket term of no scientific value.
Philip Jenkins once bought into this idea but eventually realized that the word “communicates nothing to most well-informed readers. These days I tend rather to speak of these acts as ‘homosexuality.'” Jenkins attributes his change of mind to Mary Eberstadt, one of the most courageous students of this issue. “When was the last time you heard the phrase ‘ephebophile’ applied to a heterosexual man?” In truth, ephebophilia is shorthand for homosexuals who prey on adolescents.
Even those who know better, such as the hierarchy of the Church, are reluctant to mention the devastating role that homosexual priests have played in molesting minors. In April 2002, the cardinals of the United States, along with the leadership of the USCCB and the heads of several offices of the Holy See, issued a Communiqué from the Vatican on this issue. “Attention was drawn to the fact that almost all the cases involved adolescents and therefore were not cases of true pedophilia” they said. So what were they? They were careful not to drop the dreaded “H” word.
Further proof that the problem is confined mostly to gay priests is provided by Father Michael Peterson, co-founder of St. Luke’s Institute, the premier treatment center in the nation for troubled priests. He frankly admits, “We don’t see heterosexual pedophiles at all.” This suggests that virtually all the priests who abused postpubescent children had a homosexual orientation.
The spin game is intellectually dishonest. When adult men have sex with postpubescent females, the predatory behavior is seen as heterosexual in nature. But when adult men have sex with postpubsecent males, the predatory behavior is not seen as homosexual in nature. This isn’t science at work—it’s politics, pure and simple.
I have said it many times before, and I will say it again: most gay priests are not molesters but most molesting priests have been gay. It gets tiresome, however, to trot this verity out every time I address this issue. That’s because it means nothing to elites in the dominant culture. Just whispering about the role gay priests have played in the sexual abuse scandal triggers howls of protest.
There is plenty of evidence that Hollywood has long been a haven for sexual predators, both straight and gay. The same is true of many religious and secular institutions throughout society. But there is little interest in the media and in Tinsel Town to profile them. They have identified the enemy and are quite content to keep pounding away.
There is no doubt that the Boston Globe “Spotlight” team deserved a Pulitzer Prize for exposing Scandal I. Regrettably, there will be no Pulitzer for exposing Scandal II.
Singer Lady Gaga and her friends from her Catholic high school were celebrating a bachelorette party. They got drunk, wrecked the hotel room, ate like pigs, pole danced all night, and celebrated with phallic symbols: from the cake in the shape of a penis to the penis-shaped candles, the gals got as raunchy as it gets.
The pop star made sure to point out the Catholic roots of the girls’ friendship in her Instagram posts. “We love our girl so much we will be getting her drunk for the next 48 hrs #catholicschoolgirlsdoitbest” read one post, “Lord help the parents of Catholic school girls” read another.
Montreal, Canada – In Montreal to kick off her latest tour, Madonna launched into the obscene lyrics from her song “Holy Water,” ripped off her skirt to reveal a skimpy nun’s habit, and started to pole dance. She then used one of her dancers—also dressed as a nun—to ride like a surfboard. Then the dancers lined the stage to act out the Last Supper, with Madonna as the central focus.
Newark, OH – The Newark Advocate published a cartoon by Milt Priggee titled “Pope Justifies Terrorist’s Attack on Charlie Hebdo.” The cartoon shows four gravestones representing the people killed inside a Jewish grocery store. A thought bubble above one headstone reads “Did you hear the pope understands why the terrorists attacked?”
Los Angeles, CA – On January 17, a crowd of 15,000, many of them young people, took to the streets of Los Angeles to participate in the first “One Life” march, a demonstration in support of the rights of unborn children. On February 1, ten people demonstrated outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to protest the proposed canonization of Father Junípero Serra, the priest who brought Christianity to California.
The Los Angeles Times ignored the former, even though the demonstration was held one block from its headquarters, but published an article highlighting the latter group.
The non-event protest was the work of the ill-named Mexica Movement. In fact, there is no movement: there is just a handful of Christian-bashing, European-hating activists. In 2000 the group mustered “a few dozen members” for a protest of Elton John. In other words, 15 years ago this rag-tag group marshaled more activists than it did last February. Some “movement.”
The few who protested Father Serra showed how low-class they are when they compared the priest to the devil and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez to Hitler. For good reasons, Gomez is well-liked by minorities, though his few detractors garner the news. Shame on the L.A. Times for profiling them.
Kansas City, MO – Yael T. Abouhalkah, editorial writer for the notoriously anti-Catholic Kansas City Star, lectured Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, about his decision to have Bishop Robert Finn preside at two ordinations in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Finn had recently resigned as Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and Naumann was the apostolic administrator of that diocese. Archbishop Naumann was celebrating the ordination of priests in his own diocese the same day as the ordinations in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. That is why he asked Bishop Finn—a bishop in good standing in the Catholic Church, whose success in galvanizing significant numbers of bright and able men to the priesthood makes him the envy of bishops in much larger dioceses—to preside over the ordinations in his former diocese. This upset Abouhalkah a great deal. He called the decision to empower Bishop Finn to preside over the ordinations “repulsive” and “reckless.” Bill Donohue called his condemnation malicious, obscene and intrusive, pointing out that Catholics no more report to the Kansas City Star than its employees report to the Catholic Church.
New York, NY – New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi, writing about abuse allegations against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, wrote the following: “Hastert looks like every pervy child predator priest and pastor with his creepy, pasty skin, wavy white hair and benevolent grin.”
July – August
Philadelphia, PA – Over the summer, Waldron Academy, an independent Catholic school in the Philadelphia area, decided that it could no longer employ its director of religious education because it had become publicly known that she was involved in a lesbian “marriage.” A protest raged all summer against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, even though it does not run this school. Even more bizarre, the critics were led by a group of anti-Catholics who are funded by an atheist billionaire.
The media, led by the Philadelphia Inquirer, gave legitimacy to this contrived protest. The Inquirer ran a dozen stories on this incident, all of them in support of Margie Winters, the fired teacher. Most of the stories appeared on the front page of the B section, and a few made it to p. A1. Although the issue seemed like a clear-cut case of a private sectarian organization enforcing its own house rules, the media and activist organizations kept up a relentless pressure against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Archbishop Charles Chaput.
New York, NY – The Forward, a Jewish newspaper of some reputation, published a gratuitous nasty piece by Anna Katsnelson entitled “I Am a Fugitive from a Catholic School.” Katsnelson told us how her Jewish parents elected to place her in a Catholic elementary school in New York. Along the way we learned about the Holy Eucharist, which she disrespectfully compared to matzo, attendance at Mass, religious instruction, the nuns, etc. She casually boasted of receiving the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confirmation without any belief on her part.
She expressed disappointment with her parents for subjecting her to Catholicism, complaining that they should have known more about the Inquisition before sending her to the school. “Although there was no Judas cradle, Spanish donkey, head crusher or rack in her office,” Katsnelson writes, “the local Torquemada of my junior high school was not below chastising me for chewing gum and interrogating me about my pseudo-Christian identity.” Moreover, the nuns tried to instill chastity, something she said backfired. For good measure, she added that “Catholic schoolgirls dressed like sluts in training.”
New York, NY – The Associated Press (AP) joined the ranks of press outlets obsessed with the story of the lesbian school teacher who was fired from an independent Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In the fourth AP story on this non-story, reporter Maryclaire Dale misrepresented what Pope Francis said about gays, and then accused Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput of “wading into the issue.” It must be said that AP was the one who was guilty of “wading into the issue”—not the man whose job it is to discuss schools in his archdiocese.
Paris, France – The French magazine Charlie Hebdo, notorious for its vile offenses against the sacred beliefs of Muslims, Christians and Jews, published two disgusting cartoons mocking the death of little Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on the shores of Turkey during the Syrian refugee exodus. One cartoon showed a little boy’s body washed up on shore, next to a fast food billboard advertising two kid meals for the price of one, with the caption, “So close to making it.” The other cartoon showed a Jesus figure walking on water, with a child’s body upside down in the water next to him. The Jesus figure said, “Christians walk on water”; the drowning child said, “Muslim children sink.” And the caption read, “Proof that Europe is Christian.”
The “Imus in the Morning” radio show featured guest Rob Bartlett doing his impression of Pope Francis where he implied priests were sexual deviants. While wearing a white skullcap and speaking in a mock Italian accent Bartlett discussed a toy designed by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company inspired by the film “Fifty Shades of Grey”: “So what is this I hear, Vermont Teddy Bear has got a Fifty Shades of Grey bear? How do you take a cute sweet little thing and exploit it for your own twisted sexual appetite? I’m asking myself the very same thing, I’m trying to get some of these priests into another line of work.”
Rob Bartlett returned as a guest on the “Imus in the Morning” radio program, which is simulcast on the Fox Business Network, to do his impression of Pope Francis. Imus, and his producers, allowed Bartlett to engage in an extended rant, pretending to speak as Pope Francis. It was a mixed bag: some of it was funny; some of it was plain stupid; and some of it crossed the line.
It is not clear whether it is Bartlett’s ignorance or malice that best explains his ugly comparison of bondage, domination, and sadomasochism—ala “Fifty Shades of Grey”—to mortification, a method of Christian asceticism practiced by some Catholics in service to virtuous living. Either way, he unnecessarily offended Catholics.
The “Bill Handel Morning Show” on KFI Radio, an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, obscenely mocked the pope:
Bill Handel: “Do you think the pope masturbates?”
Gary Hoffman [co-host]: “No.”
Michelle Kube [producer]: “No I don’t think…”
Handel: “I’m willing to bet there have been times when…”
Hoffman: “He’s tearing that little fella right now.”
Handel: “I think so too.”
Kube: “Oh stop it.”
Handel: “Now, if he doesn’t masturbate, do you think the pope has wet dreams? Where that cassock of his, he wakes up in the morning and there’s the old stain there. What do you think?”
Hoffman: “Not now. Probably when he was a teenager.”
Handel: “Oh come on.”
Rob Bartlett, a regular guest on “Imus in the Morning,” did an impression of Pope Francis on the radio show. The segment mocked gay priests.
Bartlett: “I’m Pope Francis, the real Pope Francis, all you bishops named Francis don’t take no chances. Keep your pants up, keep your pants up.”
He then spoke about the Oscars:
Bartlett: “I see the ‘Boyhood’ because a lot of the bishops are very excited to see it. I don’t know why.”
The host of “Late Night with David Letterman” on CBS took a shot at the pope’s new appointment of cardinals. Letterman pretended to have a video of the pope notifying a new cardinal of his selection. A clip was then shown of Michael Sam, the failed homosexual football player, crying when he was selected in the draft to play in the NFL. Sam is then shown kissing his boyfriend. Then the screen went black and “Please Stand By” was posted, along with an image of the pope and some crosses.
Bill Maher was a guest on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Talking about accusations of sexual assault by celebrities, Maher discussed the accusations against Michael Jackson, but made a gratuitous reference to Catholic priests: “I don’t know [if the accusations are true]. What I think happened, he was a little grabby grabby under the covers, which is wrong. It is. That is a crime to grabby grabby, but it’s not like, you know, what Catholic priests were doing.”
On his HBO show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host criticized Pope Francis’ comments on insulting people of faith. Maher then made a vulgar remark about the pope. “He’s dead to me now. Oh yeah, f*ck the pope.”
“Reign” on the CW Network, a weekly drama based on the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, debuted its winter premier. The episode “Getaway” included a Catholic cardinal who was using the Swiss Guard to hunt members of a rival group. The cardinal is gay and is shown in bed with his male lover. The other characters plot against the cardinal by branding his lover with their symbol, forcing the cardinal to choose between having his lover killed as a heretic or exposing himself as gay.
In only the second week on the air, Comedy Central’s new show, “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” attacked priests. The host introduced the topic about the New England Patriots team supposedly deflating footballs during games. Wilmore said he was not going to make any ball jokes, but instead invited comedians Ricky Velez and Mike Yard to make them.
Velez: “A priest, a rabbi and two deflated balls walk into a bar.”
Yard: “What happened?”
Velez: “The priest immediately fondles the deflated balls.”
The host of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” on Comedy Central made gratuitous jokes about Jesus during a segment about obesity.
Wilmore: “It’s true, even if you go to church you see a P90X version of Jesus on the cross. Right? [Jesus is shown on the cross with a 6-pack. Nervous laughter from audience.] I mean talk about cross-fit, am I right? Am I right Christian ladies?”
Wilmore then immediately issued a mock apology for insulting Jesus:
Wilmore: “I’d like to issue an apology to my Christian ladies. ‘My mockery of Jesus, though accurate, was way out of line. Unlike the Michael Moore blah blah blah, et. al.’ My point is, if Jesus looked like this [a fat Jesus on the cross is shown] More Galifianakis than Caviezel…”
On the Fox sitcom “The Mindy Project,” Mindy Kaling, who stars in the show in addition to writing and directing it, has learned that she is pregnant and is trying to tell her Catholic boyfriend Danny, played by Chris Messina. In this scene, they insult loyal Catholics, and mock the Church’s teaching on masturbation.
Comedy Central debuted a stand-up act produced by Kevin Hart. The show featured comedian Keith Robinson. Robinson introduced his tirade by stating how easily offended people have become these days to what others say.
“Even criminals have the nerve to be sensitive about what the hell you say to them. Pedophiles don’t want to be called pedophiles. They want to be called priests.”
The audience responded with nervous laughter. “That was a delicious joke. I don’t give a damn about what nobody say [his illiteracy], that was a delicious joke.”
Robinson then attacked someone who didn’t clap, wondering “What the hell is your problem?” He then asks, “Are you Catholic, sir? Did a priest ever get to you? Put some baby oil on your feet so you couldn’t run in the marble hall?”
On NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” there was a gratuitous mention of sex and the Vatican. The detectives were investigating complaints that a 79-year-old man was being sexually abused by his new younger wife. The man denied the abuse and implied he married the younger woman because he was deprived of sex while working at the Vatican. He said “My third wife took up with a bartender because I got distracted by my book on the pope. Now you spend 6 months at the Vatican, and you see what happens to your testicles.”
After the fourth episode of this season’s Netflix program, “House of Cards” aired, Bill Donohue asked those who receive our news releases to contact Jonathan Friedland, VP, Corporate Communications at Netflix, and ask him to explain why the character who played the president of the United States, Frank Underwood, found it necessary to spit on the face of Jesus and then knock the crucifix to the floor, smashing it to bits.
Comedy Central aired another attack on the church during its game show “@Midnight.” The contest featured Neal Brennan responding to a question by host Chris Hardwick about confession. “Forgive me father for I have sinned, I went to Catholic school growing up. While I was never molested, I did f*ck a few priests.” Not surprisingly, Brennan won the contest.
On the premier of his own show, which aired January 19, 2014, Brennan commented that he went to Catholic school for 12 years. “No, I didn’t get molested, I f*cked a few priests, but I didn’t get molested.”
“The Mindy Project” on Fox took a totally gratuitous stab at Catholicism, and mocked the Eucharist. Mindy’s boyfriend, Danny, invited the local priest over for dinner, and lied to him telling the priest that Mindy was Catholic. “Why would you lie and tell him that I was Catholic? I don’t have a Catholic bone in my body, except yours” Mindy replied mocking the Church’s teachings on sex.
The host of CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” made ten jokes about the pope’s annual physical: all of the comments were attributed to the attending physician. The joke listed as #1 was: “I know you don’t use it, but I still have to take a look at it.”
On Good Friday, David Letterman joked about the pope’s physical on his CBS “Late Show.” Letterman attributed the pope’s weight gain to “a little too many Communion wafers.”
April 5 – May 10
PBS aired “Wolf Hall” a six-part television mini-series adapted from Hillary Mantel’s novel of the same name. The mini-series was originally produced for the BBC in England. Mantel is a bitter ex-Catholic who admits the aim of her novel is to take down the image of St. Thomas More popularized by the film “A Man for All Seasons.”
Thomas More is presented as a religious zealot who condemns anyone opposed to the Church. While Thomas Cromwell, who prosecuted More, is a sensible, pragmatic man who gets things done.
On the night after Easter, Chris Hardwick, the host of Comedy Central’s game show “@Midnight,” took a shot at Jesus’ resurrection: “Jesus woke up from a nap and now all sins have been wiped clean to make room for even more heinous ones. Whatever you did doesn’t matter so you can go out and be a d*ck for another 365 days.”
During a previous show, Bill Maher had compared former “One Direction” singer Zayn Malik to one of the Boston bombers. The Council on American-Islamic Relations objected to the Muslim stereotype. Responding to that criticism Maher said, “It turns out Zayn Malik is a Muslim. Neither I nor anyone on our staff knew that. How could we? The whole joke is I don’t know who the f*ck he is. I don’t know his relation or his birthday or his favorite food because I don’t spend every waking hour obsessing over teenage boys like a Catholic pries- [Maher cuts himself off] I mean like a 12-year-old girl.”
During this episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO, Maher lashed out at Pope Francis and Jesus in a particularly vulgar way. Discussing the Armenian genocide, Maher said, “You know who said it’s a genocide? The pope. The pope was like f*** yeah it’s a genocide. The pope has huge balls. You would too if you were 78 and never had sex.” Maher’s assault on the Eucharist was vile. He spoke about a toaster that can customize a burnt image of your face on it. When an image of Jesus was shown on the screen, Maher asked, “What kind of needy loner says, ‘hey look at that bread you’re eating, it’s really me.'”
Reza Aslan, the Iranian-American religion scholar who once converted to Christianity, then later back to Islam, is so offended by Christians in America celebrating Christmas, that his response is to deliberately offend Christians. On “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart, citing a Pew Research Center study that found 7 in 10 Americans identify as Christians, cracked that that means you have a 30 per cent chance of offending someone when you wish them a Merry Christmas. “As a Muslim,” Aslan responded, “whenever someone wishes me a Merry Christmas I am obligated to say ‘f*ck you.'”
“The Daily Show” began with a voiceover: “After being greeted by the president, the vice president and an adoring crowd at Andrews Air Force Base, he [Pope Francis] was whisked away in a tiny Fiat dwarfed by the Secret Service vehicles surrounding him.” Host Trevor Noah then said “That’s a tiny car. Somebody’s compensating. I’m saying the pope has a huge c**k [bleep]. That was a joke. That is a joke. And what a waste.”