On the morning of May 11, we learned that Brad Hoylman, a New York State Senator, posted an anti-Catholic tweet. We immediately condemned his remark and asked those on our email list to contact him. We also said he should recuse himself from voting on any measure dealing with the sexual abuse of minors. We made sure that his colleagues in the Albany legislature learned of his bigotry, and our response to it.
A few hours later he called Bill Donohue to apologize. Donohue accepted the apology, noting Hoylman’s sincerity.
The subject of Hoylman’s tweet was a new bill introduced in Albany that would provide restitution to minors who were sexually abused, regardless of where the offense took place. The funds to be distributed, $300 million, would come from state assets controlled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Hoylman is a sponsor of the Child Victims Act, a bill that addresses the same issue, though it would not draw on public funds. He did not support the new bill. That was his prerogative. But he had no right to make anti-Catholic remarks. Here is his tweet:
“It’s an outrage to suggest using public money to cover for institutions that have harbored child sex predators. Like robbing Peter to pay John Paul II.”
Hoylman not only engaged in bigotry, he showed how badly educated he was on this subject.
Over the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made in the previous year against over 52,000 priests and deacons is 7.1. No institution in society has a better record on this issue than the Catholic Church.
In 2004, a report by the U.S. Department of Education found rampant sexual abuse by teachers in the public schools. It also revealed that in only one percent of the cases did superintendents see to it that offending teachers did not continue teaching elsewhere.
There was another important study by the Associated Press in 2007, and in 2016 USA Today followed through with one of its own. Both concluded that nothing had changed since the Department of Education report.
“The sexual abuse of minors is a national problem,” said Donohue. “No one institution owns it, but if there is one that is in first place, it sure isn’t the Catholic Church.”
Hoylman fed anti-Catholicism by floating a cruel stereotype. Every demographic group has its stereotypes, but few public persons promote them. Donohue asked, “Why does Hoylman act differently?”
Holyman told Donohue that he got the message and could not defend what he said. Indeed, he thanked him for calling him out about this issue. Case closed.