The 700 Club show of February 26 showed a side to Pat Robertson that the league found less than amusing. In the news segment of the show, a report was given addressing the Catholic Church’s teachings on divorce and remarriage. The next segment was a commentary given on this “news” by Robertson and co-host Terry Meeuwsen.
Robertson and Meeuwsen found it unbelievable that the Holy Father would expect divorced and remarried Catholics to refrain from sex. Saying that “the Holy Father may believe in miracles,” Robertson stated that the pope was “involved in Angelic visitations that are not necessarily valid.” He also said, in a condescending tone, “Maybe somebody will buy into that theory.” Perhaps most inexcusable, Robertson laughed almost uncontrollably when speaking.
Dr. Donohue, who has been interviewed by Pat Robertson and has appeared on the 700 Club on many occasions, sent a letter to the televangelist registering his outrage. He said “Not only were your remarks ignorant of the facts, they were presented in a manner that was offensive to Catholics: your snickering betrayed an attitude that is most disturbing.”
Donohue sent Robertson copies of the Catholic News Service and Vatican Information Service’s news release on the subject. He stressed that the so-called news was simply a pastoral letter from the Pontifical Council for the Family restating the Church’s teachings on divorce and remarriage. He also explained the flaw in Robertson’s characterization of this teaching of the Church.
Donohue commented that the Church forbids both pre-marital sex and adultery and that “the only legitimate form of sexual activity is between a man and a woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony.” If a divorced Catholic does not receive an annulment, then any sex—within another marriage or outside of marriage—is proscribed; that would amount to fornication.
There is an internal logic to the Church’s teaching, Donohue said, but even if someone doesn’t accept this position, it is unacceptable to misinterpret the Church’s teaching and then mock the Church for holding the stance ascribed to it.
Donohue has asked Robertson to respond to his letter. We will let our readers know the outcome.