In a conversation yesterday with Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack on CNN’s “Burden of Proof,” National Organization for Women president Patricia Ireland expressed concern for anti-Catholicism. The subject was the nomination of Senator John Ashcroft to the post of Attorney General. In the course of the discussion, it was mentioned that the Senator accepted of an honorary degree from Bob Jones University in 1999. When Cossack said the school had banned interracial dating until recently, Ireland commented, “It’s a very anti-Catholic school.”
Catholic League president William Donohue commented as follows:
“The Catholic League always welcomes those who are genuinely concerned about anti-Catholicism to speak out on this important subject. But we don’t like being played for a fool. Not only has Patricia Ireland never before spoken about this subject, she and her organization have contributed to anti-Catholicism. For example, she protested the visit of Pope John Paul II to the U.S. in 1993, saying, ‘Women will not be silenced. We’re going to keep on until the Pope stops calling U.S. Catholic feminists pagan.’ Obviously, she offered no evidence for this outrageous remark, for the pope never said it.
“NOW has joined the anti-Catholic campaign of Frances Kissling to discredit the Vatican by subverting its permanent observer status at the U.N. It has formally attacked the Catholic Church for maintaining hospitals that do not allow abortions, holding that such hospitals should be denied public funding. In 1994, NOW held the Catholic Church responsible for the killing of an abortion doctor in Massachusetts. And so on.
“Patricia Ireland is a phony and a professed enemy of the Catholic Church. It matters not a whit that she calls herself Catholic. If she wants to oppose Senator Ashcroft, let her do so. But she should stop exploiting the issue of anti-Catholicism to advance her political agenda.”