By David Fortwengler
Let’s get rid of some myths. The Catholic League is not a civil rights organization as they claim. The Catholic League does not “defend the right of Catholics to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination” as they claim.
There is no discrimination of Catholics to participate in public life. The two vice-presidential candidates are Catholic, six Supreme Court justices are Catholic, dozens of U.S Representatives and Senators are Catholic (including the Speaker of the House who is third in line to the Presidency), and thousands of other elected officials across this country are Catholic. If Cardinal Dolan or Bill Donohue want to run for office they are welcome to try.
When Donohue and his league of misguided membership refer to defamation what they really mean is some people disagree with them. They hate that.
With that being said, the least of my problems are the fabricated rants of a delusional organization and their bombastic leader. My problem is the deliberate pain he inflicts on survivors of sex crimes committed when they were minors, including me. Donohue is free to manipulate his own mind when it comes to portraying the Catholic Church as a victim of an anti-Catholic conspiracy regarding the sex abuse scandal. But when he LIES about the facts he offends and rightly outrages all who don’t practice his form of mental gymnastics.
Today Donohue published his response to yesterday’s conviction of Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn for failing to report suspicion of child sexual abuse. In Bill’s press release titled “Assessing Bishop Finn’s Guilt” he concludes the “condemnations targeting Bishop Finn to be as unfair as they are contrived.” Why would it be unfair to be disgusted and outraged at the actions of Bishop Finn? He was not targeted, he was convicted. The facts weren’t contrived, they were stipulated to by Finn’s own attorney’s. (paid for by the fine catholics of Kansas City)
I will now take a deep breath and detail the absolute, dangerous, and hurtful LIES Donohue spews in his statement. His comments are in blue and my response follows in black.
The case did not involve child sexual abuse—no child was ever abused, or touched, in any way by Father Sean Ratigan. Nor did this case involve child pornography.
Not true! Father Shawn Ratigan has been convicted of possessing and producing child pornography which was on the computer that Bishop Finn had in his possesion! According to the stipulation of facts when a computer technician examining Ratigan’s computer on December 16, 2010 discovered alarming pictures, they included close up photos of a little girls naked vagina! The series of eight photos showed the girl’s panties being moved aside in each picture. The girl was estimated by police to be three or four years old. Does Donohue think she moved the panties herself to give Ratigan a better shot? Child pornography is sexual abuse! If you don’t believe me ask the parents of that little girl. Bill, you are a moron.
The Vicar General, Msgr. Robert Murphy, without seeing the photos, contacted a police officer about this matter. The officer, after consulting with another cop, said a single photo of a non-sexual nature would not constitute pornography. After a few more of the same types of photos were found, an attorney rendered the same judgment: they were not pornographic.
Not true! Donohue doesn’t get it and doesn’t want to get it. Murphy was told there were naked pictures of children on the computer. That is all he needed to know to call the police. I understand he didn’t want to view the vile content, but the fact he consulted attorneys and a friend who happened to be a policeman is the proof he had suspicion of child abuse, not a defense! Further, the cop who was consulted was not shown the pictures and did NOT say they were not pornographic. He said the totality of the circumstances would dictate how to respond to the images. The cop was also only told about one picture, not the totality of the evidence.
Finn then asked a psychiatrist to evaluate Ratigan. The bishop was given the judgment of a professional: the priest was not a risk to children (he was diagnosed as suffering from depression).
This is the same Donohue who has excused Bishops in the past because they took the word of therapists. Bill now thinks that is the perfect modus operandi instead of calling police as required by law!
Finn then placed restrictions on Ratigan, which he broke. When it was found that Ratigan was again using a computer, upon examination more disturbing photos were found.
Not true! The diocese had the pictures in their possession since December 16, 2010! The naked pictures of a four year old girl were no reason for the diocese to call police but when Ratigan disobeyed Finn’s orders that was criminal!
We find the chorus of condemnations targeting Bishop Finn to be as unfair as they are contrived.
Bill Donohue is a hateful liar. It is a small consolation that Bishop Finn was even held slightly accountable for his egregious actions. The only part that is unfair to me is that Finn was also not charged with felonies for obstruction of justice (disposing of Ratigan’s computer) and for endangering the welfare of a child. (For the children who were abused after the diocese became of Ratigan’s crimes)
ps - Sorry for all the exclamation points. It is my way of trying to talk as loud as Donohue.