Catholic League’s Donohue: Obama’s Policies Spur Church Activism

Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012 04:45 PM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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President Barack Obama is engaged in the “prostitution” of the term “catholic” – and that’s why the Catholic Church has become more active this election year, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, told Newsmax.TV.

“We’ve never had a president in the history of the United States who ever threatened to have the state encroach on religion,” Donohue told Newsmax in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “President Obama has redefined the Catholic religion and that entity which hires and serves people mostly of their own faith.

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“That, of course, is a prostitution of the term ‘catholic.’ The word ‘catholic’ means universal,” he said. “We don’t put signs in our hospitals saying, ‘No Jews apply.’ We don’t put signs in our schools saying, ‘No Protestants need apply.’"

“We are proud to serve people who are not of our faith,” Donahue said. “We are proud to hire people who are not of our faith in the schools and social services and the like.

“So, here we have an unprecedented assault, trying to ask us to pay as nonprofits for abortion-inducing drugs in our insurance plans. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

Donohue, publisher of Catalyst, the journal of the Catholic League, has authored “Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century.” He said he wrote the book to attract those who might have left the church because of negative publicity surrounding the priest sex-abuse scandals and other issues.

“The scandal is long behind us. I want to make that very clear,” Donohue said. “That occurred between 1965 and 1985. I know about the recent cases in Philadelphia. They’re about old cases that took place.

“We don’t have that problem in the Catholic Church today, thank God. We’ve made the necessary reforms."

Donohue turned to the media's attacks on the church: “We’ve had a lot of negative news about the Catholic Church over the last decade, some of it admittedly self-generated. A lot of it, however, was media-generated.

“We have a whole generation of young people growing up who are basically ignorant of the great strengths and contributions of the Catholic Church. We also have a number of Catholics who have left the faith, or maybe who have one foot out the door. This is a way of trying to bring them back in.

Donohue discussed the need for lay-Catholics to stand firm: “I never want to forget the base, that is to say, practicing Catholics, who need to be involved in and have the intellectual ammunition to answer our adversaries. So what this book tries to do is talk about the strengths and contributions of the Catholic Church from time immemorial, basically.”

But luring back those Catholics does not involve compromise, Donohue said. “I don’t believe in compromise. I make that very, very clear. You don’t compromise on the Trinity. You don’t compromise on Jesus’ divinity – and you don’t compromise on certain things that the Pope, John Paul II, said are off-limits for discussion, which is women’s ordination.

“Now, people don’t like that,” he said. “We live in a free society. Practice diversity. You can join the mainline Protestants. They’d love to have you since their numbers are going south. There are people saying the Catholic Church should accept two men getting married. You can leave. You can join the United Church of Christ. They believe in that.

"There’s all kind of places for people who think that abortion is a human right as opposed to the violation of a human right. You can join, again, the mainline Protestants. They have no problem with these things.

“But to stay in the Catholic Church and say that we’re wrong, and you, the voice of dissidence, is right, no. I think that’s asking for too much. There are certain fundamentals which we cannot compromise on, and if that means a smaller church, I say go for it."

“I’m not talking about people who moderately disagree,” Donohue added. “I’m talking about the extremists. There’s no place for these people in the Catholic Church.”

But the church is experiencing more converts in recent years, Donohue said.

“We live in a society which is a morally vacuous, and it’s not something which most people could live with,” he said. “You need answers for the ontological questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What am I doing?”

He then referenced Pope Benedict XVI’s teachings. “We have to have reason coupled with faith. And we have to have faith coupled with reason. If you have faith coupled with reason, then you don’t wind up like some extremists in the world who go around beheading people because you’re the infidel.

“And, also it’s very important to have reason and faith together, otherwise you wind up like the universities who stood by and never said a word about the mass atrocities, 77 million people killed under Mao Zedong.

“So you’ve got to have faith and reason juxtaposed,” Donohue concluded. “Most people who are honest and reflect on these issues know that if there’s no answer, to believe in nothing, to stand for nothing – which is what atheism is – that’s not an answer to anything. It’s a cop out.”

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