Bill Donohue: Authentic Voice of the Church?


I’m going to do something that many people will find very strange: quote Frances Kissling. But please hear me out, with the understanding that I, like every orthodox Catholic, absolutely abhor the ideology advanced by Ms. Kissling. She and her group, “Catholics” for a Free Choice, are responsible for leading millions of souls into error by supposedly arguing that one can be Catholic and still support the murder of one million infants each year (all while publicly admitting that she rarely attends Mass and that she is, essentially, a Catholic in name only). So, having established that I by no means am attempting to defend Ms. Kissling or her views, consider the following statement from her on Catholic League President Bill Donohue:

“There is something about this man and his attacks on women that is frightening. There was a while when I refused to go on air with him [for television appearances] because – you know I am a very strong person – but I felt physically threatened by this man. He never physically threatened me, but I felt like I was in the presence of an abuser. So for a long time I just refused because it was too degrading to be in his presence. I got over it eventually and have done a few things with him since. I understand that he is so offensive that he does himself damage; as long as I can maintain my equilibrium with him attacking me in the most vicious ways possible – that only does me credit and makes him look like the abuser that he is.”

Now, I suppose one could argue that Ms. Kissling’s view should carry no weight among Catholics; after all, she is a self-proclaimed enemy of the Church. But I have to admit that what she says makes sense. It seems that when we use Truth and charity to justify ruthless and merciless attacks on those who oppose the Faith, we do not do these principles of Truth and charity any service. Rather, it only strengthens our enemies; in the case of people like Ms. Kissling, it makes them somewhat of a heroic figure in the eyes of the non-Catholic public, a lone protester standing up against the tyrannical Church. Is this really an image we want to perpetuate?

I have read many of Bill Donohue’s press releases on almost every topic imaginable, and I have to believe that he is a huge factor in the perpetuation of this image, which of course reflects negatively on the Church which he purports to defend. From his implicit “blame the victim” attitude when it comes to the sex abuse scandal (he suggested that the teenage Mark Foley should have been a man and simply punched out the priest who was abusing him), to statements such as, “You stuck your middle finger up at the Catholic church, and we just broke it, pal,” which cross the line into vulgarity,

My main question is whether this kind of aggressiveness is really the most effective method of defending the Church in today’s hostile world. I, for one, would do everything in my power to stop my Protestant friends from seeing his website, because I don’t want them to get the idea that all Catholic apologists (and, by extension, all orthodox Catholics) are bullies. I would rather point them to people like Patrick Madrid, Karl Keating, et al., who are not afraid to proclaim the Truth but do so with due respect to the sensitivities of those who hear it. When non-Catholics, and yes, even anti-Catholics, encounter the Church’s defenders, they should not come away feeling like they have just encountered an abuser. If anything, they should come away surprised, surprised that a member of what many of them believe to be the most corrupt, most legalistic, most joyless Church in the world could be so filled with joy and compassion, that Catholics could be so Christ-like. That would seem like a better way to convert the Kisslings of the world, treating them the way that Christ treated the woman at the well.

Any thoughts?


I agree, yet her statement is so wrong and filled with hatred for truth all the while hiding behind the victim sentiment it is almost sickening.

Here is a basic synopsis of what she said
I am not sure he is an abuser but it feels like it and though he has never abused me I think he is an abuser. So he hurts himself because he abuses women and it makes me look good.

Would she give an example? No she just suggests something then attacks the suggestion. I might not have exactly paraphrased her but that is essentially what she said.

Here is an example of the same thing. Mickey Jackson though he doesn’t hate Catholicism makes me feel like he does hate Catholicism. I know listening to his posts make me feel as if there is a hatred deep down inside him of Catholicism which makes me feel as if he has rejected Christ. Yet this rejection of Christ by Mickey Jackson doesn’t bother me too much because it makes me closer to Christ just knowing he rejects Him.

Sorry Mickey, for using you as an example but I only have about 1 minute to post at this time and I wanted to make a quick example.

In Christ


But look at what the man has done. Who else could squeeze an apology out of the likes of Bill Maher or a corporate giant like Miller? His confrontation with the Fundamentalist John Hagee not only garnered a genuine apology from the pastor, but seemed to actually change the man’s thinking.

Who is an “authentic” voice of the church, anyway? Donohue stands up for the Church in a brash, in your face kind of way. I get that if we were all like him, it would be terrible and a bad representation of Catholicism. But we’re not all like him. He’s one of many, each called in a different way. It is so accepted in today’s society to insult Christ’s church, we need a voice like his (harsh though it may be at times) to send a message that it’s NOT okay to do so.

In reading his letters and press releases, I don’t think I’ve ever found anything seeking revenge (as in, not turning the other cheek). From what I can tell, he generally stands up for the dignity of the church and questions the target (for lack of a better word) as to why they think it’s OK to attack Catholicism.

He may be the brass in the symphony of voices that is the Church, but I think we’re better off with his contribution.

Just my two cents.


Yes, Bill Donohue is loud and brash but who else is defending the Church? Most Catholics are too busy apologising for being members of the one true Faith and worshipping at the shrine of relativism to take a stand for the Faith. If more people were to line up behind Bill Donohue he mightn’t have to be so forceful.

What annoys me most are the bloggers who criticise Bill from their armchairs and let Bill man the barricades.:mad:


There is no excuse for blaming a rape victim. Blaming a rape victim or making comments that imply the Church uses retribution against Her enemies and calling that the Catholic faith amounts to sacrilege. I wouldn’t assume that was anything like his intention, but I would say that is the effect. It is totally unacceptable.

Nevertheless, the conversation needs to be about evangelization and apologetics methods, not about individual persons. That Bill Donohue has in the past made comments that are counter productive doesn’t mean that those mistakes erase all the good he has done. We aren’t here to be Bill Donohue’s judge, or Frances Kissling’s, for that matter. We are here to strengthen and admonish each other in the faith. We should consider whether we are in compliance with what the Church teaches, in both content and method of delivery.


This sounds a lot like “doing it badly is better than doing nothing.” That may or not be true, depending on whether the effectiveness of the cure is anything like sufficient to make up for its unnecessary side effects.

It is a difficult task, though. Mistakes will be made, and should be corrected, but being willing to get into the arena in the first place should count for something.


I don’t feel that the end justifies the means, so I do wish that Bill would think a little bit more about what he says sometimes. Defending the Church against the slander about the Priest crisis is important, but to blame those who were abused only serves to perpetuate the falsehood that Catholics support such acts.


Some of the great saints who defended the faith made Bill Donahue’s comments seem like a pussycat said them. It is all subject as far as methods are concerned. Sometimes the “hard approach” works and sometimes the “soft” approach works. Jesus used both. So should we. Sometimes YOU have to call a “spade a spade.” Read Luke chapter 11 verses 37 til the end of the chapter. Jesus was flat out name calling!!! WOW!!!


But I doubt highly that Jesus would have blamed the victim the way Bill did regarding the Priest abuse situations, and I doubt highly that Jesus would have resorted to vulgarity to make his point.

Bill runs the risk of turning himself into a sideshow act with that kind of behavior and when he does take on a serious issue people will ignore whatever good he has to say.


Bill is an outstanding member of the church “Militant”.
God bless him ,he is called to be more "militant"than most of us.


Kissling’s approach is one of the most basic methods of putting out red herrings to distract from the propaganda of error that she espouses. If you cannot refute the message, you attack the messenger.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B


All the more reason that the messengers shouldn’t leave room for such excuses. Bill Donohue would do well to think about that. After all, the main message is called “the Good News” for a reason.

I am not saying that strong language is never called for. “Brood of vipers” and “Hypocrite!” can fit.

That there is any room to blame a minor raped by clergy, that this is somehow “telling it like it is” goes beyond the pale. If you don’t think so, maybe you have never imagined it could happen to you. Imagine yourself in prison, gentlemen, and imagine being raped by a guard. Imagine someone who pretends to holiness telling you that this wouldn’t have happened if you had “been a man”. Are you telling me there was not abuse just in saying something like that?

Again, there is no excuse for blaming a rape victim. None. Ever.


No matter what you think of Kissling, she is right about Donohue’s statements about the abuse crisis. He was so eager to protect the Church that he threw the victims under the bus-exactly like the Bishops did.

The other thing about dear Bill is that he often brings attention to things that would have died of their own ineptitude if he’d simply ignored them.


I read much of what Bill Donohue wrote and said about the abuse crisis … in total he did not “attack the victims” and “protect the church at all costs” …

I found that he was appalled at the actions of the priests who abused their positions of trust …

He did point out that the real issue in the majority of abuse cases was not pedophelia but pederasty … and that homosexuality played a role …

In my archdiocese: If you read the press accounts you would think that all of the victims were 7 year olds … in fact many were late teens and early twenties … If you read the press accounts you would believe that most of the crimes happened in the last five years when in reality most of the alleged crimes happend 30, 40, 50 and at least one case that I know of - 60 years earlier … If you read the press accounts you would think that the affending priests were still being shipped from parish to parish … the reality was that most were already dead, a few retired and one defrocked for abusing a child nearly 20 years before [gee I wonder how that happened when the bishops never did any thing:rolleyes: ]… few cases were brought against priests still active [none of the original cases were … only cases that came after the hreadlines began to smear all priests and the entire church]

He also pointed out that the “church” was being attacked rather than the affenders … and I found that he issued condemnation upon bishops who were infact protecting priests who wshould have been in jail …

Bill Donohue is not a saint and I am sure many times he wishes he said [or wrote] something differently. But the man clearly has devoted his life to defending the catholic faith and the church from viscious attacks. He also defends the Christian faith ‘in general’ and as such the Catholic League has supported faith based attacks with assistance …

Child abuse [both sexual and physical] is a terrible and hienous crime … on that Bill Donohue is clear [and one I hope all of us would agree] …

Considering his volume of work in total: I did not get the impression he did not realize the seriousness of the crimes committed nor did I sense that he blamed the “victims” …

What I get was that he understood both the seriousness of the crimes and the use of those crimes by anti-christian zealots in attacking the church and the christian faith …

Just my :twocents:


One needs to carefully read the Catholic League website to understand what their mission truly is.

Bill Donahue takes on anti-Catholic bigots from all sectors of American life. Bill Donahue is a true New Yorker. He is not afraid to get in your face and tell you that you are full of it. Most of us Catholics are a bunch of meek milquetoasts and anybody who speaks up is considered to be just a loudmouth.

I like Bill Donahue and I like his work.


The bottom line for me is that we need a Bill Donahue and no one else has done as good of a job as he has. At the very least his being seen by the mainstream media is a lot more than many others who would try to defend the Church. That makes him the most powerful voice of lay Catholics in the country.



I highly doubt that Bill Donahue blamed a child for being raped by a priest. PLEASE PRODUCE THE QUOTE!!!


Bill Donohue is not a Catholic apologist and the Catholic League is not an apologetics organization. The Catholic League exists to defend “the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.”

That job description is nothing like what Keating, Madrid, and Catholic Answers are doing—or anyone else in America for that matter. Bill Donohue can be loud, brash, and might step on toes occassionally. Does he make mistakes? Of course. Most of them are unimportant. Seeing you quoting Frances Kissling to show how “bad” a guy like Donohue is makes me want to throw up.
Here is a woman who establishes a fake “Catholic” organization for the direct purpose of drawing people away from The Church and, hence, putting souls in jeopardy-----a person whose organization has led hundreds of thousands of women to abortions—a person whose lies Donohue has spotlighted for years—and you want to use her as a source to show Donohue as an “inauthentic Catholic”!!!

You might say, “Well, Kissling can be wrong about The Church but right about Donohue”. But let’s look at which quote you used of Kissling’s to show Donohue as an “inauthentic Catholic”:

“There is something about this man and his attacks on women that is frightening. There was a while when I refused to go on air with him [for television appearances] because – you know I am a very strong person – but I felt physically threatened by this man. He never physically threatened me, but I felt like I was in the presence of an abuser. So for a long time I just refused because it was too degrading to be in his presence. I got over it eventually and have done a few things with him since. I understand that he is so offensive that he does himself damage; as long as I can maintain my equilibrium with him attacking me in the most vicious ways possible – that only does me credit and makes him look like the abuser that he is.”

You, who supposedly have read every CL press release, present ZERO evidence that Donohue is someone who “attacks women” and “physically threatens” anyone or given ANY EVIDENCE whatsoever that Donohue is “an abuser”.

You don’t send your Protestant friends to CL for answers to Catholic questions—you send them there to begin to grasp how much discrimination exists against Catholics in this country.

I would suggest to anyone who thinks Donohue doesn’t do a good enough job-----pitch in and help the guy. Talk is absolutely cheap. If you think you can do better----then perhaps you should.


I admire his zeal for the church but quite honestly, I cannot stand the guy. I change the channel when he’s on TV. He reminds me of a Catholic Chris Matthews. I can’t stand “loud.” I don’t listen to anyone once they’ve raised their voice.


Bill Donohue was able to get John Hagee to retract his anti-Catholic bigotted statements.

He’s ok by me.

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