Matt C. Abbott
November 24, 2015
Bill Donohue blasts Michael Voris, George Neumayr
By Matt C. Abbott

It's unfortunate that we pro-life, pro-family conservatives often find ourselves in a circular firing squad, but, alas, it is what it is.

The latest example involves Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, and ChurchMilitant.com, headed by Catholic commentator Michael Voris. (I should point out that I have a cordial relationship with all the parties quoted here; still, I do think this recent online exchange is worth covering.)

On Nov. 20, Donohue posted the following news release at the League's website:
    The crazies on the Catholic right have set their sights on Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington. Why? Because he is close to Pope Francis, and they hate the pope. The attacks are coming from The Church Militant, a loose gang of angry right-wingers who specialize in character assassination, and American Spectator hater George Neumayr.

    Three recent hit pieces by Church Militant author Christine Niles set the agenda. She says 'today's archbishop of Washington owns a penthouse in a complex valued at $43 million.' That is a lie. He owns not a centimeter of his third-floor 'penthouse,' an apartment that sits atop Our Lady Queen of the Americas parish. Like bishops all over the world, he resides in a spot that was specifically designed for the local ordinary. There is nothing scandalous about this Church patrimony.

    Church Militant head Michael Voris says his unidentified sources claim that when Wuerl was the Bishop of Pittsburgh his gay-friendly approach earned him the nickname 'Donna the Girl.' I taught at a Pittsburgh Catholic college during Wuerl's years and never once did I hear anyone tag him as such. Voris also says that Wuerl stole a 'Catechism work composed by Father John Hardon by simply putting his name to it.' That's another lie. I guess Wuerl was channeling Hardon when he gave his TV series of lectures on the subject.

    Neumayr is so far gone that he accuses Wuerl of being a Communist because someone spotted a copy of Mao's Little Red Book in his office in the 1970s. That would make me Chairman of the Politburo: I have a copy of Das Kapital in my office right now.

    These crazies are mad at Wuerl because he doesn't believe in using the Eucharist as a weapon to smack liberal Catholic politicians. Wuerl has said that the refusal of Holy Communion 'should be made only after clear efforts to persuade and convince the person that their actions are wrong and bear moral consequences.' Exactly. Wuerl is a great gift to the Catholic Church. These critics are as ignorant as they are malicious.
Later that day, Christine Niles of ChurchMilitant.com responded as follows (excerpted; click here to read her response in its entirety):
    ... According to Donohue, our motive stems from Cardinal Wuerl's alleged closeness to Pope Francis, and the fact that (in his words) we 'hate the pope.'

    Anyone familiar with our apostolate knows this charge to be laughable. We have consistently defended the Holy Father against attacks, and have even been condemned by various groups for our steadfast refusal to publicly criticize the pope. We pray for the Holy Father daily, love him, and have always been faithful to Peter....

    We privately asked Donohue to retract his false charge. He has failed to do so....

    There is perhaps reason for Donohue's defensiveness. He sits as head of a non-profit with $35 million in assets, and is personally paid a handsome salary of nearly $500,000 per year, according to latest records, with compensation of $417,500 plus 'other compensation' of $57,376. His company describes its mission as working 'to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened.' Among his outfit's duties, it seems, is its president's defense of high-profile prelates when they exhibit questionable behavior.

    As we noted in our previous article, Cardinal Wuerl came under fire in 2012 for punishing a priest who attempted to protect the Blessed Sacrament. Father Marcel Guarnizo, a visiting D.C. priest, quietly withheld Holy Communion from an active lesbian Buddhist at Mass, safeguarding the Sacred Host from profanation as well as protecting the communicant from bringing greater judgment on her soul. He acted as any faithful priest should – yet Cardinal Wuerl swiftly brought down the hammer, stripping Father Guarnizo of his priestly faculties and banning him from active ministry in his diocese. Wuerl apologized to the lesbian Buddhist while leveling unfounded charges of 'intimidation' against the priest (who was never given a chance to defend himself)....

    But the D.C. prelate isn't the only one Donohue has shielded. New York cardinal Timothy Dolan has also benefited from Donohue's protection. In Donohue's own words, 'Cardinal Dolan has no more rabid supporter than Bill Donohue.'

    When Dolan invited President Barack Obama to be a keynote speaker at the annual Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in 2012 – a $2,500-a-plate affair at the Waldorf-Astoria organized by the New York archdiocese, where cardinals rub shoulders with well-heeled, pro-abortion Democrats – the faithful were outraged, many thousands signing a petition asking that Dolan follow the example of his predecessor cardinals and rescind the invitation or refuse to attend. After all, not only is Obama the most radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexualist president in the history of the nation, he was, at the time, locked in a bitter feud with the Church over the HHS contraceptive mandate, trying to force the Church to go against Her teachings and bend to his executive will.

    Dolan discounted their pleas, and Donohue went on Lou Dobbs' Tonight and 'vigorously defended Dolan's decision,' writing off faithful Catholics aggrieved by the matter as 'piety police' – a phrase that brought about sniggering from Dobbs.
© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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