Dolan’s blog a forum on Bill Donohue and the Catholic League

Last week, Archbishop Dolan used his blog to offer a defense of the often-controversial Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

He was defending Donohue’s criticisms of an art exhibit in Washington.

Dolan wrote, in part: “Bill Donohue hardly needs me to defend him.  He’s well-able to do it himself, and has a lot of experience doing so.  But, he’s stood up for a lot of us before, and I am glad to express my encouragement for the work he does.  Some may take occasional issue with his style.  Fair enough, and he’s open to such criticism. Some might even discuss whether the image is offensive.  However, no one should doubt the high value and necessity of his efforts, or dismiss him in crude terms.  Even the recent high-volume critiques of his stand on this controversy exhibit nasty anti-catholic canards.  Keep at it, Bill!  We need you!”

In the past, when I’ve quoted Donohue or someone else with the CL, I’ve heard it from Donohue’s critics — including more than few priests — who don’t like his tactics. I remember one priest writing me a letter saying that I quoted Donohue in order to make Catholics look stupid!

So when I checked Dolan’s blog this morning, I enjoyed reading the many spirited comments, from people who agree with Dolan and those who don’t.

There are “way to go Tim” comments like:

“As a long time member of The Catholic League I consider this article as one of your finest moments so far Your Excellency. These so called “artists,” or most media outlets would not dare do this to Muhammad, Martin Luther King, or joke about the Holocaust.”

And..

“Kudos to Dr. Donohue! But his work is greatly leveraged when strong bishops support it. Double kudos to Your Excellency!”

And…

“We need the Catholic League now more than ever and boy do we ever need leaders like Archbishop Dolan and Dr. Donahue…..The Holy Bible teaches us that the Gospel does not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of boldness and there are times when it is simply inappropriate to “turn the other cheek”….Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple for a very good reason, which could well be likened to the disrespect shown His Temple in the present age…..”

But on the other side, we have:

“Under Mr. Donohue’s leadership, the Catholic League has become one of the most divisive organizations in the United States in general and the Catholic Church in the United States in particular. Mr. Donohue’s combative tone is not representative of Christ’s teachings and not a good example of Catholic values, and his affiliation with polarizing personalities like Glenn Beck is damaging to our church’s public image.”

And…

“This is wrong, wrong. I understand that we live in an overly secular culture which disrespects faith and especially Catholicism. But Donohue is a terrible voice for the Church.”

And…

“Like many other Catholics, I am very upset by your recent apologia (in your blog) for the Catholic League, and Mr. Donohue, who is behind it. I know that there are many who are trying to make a good thing for themselves out of the unfortunate polarization that disfigures our Church (to say nothing of the secular analog that disfigures our nation).”

You know who must be loving this?

Bill Donohue.

Papal visit dominated religion coverage in ’08

Speaking of the pope…and of media coverage…

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports that 1 percent of all news coverage in 2008 was focused on religion. This was about the same allotment given to education, immigration and race/gender issues.

29% of the overall “news-hole” went to politics and 13% to the U.S. economy.

As far as which religion stories were covered, the pope was supreme.

An astonishing 37% of religion coverage in 2008 was focused on the pope’s one-week trip to the U.S. The main subjects covered were the pope’s statements on sex abuse (37%), straightforward coverage of the papal events (18%) and the pope’s relationship with American Catholics (17%).

The second most covered religion story of the year was the religious element in the presidential campaign (21% of religion coverage). A distant third was coverage of the Pew Forum’s major study of religious life in America (3% of religion coverage).

Many Catholics hold that there is an anti-Catholic bias in the mainstream media. I wonder how these findings will affect such perceptions.

Here is the breakdown of coverage of the pope’s trip — from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: