Comedian Bill Maher apologized on his HBO show Friday night for accusing Pope Benedict XVI of being a Nazi. After some delay, the Catholic League reports, Maher acknowledged that Joseph Ratzinger as a young man was forced to join the Hitler Youth organization and was not sympathetic to the Nazi ideology.
Maher still insisted that if a CEO were in charge of an institution that housed child molesters, he would be fired.
Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, responded to Maher’s broadcast apology. “We accept Maher's apology for accusing the pope of being a Nazi. Too bad he didn't stop there. For him to suggest that Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of policing molesters, and failed in doing so, is patently absurd,” Donohue said.
Donohue said that, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s principal job was to ensure theologians faithfully presented the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Donohue argued the future Pope Benedict XVI was not in charge of enforcing “codes of conduct” until after the scandal of American clerical sexual abuse of children was publicized in 2002. “By all accounts,” Donohue said, he “did so effectively.”
Donohue then claimed the Catholic Church was too large for effective oversight from Rome.
“Maher has to understand that no one person, including the Pope, could possibly be held accountable for the behavior of its employees in a global institution,” Donohue said.
“There are priests from Boston to Bosnia, and it is simply preposterous for any one person to know exactly what is going on everywhere at any given time. Maher would have been better advised to focus on those bishops who proved to be enablers-it is the bishop's job to know what is going on in his diocese, not the Pope's.”
Donohue also said it would be “great” if Maher “gave up his Catholic-bashing obsession once and for all.”