.- Yesterday, William Donahue, president of the Catholic League for religious and civil rights called recent verbal attacks on Archbishop William Levada, and legal bullying in the diocese of Spokane, WA, âoutrageousâ and âno longer aboutâ the alleged victims of the sexual abuse scandal. âThe sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Churchâ, he said, âis no longer about the alleged victimsâthey have had their day in courtâit is about the victimization of the Catholic Church. The time has come for the Catholic Church to put the vultures in their place.â
Donahue cited recent slams on newly elected head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Levada of San Francisco, who was bishop of Spokane prior to that.
He said that author Jason Berryâs âsavage attack on the former San Francisco Archbishop includes the vicious allegation that Levada âworked tirelessly throughout his career to protect sexual predator priests.ââ
âNow if this were true,â Donahue pointed out, âthen Berryâwho has made a career out of writing about this subjectâwould have blown the whistle on Levada long ago. So why didnât he? Could it be because Levada is a much juicer subject these days (he is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)? What makes this so ugly is the fact that when Levada was auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles in 1985, he was one of the first bishops in the nation to seriously address this issue!â
âIn short, what Berry has done is yellow journalism,â he said.
Donahue also noted a federal court decision in Spokane, which ruled Friday that all diocesan assets are now fair game for liquidation to pay for claims made by victims of priestly abuse.
âAt a minimum,â he responded, âseparation of church and state means that sitting judges have no right to make determinations regarding the organizational chart of the Catholic Church. But that is exactly whatâs being done. By declaring all diocesan assets fair game for every steeple-chasing lawyer, a green light has been given to plunder the resources of the Catholic Church.â
âThisâ, he said, âhas gone too far.â
Although Spokaneâs Bishop William Skylstad has decided to appeal the decision, Donahue said that, âBishops would do well not to listen to those who always want to settle and start playing hardball. Itâs time to countersue.â
Added Donahue: âNo amount of wrongdoing by some priests can ever justify attempts to subvert the Catholic Church, whether by the media or by the courts.â