Magazine article Commonweal

Shut Up, He Said

Magazine article Commonweal

Shut Up, He Said

Article excerpt

Anti-Catholicism is said to have become the last respectable form of bigotry. And indeed, who among us has not heard or read some demeaning comment about one or another aspect of Catholicism? People who would never make a disparaging remark about a minority group or religion don't hesitate when it comes to Catholics. This is troubling, not the least because it is corrosive of a sense of pride and of belonging, especially among the young. Many think something ought to be done.

Well, someone is doing something. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has become unrelenting in chasing down the running dogs of anti-Catholicism. "I believe in moral suasion," he told a New York Times columnist. "I believe in whipping up public sentiment to isolate the offender. I believe in putting on a lot of pressure."

Donohue's tactics, more swagger than suasion, have put him on the talk-show circuit where the decibel level is always set on shrill. He fits right in. Last fall his attacks on "Nothing Sacred," the TV series about the comings and goings at an urban Catholic parish, helped to attract admirers while discouraging advertisers. The show managed to convey a sense of the sacramental and incarnational, and its characters resembled real people in a real parish, but it wasn't Donohue's idea of Catholicism. He sank his teeth in and didn't let go until the show was two-months dead.

Donohue is on the attack once more against a yet-to-be-produced play, Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi. …

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