The bishop emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas is defending ChurchMilitant.com against what he calls the "vicious attack" by Catholic League's Bill Donohue. Bishop René Henry Gracida, head of the Corpus Christi diocese from 1983–1997, condemned the Catholic League in a Sunday post on his website, saying that "it is perplexing to some why the League would attack the critics of Cardinal Wuerl so viciously."
As we reported Monday, Donohue had accused ChurchMilitant.com of "hating" the Pope, which he claimed motivates our criticisms of Cdl. Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. We responded to the charges, noting they are patently false, and detailed Donohue's long track record of defending powerful, high-profile cardinals when they scandalize Catholics, writing off the faithful as nothing more than "piety police."
After Bp. Gracida explains his prior connection to the Catholic League — he had tried to start up a local chapter in his diocese, but decided to create an independent group instead, which defended Catholicism in the public square — he writes:
I am writing this post because of the vicious attack the present president of the Catholic League in NYC made against the journalists who [wrote] the "Cardinal Bling" exposé of Cardinal Wuerl in the Archdiocese of Washington. ... [It] is perplexing to some why the League would attack the critics of Cardinal Wuerl so viciously.
He goes on to speculate:
Perhaps its close relationship with the Archdiocese of New York and Cardinal Dolan is a factor. The League was silent on the recent scandal involving the Saint Patrick Day Parade's becoming in the future a Gay Pride Parade. Cardinal Dolan has been silent on that subject and I suspect that the League is defensive on any and all attacks on the cardinals of Boston, New York and Washington.
Cardinal O'Connor spoke at the group's 25th anniversary reception in 1998 and vacated part of his suite for its expanding operations, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.
But Mr. Donohue denies that he does Cardinal O'Connor's bidding. ''I swear on the Bible,'' he said. ''We are not a front group for the cardinal. Nobody calls the shots here.''
That may have been the case in 2002 — but more than a decade on, after his questionable history of going to bat for Cdls. Dolan and Wuerl in scandal after scandal, Catholics are beginning to wonder whether Donohue isn't doing the bidding of his powerful friends in New York and Washington, D.C.