SPOTLIGHT: ILLINOIS ORGY—ROME CONNECTION premieres Monday, Sept. 20 after Catholic Info Hour at 7 PM ET
Bill Donohue is admitting he knew about the sexual misconduct of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick — and did not act.
The president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said on the August 6 podcast of Ave Maria Radio's "Morning Glory":
I am concerned that there are people like Cdl. Farrell who lived with McCarrick for six years and said he never heard of this. How did I hear of it? I knew of it. Everybody knew about it. Everyone heard rumors about what was going on down in Sea Girt, on the New Jersey Shore. I couldn't verify anything. Who am I? You hear rumors. A lot of rumors are untrue. These rumors turned out to be true.
In the same podcast, Donohue says he has full confidence Cdl. Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. — someone he has vigorously defended in the past — will "get to the heart" of the matter. Wuerl has been roundly mocked by Catholics for proposing that a solution to the clerical sex abuse crisis exposed through McCarrick is to allow the U.S. bishops to investigate themselves. Critics also don't believe Wuerl when he claims he knew nothing about sex abuse committed by McCarrick — who has lived in his archdiocese for years and with whom he has worked closely.
Donohue makes half a million dollars in salary and benefits as head of his non-profit, which sits on $35 million in assets. Describing itself as "the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization," the Catholic League is registered as a 501(c)(3) charity, whose public charity status is based on the fact that it "receives a substantial part of its support ... from the general public."
As much as 86 percent of the Catholic League's annual revenue comes from small donations from "rank and file" Catholics, and only a fraction of that money (under $3 million per year) is being used toward Catholic activism. The rest is sitting in an investment account with Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) annually accruing nearly $500,000 of interest — just enough to cover Donohue's salary.
CBIS has come under fire for holding stock in pro-abortion, pro-contraception, pro-gay organizations, as well as with corporations that distribute pornography. Not only is the Catholic League aware of this, it seems to have no problem with it.
According to a 2014 survey, the median salary of non-profit CEOs was $100,000. Those with a higher operating budget make more. CharityNavigator.com found that charities with more than $200 million in expenses report a median CEO salary of $526,000, whereas charities with $1–3 million in total expenses report a median pay of $97,000.
Catholic League's expenses in 2013 were $2.83 million. Yet Donohue is making as much as CEOs in charities expending $200 million.
In spite of this goldmine, Donohue sends out letters begging for more, even asking supporters to contribute money to fight against the very companies CBIS profits from. Catholics who donate presume their money is being used to defend the Faith; what they don't know is that most of it is being sunk into Catholic League's fat financial portfolio, managed by a very questionable firm.
Donohue has consistently defended his friends of high rank in the Church, including Wuerl and Cdl. Timothy Dolan.
In 2012, Wuerl came under fire for punishing a priest who attempted to protect the Blessed Sacrament. Father Marcel Guarnizo, a visiting D.C. priest, quietly withheld Holy Communion from an active lesbian Buddhist at Mass, safeguarding the Sacred Host from profanation as well as protecting the communicant from bringing greater judgment on her soul. He acted as any faithful priest should — yet Wuerl swiftly brought down the hammer, stripping Guarnizo of his priestly faculties and banning him from active ministry in his diocese. Wuerl apologized to the lesbian Buddhist while leveling unfounded charges of "intimidation" against the priest (who was never given a chance to defend himself).
Donohue evidently had no problem with any of this, instead jumping to the cardinal's defense. After journalist George Neumayr wrote a column critical of the affair, rightly condemning Wuerl for exposing the Eucharist to sacrilege, Donohue issued a public statement scolding Neumayr for his "scary" dogmatism and labeling him a "right-wing fanatic." (That seems to be Donohue's go-to pejorative when it comes to orthodox Catholics who criticize his high-profile colleagues.) Donohue concluded by saying "Wuerl is a real man" and "I have nothing but respect for him."
But the D.C. prelate isn't the only one Donohue has shielded. New York cardinal Timothy Dolan has also benefited from Donohue's protection. In Donohue's own words, "Cardinal Dolan has no more rabid supporter than Bill Donohue." When Dolan invited President Barack Obama to be a keynote speaker at the annual Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in 2012 — a $2,500-a-plate affair at the Waldorf-Astoria organized by the New York archdiocese, where cardinals rub shoulders with well-heeled, pro-abortion Democrats — the faithful were outraged, many thousands signing a petition asking that Dolan follow the example of his predecessor cardinals and rescind the invitation or refuse to attend. After all, not only is Obama the most radically pro-abortion, pro-homosexualist president in the history of the nation, he was, at the time, locked in a bitter feud with the Church over the HHS contraceptive mandate, trying to force the Church to go against Her teachings and bend to his executive will.
Dolan discounted their pleas, and Donohue went on Lou Dobbs' Tonight and "vigorously defended Dolan's decision," writing off faithful Catholics aggrieved by the matter as "piety police" — a phrase that brought about sniggering from Dobbs.
In light of all this, and especially considering Donohue admits he knew about McCarrick's vile behavior and did nothing to investigate (his well-placed friends in the hierarchy could have verified it for him), those donating to Catholic League should stop giving and start demanding answers.