Catholic League President Bill Donohue

A US Catholic group has placed a full page ad in the New York Times claiming that sexual abuse by priests in the Church is due to homosexuality.

The text-based ad by the conservative Catholic League is in the form of a letter by its president, Bill Donohue, who states that the “issue is homosexuality, not paedophilia”.

He claims that “more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of paedophilia.”

“Let’s get it straight — they weren’t children and they weren’t raped,” Donohue alleges. “We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape).”

In March 2010, Donohue appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live and made similar claims, saying that boys 12-years-old or older should be defined as “post pubescent” boys.

In the ad, Donohue also insists that the there is no sexual abuse crisis in the Church, questioning the credibility of accusations and claiming that most alleged incidents took place decades ago.

He blames greedy lawyers for being behind the rise of court actions against the Church. The ad quotes various selective sources and experts about the issue and concludes:

“What accounts for the relentless attacks on the Church? Let’s face it: if its teachings were pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-women clergy, the dogs would have been called off years ago.”

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the pro-gay Catholic group DignityUSA told The Advocate that “There are so many problems with what Mr. Donohue is saying.” She noted that according to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, half of the victims of abuse are female.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was founded in 1973 and describes itself as “the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organisation”.

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