Dowd and the Catholic Church scandal, a lesson in unchallenged claims

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

Anyone who has followed Media Matters' coverage of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd knows that we've often taken exception with her work.

As someone who attended Catholic school for nearly a decade, I've been following the current crop of scandals surrounding the Church with great interest. As such, I've been routinely disappointed by those who claim or fail to challenge the claims of others that the ongoing problem of pedophile priests is really about homosexuality in the priesthood.

That is precisely the problem I have with Dowd's most recent column on the issue - an issue she's done an otherwise decent job covering. While she has been routinely critical of the way church officials have responded to the scandal, her latest work allows the previously stated onerous logic - that of her brother's -- to stand unchallenged.

As's Cahir O'Doherty notes:

In a recent article Dowd also published (without a clarifying comment) outrageously incendiary remarks her brother made stating that the international abuse crisis was due to accepting thousands of 'sexually confused' men into the priesthood.

Even more defamatory, Dowd repeated (again by proxy through her brother) author Michael Rose's paranoid contention that the liberalized rules of Vatican II set up a takeover of seminaries by a so-called Gay Mafia. Heterosexual priests and the orthodox, Rose's book claims, found themselves pushed to the margins by a massive international gay Catholic cabal.

Do the Dowds recognize how toxic this kind of claim is?

Rose's book isn't really known outside of far-right conservative Catholic circles for good reason: you'd have to be bonkers to believe it. In tone and content it's really not far from the language and spirit of the anti-Semitic tracts of the 1930's.

You can only believe that homosexuals are responsible for the crisis in the Church if you believe that homosexuals are indistinguishable from pedophiles. That's a blatantly hateful and ignorant contention, but the Dowds are hunting for scapegoats, not answers.

Does Dowd agree with her brother's sentiment? We get only her cryptic comment that she and her brother "agreed on some things." As O'Doherty correctly notes, Dowd doesn't challenge her brother's views much less respond to them with, you know, actual facts.

Allowing these specious claims to go unchallenged only further entrenches the unfounded bigotry some have against the LGBT community and for that, Dowd should be seeking penance from her readers.


Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, LGBTQ
The New York Times
Maureen Dowd
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