A while back, when I quoted Amanda's basic facts about William Donohue that should be included in any news reference to him ("The Catholic League shares nothing with the Catholic Church except a similiar name....Donohue is no more an official spokesperson for the church than I’m the official spokesperson for the Republicans."), Paperwight took issue, arguing that in fact Donohue does speak for the church hierarchy. And he's not wrong:
At the very least, Donohue is a useful tool for a Catholic hierarchy that becomes ever less distinguishable from the Dobson Empire. He speaks for the Church. He may not speak for most of the laity, but the Catholic Church is most emphatically not about the laity.But while that's a lot of the story, it isn't the whole thing.
Out of morbid curiosity, I visited the websites of a half-dozen or so Archdioceses and searched for Donohue's name. I found it just twice: once on the Archdiocese of Boston site (quoting his opposition to a proposed referendum on parish closings), and once on the Archdiocese of Denver site (quoting his denunciation of Democrats who spoke out against withholding communion from pro-choice politicians--a pet cause of Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput). I have no doubt that much of the hierarchy is silently applauding Donohue, but they're doing it silently; they may well support him, but they keep him at arm's length. It's all about the plausible deniability.
Or to put it another way, reactionaries in the Catholic hierarchy:Donohue as Bush:Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
So if I happened to be Catholic, I would be directing some very pointed questions at every church official I could think of. Questions like: "Is William Donohue an official spokesman for Catholicism, as he represents himself?" And: "When William Donohue says 'Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity', is he presenting the official position of the Catholic Church?" And: "If William Donohue is not an official spokesman for the church, and if the church does not explicitly endorse everything he says, why are you not condemning a) those statements with which you disagree, and b) his misrepresentation of his authority?"
Pin them down. Let them take responsibility for the vitriolic bigotry they implicitly encourage, or let them undermine Donohue's position by disavowing him.
I, for one, would be very curious to see which it is.