Tag Archives: Bill Donohue

Mother Teresa’s failed critics

Mother Teresa will be canonized on Sept. 4 — the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Already a saint in the eyes of most people, regardless of religion, she is clearly deserving of this honor.

Bill Donohue

Bill Donohue

I’m even more certain of her sanctity now that I’ve written a book about her critics. I was planning a lengthy piece — booklet size — but after I completed the research and started writing, it became apparent that it might be attractive as a small book.

There are many fine books on Mother Teresa. They run the gamut from authorized biographies to devotional and inspirational works, many based on her own reflections. Lacking was a book that directly confronted her critics. That was the void I hope to fill.

I’ve locked horns many times with Mother Teresa’s most famous critic, Christopher Hitchens. We had it out in a formal debate in 2000 (a video is posted online). Subsequently, we clashed many times on TV. I loved debating him — he was quick and tough. But he was no scholar.

A scholar takes the time to provide evidence for his position, and this is where Hitchens failed. His critical book, The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, contains not one footnote, endnote or attribution of any kind. It’s merely an essay of his unsupported opinions.

I told him to his face that his book was a disgrace and that if he were my student, I would assign him an F. Anyone who seeks to take on someone of Mother Teresa’s stature and attempts to show that all previous accounts of her life are wrong, carries a heavy burden. Thus, any book that condemns her without supporting documentation cannot be taken seriously.

Hitchens was not a happy man, but not without reason. When he was a young man, his mother and her lover, an Episcopalian priest, committed a joint suicide. That would rock anyone. He became a chain-smoking alcoholic, filled with rage; he died in 2011.

This may come as a surprise, but Hitchens and I had a few things in common. Though one would never know it by reading his harsh comments on Mother Teresa’s opposition to abortion, he was actually pro-life. He was pleasantly surprised when I commended him for his enlightened position. He was also no fool when it came to Islam. He knew that the radical interpretation of the “religion of peace” led to terrorism and posed a grave threat to the West. We also liked to drink, though I am happy to say that my tastes extend only to beer and red wine.

Hitchens may be the most well-known Mother Teresa critic, but he is hardly alone. They have much in common: Their accusations can be easily disproven, and all are either atheists or socialists — or both. There isn’t a single, dispassionate writer among them, including a trio of Canadian professors who emerged a few years ago. There is a small cottage industry of critics who continue to surface, so I felt compelled to take them on.

My book, Unmasking Mother Teresa’s Critics, will be available on Aug. 18, a few weeks before her canonization. The timing should be ripe for discussion. The presidential conventions are over at the end of July, and nothing much will be going on in August, which is why those out to sunder Mother Teresa’s reputation will appear. Let them. I relish the opportunity to confront them.

Everyone has shortcomings, Mother Teresa included, but her critics are not content to list them. Instead, they pound away by distorting her record and misrepresenting events. Worse, many of her critics are out-and-out liars. I refuse to give these charlatans a break. I have more footnotes (134) than there are pages in the book (115). No one can accuse me of making any of this up.

After reading her critics’ accounts, I’m convinced more than ever that Mother Teresa deserves sainthood. She was a true altruist, one who took self-giving to a new level. Sadly, that’s one reason why socialists hate her: They contend that only government should tend to the needs of the poor. Thus, she was a deterrent to statist prescriptions. Worse, her altruism was grounded in Jesus, and that drives atheists mad.

In 2010, when the Empire State Building’s owner — a militant secularist and left-wing operative — refused to shine the tower in blue and white on the date of her centenary, I led a demonstration in the street. Speakers at the rally came from many religions, ethnic backgrounds and races. It was quite a moment.

Mother Teresa’s big honor now awaits her. This is something that none of her detractors can diminish, not even in the slightest.

BILL DONOHUE, PH.D., is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Catholic Advantage

BILL DONOHUE extolls the significant benefits of being a faithful Catholic today . . .

DonohueThe Catholic Advantage 
Bill Donohue
Image Books, 2015
304 pages, $24 hardcover

With a subtitle like Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful, you can be sure Donohue will take some heat for extolling the benefits of Catholicism. But his well-reasoned and well-researched arguments are convincing. He shows that Catholicism will not only make you healthy and happy, but it will ultimately lead you to heaven, too.

He shows how the application of beliefs, bonds and boundaries lead to a bountiful life, while the atheism, narcissism, and hedonism of secular intellectuals and celebrity culture pave the path to misery. Donohue will win over fans and skeptics alike with this book.

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Je suis Catholic

PATRICK NOVECOSKY writes that poking fun at others’ faith is highly uncharitable . . .

Patrick Novecosky

Patrick Novecosky

When free speech advocates took to the streets of Paris last month, their signs read “Je Suis Charlie,” French for “I Am Charlie.” Their noble but misguided enthusiasm caught the attention of many, including Pope Francis.

During an in-flight press conference on the way to the Philippines in late January, the Holy Father not only condemned the Islamists who murdered 12 people at the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, but he also said there must be limits on free speech.

Pope Francis reaffirmed that “killing in the name of God” is a real “aberration.” While he agreed that everyone has the “right” — even the “duty — to speak his mind to help the common good,” he said no one should deliberately insult another’s religion.

After the attacks, Catholic League president Bill Donohue blasted the killers and took the magazine to task for profanely lampooning Islam and Christianity. “Those associated with Charlie Hebdo, are no champions of freedom. Quite the opposite: Their obscene portrayal of religious figures, so shocking that not a single TV station or mainstream newspaper would show them, represents an abuse of freedom.”

Radio host Hugh Hewitt and Megyn Kelly of Fox News excoriated Donohue for “blaming the victims” of the Paris massacre. Kelly also accused Donohue of blaming the victims saying, like Hewitt, it was similar to “blaming a rape victim for what she was wearing.” Both interviewers pointed to the First Amendment, which, interestingly, has no legal bearing in France.

While both interviewers missed Donohue’s point, Pope Francis made the same distinction as Donohue in his comments on the killings. He told the media onboard the papal plane last month that “you cannot provoke, you cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

“In freedom of expression there are limits,” he said. With a laugh and by way of example, the Pope said that if Alberto Gasbarri (the longtime Vatican papal trip organizer who was standing beside him on the plane) cursed his mother, “then a punch awaits him. But it’s normal, it’s normal.” As he was speaking, the Holy Father threw a mock jab in Gasbarri’s direction.

Both Donohue and the Holy Father made the same point. While it may be legal to poke fun at others’ beliefs, it is highly uncharitable. And it’s downright naïve to think that poking a snake in the eye won’t provoke a violent reaction.

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.

Beware doctor-assisted suicide

BILL DONOHUE says the merchants of death are not just fixated on the elderly . . .

Bill Donohue

Bill Donohue

If there was one strain of political thought that was evident in the November elections, it was libertarianism. As a political philosophy, libertarianism today is roughly what was called liberalism in the 19th century; it is also known as classical liberalism.

Essentially, it maintains that the good society is best served by having a minimal role for government. Liberalism today, of course, favors a big role for government. In the mid-term elections, libertarianism manifested itself as a revulsion against ObamaCare, and other intrusions by the federal government into our lives. The public has become increasingly wary of government busybodies, and this is especially true of young people: Many possess a strong libertarian streak.

Is libertarianism a good thing? When it comes to taming the federal government’s appetite to regulate markets, it is. But when it comes to moral issues, that’s a different story. Take doctor-assisted suicide. Libertarians support doctor-assisted suicide. The government, they argue, has no business telling people they don’t have the right to terminate their own lives. Sounds seductively attractive at first glance: Whose rights are interfered with if someone elects to kill himself? It’s a consensual act, so why should there be any laws against it?

Let’s examine these propositions. Bribery is a consensual act, but we wisely have laws against it. Why? Because the person making the bribe is given an unfair advantage over others; so it really doesn’t matter if the person making the bribe — as well as his happy recipient — like the transaction. Society matters. To be sure, society does not have rights — only individuals do, but it surely has interests. Among them are justice and the general welfare of the people, as outlined in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

It’s true that no one’s rights are being interfered with if someone chooses to kill himself. It’s also true that no one’s rights are interfered with if two men choose to duel to the death in public. Why not allow them to kill themselves — the winner must kill his challenger in order to collect his booty — at Madison Square Garden and show it on pay-for-view TV? The coarsening of our culture that such an exhibition would yield is not something we should encourage. If human life is nothing more than a commodity to be disposed of any way we choose, would we not be going down a dangerous road? The history of the 20th century, especially in Germany, suggests we would be.

The problem with the libertarian position is that it sees individual rights as dispositive of all societal interests. But there is more to the good society than rights. How people treat each other and themselves matters. Moreover, rights are not an end: They are a means. They are a means to liberty. The exercise of rights that intentionally result in the death of a human being is not advancing the cause of liberty; death eliminates the prospects of liberty interminably.

There is another problem with doctor-assisted suicide, namely the doctor. Doctors are trained to save lives, not end them. When we change their mission, we change who they are. Once they become mere instruments, their profession is no longer the same. Consider what has happened in nations where doctor-assisted suicide is legal.

Euthanasia has a familiar history. It always starts with putting down the terminally ill, and it never stops there. In this country, at least 70% of those who were killed by Dr. Jack Kevorkian were not dying, and some weren’t even ill. So-called mercy killing is not a slippery slope — it’s a sheet of ice.

It’s a myth that some of the sick are suffering so badly that nothing can be done to stop it. Quite frankly, because of advances in medicine those days are over. The picture of the screaming patient writhing in pain is more than a canard — it’s a cruel demagogic ploy promoted by those who have a vested ideological or financial interest in the budding euthanasia industry.

The merchants of death are not fixated on the elderly; they are quite egalitarian in their pursuits. For example, the cause of infanticide is seriously argued by Nobel Prize winners and Ivy League professors: Parents, they maintain, should have the right to kill their infants. (See page 27 for related story.) Then there are those who may be physically healthy, but are nonetheless hopelessly depressed. They also make fine candidates for an early death.

If we are truly interested in achieving the good society, we need to ask ourselves how the adoption of policies that accelerate the death of innocent human beings facilitates that end.

BILL DONOHUE, Ph.D., is the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. His new book The Catholic Advantage: Why Health, Happiness, and Heaven Await the Faithful will be released on March 3.

Legatus Summit: A call to action

Speakers at the annual event asked Legatus members to bring Jesus to a hurting world . . .

Legatus’ 2014 Summit was a rally cry for Catholic business leaders to activate their faith and change the culture for Christ. Both speakers and attendees voiced concern for the way America is slipping further away from the Christian ideals it was founded on.

The three-day annual conference, hosted by Legatus’ Orlando Chapter, drew nearly 500 Legates and guests from across the country to the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., from Feb. 6-8.

Faithful citizenship

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Speakers from former Sen. Rick Santorum to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput called on attendees to embrace the Legatus mission statement to live, learn and spread the Catholic faith. In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput exhorted Legates to exercise their rights of faithful citizenship to create a culture for Christ.

“When we do that, the Church will change because the leadership of the Church will be multiplied thousands upon thousands of times,” he said. “Rather than waiting for the bishops to act, you can act on your own — in union with the bishop, of course, and encouraged by him.”

In his Saturday evening address, former presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum challenged Legates to mobilize and save America before it’s too late. He pointed out that the vast majority of Americans are conservative Christians, but the liberal secularists who make up less than 20% of the population are highly organized, passionate and relentless in changing hearts and minds.

“America is broken,” he said. “We have to take responsibility for that. It was [on] our watch. America is broken because we’re afraid to fight. We must be committed, be all in. We must know what is on the line — souls, eternal souls. We don’t live in a time in America when we can afford to stop fighting.”

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Archbishops Wenski, Aquila and Chaput

Santorum called on Legatus members to repair the damaged culture by activating their faith. “This organization, the people in this organization, can have a profound effect, can move the needle,” he said. “You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to be all in. You can do it. I have no doubt.”

Legates also heard from Football Hall of Fame coach Lou Holtz, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, author Matthew Kelly, pro-life activist John Smeaton, CEO and business author William Thorndike, Canadian author and journalist Michael Coren, fitness pioneer Dr. Kenneth Cooper, and the hosts of EWTN’s The Catholic View for Women. Motivational speaker Ross Shafer served as the master of ceremonies.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gómez celebrated the opening Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. Orlando Bishop John Noonan celebrated the closing Mass.

Call to evangelize

David Bereit

David Bereit

Other speakers urged attendees to bring their faith boldly into a culture that has rejected Christian values. Members of a three-bishop panel — Archbishop Thomas Wenski (Miami), Samuel Aquila (Denver) and Chaput (Philadelphia) — said that kind of evangelization can only happen when we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Curtis Martin — a member of Legatus’ Denver Chapter and founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — told attendees that discovering Jesus and coming into right relationship with him is akin to the parable of the buried treasure (Mt 13:44).

“To have that kind of passion — because we discovered the treasure first — that unleashes a power in the world that will transform the world,” he said. “When we allow God’s grace to transform us through our wounds and brokenness, nothing is impossible.”

Picking up on that theme, 40 Days for Life founder David Bereit assured Legates that abortion will end.

“History books are going to document how it ended,” he said. “I believe they’re going to point back to 2014, the tipping point when people realized it was a spiritual battle and the revival that broke out as a result. They’re going to read about how business people brought their best practices into the fight.”

Stephen Ray

Stephen Ray

Engaging the culture

Summit co-chair Troy King of Legatus’ Orlando Chapter said he was thrilled not only by the speakers, but by Legatus members’ determination to engage the culture as a result of the conference.

“The highlights were seeing the passion for the faith in all the speakers, seeing the new-found fire for the New Evangelization, and seeing how much emphasis they’re placing on putting us all into action,” he said. “I can’t wait to get home and put these things into action.”

Baton Rouge Legate Sam LaVergne, attending his second Summit, said the event far exceeded his expectations.

“Rick Santorum brought the house down, but the speaker that most intrigued me was Stephen Ray,” he said. “He made us think that visiting the Holy Land is something we need to do.”

Bishop John Noonan

Bishop John Noonan

LaVergne said that Legatus has been a blessing to him and his wife Sally.

“The most important thing that Legatus has done for us — even thought my wife and I have been Catholics for a long time — is the amount of education we’ve gotten to defend our faith,” he explained. “Legatus has empowered us with a lot of information to help us live our faith.”

In his Feb. 7 homily, Archbishop Chaput gave Legates all the advice they need to do just that. “Be embraced by the Lord Jesus,” he said. “Put on the Lord Jesus, as St. Paul says. Make him all of your life. When we do that, we will transform the face of the earth.”

PATRICK NOVECOSKY is the editor-in-chief of Legatus magazine. This article contains reporting from LifeSiteNews.com.

2013 Award Winners

Defender of the Faith
Matthew Kelly, Erin Mersino

Ambassador of the Year
Larry Blanford

Officer of the Year
Scott Teepe

Courage in the Marketplace
Paul Barron, Bruce Barron, Rod & Karen Mersino

Bowie Kuhn Award for Evangelization
Curtis Martin

Cardinal John J. O’Connor Pro-Life Award
David Bereit, Reggie Littlejohn, Rita Marker, John Smeaton

Angott Award
Baton Rouge, Cincinnati

Campbell Award
Cleveland, Mobile, Las Vegas, Twin Cities, Wichita

21st century warriors

A quarter-century old, Legatus is poised to substantially impact the culture . . .

Men and women who join Legatus to grow in their Catholic faith may not think they are enlisting in an army, but those at the forefront of today’s culture wars see them that way.

The two most recent recipients of Legatus’ Defender of the Faith Award — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catholic League president Bill Donohue — have both described Legates as an army on the front lines, adding that they couldn’t function without such a force behind them.

Upon receiving his award in late 2010, Cardinal Dolan told Legatus members that he and his brother priests rely on prominent lay leaders who are unafraid to give public witness to their faith. “It’s your prayers and support that keep us strong,” he said. “If I’m able to defend the faith, it’s because there’s a great army like you with me.”

Cultural impact

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Indeed, when Thomas S. Monaghan got the idea to start Legatus within hours of meeting Blessed John Paul II in 1987, he knew he was about to harness a force for great good. By gathering what he calls the most proven leaders in the Church — Catholic CEOs — and helping them to be better Catholics, he believed he could multiply their influence.

“The impact these people have on other people and their ability to get things done and get things organized would have a tremendous benefit to the Church — and that’s the way it’s worked.”

As Legatus grew, the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who served as Legatus’ ecclesiastical advisor for more than 20 years, called the group the most effective association in the Church. “There’s just no organization out there like this,” Monaghan said. “They’re action-oriented. They’re doers, not just talkers. I’ve often said there might be classes of people more articulate or intelligent — like lawyers or professors — but as far as getting things done, they’re in a class by themselves.”

Although in founding Legatus, Monaghan wasn’t directly envisioning it as a player in the culture wars, he said the organization may well be the most effective way to deal with the battles Catholics are facing in the 21st century.

By building business leaders into better Catholics, he said, they make a difference because as faith becomes a bigger part of their lives they automatically see what needs to be done. “These are people who see a need and they fill it, and there are lots of needs in the Church.”

New movement

Those who have followed Legatus’ progress over the last quarter century agree the organization has matured to the point where it is having an impact on the culture.

“Legatus is no longer a club — it’s a movement,” said the Catholic League’s Donohue. “I have seen Legatus grow from a small group of CEO Catholics dedicated to bringing Catholic values to the workplace to a large group of distinguished Catholics committed to engaging the culture. That’s quite a transformation.”

Bill Donohue

Donohue added that in speaking to many Legatus chapters, he has been impressed by the growing commitment on the part of members to take sides in the culture wars. “Catholics have been called by the Holy Father to participate in the public square and Legatus has certainly made good on this request.”

When he was at the Legatus Summit in February, Donohue said, many members asked him how they could become more active in the Catholic League. “They want their voices to be heard on national issues even beyond what Legatus is doing.”

Deal Hudson, chairman of Catholic Advocate in Washington, D.C., said he believes Legatus reached a point of critical mass about seven years ago, readying the organization for the current situation in the United States, which includes such challenges as a federally imposed contraception mandate for all health insurance plans. Most believe it to be unconstitutional.

In his 2008 book Onward Christian Soldiers, Hudson told how Monaghan’s desire to create a national network of orthodox Catholic businesspeople and their spouses brought together Catholics of influence in places like New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Phoenix in a significant way.

“The relationships that were created both within chapters and then between individuals in different parts of the country and at national meetings really helped to contribute to the strength of the Church in our country and has really encouraged a lot of the bishops in ways that were not there prior to the founding of Legatus.”

Not only do bishops appreciate hearing the concerns Legatus members raise, Hudson added, but they know they can rely on the body of knowledge and skills Legates offer. “Business covers a broad spectrum from management to law to education to accounting and fundraising. Really, when the bishops want expertise, they know where to look.”

Monaghan agreed, adding that many bishops and cardinals have said they turn to Legatus members when they need help. “I’m not just talking financial, I’m talking organizational,” Monaghan explained. “It goes on quietly and there’s a lot of it going on.”

Engaging the culture

John Hunt, Legatus’ executive director, said part of Monaghan’s original vision for Legatus was that, as people of influence, members would live out the Second Vatican Council’s call for laypeople to be the Church in the world.

As the organization marks its 25th anniversary this month, Hunt said, it’s clear that Legates are continually being honed for this calling through studying the faith and interacting with other Catholic executives and their spouses who take their faith seriously. “They’re well grounded and they are armed with the tools to go forth.”

Hunt, who joined Legatus 19 years ago and was the charter president of the Chicago Chapter, added, “From the beginning I have been very convicted of Legatus’ value and its ability to be of service to the Church both at the parish and diocesan levels, but also on a broader scale.”

But how this service takes shape depends on each member.

Because Legatus’ mission is to help members study, live and learn the faith, Hunt said, it doesn’t lobby politicians or endorse candidates. Rather, it urges members to support their local bishops and communicate with elected representatives in their own way.

For example, after the recent contraception mandate was announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Legatus sent e-mails to members encouraging them to become aware and involved, providing them with contact information for their bishops and legislators, details about pending legislation, and information about litigation by Catholic institutions and business people.

“It’s not Legatus stipulating what to do, but encouraging them to become engaged,” Hunt said.

Catholic Advocate’s Hudson said he thinks the most effective action Legatus members can take in this particular case is to encourage and support their bishops to be as strong as possible, even to the point of civil disobedience, if necessary, in opposing the mandate.

George Weigel

George Weigel, senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, added: “The best thing individual Legatus members can do is to convince their friends, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and fellow business people of the immensity of the challenge before us — which is to defend all of civil society, including the Church. As an organization, Legatus can continue to provide its members with the kind of adult formation that makes their evangelical work in the marketplace, family and neighborhood possible and effective.”

Given that this is a time of great urgency, Hunt said, it may be time for Legatus members and all people of good will to step forward and potentially be “martyred.”

“Certainly, it can be in the form of the world seeking to attack an individual and a business he or she is responsible for because of the faith they exhibit,” Hunt explained. “The fact of the matter is we are probably in about the second inning of a nine-inning ballgame. Pressure is coming from people who want permission to do whatever crosses their minds, and the Catholic Church is standing in the doorway proposing a better way. That’s something we’re going to be under attack for. We should allow ourselves to be a buffer in defense of our faith.”

Judy Roberts is Legatus magazine’s staff writer.

Secular Sabotage

Donohue takes on all who would tear down the Church armed with humor, charm and truth . . .


Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America
FaithWords, 2009. 272 pages, $21.99 hardcover

Donohue, president of the Catholic League, contends that disaffected liberals have deliberately set out to upend Judeo-Christian traditions. He writes that they’re determined to tear down the traditional norms, values, and institutions that have been part of American society from its founding. Donohue takes no prisoners as he exposes the groups behind this all-out attack on Christian traditions. Among these are the radical atheists, the sexual libertines, the Hollywood elite with their not-so-hidden agenda and lawyers who collaborate for profit.

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