Catholic League’s Donohue Makes Big Claim: Not All Pedophilia Is Abusive

Bill Donohue’s Catholic League has reacted to the sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church by blaming the scandal on homosexuality and attacking newspapers like the New York Times for covering the story. Last month, the organization ran an ad criticizing the paper for failing to recognize the “pedophilia crisis” is a “homosexual crisis” and Donohue has appeared on CNN to argue that “it’s not a pedophilia” because “most of the victims were post pubescent,” as old as 12 or 13 years of age.

Today, Donohue released another statement attacking the New York Times for claiming that a man who returned to his abuser was, in fact, abused. Titled “Not All Gay Sex Is Abusive,” the release claims that a child who returns to his molester was not “sexually abused”:

If a 17-year old guy has sex with an older guy for twenty years, and continues to have sex with him at the age of 38 — while he is married with children — is there anyone who would believe his claim that he was sexually abused? The answer is yes: the New York Times would. That’s exactly what happened in the case described in today’s newspaper involving a homosexual affair between Chilean priest Fr. Fernando Karadima, now 79, and Dr. James Hamilton, now 44. […]

According to the Times, it all started with a kiss. Let me be very clear about this: if some guy tried to kiss me when I was 17, I would have flattened him. I most certainly would not go on a retreat with the so-called abuser, unless, of course, I liked it. Indeed, Hamilton liked it so much he went back for more — 20 years more. Even after he got married, he couldn’t resist going back for more.

In reality, victims of abuse often return to their abuser for a variety of reasons including fear, guilt, shame, or low self-esteem. Many victims of sexual abuse develop a form of The Stockholm Syndrome — — a condition in which a victim (usually a hostage) begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to their captor/abuser to minimize the threat to their lives.


As one psychologist explained it, “When abused by a person close to them, victims struggle to integrate the fundamental human task of attachment with the instinctive recoiling from pain through withdrawal or shutdown, which causes huge emotional conflict.” “It appears that the self-preservative instinct (here comes nature again throwing a curve ball) to attach is reactivated by starting to view the perpetrator as bad and hurtful and the more people are able to loosen their attachment to the perpetrator, they have intense feelings of loss, isolation, abandonment, or even impending death.”

Ironically, in his effort to minimize the scandal and criticize the Times, Dononhue has made, what for him must be a major concession: not all gay sex is bad.