The Catholic League is drawing a line in the sand on sexual exploitation. The organization that aims to defend “the rights of Catholics—lay and clergy alike—to participate in public life without defamation or discrimination” (that is to say: not be investigated for rampant sexual abuse) has bravely come out to say that it will not serve Budweiser at its fiftieth-anniversary dinner.
The groundbreaking news came in a tweet for which the organization ended up having to hide the replies just as vigorously as the Catholic Church has covered up allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members. In what has become one of 2023’s most inane far-right culture wars, the Catholic League joins the most out-of-touch (and bearded) entities in America in whipping up outrage against Bud Light for having run a single ad that featured a transgender woman.
Outrage toward the ad stems from the rampant transphobia embodied by a very loud, very radical minority of society that looks to foment anti-trans anger whenever a chance arises. Factually untrue and simply discriminatory notions of some phantasmic “trans agenda” aiming to exploit children serves as the vessel for that bigotry.
Most of the people who’ve gone to performative lengths to own Budweiser on social media have merely shot weird videos of themselves pouring cans of beer they bought down the drain. The Catholic League has taken the bold boycott a step further by refusing to serve the beverage at a party commemorating the legacy of such a prominent institution.
After all, who better to stake moral claims on child exploitation than an organization dedicated to defending Catholic clergy members from “defamation”? The League’s own website boasts of particular members who speak praises on the organization’s work.
There’s the late Benedict Groeschel, who once said that “[priests accused of sexual abuse] are among the most penitent people I have met in my life. When you pick up the media, you don’t hear about the penitence,” and that “a lot of the cases, the youngster—14, 16, 18—is the seducer,” which is certainly a take. Then there’s Archbishop Sean Patrick O’Malley, whose Catholic Charities of Boston organization ended its adoption services after state law required that gay people be allowed to adopt children. And who can forget Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, who allegedly moved nearly $57 million into a trust fund that would keep the money away from victims of clergy sexual abuse demanding compensation?
The Catholic League’s own president, Bill Donohue, once said that “there is no ongoing crisis—it’s a total myth,” with regard to the rampant child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. “In fact, there is no institution, private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church.” He said this while in the same breath adding that he figured that “only” … “maybe half” of some 300 accused priests were guilty.
Also on Monday, ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was charged with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old more than 45 years ago; McCarrick had been previously found to have sexually molested adults and children. Two weeks ago, the Maryland attorney general released a 463-page investigation detailing revelations of Baltimore Catholic Clergy members abusing hundreds of children and teenagers.