Media Watch

Pat Robertson Hosts Anti-Catholic ‘Abuse Expert’

CATHOLIC LEAGUE, March 3 — Televangelist Pat Robertson on the March 3 episode of “The 700 Club” included a segment criticizing the Catholic Church's teaching on priestly celibacy, according to the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.

The show focused on the recent bishops-sponsored reports on clerical abuse and included an appearance by A.W. Richard Sipe, a self-styled expert on the subject.

Catholic League president William Donohue complained about the show: “With great delight did the embittered ex-priest, Richard Sipe, inform his new friend Pat Robertson that the Catholic Church was more corrupt today than at any time since the Reformation. … According to Sipe, only 10% of priests are celibate. How did he arrive at this figure?

“Sipe … defines violations of celibacy to include ‘sexual thoughts and desires.’ The wonder is why there are as many as 10% of priests who have never experienced such desires. And what is going to happen to the 90% who are guilty? They're going straight to hell: ‘You see,’ Sipe says, ‘one thing about the Catholic teaching is that every sexual thought, desire or action is mortally sinful. Every action, no matter how small, no matter how nuanced, will send a person directly to hell.’

“This suggests either profound ignorance of Catholicism or calculated malice. By the way, Robertson's gullibility on this matter is truly revealing.”

Catholic Group Plugs Contraception Loophole

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 5 — Due to an oversight, Denver Catholic Charities was for a time providing contraceptive coverage in its employee insurance policy — in violation of Church law.

But the mistake has been corrected, the Associated Press reported.

A court in California recently ordered Catholic Charities to provide for insurance coverage of contraception, hindering the local Church's freedom to follow her own solemn ethical teachings on the matter. In effect, it forces Church charities either to cover contraceptives and abortifacients or refuse all prescription coverage to their workers.

While there is no such law in Colorado, the California case brought the question to the attention of Catholic employers, causing the local Catholic Charities to discover its mistake.

“This is very embarrassing,” said James Mauck of Denver Catholic Charities.

Archdiocesan spokesman Sergio Gutierrez admitted he was “rather astonished” to learn of the mistake.

Girl Scout Boycott Works

SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE, March 9 — A Texas pro-life group launched a boycott of Girl Scout cookies and other activities in response to a summer sex-education conference for girls that a local scout troop co-sponsored with Planned Parenthood.

The Waco, Texas, scout chapter also named a Planned Parenthood executive a Girl Scout “Woman of Distinction.” That was the last straw for Professor John Pisciotta, co-director of Pro-Life Waco, who decided to launch the boycott, as he explained on NBC's “Today Show.”

The gesture had its intended effect, Pisciotta reported, saying that the local Council of Girl Scouts had agreed to cut all ties with Planned Parenthood. On a national level, there remain organizational ties between the groups, some pro-lifers have complained, since Planned Parenthood targets the scouts as a partner in promoting sex education.