Catholic League Head: Mayor Kenney Is “Un-American”

“The mayor is demonstrably un-American in misusing his public office to conduct his personal war on the Catholic Church,” Bill Donohue wrote.

Bill Donohue, Jim Kenney

Catholic League head Bill Donohue and Mayor Jim Kenney

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is a group dedicated to “defending the right of the Church to promote its teachings with as much verve as any other institution in society.” It was founded by a Jesuit priest, but is led by a layman. Since 1993, Bill Donohue has been the Catholic League’s president. He frequently issues bombastic press releases about Catholicism and the public.

You know what’s coming. Yesterday, Mayor Jim Kenney called Philly Archbishop Charles Chaput’s directive to deny communion to gay, divorced and unwed couples “un-Christian.”

Today, Donohue and the Catholic league struck back. “James Kenney was elected mayor of Philadelphia,” Donohue wrote in a release. “He seems to think that gives him the authority, or qualifications, to run the Catholic Church in his city. It does not.”

Donohue continues:

Yesterday, Kenney ripped Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput as “not Christian.” The archbishop’s offense? He issued pastoral guidelines reiterating Catholic teaching on marriage, family, and reception of the Eucharist. There is nothing new in Chaput’s document. It merely calls—as the Church always has—for clergy to provide pastoral care for those living in relationships outside its teachings, while upholding the integrity of the sacraments. “Anything less,” Chaput correctly observed, “misleads people about the nature of the Eucharist and the Church.”

Kenney disagrees. Fine. But it is an abuse of his office to use his platform as mayor to publicly intrude on what is clearly an internal Church matter. And it is far from the first time he has used his position as a government official to attack the Catholic Church.

Donohue then cites Philadelphia magazine editor Patrick Kerkstra’s 2015 article “Jim Kenney’s Long War with the Archdiocese.”

“And he criticized the archdiocese for closing 49 Catholic schools—even though in recent years he has become a vocal opponent of school vouchers, abandoning his past support of a voucher program that may have helped keep those schools open,” Donohue writes. “Kenney labels Archbishop Chaput un-Christian for upholding Catholic teaching. The mayor is demonstrably un-American in misusing his public office to conduct his personal war on the Catholic Church.”

I don’t know if this is as good as Donohue’s protests against the Kevin Smith movie Dogma in the 1990s or his assault on President George W. Bush’s holiday cards, but it’s up there.

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