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Here’s an idea. When a grand jury releases a report that runs more than 1,300 pages covering literally hundreds of examples of Catholic Church leaders sexually abusing children, don’t rush to discredit it. It’s not going to end well.

But the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue has never been someone who has good ideas, so he rushed out an 11-page report “debunking” what we’ve come to learn about the horrors in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

You can read it for yourself. I’m not going to respond to every absurd defense of the Church. Let me just point out a couple of ways Donohue tries to parse the grand jury report to seem less disturbing than it really is.

Myth: The priests “raped” their victims.

Fact: This is an obscene lie. Most of the alleged victims were not raped: they were groped or otherwise abused, but not penetrated, which is what the word “rape” means.

Oh. The priests just groped underage boys and girls. Why is everyone so angry about that?! (As one online commenter suggested, “No penetration” is the new “No collusion.”

Besides dismissing what would still be a very real problem, it’s not even true! Many of the priests penetrated their victims. That’s a fact. They used their penises. They used their fingers. They even used physical objects.

Myth: The abusive priests were pedophiles.

Anyone who actually reads the report knows it is a lie. Most were postpubescent. This doesn’t make the molestation okay — the guilty should be imprisoned — but it is wrong to give the impression that we are talking about 5-year-olds when more typically they were 15-year-olds.

This is a new low bar for Catholic Church defenders. The priests were raping tweens, not toddlers, so back off!

Donohue also claims “most of the problem is gay-driven” (that’s not how being gay works) and whines about how news outlets highlighted “the minority of cases where females were allegedly abused” (as if we should ignore those because there aren’t as many).

It’s not just Donohue. Many Church defenders are looking for any reason to ignore this bombshell report. But because those reasons are elusive, they’re going after the most technical of details or blaming anyone but Church leaders for what happened. Their ignorance of the root problems is why this abuse goes on. It won’t stop until we have a full picture of the crimes, and this report is the closest we’ve even gotten to seeing how rotten the entire system is.

A forest fire is raging, but Donohue wants us to pay attention to the twig that’s not yet in flames. You’re better off reading the details of what the grand jury found, horrifying as they may be.

Be sure to thank Donohue when you get a chance. He’s doing more to push people away from the Catholic Church than prominent atheists ever could.

(Thanks to John for the link)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.