The Catholic League denied there was an ongoing crisis over child sex abuse allegations in a Pennsylvania grand jury report, and the social media message was met with disgust and scorn.
'There are many vicious critics of the Catholic Church...
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has been a vehement defender of the church's theology and agenda, but their tweet denying the crisis from the sexual abuse report was not greeted warmly.
"There is no on-going crisis—it's a total myth," the tweet read.
"In fact, there is no institution," it claimed, "private or public, that has less of a problem with the sexual abuse of minors today than the Catholic Church."
The account linked to a counterargument from Catholic League President Bill Donahue.
Donahue argued that the mainstream media was presenting the findings from the grand jury as fact when they were investigatory and not conclusive.
"Importantly, in almost all cases," Donahue argued, "the accused named in the report was never afforded the right to rebut the charges. That is because the report was investigative, not evidentiary, though the report's summary suggests that it is authoritative. It manifestly is not."
Donahue goes on to claim that the rate of substantiated abuse in the Catholic church is .005 percent, or one of every 200 Catholic clergymen. In another section, he accuses the media of covering the role of homosexual clergymen in the abuses, in favor of blaming the church.
"Here is what's going on," he concludes. "There are many vicious critics of the Catholic Church who would like to weaken its moral authority, and will seize on any problem it has to discredit its voice. Why? They hate its teachings on sexuality, marriage, and the family."
'Ignorant, tone-deaf, arrogant'
The summation was met with scorn from many on social media.
"Imagine. Imagine being this blind. Oh my God have mercy," responded Esquire editor Dave Holmes.
"Bill Donahue's soul just leaked out of his body," replied Commentary editor John Podhoretz.
"Did the Catholic League just call Fake News on thousands of molestations?" asked Doug Stafford, the chief strategist for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
"Lowlife," he added.
"One of the most shameful, ignorant, tone-deaf, arrogant tweets I've ever seen," said Jim Lokay of the Fox News' local affiliate in Washington, D.C. "One child abused is one child too many. I'd love to see the @CatholicLeague's Bill Donohue say, to the face any of the victims, the cover-up of the crimes perpetrated against them was 'a total myth.'"
'The pope is on their side'
The Vatican responded to the report Thursday in a much less defensive statement than that of the Catholic League.
“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible,” the Vatican statement read. “Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”
“Victims should know that the pope is on their side,” the statement added.