Another day, another opportunity for Bill Donohue to blame some unsuspecting soul for all of the ills affecting the Catholic Church.

This week's pinata is Madonna, the nemesis of all that is wholesome, proper and sacred since 1984 (to hear Bill and his Catholic League of one tell it).

Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday and doubtless also in time to ride her resurgent ubiquity all the way toward cultural relevance, Donohue has warned the Material Girl that she better 'behave' during her widely anticipated half time set today or she'll risk the wrath of himself and his minion.

Really, how dare the Material Girl even think of desecrating the sanctity of an American football match.

In one sense of course Donohue performs a rather useful task for the Catholic Church; he can always be relied upon to say something so provocative he momentarily distracts the public's attention away from the international abuse scandals that are consuming it.

Turning the public's focus away from literally thousands of abusive priests and nuns around the globe to one unmarried but otherwise rather successful mother is a neat trick, isn't it?

But Donohue has a hair-trigger sense of moral outrage that is only ever set off by attacks from without, he gives a major pass to those attacking the church from within.

In fact, in the Irish context, and after the publication of the harrowing state commissioned Ryan report into abuse there, Donohue claimed the Irish were really just in the grip of mass 'hysteria.' But listening to him speak, after a minute you begin to wonder if he's not in the grip of hysteria himself.

'I got slapped by nuns all the time when I was growing up on Long Island,' Donohue revealed, citing the age old And-It-Never-Did-Me-Any-Harm defense. 'I don't regard myself as emotionally abused,' he continued.

Everyone was doing it. I'm grand. What's the problem here folks?

'I think a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church,' he concluded.

When debates are this heated, and when the harm they occasion is so deep and so enduring, perhaps we can understand why Donohue really wants to blame Madonna for all the ills overrunning the organization he has volunteered to defend.

But we shouldn't let him make an example of her if it means we are being hoodwinked.

Making a holy show of the most famous woman in the world only adds to her celebrity, but it does nothing to address or reconcile the misguided actions of the institution he defends.


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