Anti-Rights Profile: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights


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Neither Religion Nor Civil

This paper is taken from Opposition Notes: An investigative series on those who oppose women’s rights and reproductive health, by Catholics for a Free Choice

Most American Catholics would look at you blankly if you asked them to enumerate the number of times in their lives they had experienced anti- Catholic sentiment. But Bill Donohue lives in another America—one where anti- Catholicism is alive and well and spreading like wildfire. It is the America of the Catholic League, a small, reactionary, conservative Catholic organization that has practiced the art of media manipulation to claim majority status for what is a very minority worldview.

In Donohue’s own words, the Catholic League specializes in “public embarrassment of public figures who have earned our wrath.”1 In addition to embarrassment, the organization uses intimidation, bullying and distortion to suppress critics of the Catholic church, the Vatican, and the church’s many controversial policies. It is an ally of the radical religious right, helping to promote its anti-reproductive rights, anti-gay rights, pro- censorship agenda by labeling progressive Catholics as “anti-Catholic” and using its “Catholic” nomenclature to try and undermine support for the Democratic Party among religious voters.

Why does the Catholic League exist? What are its tactics? And who are its allies?

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