Add me to the list of Los Angeles-area Catholics who are not pleased about the decision of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony to instruct priests to defy a proposed federal law designed to target illegal immigration. (The law needs to be passed by Congress. For more on this, read here. The law itself is not the issue of this post.) Needless to say, many disagree with the Cardinal's instruction to his priests to break the law.
But disagreement can easily transform into cheap, personal attacks when the issue involves the Catholic Church. Witness morning talk-show host Doug McIntyre on KABC in Los Angeles this morning. In an angry tirade against Mahony's public statements, McIntryre pulled out the priest molestation scandal and proceeded to call His Eminence "a scumbag." In reading his name "Roger M. Mahoney," McIntyre formulated that his middle name was not Michael, but that "the M stands for molester." (The Cardinal has never been charged by law enforcement for anything like this.) No deference was made to the fact that it was Ash Wednesday, the first day of the holy season of Lent.
Does every discussion or disagreement involving the Catholic Church have to resort to the cheap ploy of dragging in the molestation scandal? At what point does this ploy cross the line into simple anti-Catholic bigotry or flat-out hatred of the Catholic Church?