When the media is seeking a voice to blast away at the Catholic Church over the sex abuse issue, one reliable source is often Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P., a Dominican priest and canon lawyer. What the media will never tell you, however, is that Doyle has a storied history of contempt for the Church and a penchant to misrepresent the faith.
Fr. Doyle's desire to seek justice and compassion for innocent victims of Catholic clergy abuse is to be commended, and Catholics can learn much from his seemingly unrestrained fervor to provide healing. However, Doyle's open disdain for the Catholic Church is so exaggerated and over the top, one cannot help but wonder why he still remains a Catholic priest.
A troubling record
Almost without exception, journalists never mention Doyle's very lengthy record of dissent and animosity against the Catholic Church. In the past Doyle:
- has essentially conceded that he is really not even Catholic by declaring that while he is "still legally a priest," he freely acknowledged that he has "nothing to do with the Catholic Church," he has "nothing to do with the clerical life," he is "not associated with the Church in any way," he operates on his own, and his beliefs are "about as far away from the Vatican as you can get";
- has dismissed Catholic thought as "childish, unrealistic beliefs" and "magical thinking";
- has likened the Catholic Church to the Nazi party by writing "the [Catholic] hierarchy is about the most corrupt political entity on the globe. At least with the Nazis you knew what you were dealing with";
- has falsely claimed that the Catholic Church was established by Constantine;
- has been banned from acting as a canon lawyer in the Archdiocese of St. Louis for committing serious canonical crimes;
- has been formally reprimanded as a military chaplain after he was arrested for drunk driving;
- has been removed as a military chaplain because he contradicted his archbishop regarding the Mass;
- has once sought an endorsement from the "Holy Orthodox Catholic Church," unrelated to Rome, as a way to keep his military job, salary, and benefits.
- has demeaned priestly vestments as "dresses";
- has actively participated in the error-laden, anti-Catholic film, Deliver Us From Evil;
- has misrepresented Catholicism, either intentionally or unintentionally, on numerous important issues, including the history of the Church, the role of the laity, the training of seminarians, and the Church’s requirement of celibacy;
- has wildly claimed in a 2012 commentary that "Nothing has changed since 1985" in the Church's handling of abuse cases;
- has stated in a 2010 television interview that the Catholic Church "ought to sell the Vatican to the Mormons or to Disney or something, and go out and start all over again";
- has falsely claimed to a worldwide audience that a 1962 Vatican document was "an explicit written policy to cover up child sexual abuse by the clergy" (read the truth here); and
- has apparently denied the historicity and doctrine of the Real Presence of the Eucharist by referring to it merely as a "symbol".
"With friends like these …"
Doyle has also been a close cohort and ally of the anti-Catholic group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), often appearing as a speaker at their annual conferences. In July 2007, the group even awarded Doyle its "Red Badge of Courage" award.
More recently, Doyle has submitted an affidavit (pdf) (scroll down) as an expert witness for the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Vatican. In other words, Doyle is presumably getting paid in supporting an effort by a plaintiff to collect millions of dollars from his very own employer.
A look at Doyle's Curriculum Vitae (pdf) reveals his political leanings and may explain his interest in attacking the Church over decades-old abuse claims. His academic studies uncover a devout interest in Marxist-Leninist thought, as his Masters' dissertations include the titles, "Organized Religion in Marxist-Leninist Philosophy," "Vladimir Lenin's Theory of Social Revolution," and "Liberation Theology in the Context of Social Needs in South America."
Doyle also authored a book, Comrades in Revolution: Christian-Marxist Dialogue, in which Doyle shows influence from Communist ideas in arguing for a "from the bottom" movement against "institutionalized" Christianity.
Again, Catholics and non-Catholics alike can admire Doyle's zeal to support badly needed healing for victims of atrocious abuse committed by clergy. However, the media should finally come clean and reveal that Fr. Doyle most certainly does not deliver a reliable representation of the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church abuse narrative. As an angry leftist and professional dissident, Doyle is hardly the unbiased "expert" that the media purports him to be.