Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, ripped The Philadelphia Inquirer today for not printing a $58,000 ad that would have called attention to the local district attorney's prosecution of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Donohue also ripped the Inky's news coverage.
"There are two scandals going on in Philadelphia, and both involve injustices done to the Catholic Church," Donohue said. "One is legal, and the other is journalistic."
"The legal scandal involves the prosecution of three Catholic priests, and one Catholic layman, in a case so incredible that it would be turned down as too fictional a script for a TV crime show," Donohue wrote. "The other involves the Philadelphia Inquirer's decision to keep the public in the dark about this case."
In a press release posted on the league's site, Donohue said the Inky refused to tell him why they decided not to run the ad.
"The statement that I wrote was submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 14, 2013; it was to run as a two-page ad on May 20," Donohue wrote. "On May 15, were were told that a decision was made by those 'at the top' not to run it; when we asked for an explanation, we were told there would be none."
"By turning down the ad, the newspaper forfeited $58,000, not an insignificant sum, especially for a paper that filed for bankruptcy in 2009," Donohue wrote. "It suggests that those 'at the top' would rather forego the money before ever disseminating a defense about the way three priests, and one Catholic layman, were treated in court."
A spokesperson for the newspaper could not be reached.
"One of the reasons why these Catholic men were treated so unjustly is the failure of the Philadelphia media, led by the Inquirer, to raise serious questions about what happened," Donohue wrote.
Last week, William K. Marimow, editor of the Inquirer, did not respond to a request for comment.
Donohue said the Inky hadn't heard the last of the Catholic League, or the controversy over the district attorney's prosecution of the archdiocese.
"The Inquirer can stop us from running this statement as an ad in its newspaper, but it cannot stop us from blanketing the print and electronic media in Philadelphia and Harrisburg," Donohue said. "Nor can it stop us from getting it into the hands of every parish in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. We are also going national with this story."
The headline of the proposed ad was, "Four Catholic Men Framed." In the text of the two-page ad, Donohue called the district attorney's prosecution of the church "one of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice ever witnessed."
In the ad, Donohue wrote that "three Catholic priests, and one Catholic layman, have been railroaded by an ambitious D.A. That the media have failed to report fully and accurately on this story is also a disgrace."
Donohue also says in the ad that he has called for a state investigation of the district attorney's office:
“Billy Doe” says it was the D.A.’s office that secured a civil attorney for him to sue the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If so, it raises serious questions about an attorney referenced by the D.A.’s office who stands to make millions if his client prevails. I have asked the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to launch an investigation.