Skip navigation

Catholics brought bashing on themselves

Have Catholics gone too far in covering up pedophilia cases?

NBC News video
Did Robin Williams go too far?
June 22: While on "The Tonight Show," the actor made fun of Catholic priests. Is it ok to bash Christians but not other religions?
  Most Popular
Most viewed

Steve Adubato
Media analyst
On June 18, actor and comedian Robin Williams did his typical off-the-wall performance on “The Tonight Show,” but this time he poked fun at the Catholic Church’s handling of a much publicized and long-running pedophilia scandal within the priesthood.  It’s no secret that the Catholic Church’s hierarchy has mishandled and exacerbated the pedophilia problem from the beginning. 

Their longstanding practice of ignoring the problem; turning a deaf ear on children who are sexual assault victims of priests; transferring offending priests from parish to parish; reaching out-of-court settlements in the hundreds of millions of dollars and in return buying the silence of the victims and their families is well known. 

In front of Jay Leno and millions of others, who were assumed to be in on the joke, Robin Williams pretended to be playing some sort of game sitting on “The Tonight Show” couch in which a pedophile is hiding under a cup. 

Williams suggested that the image portrayed the Church’s attitude in dealing with “pedophile” priests.  “Here we go. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Find the priest, find the pedophile. Here you go right now. Move ‘em around, move ‘em around. Oh, you found the pedophile,”  Williams said.

This was clearly a reference to the Church’s moving of sexual predator priests to unassuming parishes and worst of all, to innocent children who wound up being victims to these sick and depraved men with collars. 

Then Robin Williams put his hand over his groin and said, “You have to realize that if you are a Catholic priest, you have retired this. That’s it— no more sex. But they are going to put you in a small, dark box (a reference to the confessional) and people are going to tell you the nastiest sexual stuff they have done.” 

Williams went on to talk about the absurdity of demanding celibacy among priests, which many others have argued exacerbated the problem within the priesthood.

In response to the Robin Williams bit, many Catholics, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, said it was just another example of Catholic bashing in the media and by Hollywood types that also represented a double standard as to how Catholics are treated compared to other religious groups.


Sponsored links

Resource guide