Catholic League on ban against clergy during NYC 9/11 ceremony

From The Catholic League:


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the decision by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban the clergy from speaking at the 9/11 ceremony next month:

After the Twin Towers were leveled on 9/11 ten years ago, two steel beams in the shape of a cross were found; they were subsequently moved to St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. Last month, when it was announced that the World Trade Center cross was being moved to its new home at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, American Atheists sued on church-state grounds to stop it.

Almost everyone, including non-believers, were critical of this mean-spirited gambit by American Atheists. Among those who could not summon the courage to condemn it was Mayor Bloomberg; without criticizing these activists on moral grounds, he simply affirmed their constitutional right to sue. But when it comes to granting the clergy their constitutional right to freedom of speech on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, he does not equivocate: he simply elects to ban them.

The reason given for this grand act of censorship is spurious: Bloomberg’s office says the focus should be on the families who lost their loved ones. According to this logic, when the clergy are invited to speak at public events, or to open ceremonies with an invocation, they are detracting—not adding—to the overall theme. There is little doubt that if the families were asked about the propriety of allowing the clergy to speak, most would gladly say yes.

Mayor Bloomberg should reverse his decision, allowing a priest, minister, rabbi and imam to make a short statement. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, thus the rationale for the presence of the first three clergymen; the inclusion of an imam—to the exclusion of the clergy of other religions—can be justified on the basis of a goodwill gesture to the Muslim community. Aside from kooks, is there anyone who would object to this proposal?

Contact Bloomberg’s Press Secretary, Stu Loeser:

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  1. Priests were first responders, too. In fact, didn’t the first death certificate out of the Twin Towers belong to Fr. Mychal Judge, the priest who ran in to attend to the fallen firefighters?

  2. Denita says:

    When I heard this I got angry, I still am. It seems everyone has rights but Christians in NY here lately.

  3. jbosco88 says:

    This will open an entire can of worms for “islamification” of the West. When will the Bishops say something? This is kind of a “big deal” for Americans!

    Prayers offered for the families and for Bloomberg, who should know better.

  4. Andy Lucy says:

    Fr Judge was one of the 343 brother firefighters who answered their last alarm that day. He was a FDNY chaplain, and was the first recorded victim on 9/11/2001. He responded with the first box alarm assignment, ministering to the fallen and bouying the spirits of the injured and rescuers. As the South Tower fell, scattering debris all over the area, Chaplain Judge was heard to pray, “Jesus, please end this right now! God, please end this!” He was then killed by falling debris. His battered leather helmet, recovered from the debris, was presented to Pope John Paul II.

    Bloomberg is also forbidding FDNY/EMS from attending the ceremony, stating that it is for those who lost family members. Well, FDNY lost 343 brothers that day. Bloomberg is a real piece of work. Odd how FDNY/EMS isn’t invited 10 years later, but they were the first to get their invite 10 years ago when the bells rang in their houses.

  5. JKnott says:

    Everything just keeps getting worse.
    This is NIOT the America that I knew growing up.
    But, “The Lion of the Tibe of Juda, the Root of Jessie has conquered.”

  6. chloesmom says:

    This is so wrong on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start. The commenters above express my thoughts precisely, but I will add my 2 cents (CDN): it is idiotic, bone-headed, and a slap in the face to all the victims, as well as all those who worked to remove their remains. The Mayor is totally wrong – totally… I just don’t understand this at all.

  7. Margaret says:

    Archbishop Dolan, on the other hand, is celebrating two special Masses that day to mark the anniversary, as well as special services with the fire and police during the week leading up to it.,6012

  8. PostCatholic says:

    “When I heard this I got angry, I still am. It seems everyone has rights but Christians in NY here lately.”

    It’s not just the Christian clergy that isn’t invited to speak. Between 400 and 500 Jews died in the WTC attack.

  9. Patti Day says:

    I hope the churches and temples of NYC are filled to overflowing on 9/11.

  10. chcrix says:

    May I suggest that instead of criticizing the ridiculous Bloomberg that the various and sundry religious in the New York area simply boycott the official ceremony and encourage others to do likewise. Holding events elsewhere at the same time would be the most appropriate course of action.

  11. Trad Tom says:

    Thank you, PostCatholic. We can always count on you!

  12. wanda says:

    If anyone is interested, Family Resarch Council has an email campaign going. There is an action alert out to send a message to Mr. Bloomberg asking him to include clergy in the ceremonies. You should be able to find the ‘take action’ link on their homepage.

  13. EXCHIEF says:

    If police, frie, and ems personnel along with clergy showed up in spire of Bloomburg who do you think would stop them? Just asking. As a retired cop i don;t advocate civil disobedience but I seriously doubt if that would qualify. It is a public event on public property. The right to peacefully assemble would allow them to attend. I think it is time that we assert ourselves against Dictators like Obama and wanna be dictators like Bloomburg.

  14. Clinton says:

    We see that for the likes of Mayor Bloomberg, proper commemoration of 9-11 needn’t have
    a religious dimension or acknowledge the self-sacrifice of hundreds of first responders.
    There is no room for these people. There is no time for prayer in the ceremony.

    Yet there will be representatives from every MSM outlet and any number of photographers
    there to capture the preening of the mayor and his ilk. If Bloomberg’s office truly had its
    priorities in line, wouldn’t they have cut down the size of the press pool to make room for
    a few clergy and first responders? Does the mayor fear having to share the limelight?

    Ten years ago, if you had told me that any mayor of New York City would actually tell clergy
    and first responders that their presence at an anniversary ceremony would be unwanted and
    inappropriate, I would not have believed it. That city is in far worse shape now than it was
    the day those towers fell.

  15. Ellen says:

    If hurricane Irene is as bad as they say she might be, the whole ceremony might have to be cancelled.

  16. JimmyA says:

    Email duly sent to Bloomberg’s PR guy from me in London. The world is watching and this made my blood boil. And prayers for all clergy who were involved on that dreadful day.

  17. Brooklyn says:

    Ellen, you are exactly right. Maybe Irene is the Divine answer to Mayor Bloomberg. First Responders are also not being allowed at the ceremonies because they say there is not enough room. I think the truth is that most of the First Responders have no use for the Democratic party, and Obama probably doesn’t want them there. When Obama came here after Bin Laden was killed, only those who support Obama were invited.

    This whole thing is completely politicized. It is politicians trying to score points off of the victims killed on that day. I intend on staying as far away from it as I can. It is disgusting beyond words.

  18. Kerry says:

    My note to Emperor Bloomberg’s footpad:

    Subject: The Mayor: “A knave, a fool, and a prating coxcomb”
    Good morning, I hope you have wit enough to know those are slurs. Please pack them in dead fish and send them to the mayor, and add extra salt, Crisco and lard, and tell him from me where he may place it. Were I feeling less charitable I’d suggest he consider rinsing his mouth out with a certain Beatle’s album; I will make no such suggestion here. Ask His-Disgrace-ness if, deciding who may and may not speak, (or even show up…?) at the Memorials, he considered if just maybe, possibly, perhaps, kinda-sorta there may be family members with a brother-in-law who is a Priest, a nephew who is a Minister or a great uncle a Rabbi, that he is spitting on them by deciding he knows who may either appear or speak, in order to “focus on the families”?

    By the way, how’s it goin’ on the rebuild project? I would think after ten years the graft, kickbacks and payola would have been taken care of, and at least some men with shovels would be standing around on break.
    A plague on all his pomp!!

    (Father Z & readers: Please forgive what I suspect is more cutting and sarcastic than usually appears at this site. This excreta mayorial, spp. insectus insipidous Bloombergia infuriates me. And I made edits from the original.)

  19. Centristian says:

    I suppose I’m somewhat unclear on what is actually happening here. Are clergy–any clergy–actually being banned from attending this ceremony, or is it simply a matter of not including clergymen in the program (of not inviting clergymen to speak at the event)? If the latter, I’m not sure how that violates the constitutional right of the clergy to freedom of speech, as Bill Donohue asserts. Who has a constitutional right to be invited to speak at an event?

    Let me just state for the record that I personally think it would be suitable to invite a clergyman to offer an invocation and a benediction; to do so has been a traditional aspect of public memorials and commemorative ceremonies in America. But I think Bill Donohue goes overboard in his assertions that this is a violation of anybody’s constitutional rights, and to decide not to invite a clergyman to speak at a public event does not constitute “censorship”.

    “Mayor Bloomberg should reverse his decision, allowing a priest, minister, rabbi and imam to make a short statement.”

    How about a shaman? If the mayor did reverse his decision and invite a priest…of the Serbian Orthodox Church, not the Catholic Church (along with the minister of some denomination or other to the exclusion of the rest and the rabbi of some branch of Judaism or other to the exclusion of the rest)…would that be okay with Bill Donohue?

    We live in a multicultural secular nation, so this isn’t a tremendous shock to me. And I’m not sure what the Catholic League is doing bewailing the absence of religious pluralism at this event. I’m afraid I just don’t get that.

  20. momravet says:

    Just show up – this is still a free country, sort of. I keep wondering why Mayor Bloomberg is catering to the Muslim element, then remember that the old Ottoman empire did hire mercenaries who did quite well for themselves. Maybe the Mayor is trying to get in on the ground floor of the new, Muslim Brotherhood empire.

    May God have mercy on all the martyrs who will be made today.

  21. JeanneFrancoise says:

    I live in South Africa and have experienced Fascism and lived through two revolutions. I am convinced that you do not have democracy in America. You have a very strange government. Same sex marriage, anti-Catholicism, strange laws, lack of freedom of expression……and so on! That cannot in any way be associated with democratic freedom and expression.
    We also have same sex marriage here as there is a tendency to copy anything American.

    America needs a lot of prayer and so do we.


  22. HyacinthClare says:

    I vote for NOT showing up, if there were a vote. If I were a member of a family who lost someone, I’d vote for going to my church, synagogue or mosque and praying with those who know me and love me, not somebody trying to use me and telling God not to show up. Ellen’s excellent point might just be God’s response to his non-invitation.

  23. Centristian says:

    @Hyacinth Clare:

    “Ellen’s excellent point might just be God’s response to his non-invitation.”

    God’s non-invitation? Allow me to very respectfully ask you a question: if the mayor had invited clergy to speak, and those clergy he invited were, say, an Anglican priest, a female Unitarian Universalist minister, a reconstructionist Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim imam (to satisfy Bill Donohue’s “priest, minister, rabbi, imam” demand)–which of those clerics would you say speaks for and represents God? What if he had just invited Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor”? Would that have counted as an invitation to God?

    I think we need to think about what we’re actually saying here before we start hanging Mayor Bloomberg in effigy over this.

  24. Dr. Eric says:

    I think this is a terrible idea by Mayor Bloomberg, and it shows the lack of respect for the religious people of NYC. But, I can see the logic here, he’s worried that having an Imam stand up and pray may really irritate some of the New Yorkers who may riot. He can’t just have a minister or a priest, a minister, and a rabbi say some prayers, there are too many Muslims in NYC to ignore them and there were not a few Muslim deaths in the WTC attack.

  25. Brooklyn says:

    I would love to see the people at these ceremonies defy our atheistic mayor and just start saying The Lord’s Prayer. It would be a beautiful moment.

  26. Brad says:

    Mayor Bloomberg: come back to the God of your fathers, Who must be proclaimed.

    “I will bless those who bless you.”

  27. AvantiBev says:

    “the inclusion of an imam—to the exclusion of the clergy of other religions—can be justified on the basis of a goodwill gesture to the Muslim community. Aside from kooks, is there anyone who would object to this proposal?”
    Well, Mr. Donohue, as usual you don’t speak for me. Proud to be a ROMAN Catholic kook not a Celtic druid dhimmi. When the imam speaks the reaction from me would be to recite OUT LOUD not soto voce the Apostles Creed and Lord’s Prayer preferably in the Latin language of my ancestors.

    I don’t have goodwill gestures for false prophet mohammed or for leaving people, especially the women, mired in that cult. And I am tired of hearing Islam called an Abrahamic religion. It is a socio-political ideology which one can trace to a visit by Satan masquerading as “Gabriel” to an unbalanced, caravan driver while he slept/meditated in an Arabian cave. That is its supernatural underpinning and I give it, and the dhimmis who are afraid of offending it, no respect.

    By the way, go to and read the interview with an imam who will tell you what the “Arab Spring” holds for our Coptic Christians in Egypt once the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power. Charming. While Islam roams, somewhere in Asia, Africa, the Pacific or the Middle East someone is having a 9/11 each day served up by this vile ideology.

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