If you open up the print edition of the New York Times this week, you should be seeing this full-page ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation encouraging readers to “consider quitting the Catholic Church.”
FFRF’s ad quotes excerpts from the Pennsylvania grand jury’s report before summarizing their argument:
Six dioceses, three hundred predatory priests, a staggering 1,000-plus victims. No bishops indicted.
The pope’s response? All words, no action — except, insultingly, to call on the faithful to “pray and fast.”
As an early church whistleblower put it, the Catholic Church appears to be “an organization preaching morality while providing sanctuary to perverts,” a church where shepherds routinely prey on their flock.
Three decades of preying priests, church complicity, collusion and cover-up going all the way to the top. Anyone who continues to support this morally bankrupt global syndicate is complicit. This institutional betrayal of trust epitomizes the dangers of blind faith and obedience to religious authority.
While the ad doesn’t instruct readers on how to break from of the Church’s membership rolls — it’s a long, arduous process — it does give them a chance to become FFRF members instead.
Are readers of the NYT really the type of people who need to be told to quit the Church? That’s a different question. Like so many full-page ads, this is about publicity, not necessarily action, and it was likely funded by a donor.
It’s not the first time they’ve run an ad like this. They did it before in 2012 when Catholic bishops fought the Obama administration’s attempt to require religiously affiliated hospitals and schools to cover birth control in employees’ insurance plans.
At the time, FFRF wanted the ad to use the punchier line, “It’s time to quit the Catholic Church,” but they were told by the Times to make it less straightforward. Hence, “Consider quitting.” The same rule is presumably in effect now.
When the 2012 ad ran in other national newspapers, though, they didn’t have to alter the headline.