Editor’s note: EWTN News originally reported that the talk was given by Sam Miller within the last few months. In fact, upon further investigation, his talk was delivered in 2003 after the sexual abuse scandal hit the Catholic Church in the U.S.
Following the initial revelations about the sexual abuse scandal in the United States, prominent Cleveland businessman Sam Miller, who is Jewish, stated that he has had “more than enough” of the media’s depiction of the Holy Father and the Church concerning sex abuse cases. Miller charged that he has “never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church.”
“Maybe it’s easier for me to say because I am not Catholic,” Miller began in his speech, reprinted in the May/June 2003 issue of the local Knights of Columbus publication The Buckeye Bulletin, “but I have had enough, more than enough, disgustingly enough.”
“During my entire life I’ve never seen a greater vindictive, more scurrilous, biased campaign against the Catholic Church as I have seen in the last 18 months,” he asserted, adding that “the strangest thing is that it is in a country like the United States where there is supposed to be mutual respect and freedom for all religions.”
Miller is also particularly “bothered” by the campaign against the Church because he too is “a minority in this country.”
“This prejudice against your religion and mine has never left this country,” he charged. “Your people were called Papists, Waps, Guineas, frogs, fish eaters, ad infinitum.” Speaking on the history of this “prejudice,” Miller noted that “after the Civil War, around 1864, the fundamentalists, conservatives, Protestants and a few WASP’s began planting burning crosses throughout the country, particularly in the South.”
“And today,” Miller added, “as far as I’m concerned, very little has changed. These gentlemen now have a new style of clothing they’ve gone from bed sheets to gentlemen’s suits.”
In light of this historical prejudice, Miller asserted that there is currently “a concentrated effort by the media today to totally denigrate in every way the Catholic Church in this country.”
“They have now blamed the disease of pedophilia on the Catholic Church, which is as irresponsible as blaming adultery on the institution of marriage,” he observed.
The Jewish businessman argued that sexual abuse is more than a Catholic problem, even though reading news reports of abuse in other churches is not as common. He cited Phillip Jenkins’ book “Pedophiles and Priests” that says that “while 1.7% of the Catholic clergy has been found guilty of pedophilia, 10% of Protestant ministers have been found guilty of pedophilia.”
Questioning the motives behind major news outlets, Miller queried, “why would newspapers carry on this vendetta on one of the most important institutions that we have today in the United States, namely the Catholic Church?”
Detailing the positive aspects of the Church, Miller asked if Catholics know that that the “Church educates 2.6 million students everyday, at a cost to your Church of 10 billion dollars, and a savings on the other hand to the American taxpayer of 18 billion dollars.”
“Needless to say,” he added, “that Catholic education at this time stands head and shoulders above every other form of education that we have in this country. And the cost is approximately 30% less.” “Look at your own records,” Miller advised “You (Catholic schools) graduate 89% of your students. Your graduates in turn go on to graduate studies at the rate of 92%, and all at a cost to you.”
“Why would these enemies of the Church try to destroy an institution that has 230 colleges and universities in the United States with an enrollment of 700,000 students?” he asked.
“Why would anyone want to destroy an institution like the Catholic Church which has a non profit hospital system of 637 hospitals which account for hospital treatment of 1 out of every 5 people, not just Catholics in the United States today?”
Miller also questioned why would anyone want to destroy an institution “that clothes and feeds and houses1 of 5 indigents in the United States.” “I’ve been to many of your shelters and no one asks them if you are a Catholic, a Protestant or a Jew; just ‘come, be fed, here’s a sweater for you and a place to sleep at night’ at a cost to the Church of 2.3 billion dollars a year …”
“The Catholic Church today has 64 million members in the United States and is the largest non-governmental agency in the country,” he noted. “It has 20,000 churches in this country alone. Every year they raise approximately $10 billion to help support these agencies.”
“I believe that if Catholics had the figures that I enumerated here, you don’t have to be ashamed of anything. Not only are you as good as the rest, but you’re better, in every respect.”
Yet, why “don’t we hear about this?” Miller asked. Because “it’s good news,” said the businessman, which in his opinion means “it is not newsworthy, it’s not dirty.”
“I’m not here to deny freedom of the press,” he clarified. “But I believe that with freedom comes responsibility, and with rights you have an obligation. You cannot have rights that are irresponsible.”
In his concluding remarks, Miller implored Catholics to walk “with your shoulders high and your head higher. Be a proud member of the most important non governmental agency today in the United States. Then remember what Jeremiah said: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’”