|Cardinal Dolan, the President of the USCCB, needs to explain why his policy in Milwaukee was no money for victims, but somehow money to bribe their clerical abusers and dig up dirt on victims.|
The USCCB is set to meet tomorrow and most articles are concerned with the abuse scandal and the USCCB response or the LCWR investigation or the trumped up Fortnight for Freedom campaign. I'm actually more interested in hearing from the President of the USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. I want to know his justification for paying off known clerical abusers rather than turning them in to police. I want to know why he thought Canonical laicization was more important than criminal law. I also want to know how the USCCB can keep electing for their president men who are known to have protected abusers after the Dallas Charter went into effect. Why do our bishops do this? It sends an abysmal statement about them as moral men and about the bankruptcy and hypocrisy of their leadership.
The following excerpt of an article on Huffington Post from Michele Somerville asks these same kinds of questions. In it she gives some theories as to why Catholic laity accept this kind of dismal behavior from our leadership. The excerpt starts about half way through the article with one of those theories--the kind that appeal to Bill Donohue and is relied on by the Cardinal George's and Timothy Dolan's to excuse their otherwise inexcusable behavior.
Cardinal Dolan Has a Lot of Explaining to Do........Some Catholics (an orthodox fringe) still hold the belief that because the church is saving souls from the eternal fires of Hell, there is no earthly cost too high to pay to keep the Magisterium propped up; the ends justify the means. In a church that so venerates its martyrs, the notion of sacrificing children in order that the world should obtain redemption isn't all that much of a theological reach. (Of course this doesn't apply to the preborn only the born.)
But rare is the mother who does not cast a cold eye on those who violate her children, and Mother Church is really no exception.
The great majority of Roman Catholics believe unequivocally, that in every case, an adult who has sex with a child must be reported to the police. They may agree on little else, but with the exception of a tiny, hysterical segment of "orthodox Roman Catholics" who believe otherwise, almost all Roman Catholics agree that when it comes the rape of children, there should be Zero Tolerance.
A bishop who defrocks a priest credibly accused of a sex crime as an alternative to reporting a him to the civil authorities makes himself an accessory to that crime. (Yes he does and complicit in any future crimes committed by that priest--laicized or not.)
Timothy Dolan could face a lot of heat in the coming months. The New York Times obtained court papers that indicate Dolan authorized payment for digging up dirt on victims for the legal defense of a priest accused of sex crimes. The pedophilia scandal bankrupted (his former) the Milwaukee diocese. He has been credibly accused of hiding $130 million to protect it from being seized for settlements to victims. Yet his Milwaukee diocese was apparently flush enough to allow for payoffs to men who committed sex crimes against children.
It appears that the United States' top bishop may have seen laicization of pedophile priests as an acceptable alternative to reporting these predators to law enforcement agencies. If Dolan did fail to report such crimes, he could still face child endangerment and obstruction of justice charges down the line. If the Milwaukee diocese was tax exempt at the time these bribes were offered -- if Dolan moved money around in secrecy while covering up a pattern of sex crime involving children -- it is conceivable that Dolan could be charged under RICO.
Did Timothy Dolan physically harm children himself? No. But it appears he may have "looked the other way." I hope (we) Catholics won't look the other way. If we do, we too are culpable.
As Dolan, his advisors, flak catchers and apologists wait for reports pertaining to his alleged payoffs to priests who violated children to just go away, the bigger question might be whether the "long arm of the law" can stay away.
If that long arm does aim to reach out to tap Cardinal Dolan on the shoulder so as to ask a few questions, it had best reach swiftly. It's way too soon to think of Dolan as a flight risk, but the Vatican is only seven hours away, and once ensconced in La Citta Vaticana, the pope's man in "Sin City" would never again have to explain a thing. (We've seen this already with Bernie Law, may see it with Cardinal Rigalli, and residences in Rome have been very useful for Cardinals Burke and Levada.)
Not in this life, at least.
One of the points being brought out in other articles on this upcoming USCCB meeting is the necessity to add some sort of accountability for Bishops in the Dallas Charter. I agree whole heartedly with this sentiment, and it's been my one over arching complaint about the Dallas Charter since it's inception. Lack of accountability for bishops utterly destroys the validity of the whole Charter. We've seen that repeatedly come to the forefront in the last ten years. It's why I think Cardinal Dolan needs to be confronted because he appears to have violated the Charter while simultaneously making a mockery of the Canonical judicial process for accused priests. How much is the Sacrament of Ordinaiton worth? Apparently 20,000 dollars.
I had a tough time dealing with Cardinal George as the head of the USCCB but following him up with Cardinal Dolan makes a mockery of the whole Dallas Charter. Actually, Cardinal Dolan is making a mockery of the whole idea of an Archbishop. Here I'm thinking of using his blog as a platform for Bully Bill, using Archdiocesan money to 'dig up dirt' on abuse victims, secreting 130 million in a cemetery trust to avoid paying abuse victims, and now the bribes to known abusers to leave the priesthood, and this undoubtedly to get them off Archdiocesan roles and avoid more abuse settlements. Archbishop Weakland should have been so clever. He made the mistake of trying to get the Vatican to expedite the laicization of some of these guys and here all along all he had to do was bribe the offending priests. He could have saved the money he wasted in Vatican City arguing his case with Cardinal Bertone. But of course, both Weakland and Dolan failed to inform police. Which is the bottom line. It doesn't matter what side of theological spectrum, these bishops will be bishops, they will close ranks, and they will protect their own.
What the USCCB really needs, is not a glad handing republican political operative for a president, but one honest man who can rally his silent brother bishops and end this entire travesty. The Vatican can't fire them all because the Vatican is having trouble finding men who even want their jobs. They have the power to walk outside the closed circle, the question is do they have the courage?