Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fortnight For Freedom? How About A Fortnight For Truth

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?


  1. Don't you see the irony?

    Just as some extremists out there might make whitewash defences of dioceses and apparently culpable clergy, and in doing so ignore the pressing need to support certain abused people, in a way that undermines their own cause..

    ..your bitter attempt to tear down the hierarchy and throw mud at apparently culpable clergy before any evidence has been heard in court ignores the suffering and pressing need to support those abused people and - surprise surprise - undermines your own cause.

    We all know Jesus wouldn't whitewash. But we also all know that his focus would be love for all his people, and not this sort of bitterness.

    1. Here's a Cardinal George quote:

      "The allegations that ultimately led to criminal charges against McCormack date back to August 2005, but he was not removed from his post until the charges were approved three months later.

      At the time, Cardinal George conceded that he should have launched an investigation against McCormack sooner. In early February 2006, he issued a letter of apology that said “our response… was sorely inadequate.”

      The Archdiocese of Chicago settled for 3.2 million dollars with one victim of Fr McCormack. It is felt that astronomical settlement was to keep the case out of court and Cardinal George off the stand. There was another such settlement in California just recently, and again the dollar figure was multi million for one victim again, most likely to keep Cardinal Mahoney off the stand. Each of these cases came after the Dallas Charter was approved by these Cardinals.

      Inivictus, I don't know that I'm bitter so much as frustrated. And really not so much with these men who happen to wear mitres, but with lay Catholics, concerned clergy, and silent bishops, whose lack of action implies this system will correct itself. It has patently demonstrated it can't self correct.

      I care a great deal about abuse victims. Half of my case load is sexual abuse victims. I care a great deal about the Church, enough to know the abuse will continue, there will be more victims, because the clerical system under this current Vatican is incapable of self correction and in point of fact is delusional in maintaining it needs no self correction because the system comes from God. No, the system did not come from God, it came from men and all things human need correction.

    2. Oops, I meant to give the link to the article I quoted:

    3. I was with you there, all the way through, until the last paragraph.

      There's obvious good will and intention, but still at the end of it you bring it back to "the clerical system" and rhetoric like "this current Vatican is incapable[...]delusional[...]".

      It is a sad situation, but it is a human one. These problems occur to no lesser degree in the other faiths, and - it would seem from the numbers - to a greater degree in schools and youth groups.

      Do the school children suffer from abuse because of "the clerical system" and because of "this current Vatican"?

      Of course they do not. They suffer because in spite of the preventative measures in place, those sexually attracted to children find their way into the places where children can be found.

      The answer is not - as you so frequently and bitterly suggest - to destroy the hierarchy, ordain priestesses, and reform 'the Vatican'. The answer is much more mundane; management reform to improve accountability, firmer whistleblowing policy, and a careful eye on the seminaries.

    4. Management reform to improve accountability is changing the current clerical system. That in the final analysis is what Rome is attempting to avoid. It's why any accountability for bishops in absent from the Dallas Charter. That is reserved to the papacy.

      I have not advocated for the ordination of women, certainly not into this clerical system, just as I have not spent much time on married men. I have advocated for a complete reworking of ordination and our sacramental understanding of priesthood because the rationale it is based on is purely self serving and maintaining it is killing the sacramental life of the Church.

      It makes me sick that bishops in Africa are essentially selling their priests to the West to finance their dioceses. In the meantime the priest to lay ratio is far worse in Africa than it is in Anglo countries. Rework the theology and discipline of the priesthood and there is no priest shortage. On this issue Pope Benedict seems to feel the sacrament of ordination is more important than the Eucharist. The priest more important than Jesus? I don't think so, I think that's a form of idolatry.

    5. Your blog has approved married priests and the ordination of women, and moving onto matters surrounding an alleged issue between Western and African areas of Church jurisdiction distracts from but does not undermine my points above.

  2. Hmmm.....I didn't read that as bitterness, just reality. The point here is that the suspected sexual abuse of children is a criminal situation. Bottom line. And the church has not handled it as a criminal situation. The church ought to see itslef as a mandated reporter.

    1. If we think reality is bitter, and respond bitterly, then we're not engaged in a process particularly indicative of the action of the Holy Spirit. Surely?

      It is a criminal matter, and should be treated accordingly. However it is also more than a criminal matter; it is a deeply human matter, and neither extremity of the spectrum I alluded to are treating is as such.

    2. And that is crap. Go read Bully Bill Donohue who is Dolan's private mouth piece and see if you can stomach the attack on SNAP and accusations leveled at victims.

      It is most certainly a human matter, but those who see themselves as ontologically superior, and actually believe that nonsense, don't think they need 'human correction' either for abusing children or protecting the abusers. You know one reason why?
      Because they believe the Orthodox Catholic needs to believe they as priests are ontologically superior so the sacramental magic will work and they can 'save' their souls.

    3. Invictus, you are focused on that word "bitter" and what is truly bitter? Sexually abused children is the bitter fruit that is bred from the "ontologically superior" attitude of the priests who in reality are not above the law and certainly not above God's laws.

      Why do you insist on arguing against true justice and for true life of the spirit of Jesus in the Church? We can no longer have sexually abusive priests and enablers in leadership positions in the Church. That is the humane thing to do. That is the Catholic thing to do. All this nonsense and payments in order to save an enabler who was an accessory to a crime must end. It will not end until they are removed from leadership positions and as Colleen said, that Priests of courage need to take their positions for the good of the Church and save our Church and our children from these enablers of sexual abusers.

      Invictus, you need to contemplate more on the ones who have been abused. You must find more compassion for them.


    4. "We can no longer have.."

      We will always have. The Church is weak, full of weak people, and predators of all kinds will always be able to find their way in no matter how hard we try. They seek out the vulnerable in all places; schools, youth organisations, religious groups, judiciaries, prisons...

      We need to back the victims at all times, but the bitterness spewed forth by self-declared liberals here is not productive and is definitely not Christlike.

  3. Ah, Invictus again....You apparently have lots of time on your hands to spare today..."dripping drops of orthodoxy and reality" for us poor souls here on Enlightened Catholicism...and I must add dropping a whole load of holier than thou BS to boot...Colleen's response to you- "that's a lot of crap" - is very "appropriate" if not down right charitable...what a perverted way to portray Colleen's anger...first thing is bishops need to be held accountable for not reporting priest child abusers to the police - that's our law...and secondly some of them need to go to jail for their failure to protect the children in their charge who were raped...there's also enough accumulated evidence to know that these cover-ups have occurred...each individual bishop would have his day in court...Colleen's spiritual forgiveness of them is a different and altogether separate component of this scandal....forgiveness challenges all people who try to live by Christ's teachings...finding forgiveness in our hearts for these bishops and even the individual pedophiles is something we will all need to face at some point on our journey...but it has absolutely nothing to do with how we feel these criminally negligent bishops and pedophile rapists should be handled by our legal system....your sophistry in trying to cover these neglectful bishops' asses is reprehensible...you have no more credibility than the bishops when you make statements like these.....

    1. Apparently not, if you look at the date gaps in my posts.

  4. Moving Bishops and Cardinals who are subject to judicial accounting to Rome isn't the end of the damage they can do. Witness Bernard Cardinal Law who got out of Dodge (in this case Boston) when a posse of his own priests asked for his removal as the law was about to answer for his protecting of abusers, some of whom are still on a stipend.
    But Law probably thought, just stay on the DL and they'll forget about me. He gets to be chief potentate of Maria Maggiore, can wine and dine with American hierarchy and...and this is where it gets
    dirty. Law has been spoken of as one of the instigators of the inquisition of American sisters. Why?
    Does anyone remember Sr. Jeannette Normandin? She was a Sister of St. Ann that was on the pastoral staff of the Jesuit Urban Center in Boston where she worked tirelessly for people with AIDS, starting "Ruah", a home for homeless women who had AIDS. She was dismissed from the Center because Law heard that she had participated in a baptism of children belonging to a gay couple and wore a stole!
    All her life's work down the drain, but she didn't get bitter she waited for what God had in store for her next. He took her home. Google: Jeanette Normandin to see how much she did for the poor, disenfranchised, and marginal. I don't remember Jesus saying anything about whether they were Catholic or not. So Law continues to pursue these women from his 'imprisoned' position.

  5. Anonymous...I was not aware of Sr. Jeannette's brush with Law...thank you...these men look smaller and smaller and more un-Christ like as time goes on..Law's escape to the Vatican is proof enough for me that the Pope was part and parcel of the whole cover-up and continues to be so...SNAP's case against the Pope and hierarchy before the international tribunal in the Hague will be interesting to follow...hopefully more light will be shed on this tawdry chapter in Church history for the whole world to see...

  6. More chutzpah:


    ## RL is being confused with RL in its new meaning of "Rome's liberty to dictate to non-Catholics".


    "It is a criminal matter, and should be treated accordingly."

    ## Then why, in the last ten years, has not one Catholic bishop in the entire world been banged up for harming minors ? The logic that allows politicians to be deprived of the Eucharist, not for practicing abortion, not for encouraging others to do so, but merely for not being actively against in it in a particular manner chosen by the clergy, condemns the bishops who were equally or less remote in participating in the molestyation of minors. If the bishops bear so little reponsibility that they can still be regarded to function as bishops, far more can politicians barred fromthe Eucharist be allowed to receive it.

    It is blatantly obvious that Rome is going to do absolutely nothing to make reparation to the tens of thoudsands it has harmed. Nothing. The last apartheid government in South Africa had more compassion and decency.

    I find impossible to re-act to the CC with any feelings but loathing and disgust. I never imagined this would be possible. How those who have been molested must feel, God alone knows.

    1. Ratbiter a Canadian bishop was removed from the clerical state by the Vatican last month. Raymond Lahey was caught with child porn on his computer during a customs inspection. He also served jail time after pleading guilty to the 2009 offense. See:



    2. One of the comments on the Lahey child porn story I have often wondered about.

      Does religion attract people struggling with unwanted desires?


    3. From the article p2p posted:
      Lahey had asked the church to strip him of his duties and "to be reduced to a layman's status," his lawyer Michael Edelson had said after the court proceedings.

      I'd like to think this man wasn't given a bribe to volunteer for his reduction. But after what happened under Dolan in Milwaukee makes me wonder. But if the man volunteered, it wasn't so much a matter of the Vatican punishing him either.