Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Irony alert: Cardinal Dolan

- Cardinal Dolan

In the news, Cardinal Dolan announces new compensation program for abuse survivors ...

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Oct. 6 he hopes a new archdiocesan program to provide compensation to survivors of clergy sexual abuse will "help bring a measure of peace and healing" to those victims .... To cover the cost of compensating victims, the archdiocese said it will take out a long-term loan. It "will not use money given by the people of the archdiocese to support parishes, schools and charitable works," the news release said. None of the funds to be paid to victims will be taken from the annual stewardship appeal, a new capital campaign called Renew and Rebuild or from any money given by a donor "for a specific ministry or apostolate." ...

Strangely, the article fails to mention Cardinal Dolan's past efforts, not to help abuse survivors, but to swindle them: The New York Times wrote an editorial on this - Cardinal Dolan and the Sexual Abuse Scandal ...

Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests.

Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has denied shielding the funds as an “old and discredited” allegation and “malarkey.” But newly released court documents make it clear that he sought and received fast approval from the Vatican to transfer the money just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court was about to open the door to damage suits by victims raped and abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy ...

And - Dolan Sought to Protect Church Assets, Files Show ...

Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday reveal that in 2007, Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, then the archbishop there, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation ... files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.” The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show.

And it's not just this. While a church sponsored compensation program for victims might sound nice, what that actually means is an end run around the justice system ....

Some advocates for sex abuse victims immediately assailed the program as an attempt to squash cases quickly, before New York's legislature acts on a proposal to make it easier for victims to sue over abuse that happened years ago.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an independent network of survivors of clergy abuse, said in a statement that compensation needs to be determined by independent sources, such as judges and juries.

The group's executive director, David Clohessy, said that Dolan's announcement is also "short circuiting" legislative reform on the statue of limitations.

"We are not pleased with announcement," Clohessy said.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, an advocacy group that collects records on abusive priests, said in an email that New York's "restrictive statute of limitations has enabled Dolan to hide the true scope of the clergy abuse crisis in the NY archdiocese."

"His proposed victims' compensation fund is another tactic designed to fend off disclosure," she said.

New York state lawmakers have long debated extending the statute of limitations on suing child sex abusers, or creating a window of opportunity for past victims to file civil suits against abusers. Such proposals have faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other institutions.

The leading proposal in the Legislature would eliminate the statute of limitations for several child sexual abuse crimes going forward and create a one-year window for past victims to file civil suits. Victims now have until they turn 23 to file lawsuits, but supporters say it can take years before victims step forward. In May, an attempt by supporters in the state Senate to force a vote on the measure failed.

- Archdiocese of New York to Compensate Clergy Abuse Survivors: Cardinal Dolan

So should we trust Cardinal Dolan and this plan to help survivors? Even ignoring his $57 million switcheroo, his other past dealings with the sex abuse problem have been checkered at best. Myself, I don't believe that he cares at all about sex abuse survivors.


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