Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Donohue dismisses bribery accusations against Cardinal Dolan

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Bill Donohue (President, Catholic League)
Bill Donohue

Well, that was longer than expected. It’s been a full week since news broke that newly uncovered internal church documents showed how New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan previously authorized hefty bribes to encourage child-raping priests to leave the Church’s ranks quietly back when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. And now, finally, Catholicism’s self-anointed Defender of the FaithTM, Bill Donohue, is rising valiantly to his child-abuse-hiding BFF’s defense:

Timothy Cardinal Dolan is being criticized for inducing suspected miscreant priests to exit the priesthood while he was the Archbishop of Milwaukee. The attack is phony: if the issue were how to handle sex abusers, his critics would have previously commented on the following:

  • In California, all government employees convicted of any crime receive a full pension
  • A Los Angeles teacher charged with 23 counts of lewd acts with children aged 6-10 was paid $40,000 this year to drop his appeal
  • In the state of Washington, a teacher accused of sexual misconduct was given $55,000 to withdraw his termination appeal this year
  • A teacher in New York State (NYS) convicted this year of downloading child porn was awarded nearly $22,000 a year
  • A convicted sex abuser in NYS serving up to 50 years is receiving a pension of more than $52,000
  • Another sex offender in NYS convicted of child porn possession is receiving $49,210 in a pension
  • In 2012, a New York City teacher convicted of a sex offense was paid over $100,000 a year while sitting for ten years in a rubber room; he is entitled to $85,400 a year in a pension; and he will also receive $55,000 for unused sick days
  • A Queens guidance counselor accused of molesting a learning-disabled student has been receiving $102,852 a year since 2003
  • A Queens teacher who allegedly molested and then married a girl (after he impregnated her) has been receiving $94,145 a year since 2003 (he was previously accused of molesting two 12 year-olds)

None of these incidents—and there are hundreds like them—will ever get the goat of those taking cheap shots at Cardinal Dolan. He inherited a big problem from the disgraced Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, and did what he could to correct matters. Moreover, unlike public school employers, he didn’t grant lifetime salaries and benefits to suspected offenders. He should be commended, not condemned, for doing so.

Now this is interesting. On his part, Cardinal Dolan is doing everything he can to declare – without any shred of supporting evidence, of course – that the accusations against him (which, again, are based on actual internal archdiocese documents) are false. But now, Donohue’s actually blowing Dolan’s defense right open as he basically declares that, “Sure, Dolan bribed a bunch of child-molesting priests to get them to go away quietly, but he was just stuck in a really difficult position – and besides, you’re all hypocrites for not talking about all these other abuse scandals, anyway!”. Someone needs to explain to him the many reasons why tu quoque isn’t a very good defense.

For the record, no-one is denying that those enumerated incidents aren’t sickening and outrageous, and they certainly deserve far more media attention than they’ve arguably received. But this dirt-throwing at Dolan’s accusers is a feeble attempt to mask the real point: that not only has yet another church official done everything he could to sweep reports of child abuse under the rug rather than relay them to the proper authorities, but that such an epidemic of child rape and cover-ups is gripping an institution founded on the principle of moral authority in the first place. It’s just rubbish to accuse the Church’s critics of having a double standard when it’s the Church and its leaders who outright declare that they derive their code of conduct directly from the Creator of the universe.

If you put yourself up on a platform of moral superiority, you waive any right to act surprised when you get attacked for exhibiting the same failings – or worse – as anyone else.