A reader writes:
Let's not lose track of the context of the scandal in Milwaukee. Dolan was sent there after his predecessor, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, began to privately acknowledge that he was a homosexual, had not been celibate, and had made payments totaling nearly a half million dollars to one of his male lovers – hush payments. The silence money practice was at the very heart of the scandal engulfing the Milwaukee archepiscopate. So the new evidence that Dolan okayed payments to pedophile priests, presumptively to get them to depart quickly in line with canon law, is decisive – it showed Dolan's entire attitude towards the problem, which focused on using money to protect the church.
For this man now to present himself to the nation as a moral leader commanding that voters do his bidding at the polls is a real farce. It shows that he and his brethren are motivated by a crazed desire to aggregate power and authority. For them, the doctrine of love, acts of compassion, concern for victims are all hollow.
It does not surprise me that his de facto endorsement of the GOP has not been met with enthusiasm from his flock. They believe the church should be about faith, not politics. The National Catholic Register does its best to spin this in defense of the Cardinal:
Suppose you are walking down the street and a homeless person approaches you and asks you for some money. You give him the money. Would that justify a headline saying that you have been paying the homeless?
Really? An employee who has raped children under the church's authority is the moral equivalent of a homeless person on the street? Here's the full context of the Cardinal's original denial:
"For anyone to assert that this money was a payoff or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous, and unjust. What this was, instead, was an act of charity, in-line with Catholic Social Teaching, that allowed a person to obtain health insurance coverage he simply could not afford on his own. If people want to criticize me for that charity, so be it."
My italics. Here's what the New York Times's Laurie Goodstein reported:
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked.
My italics again. There's a reason the Cardinal is refusing to respond to the press on this. His specific denial has now been challenged by the spokesman for his former archdiocese, citing specific documents. It seems to me that unless the Cardinal has new facts to offer, and until he explains why his statement was not untrue, then he appears to be a liar.
(Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty)