Mar 23, 2018

What is Cardinal Dolan So Afraid Of?

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Cardinal Dolan is nothing if not consistent. He continues to work very hard to protect the Catholic Church from consequence for it's decades of enabling pedophile priests. After leaving a meeting with New York's Gov Cuomo, he described  a "look-back window" in pending legislation as "toxic" and "strangling" for the Church, fearing a slew of cases against priests and dioceses that covered for them.

“The look-back we find to be very strangling,” said Dolan. “When that happens, the only organization targeted is the Catholic Church.”

How so? Is this a law that would only apply to cases of sex abuse involving Catholic priests? (Answer: no) Or is he saying that the Catholic Church is the only organization that has such a multitude skeletons rattling in its closets?

His statements seem unintentionally revealing. Just how much exposure does the Catholic Church have at this point? What does he know that he so desperately wants kept secret?

That this legislation would flood the Church with law suits is disputed by victim's group Child USA, but how is this even relevant? Should New York's legislator's tailor laws to protect the Church from potential litigation? Why would it be the State's job to protect the Church from facing consequences for decades of protecting and enabling pedophile priests?

Cardinal Dolan has spent his career protecting the Church at all costs, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. Not only did he maneuver against similar legislation in Wisconsin, he was caught quietly paying off pedophile priests to accept quick laicization and disappear. As discussed, the problem with defrocking priests and making them go away is that the Church is, in many cases, unleashing predators on unwitting communities. Cardinal Dolan doesn't seem to care who gets hurt as long as it's no longer the Church's problem.

Child sex abuse survivor Kat Sullivan, who was raped by a teacher in 1998 at a prominent upstate girl's school, ripped Dolan for his “toxic” comments.

“Is it a lookback or priest raping kids that is toxic? I'm just trying to figure out which causes more damage to society,” Sullivan said. “I think the words of a man who knowingly impedes a bill that would provide due process to citizens currently being excluded should be ignored because he represents an institution that not only violated children, but actively worked to cover it up and suppress.”

The Catholic Church is not the victim. They're not being persecuted. They're experiencing a reckoning borne of their own actions and inactions. Yes, it would certainly be unfortunate if communities and charities were hampered by legal costs. Dioceses have gone bankrupt even where look-back legislation was blocked, like in the aforementioned Wisconsin. They restructure. They go on. If they truly want to serve communities instead of filling their own coffers, I have little doubt they can do so. But their compassion should start with the people who still struggle with the psychological damage of having been both abused by priests and stifled by the Church. It's past time for them to take responsibility and come clean.

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