Wednesday, July 3, 2013

These Are The Sort Of Articles That I Really Want To Believe Are Lies

Because the alternative -- that it accurately describes what happened -- is so depressing.  From the July 2, 2013 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel comes the results of a document dump by the Catholic archdiocese involving sex abuse lawsuits:

According to the documents, [Archbishop] Dolan paid $20,000 to abusive priests who agreed not to fight their dismissal from the priesthood. But records show the practice dated to at least 1995, seven years before he arrived in Milwaukee.

Critics have characterized the payments as payoffs or bonuses to sex abusers. But Dolan said in his statement Monday that canon law requires dioceses to provide "basic support like health care and room and board" for priests until they have moved on.
That freaks me out, but I can at least understand how the archdiocese might have decided that it was cheaper to pay severance, rather than go through what sounds like a very long process of defrocking priests.  The other claim of the article, however, is, if true, a criminal matter:
Four years before the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy, then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan sought Vatican approval to move nearly $57 million in cemetery funds off the archdiocese's books and into a trust to help protect them "from any legal claim or liability," according to documents made public Monday.
The Catholic Church isn't the only institution with serious problems involving child abuse, nor particularly unusual in covering up such abuse.  I don't expect good behavior from school systems, but when an institution that claims to represent Jesus Christ on Earth does things like this,  I am reminded of what Jesus had to say about children in Matthew 18:6:
If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Being molested by someone who claims to have a special intercessory relationship with Jesus Christ -- and especially some of the ways that some of these priests have attempted to justify these acts to their victims as being a form of worship -- talk about something that is guaranteed to cause a serious stumble.

1 comment:

Rob Crawford said...

Notice that the money was "cemetery funds" -- presumably used for maintenance of cemeteries. Moving it into a trust fund makes complete sense, and I don't see how it could be a criminal matter. Arguably, it already should have been in a trust.