The Roman Catholic child abuse scandal percolated up again this week. In Philadelphia, Msgr William Lynn is on trial for covering up abuse in the archdiocese. The defense is, believe it or not, that he was "low man on the totem pole" and just following orders of the deceased Cardinal Bevilacqua.
[Marci Hamilton, a professor at Cardozo Law School says], that is not a legal defense. Under the law, Lynn had a duty to protect children.
"He had the power to pick up the telephone to call the police," she says. "He had the power to tell parishioners the truth. He had the power to warn parents at schools. He didn't do any of that."It is breathtaking that conservative Catholics would defend the "just following orders" defense for a man who is a priest. If anyone has a fundamental imperative to defend helpless children, wouldn't it be he? Yet he admitted he did not follow upon on complaints. He was a good "company man". Regardless of the outcome of the trial, he represents a complete collapse of moral authority.
Remember, the Sandusky scandal at Penn State also reminds us that we all have an affirmative responsibility to call the police if we are aware of abuse.
Next up is our favorite mendacious Cardinal, Timothy Dolan. Some time ago it was rumored that while Archbishop of Milwaukee, he arranged payoffs to abusive priests to get them out of the priesthood. At that time, he dismissed such claims as "“false, preposterous and unjust".
Maybe not so much. Reports the NY Times,
a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.
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. …
“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”Cardinal Dolan continues his mendacious bluster, insisting that his religious freedom requires that non-Catholic women can't get contraception and non-Catholic gays can't marry.
A victims advocacy group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, sent a letter of protest to the current archbishop of Milwaukee on Wednesday asking, “In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?"
Andrew Sullivan lays it on:
Dolan may recall that lying violates one of the ten commandments (which, for some mystifying reason did not include "Thou Shalt Not Have Non-Procreative Sex"). Maybe there's some exculpatory explanation for what appears to be, on its face, a bald-faced and aggressive lie.Hearteningly, priests in the US are beginning to join the rebellion against the hierarchy, as apparent in these remarks by a pastor in Cleveland (in a parish newsletter no less).
The Vatican is hypocritical and duplicitous. Their belief is always that someone else needs to clean up their act; the divorced, the gays, the media, the US nuns, the Americans who were using the wrong words to pray, the seminaries, etc. It never occurs to the powers that be that the source of the problem is the structure itself….
It is the last gasp for control by a dying breed, wrapped in its own self-importance. It is a struggle for the very nature of the church; who we are, how we pray, where we live, who belongs, why we believe. The early church endured a similar struggle. The old order died. The Holy Spirit won.I wonder if he will be disciplined for this prophecy.