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Pay Off Child Abusers and Still Get Invited To The DNC

Pay Off Child Abusers and Still Get Invited To The DNC

Fresh from giving the leading prayer at the Republican National Convention, Cardinal Timothy Dolan will also be giving the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. Given Dolan’s record though, which includes staunch anti-women’s choice positions and allegations that he paid off sexual abusers in the clergy, should he really be on the bill at all?

The New York Catholic archbishop, who is also Senior Catholic Cardinal in the United States and President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been quick to make it known to both the RNC and the DNC that he would not be backing any candidate and that he would not be politicking, only prayerful. This would be more convincing if Dolan did not have a glaring record of aggressive religious conservatism however.

When New York passed a law legalizing gay marriage last year, Dolan came out blazing with baseball analogies and a comparison to incest.

“Because where then would the tampering stop?” he asked Morely Safer during a 60 Minutes Overtime interview. ”I mean, I love my mom. I don’t have the right to marry her, OK?”

He didn’t stop there either. While saying he could never be classed as anti-gay, he also compared gay marriage to frivolous divorce, polygamy, adultery, forced marriages, communist dictatorships, “Orwellian social engineering“ and, sin of all sins, cohabitation.

His quarrel with gay marriage perhaps pales in comparison to his outbursts earlier this year over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.

Casting it as a fight for freedom of religion that Catholics had been forced into, Dolan rallied against the Affordable Care Act’s rule requiring insurers and employers to provide preventive care services, including contraception, in a chain of interviews and opinion pieces where he called the mandate “egregiously unfair,” “un-American,” an “unconstitutional detour,” “mandated violations of conscience,” “a radical violation of the First Amendment,” and “morally toxic and an intrusion into the internal life of the church.” He played up to the “war on religion” meme and vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court.

So why is this guy speaking at the Democratic National Convention? Some have praised the Democratic party for offering this olive branch as a smart move to undercut the Republican Party’s claim to the Catholic base. However, it seems all those who have had positive things to say about Dolan’s DNC prayer have overlooked Dolan’s actions as archbishop of Milwaukee.

It emerged earlier this year during bankruptcy proceedings against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that there was record of Dolan authorizing payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests so that they would leave the priesthood, instead of actually reporting the offenders to the police.

Said the The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in a statement at the time: ”We know, incontrovertibly, that while Dolan was claiming to heal the Milwaukee Church of the sexual abuse scandal he was instead running a shadow operation to pay off priests who had raped, sexually assaulted or abused children so that they could quietly take this money and disappear into the community unprosecuted, undetected, and unrepentant.”

This “laicization” or “defrocking” as it is known, is (staggeringly) not uncommon in the Catholic church. Reports suggest the ex-clergy were also given $1,250 in monthly pension benefits and health insurance until they were able to land a job, this in addition to the $20,000 severance.

Dolan initially denied that he made such payments, saying the claims were “false, preposterous and unjust,” and then when proof was offered, Dolan simply would not comment.

Of course, given Dolan’s position as a senior Catholic figure it always seemed unlikely that the DNC would actually dare snub him and therein risk cementing accusations that President Obama and the Democratic Party are, en masse, waging a “war on faith.”

But when does the tipping point occur? When does a religious figure become too extreme? The answer might just be, it seems, when there isn’t an election to win.

 

Related Reading:

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Dispatches From The War On Women: The GOP’s Personhood Problem

Orthodox Activists Crash Pussy Riot Play in Moscow

 

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Photoaction USA.

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5:18AM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

Everyone should pray everyday. If you do not spend time with the LORD, how can you get to know Him? Unfortunately there are some clergy, (priests and ministers) in whose prayers I have no confidence because they are not living the life they are supposed to live. I have walked with my Lord and Savior nearly 70 years and each day I find more wonders and He gives me more blessings. I stay in touch with Him. Talking about Him and loving Him is more natural to me than my own breathing. There will always be those who proclaim Him but do not live Him. We must continue to live for Him and do His Will. Only then can we have all the wonderful things He has planned for us. Religion is not what people need. Jesus is who they need. There is a difference in Jesus and religion. Religion is man's idea of what is right. Jesus is God's idea. If folks would follow Jesus instead of religion, they would be so much better off.They would then have real life.

5:12AM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

Everyone should pray everyday. If you do not spend time with the LORD, how can you get to know Him? Unfortunately there are some clergy, (priests and ministers) in whose prayers I have no confidence because they are not living the life they are supposed to live. I have walked with my Lord and Savior nearly 70 years and each day I find more wonders and He gives me more blessings. I stay in touch with Him. Talking about Him and loving Him is more natural to me than my own breathing. There will always be those who proclaim Him but do not live Him. We must continue to live for Him and do His Will. Only then can we have all the wonderful things He has planned for us. Religion is not what people need. Jesus is who they need. There is a difference in Jesus and religion. Religion is man's idea of what is right. Jesus is God's idea. If folks would follow Jesus instead of religion, they would be so much better off.They would then have real life.

4:28PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

As children are not expected to pray in schools, why do politicians have to pray at their conventions? Are those politicians of other, or no, religions happy about having this Catholic cleric to lead them in prayer? I wouldn't be.

2:28PM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

didn't I just mention this earlier in an artical?

10:02AM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

A very interesting point Sammadhi.

7:35AM PDT on Sep 8, 2012

“Because where then would the tampering stop?” he asked Morely Safer during a 60 Minutes Overtime interview. ”I mean, I love my mom. I don’t have the right to marry her, OK?” -- Cardinal Dolan.

That man needs therapy. He is comparing same-sex marriage to marrying his mother? Eww! That dude's too creepy. You can always tell a person's interests when they fantasize about what acts of evil they would commit if not religious. The morally bankrupt run the church.

2:07PM PDT on Sep 7, 2012

That would make Dolan the right hand man of Pope Ratz the first, the former Hitler Jugend guy from WWII. I wonder if his right arm still goes up automatically in response to a picture of Adolf faster than he makes the sign of the cross in front of a jesus statue.

1:21PM PDT on Sep 6, 2012

Given he is the head representative of the Catholic church they had to invite him that is the way of the world. However his conduct previously sort of suggests he is like the unwelcome member of the family who thinks that there is fun at a funeral by behaving like a bastard. If they had got a representative of the catholic church who was not untainted by scandal they couldn't go wrong with St Otteran anyone who says "There is no hell as you suppose, nor heaven that people talk about." can't be all bad.

4:05AM PDT on Sep 6, 2012

Cathleen K, that’s a total load. The progressive Catholic clergy took their stand because Dolan’s letter from the Catholic Bishops didn’t condemn Ryan’s budget. As with everything decent coming from Catholicism in the last decade, Dolan led the forces opposing it.

This is one of the swine who tried to deny communion to any politician who didn’t hew to the church’s line on abortion and contraception. The only reason he backed off is that members of the Catholic workers movement insisted on applying the same punishment to politicians who wanted to cut aid to the poor and disadvantaged.

Dolan is a heartless misogynist, a pedophile enabler and a serial criminal. Why he isn’t serving several consecutive life sentences is beyond me. If I believed the Antichrist was here, Tim Dolan would be the leading suspect.

Sarah H, if Billy Graham is such a good role model, why is his son a borderline nazi?

If a prominent clergyman was needed, here’s 14 candidates http://halfinten.org/uploads/support_files/FaithLeadersQuotes_(2).pdf. I’d probably have picked Sister Simone Campbell, Bishop Gene Robinson, Rabbi Jack Moline or, better yet, all three.

7:08PM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Can't politicans pray without the help of a religious leader at these conventions.

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