Cardinal Dolan Authorized Payments of $20,000 to Abusive Priests if They Quietly Left the Church

In news that’s shocking to no one, the Catholic Church is in the middle of another scandal:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.

So now we know how much money the Catholic Church thinks a child’s innocence is worth.

Just to be clear: Priests molested children. But instead of reporting them to the police and having them hauled off to jail, the Catholic Church rewarded them.. as long as the offenders didn’t object to leaving the Church.

Because, you know, the priests were the real victims in all of this.

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?”

Even worse is the Church’s admission that this process — laicization — wasn’t new:

Experts in the Catholic Church’s response to sexual abuse say that payouts to dismissed priests are not uncommon. When a man becomes a priest, the church is expected to care for his needs for a lifetime.

So far Dolan hasn’t commented on this.

On a side note, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League was complaining about another story regarding a molesting priest and offered this explanation for why these types of accusations are unjust (emphasis his):

For the record, almost all priests in the nation — now as well as before — have never had a single charge of sexual molestation made against them. Of those who have, a large share of the accusations have been proven false. Of the guilty, the most common form of abuse was “inappropriate touching” — not rape — and the most common victim was an adolescent. So to feed the perception that it is not unusual to find rapist priests is unconscionable.

What makes this offensive characterization so doubly despicable is that Father James Brennan was initially charged with anally raping his alleged victim, yet at the end of last year the charge was amended to attempted rape.

Ohhhhhh! Inappropriate touching and attempted rape. Got that, everyone? Nothing to see here. He only attempted to anally rape that child. I don’t know what you’re all getting so worked up about.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • GodVlogger

    Were the $20,000 payments to the priests who RAPE CHILDREN paid for withTAX -FREE dollars?

    If so, was paying for the rapist priests considered to be part of the churches “tax-free” mission?

    If not, should taxes be paid on those payments?

    Shouldn’t the churches be now required to open their financial books and show what other payments have been made for sexual abuse that would not call off as a tax-deductible payment?

    I hate to focus on the finances when such tragic sexual abuses have been committed upon innocent children, but hitting the church in the wallet seems to be the only way to get their attention, if at all.

  • newavocation

    Do they know how sick they are? How can anyone rationalize supporting this institution?

  • TheAnalogKid

    I want to be brutally honest about how I feel about Bill Donohue. It involves KY, a curling iron, and his rectum. 

  • asonge

    What’s the KY for?

  • Annie

    The fact that the Catholic Church is getting tax exemption for anything is an atrocity.  What more must they do to prove what a sick and twisted organization they are? Rape children?  Oops.  Already did that.  Steal and then sell thousands, if not millions, of babies?  Check.  Help spread AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in Africa by failing to recognize the benefits of condoms?  Covered.  I can’t go on.  Actually, I think I could, but I don’t have the stomach to list all the damage they have done.

  • TheAnalogKid

    I’m too nice.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Father James Brennan was initially charged with anally raping his alleged victim, yet at the end of last year the charge was amended to attempted rape.

    So basically the Naughty Padre couldn’t get it hard enough to jam it in. Well, that would explain why the Church supports insurance that covers Viagara but not contraception. “I got your rod and staff right here, baby!”

    And these people say that atheists have no morals.

  • Dan Dorfman

    Cardinal Dolan?
    gooby pls.

  • Jim

    Re: the 60 Minutes segment a couple of months back, did he pound down a couple of Heineken’s with them when he paid them off?

  • Onamission5

    “Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a “payoff” to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was ‘false, preposterous and unjust.’”

    So, he’s a fucking liar, too.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SH5Y2EVWTCTIZM4HQSMC2Z4IWQ Nicholas V

    If you set out to invent a revolting windbag asshole to make the Catholic Church look bad,  you couldn’t come up with someone nearly as reprehensible as Bill Donohue. 

  • http://twitter.com/m_ethaniel Mistletoe Ethaniel

    You are Sofa King awesome when you get raunchy. *fangirls*

  • jdm8

    Isn’t a threat of being reported to the police enough to insure their silence?  Wouldn’t that be enough of a “Mexican standoff”?  I don’t see why it’s necessary to throw in the carrot.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    It might be a function of denial. These guys are seriously sick, and they’ve been lying to themselves and rationalizing their behavior for years. They’re not thinking clearly, so they might not be able to fully appreciate the cold, sharp reality that is about to come down on them.  Caught up in their fragile “It’s gonna be okay” fantasy, they might try to fight their own bosses who want to quietly fire them before scandal splatters them all.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Because, you know, the priests were the real victims in all of this.

    Of course they were.

    So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites?  Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement.  Not the children, for they inherit eternal life.  So who is wronged?  Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves.  Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children?  The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.

    –William Lane Craig http://www.reasonablefaith.org/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger/featured GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Aren’t there some laws against making money on criminal activity??
    For example, if an arsonist burned down someone else’s property, wouldn’t it also be illegal for him to make money by selling the video or movie rights?

    Similarly, if there is really evidence that the $20,000 pay-offs were just for the priests that raped/molested children, then isn’t that transaction itself illegal, and thus deserving of the church needing to open up it’s financial books to show the extent of such illegal transactions?

  • AxeGrrl

    I know this is probably a stupid question, but I don’t know the answer, so I’ll ask…….

    why hasn’t the Catholic church and/or the Pope been subject to criminal charges??

    what is the specific legal explanation for this?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Because he’s the motherfucking Pope?
    I assume you’ve read http://richarddawkins.net/articles/5415 or similar.  There is the argument that he enjoys diplomatic immunity as the ‘head of state’ of the Holy See.  But frankly, I don’t see it coming to that, because nobody would can lay charges seems to want to.

  • Dbaker13

    Holy shit. I was JUST thinking something similar. It’s not very often that Richard gets vulgar but when he does….epic.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I am not a lawyer, but sometimes I think I am when I don’t take my meds.

    The specific legal principle that explains this is called Habeas Penicula et Testes. This translates to “You gotta have the money and the balls.”

    This global, overarching principle guides the prosecution of justice worldwide. It explains why the Pope and his buddies have not been charged with aiding and abetting child abuse and obstruction of justice just for starters.  It also accounts for why George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have not been prosecuted for war crimes.

  • Alchemist

    Does Bill have any grandchildren? Perhaps we should put his theories to the test.
    I wonder how he would take that? Unhappy? Appalled? Outraged?
    No shit! Me too!

  • Cheepak Dopra

    Fak u dolan.

  • http://snigsfoot.blogspot.in/ Rob Crompton

    Donohue may be right to point out that the great majority of priests have never been charged with any offence. But what they have utterly failed to do is create an environment within which it is impossible to get away with these crimes. For that they must bear collective responsibility.

  • Daniel Krull

    Sidenote: Timothy Dolan is on Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2111989,00.html

  • Fsq

    Enough!!!

    What is it going to take for any cafeteria catholic to throw in the towel?

    And what is it going to take to get the Feds to step in and file RICO charges against these evil, vile, disgusting and shriveled up old worthless pieces of human detritus? If ever there was a clear cut RICO case, this is it.

    And NO MORE TAX EXEMPT STATUS. Tax these motherfuckers up the ass so they know what it feels like.

    Catholics = vile evil stain and pimple on the buttocks of life

  • Gunstargreen

    It endlessly amuses me how the Catholic church lets Bill Donohue spew vomit like this and make bad situations even worse. He’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

  • companioncube

     Check out the stories about the current trial of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia – he was secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese, under Bevilacqua, who unfortunately (and conveniently) died just prior to the beginning of the trial. The testimony that I’ve seen reported so far is sickening. I seriously hope Lynn is found guilty… but as far as I know the official charge is child endangerment. The next step is to go after the actual sexual offenders, and send them to prison… it would be interesting to see how their faith fares in there, what with all the stories you hear of inmates “finding god” behind bars, would a convicted priest realize that the ultimate judge is not the imaginary god who “forgave them their sins” but their fellow humans who will show him exactly how despicable their actions were?

  • Mandocommando23

    What sickens me the most about all this is that this information seems to have no effect on church-going Catholics. My entire family and extended family are Catholics, and they still sit their butts in the pew every Sunday, pay their tithe, and get their moral guidance from a priest supported by a church who would cover up his sex abuse were it to occur. What I find even more concerning is that my brother as two young boys–ages 9 and 11.

  • Mandocommando23

    I wonder that about my entire Catholic extended family. :(

  • judith sanders

    The public should be informed about where the self-defrocked priests have relocated.  That includes the public in Thailand, Belize, etc.

  • Coyotenose

    Kitty litter mixed with salt would be a far more appropriate lubricant, methinks.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    Solution: use Icy Hot instead. It glides, soothes and then will burn like hellfire. You’re still kind of nice that way. ;D

  • SeniorSkeptik

     Great idea. Does anyone have the internet skills to find them and post the names and addresses online for all the world to see?  They would be doing kids the world over a great favor and possibly saving their lives as well.

  • Glasofruix

    Might as well use sriracha sauce instead.

  • DavidM

    Remember how you can use the internet to fact-check what your pastor says? Turns out you can do the same thing with what your friendly atheist bloggers and NYT journalists have to say. Check it out Hemant:
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/cardinal-dolan-authorized-paying-abusersShocking, isn’t it? Atheist haters distorting the truth in order to promote hatred of the Catholic Church!

  • DavidM

    That didn’t work. Here’s the link with the shocking fact-check information:

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/cardinal-dolan-authorized-paying-abusers

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    Very GOOD Point!  Of course the money was paid with Tax-Free Dollars, and it’s my guess that the Pedophile Priests to whom the money was paid, aren’t going to be paying taxes on it either!  You’re right!  The Church should be hit in the wallet.  The case up in Philly with Monsignor Lynn and two suspected Pedophile Priests just closed.  Reportedly, it cost the Archdiocese over $11,000,000 to fight!  Are the lives and careers of these three priests worth that kind of money?  Most certainly, to the Church at least.  If Lynn gets a good sentence, then it is going to open the flood gates of similar lawsuits in every major Archdiocese in the USA, and the US Council of Catholic Bishops knows this.  Just think of it……..  $11,000,000 spent to defend senior clerics like bishops, archbishops and cardinals in almost EVERY major Archdiocese in the USA!  That could add up to some really BIG Money, and the Church knows this!  And of course all of the costs for litigation will be paid with Tax Free dollars!  JeannieGuzman

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    This is what I tell my Catholic relatives: Please tell them that Jesus didn’t come to earth to start a Church with over 1700 Canon Laws!  He said, “My kingdom is NOT of this world!”  He also taught the secret about where it existed:  “My kingdom is WITHIN!”  Please tell them they can still love their Savior, Jesus Christ, if they leave the Church, for His kingdom is WITHIN their hearts, souls, minds and spirits.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    I know know that men, who claim to be Apostles of the Church, shouldn’t LIE, but it’s O.K. for them to practice “The Art of Mental Reservation,” meaning that they can distort the truth if the truth would bring SCANDAL to the priesthood or the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Lying is still a sin, and we know that Cardinal Dolan wouldn’t intentionally sin, or at least we would hope that he wouldn’t. I’m sure that Cardinal Dolan wasn’t lying, at least in so far as he would define it! He was just practicing the old Catholic and Clerical “Art of Mental Reservation.”  Google: “Mental Reservation Lying” on Wikipedia and you’ll get the rundown!  JeannieGuzman

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    Several groups have tried to get the Vatican to answer in World Court for Priest Pedophilia, but so far they have been unsuccessful.  A good case to try in World Court would be that of Fr. Brendan Smyth’s, who sexually raped and sodomized over 100 boys and girls in the United States, Ireland and Wales!  He could have been rooted out of the priesthood in his early days as a priest.  At the time the current Primate of ALL Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, was a young priest, who “took notes” during the Church’s internal investigation of Priest Pedophilia.  Instead of reporting the crime, Cardinal Sean Brady remained SILENT, which is probably one big reason why he was promoted up thru the ranks of the Church to the highest position in ALL Ireland!  One day, we will see the US Church and the Vatican in World Court. It is inevitable, whether the Church admits it or not!  They are just trying to postpone the damage!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    It’s unfortunate that Cardinal Bevilacqua can’t be dug up and tried Post-mortemly (if that’s a word), in his expensive brocade vestments from Gammarelli’s in Rome.  I imagine that God is going to be really impressed with them, when Bevilacqua reaches the Judgement Seat of Allmighty God!  As far as Monsignor Lynn is concerned, hopefully Judge Sarmina will NOT give him house arrest on July 5th, because so many priests have just “disappeared,” when it comes time to meet their well-deserved fates inside of the justice system.  I hope that Lynn does “get religion,” because he is going to need the protection of Almighty God, while he is serving his time!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    Rich:  I have the same problem that you have in regards to the Pope being treated as the “Head of State!”  It didn’t do Marcos any good, and it didn’t help that guy down in So. America in the 80′s (can’t remember his name), so why should the world honor a treaty made between the Vatican and the War Criminal Mussolini, which gave Sovereign Nation Status to the Vatican?  We don’t honor Hitler’s Concordats.  Why should the world honor Mussolini’s?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    What does Kentucky have to do with it?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    That news is enough to make me vomit!  Are you sure?  Just think……  Dolan stands a good chance to be our next Pope.  Wouldn’t that be a pretty site.  The only problem is that exorbitantly costly brocade vestments in the 10′s of thousands of dollars would cost twice as much, not because he is twice as holy as most cardinals, but because of his size.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    The Church should be responsible for them for the rest of their lives, and they should be housed in a policed, Church facility far away from any children or teens.  There are far too many of them.  They shouldn’t be just turned out on the street and left unsupervised.  They should also be on every Pedophile Registry in the nation!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    It was probably like a big family reunion or party, where the Cardinal could get together with all of his Pedophile Priests in one place and they could all say goodby before they ran off and cashed their checks to go on vacations in 3rd world countries.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TRVMCH76KAQQWTFQ3DKTYWZHQ4 Jeannie

    I wonder if the USCCB pays Donohues 6 figure salary, or if it is paid from donations to his non-profit organization by well-meaning, but not well-informed, older Catholics?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X