The documents include letters and deposition testimony from Cardinal and Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan who, during his time as archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009, appealed to Vatican on numerous occasions to help address the ongoing fallout from the scandal.
The 6,000 pages of documents related to eight decades of abuse cases showed in great detail the Milwaukee archdiocese regularly reassigned priests who were accused of sexual molestation to new parishes and Dolan himself asking the Vatican permission to transfer $57 million to a trust fund to protect it against court action.
Appropriately, the money was transferred to a cemetery trust fund.
The presentation of Dolan is mixed. On one hand, he tried to get alleged pedophiles removed, sometimes paying them off and sending them away if necessary. On the other, he kept the lid of secrecy down tight and tried to shield church assets. It’s clear that his primary concern was protecting the Church. From the NYT:
Cardinal Dolan has been regarded by many Catholics as part of the solution. In public appearances, he has expressed personal outrage at the harm done to children, apologized profusely and pledged to help the church and the victims heal.
But the documents lift the curtain on his role as a workaday church functionary concerned with safeguarding assets, persuading abusive priests to leave voluntarily in exchange for continued stipends and benefits, and complying with Rome’s sluggish canonical procedures for dismissing uncooperative priests who he had long concluded were remorseless and a serious risk to children. In one case, the Vatican took five years to remove a convicted sex offender from the priesthood.
If any other institution had done this, we’d burn it to the ground.