Dolan’s Dishonest Response to Payoff Report

Dolan’s Dishonest Response to Payoff Report June 6, 2012

New York’s Cardinal Dolan has finally responded to the revelation that he authorized payments to pedophile priests to encourage them to quit the priesthood to avoid a lengthy legal process under the church’s canon law. But his response is nothing but substance-free denial:

Timothy Cardinal Dolan yesterday blasted a report that he authorized payments to pedophile priests — and said no such payments are being made to New York clerics.

Dolan, while serving as Milwaukee archbishop in 2003, agreed to pay multiple accused pedophile priests $20,000 in exchange for their agreeing to leave the priesthood, according to documents cited by The New York Times.

Joseph Zwilling, Dolan’s New York Archdiocese spokesman, told The Post last week that there was no “payoff” to pedophile priests — only “charity.”

“The New York Times does not have a reputation for fair and accurate reporting when it comes to this issue,” Dolan said yesterday after Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown. “So, to respond to charges like that — that are groundless and scurrilous — in my book it’s useless and counterproductive.”

But the report was based on internal church documents, which show that Dolan specifically authorized those payments. That is anything but groundless. Was the money not paid? Are the documents lying when they say that Dolan authorized the payments? He doesn’t make any actual claim here, nor does he attempt to explain why the reports are false. He just asserts it, without disputing any specific information. Typical denial and obfuscation.

The real question here is not whether those payments were payoffs or charity; the real question is why the church chose this route rather than turning any information they had over to the police. We know why they didn’t — because the current pope, when he was a cardinal, explicitly ordered them not to do so. And that’s the real problem.

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