Maybe Worth Getting Upset about, Maybe Not

Maybe Worth Getting Upset about, Maybe Not May 31, 2012

The NY Times has a story about Cdl. Dolan providing what some call “financial incentives” and others call “payoffs” to pervy priests in order to get them to agree to leave the priesthood immediately rather than fight out a long drawn out process.

There is much dudgeon in the article. There is no dudgeon–none whatsoever–about the fact that exactly the same tactic is used to get rid of pervy public school teachers. This, and the lionization of the Right Sort of Roman makes me rather inclined to think this a specimen of the Times indulging in fake dudgeon because of Dolan’s leadership against the HHS mandate. In short, it’s a hit piece in the service of another agenda.

In the end, the story seems to be that Dolan tried to get rid of bad priests as fast as possible, which used to be a good thing according to the Times. Since the state did not see fit to get rid of them by putting them in jail and the canonical process might for all I know, have cost *more* than this route (has anybody done the calculations?) I don’t think it’s particularly a slam dunk that this was a bad way to go. In the end, the tradeoff is between asking, “Do you want a long expensive process in which the perv remains a priest on the payroll while he games the system endlessly or do you want a short process in which he gets some money and we are rid of him?” I, for one, am not ready to have hysterics about Plan B–at least till I know the cost of the full canonical rigamarole for laicizing a perv.

You pays your money and you makes your choice: is it more important to get rid of the perv swiftly even if it costs you something (that used to be the very sensible demand of the Times, if you recall)? Or do you keep the perv around for months or even years (while it still costs you something and perhaps costs even more than it would cost you to just get rid of him)? I care more about getting rid of the perv fast than I do about money. So even if the long canonical process were cheaper than $20,000 (and I strongly suspect it is not) I think I’d be inclined to favor the fast route. The only drawback is that the perv gets the money. So is it more important to me that the perv not get the dough or that innocents are protected from a perv? I opt for innocents protected over my desire for vengeance.

The screeches of hysteria from the Times, like SNAP’s bizarre demand that the Church effectively imprison laicized priests, seem less and less about protecting anybody and more and more about saying anything to attack the Church. The Church can’t arrest or imprison pervy priests. It can only get rid of them as quickly as possible. She can do it slowly and expensively or swiftly and less expensively. The latter option is good enough for me.

Dolan’s real crime here is leading the charge against the HHS mandate. That’s what this is really about.

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