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A priest tells the truth; a cardinal lies

A priest tells the truth; a cardinal lies June 6, 2012

Here’s a snippet from a rabidly anti-Catholic rant from a writer incensed by the Vatican’s recent crackdown against women, LGBT people, nuns and Girl Scouts:

The Vatican is hypocritical and duplicitous. Their belief is always that someone else needs to clean up their act; the divorced, the gays, the media, the US nuns, the Americans who were using the wrong words to pray, the seminaries, etc. It never occurs to the powers that be that the source of the problem is the structure itself. … Religious women in the US refuse to be controlled by abusive authority that seeks to control out of fear.

… This investigation is not about wayward US nuns. It is the last gasp for control by a dying breed, wrapped in its own self-importance.

So, who wrote this diatribe? And what radical anti-Christian blog or alt-weekly published it?

Well, actually, it’s from the parish bulletin of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Cleveland. And it was written by the local Catholic priest, Father Doug.

* * * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan was caught in a lie. Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times reported the documented facts.

The archbishop responded by doing what he does best: Attacking a woman and smearing abuse victims. Goodstein’s report was “groundless and scurrilous” Dolan said.

The New York Times last week cited documents showing that when Dolan was Archbishop of Milwaukee in 2003 he agreed to pay several alleged pedophile priests $20,000 if they left the church.

The Milwaukee Archdiocese also admitted to the payouts after the plan was revealed by the advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

While speaking to reporters Sunday, Dolan claimed the payments were “charity.”

He also blasted the SNAP and the Times, calling the report groundless and scurrilous.

The New York Times does not have a reputation for fair and accurate reporting when it comes to this issue, it has little credibility when it comes to this issue and its reporting and SNAP has no credibility whatsoever,” Dolan said.

In other words, as Mark Silk writes, “Dolan Doubles Down.”

Silk double-checked the story, reading the documents for himself. Dolan lied.

Dolan had claimed that a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 payoff to dismiss an abusive priest quietly was simply “an act of charity, in line with Catholic social teaching, that allowed a person to obtain health insurance coverage he simply could not afford on his own.”

The paper trail shows that’s not true:

Confirmation of the story is provided by two status reports on the case that were written by one of the two officials in question, Deacon David L. Zimbrich, describing meetings with Becker [the abusive priest] on February 2 and 8, 2005. In the first, Zimbrich says that Becker expressed concern about his health coverage. …

In addition, Becker wanted to know whether he had to pay taxes on “the $10,000 settlement that Fr. Curt [Frederick] and I had given him when we met with him.” In the second report, Zimbrich told Becker that he would indeed have to pay taxes on the $10,000, and  furthermore: “I advised him that the archbishop was not going to pay for his health insurance, either directly or by making some kind of financial arrangement.”

The documents make it clear that Dolan’s claim that the $10,000 was for Becker’s health insurance is bogus — not only because Zimbrich says so explicitly, but because Becker’s request for the insurance coverage came AFTER he had received the check. If the money was not such “an act of charity, in line with Catholic social teaching,” what was it? Exactly what Zimbrich said was: a settlement. For all Dolan’s bluster, there just isn’t any way around it.

Click through to read Silk’s full post, which also includes links to .pdfs of the reports and documents.

The archbishop lied. And now he’s lying about lying.


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