Archdiocese of Milwaukee Admits It Paid Abusive Priests to Leave

This doesn’t look good. It’s not about the Archdiocese of Milwaukee either. It’s really about the person who was in charge of the Archdiocese in 2003 when the Catholic Church decided to offer those priests accused of sexually abusing minors to leave the priesthood. That person happens to be Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Cardinal Archbishop of New York and the darling of political conservatives everywhere. Up until this story broke this week, Dolan was the “Great White Hope” who was charged with taking on the Obama Administration over contraception, abortion and healthcare. The media loves him, some Catholics think he might be the first American pope, and his brother bishops have enough confidence in him that they named him to be President of the conference of Catholic Bishops. The sordid details just now emerging from Milwaukee, thanks in large part to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests who courageously called attention to this story, Dolan will now have to explain how it served the best interests of society and the Church in paying for accused priests to go away quietly. It would be difficult not to interpret the offering of hush money in anything but cynical terms. Dolan will surely attempt to get in front of this story, given his well-publicized talent at media relations. But, even for him, this is going to be a tough one. This is more than a PR snafu. This is a wound on the level of credibility and integrity. He’s got some explaining to do. This indeed doesn’t look good.