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Pedophiles Paid to Leave Quietly

Laurie Goodstein at the New York Times reported yesterday on then-Archbishop of Milwaukee Timothy Dolan approving payments of up to $20,000 to sex-abuser priests as an incentive for them to accept laicization.When asked about such payments at the time, Dolan flatly denied the charge.

Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was false, preposterous and unjust.

Ahem. Well, in the bankruptcy proceedings, documents show that multiple such payments were made. (Andrew Sullivan's report is headed: "Cardinal Dolan, Brazen Liar?" But dissembling hierarchs is not my topic here.)Now it is true that priests don't draw much of a salary, though it should also be noted that, unlike their lay colleagues in ministry, they also get their education free, housing free, and receive benefits, including retirement. They do not take a vow of poverty (unlike religious,) so can become wealthy if they have a side gig, though most do not. I would be sympathetic to leaving retirement benefits in place, since it's very hard to establish oneself mid-life (or later,) but this is a substantial cash bonus just for leaving.I do not know if diocesan priests who leave to marry receive or received similar payments, or if this is a special bonus to get pedophiles to go without a fight. The Times article says payouts to dismissed priests are not uncommon. But pedophiles??Here again--where's the outrage? What would it take for a bishop to say to a priest: "This is outrageous, evil, deeply harmful behavior that will not be tolerated. Get out, and if you try to fight laicization, fine, we'll fight. But we won't pay you to leave. In addition to the harm you caused to your victim(s), you have violated the trust we placed in you, on which grounds your employment and benefits were based. Besides, you won't need much money in prison."? Is there a sliding scale? How much would a priest be paid off for murder?(Tone! Regrets for snideness.)SNAP really said it best: In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?

About the Author

Lisa Fullam is associate professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).

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iIn our diocese, we were very unsucessful with appealing for any funds for priests with a stellar record of service with 25 years of ministry who left in good standing to pursue marriage to receive more than very modest few months transitional fund. Meanwhile, chartered pedophiles who laicizations are pending are still provided with living quarters, some remuneration, and unknown other benefits.Justice?May Dolan's lies cost him dearly in his bravado.

A friend just sent me an e-mail that yesterday, the Archdioces held a "protection of children" conference in Thornwood - the Legionairres place (given to them by the Archdiocese.)Of course Philly is providing legal assitance tp Lynn who "did his best" but just folowed orders.What did they say about where the fish stinks from?

How wonderful to be so sure that Dolan is lying.It's possible to view the $20,000 as quick justice: get the scoundrel out before he can cause more harm. I think I remember cases where the abuser attacked other children in the laicization gap.

(1) Has Cardinal Dolan issued a statement about the payments that he authorized in Milwaukee?(2) Here's one way he could rationalize the payout: If the priest in question were to fight laicization, then the priest in question would remain of the diocese's payroll while the fight proceeded in the Vatican. He would continue to receive his salary and room and board and possibly also medical and other forms of insurance. So Dolan might rationalize that the $20,000 bribe not to fight the laicization would save the diocese money on balance (i.e., the priest's salary and living expenses and possibly his medical and other insurance benefits).(3) Had the statutes of limitations run out, so that the priest in question could not be charged in the legal system?

FYI: It's Laurie GOODSTEIN.

The Cardinal's spokesman told me he is going to let the statements from the Milwaukee archdiocese speak for him and he won't have any further statement. I think there could be perfectly good reasons to pay abusers to go without a fight if that fight would cost money that could go to victims. Milwaukee was cash-strapped, and these documents emerged out of bankruptcy proceedings. I believe the archdiocese was offering something like $30k to victims -- in other words, just a bit more than it was offering their abusers. There are certainly reasons of justice and security for a diocese to provide the basics for men it pledged to take care of and in order to keep tabs on them in some manner. Just trying to dump abusers into the wider society can do more harm than good.That said the central issue is, as always, transparency and accountability and honesty. Ignoring those things got the bishops in trouble in the first place, and not being straight about these payments is what is getting the Cardinal in trouble here. Why not explain what you are doing in the first place, and why? And if your people don't buy it, don't do it.

Whatever the rationale or justification financially, it sure appears that he lied about the payout. Re-reading this, he said it was "false, preposterous, and unjust" to characterize these as "incentives," but not that that the payment itself was made for the other reasons surmised.The questions are not just motivation or financial responbility, but if is "Did you make payments to credibly accused pedophiles to assit them in leaving ministry voluntarily" it seems the answer must be, "Yes."

I agree with David: It was a mistake to suggest that these payments weren't being made, but offering an incentive to an abuser to make it easier to laicize him is not necessarily the wrong move. A priest could fight his bishop and the process could drag on for years -- and he'd be collecting salary and benefits the whole time.

You don't have to pay off pedophiles if you turn them in to the police. The money was to get them to go quietly.The bishops' fear of scandal once again creates a scandal.

Can somebody clarify for me whether, prior to any laicizing process, the police were notified concerning these men?

What Cupcake said!

I agree with the general tenor of the comments here. I also find SNAP's comment outrageous and malicious. If it benefits existing and potential victims to have the offender laicized as expeditiously as possible, I'd think SNAP would be in favor of it.

"You dont have to pay off pedophiles if you turn them in to the police"This comment confuses church law (laicization) with criminal law (minor sex abuse/pedophilia). Whether or not the state prosecutes and convicts the offendere, the laicization needs to be pursued.

This raises two very signifciant issues.1. Cardinal Dolan was not truthful. It is possible to characterize the payouts as a cost savings measure and even to justify them as an expediency measure. It is beyond obvious, though, that such payments would reasonably appear to be "payoffs." It is not truthful to then state "such an inference was false, preposterous and unjust." The "payoff" inference is reasonable, and should have been forthrightly addressed in language similar to: "It takes too long for the Vatican to handle contested laicization cases, so we find it cost effective and expedient to 'settle out of court' as is done in any other business transaction."2. But the Cardinal could not have addressed payouts in that manner because there is a second, far deeper, problem. The American bishops could not get the Vatican to timely laicize the pedophiles. There was a holdup in the Vatican. As Grant notes, the process could take years. There was, by all accounts, an emergency situation requiring relatively decisive action. The Vatican did not consider it an emergency and did not respond decisively. The Vatican had the power to change the laicization process from "years" to "weeks" or even "days." By "Vatican," I mean "the Pope." He failed his fellow bishops and the Church.If Cardinal Dolan had answered the inquiry regarding payoffs candidly, he would have been asked why the Vatican was so slow to laicize pedophiles. He could not satisfactorily answer that question without implicitly or explicitly criticizing his fellow Bishop in Rome, thereby violating the First Commandment.

I wonder what other dioceses did this more quietly or with different nomenclature or different "arrangments". I'd guess that it was hardly unique...

"This comment confuses church law (laicization) with criminal law (minor sex abuse/pedophilia). Whether or not the state prosecutes and convicts the offendere, the laicization needs to be pursued."This bears addressing, because I think Church officials often seem unaware of how such points come across to the public when they are made. Yes, there may be a process in church law to follow, but that isn't what concerns people. What concerns people is that the criminal law process is not adequately pursued. Leaders should be cognizant of this, and be on their toes when it comes to making it understood that the criminal side is being taken care of--indeed, that it takes precedence over the canon side. People want to see abusers out of their collars, but they want even more to see them in cuffs. Therefore, I would reverse your statement: I suspect that the public, which has an interest, would prefer that, regardless of whether or not the church laicizes priests, the state prosecutes them.That's why I asked if the laicizing process was following (or being pursued in conjunction with) actual criminal prosecution. Because if the latter doesn't happen, then the former seems like a slap in the face.

SNAP really said it best: In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?Actually, I think by making that comment, SNAP forfeited the right to be taken seriously. It is a perfectly outrageous distortiona lie far greater than any Dolan may have told. I can't believe it has been approvingly quoted here.

Maybe we should raise funds to set aside for certain people, as a donation to be handed out to them on the day on which they leave their position.

"A priest could fight his bishop and the process could drag on for years and hed be collecting salary and benefits the whole time.""If it benefits existing and potential victims to have the offender laicized as expeditiously as possible, Id think SNAP would be in favor of it."I'd hate to have you guys giving advice to my bishop without first addressing these questions:1. Is it the case that a priest, even if he is a convicted sex offender and goes to jail, could still fight his bishop on laicization? 2. Is it likely that a priest under these circumstances would be able to make much of a case against his laicization such that it would "drag on for years"? If so, wouldn't the better solution be to expedite such cases rather than pay the priest to leave?3. Is it likely that the cost to the diocese to pursue the laicization through formal means would cost more than the $20K in "go away" money?4. Even if it is cheaper to give the priest $20K, is such a move a prudent PR move? When parishioners discover that the diocese gives convicted felons money to encourage voluntary laicization, how much does the diocese lose in credibility? Could that credibility result in revenues lost from the diocesan appeal? Possible grants from community organizations for social programs?

For once I find myself in agreement with David Gibson and Grant Gallicho. As a lawyer, I've been involved in numerous settlement agreements where a person whom you personally suspect of being nefarious, creepy, guilty, etc. receives a payment in exchange for settling their claims and going away. This is primarily the case when the facts are such that proving such person's nefariousness, guilt, or creepiness would be difficult, more expensive and perhaps unsettling. I couldn't read the entire Times story due to the subscription limits, so I was not sure of the details of the particular cases.

"Actually, I think by making that comment, SNAP forfeited the right to be taken seriously. It is a perfectly outrageous distortiona lie far greater than any Dolan may have told. I cant believe it has been approvingly quoted here."WOW - and I agree with David Nickol!

Jean Raber: As I indicated in my earlier message, it is entirely possible that the statutes of limitations prevented making criminal charges against the suspected priest. The NYTimes article does not provide enough information to know about this.

Priests can be removed from active ministry by their bishop, but they cannot be laicized without their consent absent a canonical proceeding, with appeal rights to Rome. As I understand it, these priests gave up those rights in exchange for the payments, allowing them to be immediately laicized. Lawsuits or potential lawsuits are settled all the time, such settlements almost always involve paying money, and the lawyers who negotiate such settlements do not refer to them, or consider them, "payoffs." As for Dolan's earlier statement, I believe he denied making a "payoff" to one particular priest. Does anyone know if that particular priest in fact received a payment?

Jim, do you yhink canon law trumps civil law and clergy should be treatred differently?

One minor correction, Lisa.Diocesan priests do not get their educations free. They must pay for their seminary training and most are saddled with student loan debt for years. In fact, a priest I know who criticized bishops in the scandal was hounded out of the priesthood by superiors basically for speaking out. Parishioners were totally behind him. He sued the bishop and won a settlement that included forgiveness of that student loan debt. The balance of the debt, say $50,000, was then credited as income to the ex-priest in that tax year. It created a large tax liability for him that took years to pay off. Don't mess with chanceries.

"Where's the outrage?"Great question. Searching...searching...searching...aha! There you are Charlie Pierce!http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/timothy-dolan-milwaukee-history-93..."Not long ago, Dolan was waxing wroth in the Wall Street Journal about how the president is making Catholics pay for aids to sexy sexytime that may not all be "open to the transmission of new life."Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience.Yes, far better to take 20,000 of those dollar bills tossed into the basket of a Sunday morning and, without any substantive input from those Catholics whose consciences might object to this use of their donations, hand them over to a child-buggering monster just so the institutional Church can be rid of him.We're going to hear more than we need to hear from this Dolan character between now and the election. Any story about him that does not contain the phrase "...who once supervised a program to use the money collected from parishioners to pay accused child molesters to leave the priesthood..." is unworthy of being read."

D. Pasinski - this really is offensive in terms of what the typical diocese and order does for men who leave after 10, 20 years of service. Typically, they are offered insurance coverage until they find employement. They might (best case scenario) receive some type of severance - so much for every year served but this is a tiny minority. Most get nothing in terms of retirement (a few exceptions to this). So, a man who, for good reasons, may in conscience petition and leave the active priesthood receives little to no support vs. a credible pedophile who is financially supported until whatever? (this makes little sense and flies in the face of the usual episcopal blather about "you are a priest forever because it was an ontological change") There are lots of "justice" issues around clerical departures and how orders/dioceses wash their hands of these men - that is the scandal and it becomes even more pronounced when these types of episcopal behaviors come to light. And you are correct; know of orders that have made similar arrangements on a case by case basis.Agree with some of you - need to make some distinctions here. Am sure that most of these Milwaukee cases were past the SOLs but the diocese did determine that there were credible, if not, proven acts of sexual abuse. But, it would be helpful to know what the civil status was of the nine abusers who received at least $10K each years later?So, there are a number of questions:- this was after the 2002 Dallas chapter - so, you have at least two levels here - civilly: why weren't these priests reported to civil authorities (just because they were outside of the SOLs?)? if nothing else, this would have made a serious statement to these guys that went beyond "internal forum" or in the privacy/confidentiality of the diocesan leadership.- with Jean Raber......church level inserts the Vatican failure and internal struggle between CDF and Roman Rota; in 2003, you had JPII but no one in actual control when it came to these types of decisions and its impact on a diocese such as Milwaukee or Dolan as bishop.So, guess you could make an argument that offering to pay for a laicization would benefit the diocese financially. Canon law at that time was so slanted in favor of the abuser, that the diocese could be held financially liable to support an extended canon law court case e.g. have examples of this in the public domain - Tucson, Phoenix cases. and priests have fought laicization even when in prison e.g. Gordon MacRae.But, given that:- appears that Dolan misspoke- appears that the Milwaukee Diocese used funding that was separated from and not reported to the bankruptcy judge?- with Jean Raber, may have been technically okay but was it moral and ethical? Isn't this just another episcopal "the ends justify the means"?- there also have been serious discussion about whether "laicization" is even the proper step for a bishop or the church to take? It basically just releases a predator into society - doesn't the church have more of a responsibility here? both financially and ethically? (to Grant's post above)

A CASH REWARD FOR RAPING AND SODOMIZING CHILDREN! Further evidence that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is even more corrupt than during the Renaissance, including the Borgia popes!!! Incredulously, this guy Dolan harbors papal ambitions!!!!!!!!! If Dolan should become pope, it would be as good an indication as any that the Holy Spirit has TOTALLY abandoned the Roman Catholic hierarchy.It is way past time that Catholics cut all ties with the hierarchy, go their own way, by taking matters into their own hands: LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE! Once the hierarchs clean up their act with real reform and renewal in about a century or two, only then should Catholics consider having them back in the fold. Until such time, the hierarchy should be IGNORED and SHUNNED because they are IRRELEVANT and ALIENATED from the everyday lives of Catholics.

Nixon paid 'plumbers' to investigate what he thought were crimes He did not use FBI Secret Service or CIA so he could keep it secret. He used a slush fund to keep it all quiet. Just like Dolan.. But Nixon got caught. lied and had to resign..Dolan got caught, lied but will not resign and there is no impeachment possible. No hearings either. Just stonewalling that would make Catholic Gordon Liddy proud.. Get your suits cleaned and pressed, the march for Religious Liberty is in a fortnight. Bishops don't want sloppy looking people like Occupy WS has.. Some bishops might be wearing cappa magnas.

People keep saying it's possible that the statute of limitations was in effect, or that they're pretty sure that such was the case. Surely it is possible to find out whether that was actually the case?

My problem is this. If you paid them to leave, you chose to pay them to leave. For better or for worse this was the decision made at the time. There are probably going to be those who agree and those who disagree with it. My question is, why lie about it. That helps nobody. It just discredits the whole church.

'Jim, do you yhink canon law trumps civil law and clergy should be treatred differently?'No and no.

I agree with David Nickol about the SNAP comment - I feel like they have become the functional equivalent of the Catholic League in news reports like this one. If you need someone to say something belligerent and snappy and careless in support of the bishops, you call Donohue; if you need a similar quote in opposition, you turn to SNAP. We published an article by Nicholas Cafardi last year that explained some of the complications with pursuing laicizations as a penal matter. It complicates the picture quite a bit, and I think provides some useful background in this case.

"People want to see abusers out of their collars, but they want even more to see them in cuffs. Therefore, I would reverse your statement: I suspect that the public, which has an interest, would prefer that, regardless of whether or not the church laicizes priests, the state prosecutes them."Abe, I think you're essentially thinking about this the right way. I'm sure all of us agree that sex abusers should be in jail. My view is that both things need to happen: the perpetrator needs to be prosecuted and convicted by the state, and also laicized by the church. The public, especially the subset that is Catholic, would expect and demand both.

Lisa,How would you deal with religious-order priests (Jesuits, Franciscans) who are convicted pedophiles? Since they cannot be dismissed from their religious orders if they obey directives from their superiors, they can and are supported by their orders potentially for decades. And one could say that good, pious Catholics who support these orders are paying for the upkeep of pedophiles.I really think you are grandstanding with this post. As a ethicist who sees the world often in gray rather than black and white, you are making some pretty brights lines in an area where there is a lot of complications.

Goodstein's NYT piece is more than fair. Payoffs were nicely explained. It's all about the hierarchy thinking that the dumb laity cannot comprehend how a complex cleanup works.The dumb laity 'can't take the truth' ..Laity have been raising complex families for about 40 thousand years.

And also your use of the word "hierach" is growing tiresome too. A little sarcasm can go a long way but too much of it can weaken one's argument. Here, your passions seem to have gotten the better of you

I grew up being taught that priests see themselves as "alter Christus." I'm 74. Our local pastor, who's in Cardinal Dolan's generation, hammers away at that image frequently. I hope when the Cardinal does respond to the Times report he'll cite passages in the gospels where Jesus says something in Aramaic analogous to "an inference was false, preposterous and unjust when He answered questions.

It is a time-honored practice in public relations/crisis management, that when you can't satisfactorily respond to the charges (in this case the handling of pedophilia cases) to create a diversion (in this case the contraception mandate.) Could this explain the NCCB's obvious unwillingness to work toward an acceptable accommodation? Especially in an election year, partisan politics and claims of religions liberty infringement can push the more serious, but slower developing story to the back pages. There are a lot of attempts to rationalize Cdl Dolan's comments that pedophile priests were paid to leave were 'false, preposterous, untrue,' and try to find ways that they can fit the now-revealed facts, but is this the kind of statement, untrue on its face, that we condone from our spiritual leaders? There is indeed a crisis in the Church today, but it begins with the false leadership, not in the faithfulness of the flock, and certainly not from trumped up charges of attacks on our religious liberty.

Hi, Jean, I'm going to reply to your questions individually. I'm sorry I don't know how to make my replies appear in a different font or color. Let me just preface by noting that the comments from Grant and from me that you pasted at the beginning of your comment pertain only to laicization - those comments don't really have a bearing on criminal prosecution one way or the other."1. Is it the case that a priest, even if he is a convicted sex offender and goes to jail, could still fight his bishop on laicization?"I don't know the ins and outs of canon law in this regard, but I suspect that a conviction for a sex offense by a secular court would help the diocese's case in a laicization proceeding."2. Is it likely that a priest under these circumstances would be able to make much of a case against his laicization such that it would drag on for years? If so, wouldnt the better solution be to expedite such cases rather than pay the priest to leave?"I think the point of paying the priest a settlement is precisely to expedite the case. Please see Thorin's comment above: laicization is much quicker and simpler of the priest cooperates. Perhaps it is repugnant to have to pay someone to go away, but that is the way that many legal disputes get settled, from divorces to contract disputes to, apparently, laicizations. "3. Is it likely that the cost to the diocese to pursue the laicization through formal means would cost more than the $20K in go away money?"I don't know specifics of the cost of pursuing a contested laicization, but we're talking paying the lawyers (in this case, canon lawyers). I'd think that it could easily cost more than $20K. According to the NY Times story, the $20K was the most paid out (iirc); presumably some priests were paid less."4. Even if it is cheaper to give the priest $20K, is such a move a prudent PR move? When parishioners discover that the diocese gives convicted felons money to encourage voluntary laicization, how much does the diocese lose in credibility? Could that credibility result in revenues lost from the diocesan appeal? Possible grants from community organizations for social programs?"The PR is partially within the diocese's control: they have an opportunity to spin it to their advantage. Some of the explanations offered here seem to me the reasonable/right PR approach: 'We settled with this guy because it is the quickest way to get him away from our children and out of the Roman collar.'

I wish to say aword of defense for SNAP though I have no affiliation and never have so posted. In NCR, David Clohessy states that his problem is with the thre versions -- the diocesan, the records, and the Cardinal's. I think most here are saying something similar -- regardless of the utility or wisdom of the payments, Dolan at least obfuscated, at worst, truly lied and covered up. SNAP may be overly sharp and militant in this expression, but it is not comparable to The Catholic League. It was a voice in the wilderness and-- even with some impolite and wrong expressions -- should be listenewd to.

Whether the crimes are criminally actionable or not given SOLs, whether a priest can easily be laicized or not, what's to stop the church from firing a priest?

Once the pedophiles (as the Brits, say - paedos) are convicted of a crime, why do they have to continue to be paid and received benefits? Is that true while they are in jail?Canon law has always been written in a manner to benefit the clerical system the most. Conviction of a crime, even if laicization is not involved, should immediately stop all financial remuneration to the convicted priest. Period.

If it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk - it's a skunk, now matter how you want to dress it in clerical accoutrement.

"There are a lot of attempts to rationalize Cdl Dolans comments that pedophile priests were paid to leave were false, preposterous, untrue, and try to find ways that they can fit the now-revealed facts, but is this the kind of statement, untrue on its face, that we condone from our spiritual leaders?jbruns: if the only information we're working from is the Goodstein article, I don't think we're given enough information to know whether or not it is untrue on its face. Here is what Goodstein reports:"Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a payoff to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was false, preposterous and unjust."Note that the Cardinal didn't utter those words when Goodstein reached out to him to get his comment on this story. A few paragraphs later, she reports that he declined to comment on this story. It's a quote that (a) she is lifting from some other, unidentified story; (b) the statement was made is in reference to one particularly notorious priest, which is not what this story is about; and (c) his response seems to have been to the characterization that the payment to that priest constituted a "payoff". That strikes me as a defensible response - I don't see the payment as a "payoff", either.

@AA: It's true that I react strongly to cases like this, especially in light of the magisterium's response to the sex abuse crisis generally. It's generally only in the media that bishops have been held accountable for their response to pedophilia, and SNAP has been a big part of that. (And "hierarch" is not intended to be snide, but descriptive. If I wanted to be snide, I'd say "kyriarch." I choose not to.) But a $20,000 payment to forego one's canonical right to trial and leave quietly? That's a lot of money. And that's just to leave. Remember, I already asked that their retirement not be cut off. And you are correct, I try to see gray. So for religious priests: first, civil legal proceedings must be pursued, then de-frocking, (if they are ordained.) But nothing good happens when (often) old men are cast out penniless onto the street. As some orders have done, I think putting them in a house under strict monitoring (on threat of expulsion,) isn't a bad solution. Inform the neighbors. Don't do this near schools. Make clear, publicly, that it's because tossing men out into the street without recourse is bad--and doesn't protect kids. In short, transparency, accountability, and mercy to all involved. Protecting kids must be the first concern, though.And I'm still interested in the comparison to priests, religious or diocesan, who leave to marry, or for other reasons. Are they given $20,000? This is where SNAP's critique hits home, istm. I wonder if in cases like this it'd be better to endure the long trial--or reform the system that makes it so hard to laicize sex abusers--than to try to keep it all quiet. So to quote from the last para of Cafardi's excellent essay:

The Catholic community deserves a fuller explanation of Romes reticence in laicizing known abusers. (In turn, church critics ought to acknowledge that cutting a molester loose doesnt necessarily protect kids.) The pope could do that. He should do that. We need less back story and more openness. If theres anything we can say with certainty about the crisis, its that secrecy does more harm than good.

"Whether the crimes are criminally actionable or not given SOLs, whether a priest can easily be laicized or not, whats to stop the church from firing a priest?"For a priest, laicizing him is firing him. However, a bishop can (and, given credible evidence, must) suspend a priest from his ministry. He is still considered a priest, the diocese still has some responsibility (and liability) for him, and must address questions like, "Where does this guy live while he's suspended?" that might seem relatively simple but in fact can be quite vexing. I've argued here in the past that it's in the church's and, arguably, the victims' best interests to laicize offenders as quickly and expeditiously as possible.

I believe part of the understandable outrage by SNAP speaks to the fact that survivors were jerked around in the legal system for years, while Dolan set a $30,000 limit for survivors, period --- a measly $10,000 more than perpetrators were paid quickly to go away.And I suspect confidentiality agreements were certainly part of the package.The unresolved problem is what releasing these (accused) predators without any supervision means for public safety. Bishops do not inform police or child protection authorities of their location. Laicized priests have been found, for example, working in middle school administration and even as a therapist for abuse victims. Background checks are useless in the absence of criminal conviction, but Dolan et al are apparently relieved. It's no longer the church's problem.This danger is another reason for statutes of limitation reform, with windows for past victims to come forward. About 300 more predators were identified when CA opened its window. Delaware also brought forward new names. Legislatures in Hawaii and Massachusetts are now considering window options to allow access to justice. Maybe at last bishops will have less control over access to evidence of crimes. Their distorted version of religious liberty means exemption from child protection laws because no one else is allowed to question their decisions about assignments to ministry. Lori on the matter while in Bridgeport: releasing church documents on "ecclesiastical policy decisions" undermines the diocese's "right to function as a religious institution."

I still think that in a complex world "paying off" a convicted pedophile so that his case not be long and drawn out might be an acceptable solution in some cases. And I still think that your tone in this post was overly sarcastic and was engaged in some grandstanding.

"And Im stil interested in the comparison to priests, religious or diocesan, who leave to marry, or for other reasons. Are they given $20,000? This is where SNAPs critique hits home, istm."The similarity between the two cases is pretty superficial. There is quite a difference between a priest who voluntarily applies for laicization in order to get married, and a perpetrator who abuses children and refuses to leave the priesthood. That SNAP can't see the difference, or does see the difference but doesn't care, says more about SNAP than it does about priests or dioceses.

I have to take issue with Mollie Wilson O'Reilly's [and, I guess, David Nickol's as well] making a false equivalency between the Catholic League and SNAP.The Catholic League is a shadow organization for Catholic hierarchs to get the uglier parts of their messaging out in the media. The Catholic League is how the hierarchs "really think" but they know that they must have several degrees of separation from the Catholic League's publicly professed nonsense and odious bigotry. [William Donohue will never release the source of all his funding for his essentially one-man media operation - but I would wager his funding is ultimately sourced to US bishops. Have you ever met someone who is a member of the "Catholic League?" Their board looks like a rogues gallery of right-wing nuts. We do know that Donohue started off with office space in the NY chancellory building. Go figure?!?]SNAP is a support organization for survivors of rape and sodomy at the hands of mostly Catholic priests. Survivors gain strength and courage from associations with other survivors within SNAP to confront and acknowledge their own assault - which more times than not occurred when they were defenseless children. SNAP's duty is to honor each and every story of abuse, rape and sexual exploitation - because that is the only avenue to healing and restitution for a survivor's personal dignity and integrity.If O'Reilly would ever come to a SNAP event, she would learn that for survivors taking an uncompromising commitment to the truth, they have been vilified and persecuted - ESPECIALLY by the Catholic hierarchy - in a grotesque reenactment of their assaults.[Maybe O'Reilly has missed all the news reports out of Missouri where church attorneys have sought to have the courts excavate through subpoena private communications between SNAP members in violation of their human and constitutional rights.]Ms. O'Reilly, SNAP are our brothers and sisters, frighteningly similar to the gospel parable of the Good Samaritan, who have been sexually assaulted and exploited, left in the ditch, and abandoned by their church's priests and leaders.Perhaps, it is this truth that you find most distasteful about SNAP? I believe what your experiencing is clinical transference of disturbing feelings and cognitions. SNAP are the children who sacrificed their innocence on the altar of Catholic clerical power for us - modern day martyrs, if you will. They deserve our honor and support. We are SNAP![BTW: Nicholas Cafardi can opine about the "laicizations as a penal matter" all he wants for all the good that will do. The fact is that when Cafardi had an opportunity when he was chair of the National Review Board to really make a difference for survivors and the Church, he very timidly fumbled the ball. If folks like Cafardi had sounded the appropriate public warnings, maybe the American Catholic Church would not be on life-support today.]

Has SNAP ever supported civil litigation against accused priests, or do they only support criminal prosecution?

"but I would wager his funding is ultimately sourced to US bishops"a little conspiracy theory going on here? Connect this to the JFK assassination too? Who knows?And I have lost a lot of respect for SNAP. They too only see in black and white now. No nuance. Everyone is guilty until they decide otherwise. They want to be judge, jury and executioner

Although our diocese did a poor job with justice for priests who left to marry with fine records of service, it has done better at keeping track of the chartered priests with residence and meetings. But it is an expensive fix and can surely be misinterpreted.Thee are variations also since none of the ones I kn ow of her have been jailed and the abuser lists are not clear.

Ah, so much here to address and to dis/agree with...first: I wholeheartedly agree with David P and Lisa re: SNAP. We need to cut them some slack. They are in no way like CL and it is very true that if it hadn't been for SNAP, much of what we know of the whole abusive bishop-priest scandal would never have come to light. Now, apart from whether or not Dolan lied (and it seems to me he did), my overarching question echoes precisely one of Carolyn's concerns: what does it actually mean for the hierarchy to make a priest-abuser "go away"? Go away to what or to where? Back into society, unprosecuted, unknown, to abuse more kids and vulnerable people? I have always felt that these men, whose crimes the bishops have aided and abetted so egregiously, BELONG TO THE BISHOPS and as such should be "kept" by them, away from society, out of any type of ministry, but WARDS of the hierarchy, just as they were before their crimes came to light outside the dysfunction of the institutional family. Pay for their keep, and keep them away from society. They are the burden of their episcopal "fathers," and the bishops should be carrying that load as part of their own penalty in the crimes and coverup. I know of at least 2 known abusers here in Boston who have virtually disappeared into society to God alone knows where and who are doing God alone knows what. Yet a layman who worked for one of these men and was caught with his share of the child-porn is in prison, and will be for many years. We would not put up with such disgraceful and criminal injustice in a secular organization: why do we put up with it in the Church, over and over and over again? Where IS the outrage, indeed???

Dolan lied----Once again we are seeing that the high ranking church officials do not have the victims or children's best interests at heart. These men will go to great lengths to protect themselves, their images, and the institution.Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511snapjudy@gmail.com(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org).

"And I suspect confidentiality agreements were certainly part of the package."That would have been an important element for Goodstein to include in her story. But there was no mention of it. Unless/until it's established, we shouldn't reach any conclusions.Also: when confidentiality agreements are criticized in these abuse stories, it is generally confidentiality agreements with victims. But this story is about perpetrators, not victims. That seems pretty different to me. The perp doesn't have a moral claim on things a victim might be morally entitled to (like justice). "The unresolved problem is what releasing these (accused) predators without any supervision means for public safety. Bishops do not inform police or child protection authorities of their location."Once a priest is laicized, he is no longer a priest, and the bishop is no more responsible for him than for any other sex offender. The church isn't and can't be can't be expected to keep tabs on the whereabouts or activities of ex-priests, any more than a school keeps tabs on ex-students. Once the priest is laicized, he become's society's burden, just like any other sex offender. And that is as it should be.

"False, preposterous and unjust..." : sounds like what the bishops themselves actually are...truly the opposite of strong, loving and wise.

Jim Pauwels' comment at 4:34 is exactly right.

Jim Jenkins,I don't know enough about SNAP to judge them as an organization, but I know a perfectly outrageous statement when I see one, and to imply that Dolan or the Catholic Church gave pedophiles "a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children is a total distortion of truth and a vicious slander. I am almost at a loss for words to characterize what a mendacious perversion of truth it is. It strikes me that there are few organizations in the United States who could get away with saying something so grotesque. No one was given a cash bonus for raping children. They were, in effect, given a bribe not to fight laicization. If SNAP wants to make a case against that, then fine. But if they let that statement stand, they have forfeited the right to be taken seriously.

It would have been praiseworthy if Rembert Weakland had used the Dolan strategy to quickly get rid of the notorious priest who abused the boys at the school for the deaf.

This story damages the credibility of the Times more than the credibility of Dolan. It appeals to those who are ready to make snap (pun intended) judgments about an interchange of which we know only snippets.

I'm afraid my mention of the Catholic League has been distracting. It was a very qualified and limited comparison, one I stand by: it has become routine, in articles about the Church, to see a quote from one or the other (or both) filling the "what critics say" hole. I think it's a shame that SNAP spokespersons seem as willing as Bill Donohue to rush into that hole with a sensationalist quote. They may get attention, but in the process they damage their own credibility -- as David Nickol has said, a reaction like the one they gave Goodstein makes it hard to take them seriously. And the people they represent deserve to be taken seriously.

David Nickol.. to say that ' to imply that Dolan or the Catholic Church gave pedophiles a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children' is a complete miss-reading of what was meant. and getting upset about your misreading it is peculiar stance.

I agree in spades that there's no equivalency betwen SNAP and the Catholic (buffoon) league.Wasn't there a major conference at the North American Colege earlier this year in which victim voices were(finally IMO) promoted as a ptioirity.Part of the problem some have with SNAP is they approach the organization on an intellectual basis without emapthically appreciating what victims go through and the aftermath.I think Cardinal Dolan is fundamentally about the institution and Church assets ,despite any nice words -another beaurocrat in the hierarchy IMO.I think SNAP deserves not only an"fair sake" but support, otherwise I fear SOS

Patrick m.Your first post was insulting and gratuitous -your second a kind of typical minimization of hierachical protection -please!

Jim Pauwels wondered about the source of Cdl. Dolan's "false, preposterous and unjust" statment. The quote comes from a September 8, 2006 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The article can be found in its entirety on the BishopAccountability website.Points to note in relation to this older article and the New York Times article:1) Fr. Becker received a $10,000 payment after his October 2004 laicization. The 2003 minutes discussed in the New York Times article call for two $10,000 payments, one at the beginning of the laicization process and one at its completion. 2) Then-Abp. Dolan claimed that the payment was given to Fr. Becker so that he could pay for health insurance as he did not qualify for Medicare at the time of his laicization. Fr. Becker would have been 67 at the time of his laicization, so he would have met the age-requirement, although his parochial employment may not have paid into Medicare for the required number of years.3) The 2003 minutes discussed in the New York Times article proposed that priests being laicized receive, in addition to the $20,000, both a monthly pension instead of a salary and health insurance until a job was found.

Bob N.Your spelling is now perfect. Congratulations. Now my complaint is that I don't understand the substance of your complaint. What is "typical minimization of hierarchical protection?' I sense that you consider TMofHP to be bad but I'm still confused about the precise nature of my offense.

For the next article in this Pulitzer Prize winning NYT series I suggest: What did the Pope know and when did he know it? If he didn't know about the cash bonuses for raping he should have and therefore must resign. And if he did know and condoned the payoffs it's also the case that he should resign. In either event the next Pope must be one endorsed by SNAP and the ACLU.

a complete miss-reading of what was meant. ed gleason,I honestly can't figure out another reading of the statement. I am not usually an apologist for the bishops or the Catholic Church, so if I could have found another way to read it, I would have given it a try. What was it supposed to mean?

This story damages the credibility of the Times more than the credibility of Dolan.Patrick Molloy,How so? Is there anything in the story that is not true?

David Nickol,Sadly, your indignation is misplaced. And, you really should know the complete history of the hierarchs complicity and corruption before you go and say something really foolish.US bishops have been paying out millions in hush money to cover-up their shame and guilt for decades. SNAP is only holding up the mirror for us Catholics so we can get a true picture of the rot, filth and decay that has eaten away at the heart of the Catholic hierarchy.Think of SNAP as Cervantes Don Quixote de la Mancha, the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, reflecting back to us the truth of our Catholic existence. I know, thanks to our hierarchs, its not a pretty sight.Just in case youre still under the delusion that Dolans passing out money to bribe predatory priests into doing what-anybody-with-a-drop-of-human-decency-would-do is an isolated experience, here are just a few examples:--- The night before Rev. Oliver OGrady was to give testimony in court regarding his dealings with LA Cardinal Roger Mahony, Mahonys lawyers paid a visit to OGradys jail cell to offer him a deal he couldnt refuse: In exchange for OGrady refusing to testify (which would have legally threatened Mahony with felony aiding and abetting a crime and obstruction of justice), OGradys retirement was fully funded [to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars]. After serving seven years in California prisons for sexual assault and rape, OGrady now lives, free as a bird, fully funded, back in Dublin, Ireland.--- Cardinal William Levada authorized a settlement [worth hundreds of thousands of dollars] with Rev. John Conly to fully fund his retirement the very day Levada was suppose to give sworn testimony pursuant to Conly suing Levada for infliction of mental stress and defamation of character. Conly, a former assistant US District Attorney in Michigan, had earned Levadas wrath, derision and loss of financial support for going outside usual internal church channels in making a police report of sexual assault against his pastor, Rev. James Aylward, whom when Conly returned home Conly found Aylward chasing the teenaged boy phone receptionist around the rectory while Aylward was in his underwear and sexually aroused. Conly now lives in SF in early retirement occasionally filling-in for parish priests on vacation.--- Now deceased former bishop of Santa Rosa, CA, George Ziemann, defrauded and pilfered hundreds of thousands of dollars from diocesan funds in part to extort sex from a priest whom Ziemann had ordained despite the priest never having attended a seminary - apparently Ziemann was primarily interested in something other than the priests pastoral gifts. After sexually abusing him, the accuser priest said that Ziemann listened to his troubled confessions and told him to say 10 Our Father and 10 Hail Marys. Ziemann lived out his days at Holy Trinity Monastery in Tucson, AZ never having to face prosecution for his crimes. I could go on, but I have afternoon appointments ...

Who made laicization so hard and the consequences of not doing it so potentially expensive for the diocese? It was Vatican authorities. A priest can be removed from active ministry without being laicized. Paying someone $20,000 to walk away is mostly for the benefit of the diocese without any particular benefit (or detriment) to the abused. It's not as if he has to be kept in active ministry or doing a job during the appeal process. It's not even clear that he would have to be paid a "salary," or at least much of one. Personally, I think every American diocese should have swamped Rome with these requests at laicization and gone the entire dirty distance in order to show that the problem was real and substantial. Paying people to go away just made it easier for authorities in Rome to pretend that it wasn't all that bad because they didn't have to grapple with so many of the grisly details.

Sadly, your indignation is misplaced. Jim Jenkins,My indignation is solely over one sentence, and nothing you have said justifies that sentence. Here is the paragraph it came from, and here is a link to the entire letter.

In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children? Would a doctor who deliberately and criminally killed patients be financially rewarded for it by the American Medical Association? Do taxpayers financially compensate a judge or a prosecutor after he gets caught taking bribes? When a bank teller embezzles money does the bank give her a nice financial windfall for it? Yet, when you molest and abuse children as a priest, according to the minutes of the meeting, you have a salary, benefits, health insurance and, to incentivize going quietly into that night of some new job and settle in some new community, youre given twenty thousand dollars of church money by your Archbishop.

David Nichol,I object to the "gotcha" implication in the article - - as though Dolan's 2006 "preposterous" statement in regard to Becker was undermined by the fact that there was a finance council discussion of incentives in 2003 as one effective means of expediting laicization. I've been in discussions about how to handle obstreperous colleagues, e.g., Give them a corner office but take away their power. If it happens that someone gets a corner office three years later it hardly follows that it came about as a result of earlier discussions. Who knows enough about Becker's health situation in 2006 to convict Dolan of dishonesty?I can understand the Cardinal's reluctance to comment. The press will never tire of finding any response inadequate in terms of transparency, accountability, etc. They've nominated him as the American Pope and now the first intrepid reporter to bring him down gains media plaudits and journalistic glory. Sadly there's an audience eager to enjoy the chase, as one can see from the comments here and around the web. I wish there were a statute of limitations for trials of obscure matters by the press.

Jean - regarding PR: here is then-Archbishop Dolan's statement from the 2006 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article linked to in William Logan's comment from 6:20 this evening:"Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan issued a strong statement, writing, "For anyone to assert that this money was a 'payoff' or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust. What this was, instead, was 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. If people want to criticize me for that charity, so be it. Since coming to the (archdiocese) in 2002, I have made my commitment to working with victims-survivors very clear in both word and action, and will continue to do so to ensure the healing occurs, the Church is strengthened, and trust is restored."That's not a bad stab at controlling public relations.

I don't want to come across as overly critical of Laurie Goodstein - it seems pretty clear that she's earned the respect of the professional journalists who hang out here, and I accept their judgment. But I'm not certain that she has the attention-grabbing "false, preposterous and just" quote from then-Archbishop Dolan positioned correctly.Here is her lede:"Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. "Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a payoff to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was false, preposterous and unjust."Here is the thing, though: the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article linked in William Logan's 5/31 6:20 comment, which seems to be the source for Goodstein's second paragraph, makes it clear that the money was *not* a settlement to induce the accused priest's cooperation in a laicization procedure. This particular priest's laicization case was referred to the Vatican - a process that doesn't necessitate the priest's cooperation.In my opinion, Goodstein's conjoining that second paragraph to the lede paragraph misleads the reader to assume that the payment to the Milwaukee priest was a "payoff" (an inflammatory term, perhaps unnecessarily so) to induce his cooperation. Given that the payment doesn't seem to have been a "payoff", or even the less sensational term "settlement" - is there even a newsworthy story here?

"A priest can be removed from active ministry without being laicized. Paying someone $20,000 to walk away is mostly for the benefit of the diocese without any particular benefit (or detriment) to the abused."Barbara - I agree that the diocese benefits when the perpetrator is laicized - and in my view, the diocese is a legitimate stakeholder, so I don't have a problem with that. I also agree that a person can overstate the benefit to the victim(s) of the priest's laicization. I would point out, though, that removing a priest from active ministry creates the risk, of whatever weight, that he could someday be returned to active ministry - something that is impossible after a laicization. In addition, suspending a priest may not get him off of church property, which also be risky to actual and potential victims.

(Barbara, let me just add that I'm glad to see you commenting here again.)

SNAP seriously weakens its right to respect by accusing Dolan of giving the priest a "bonus". One has no right to exaggerate another's sins.

"Thats not a bad stab at controlling public relations."There may be nuances here I don't understand. However, in general, I disagree. Continuing to pay for someone's health care for a year is charitable indeed, and I think a lot of people would call that into question, since people who get downsized or fired due to circumstances other than their job performance don't usually get that much charity from their former employers.But if you give someone a cash payout and then claiming when called on it makes it look like that Jon Lovitz liar routine from Saturday Night Live: "It wasn't go-away money, no, it was, it was, health care! Yeah, that's the ticket, health care! And groceries! And, and, let's see, charity, yeah! That's it!"

If the diocese needed to pay priests for leaving without a fight, then the priests obviously had something to fight for! I don't know about anyone else, but this leads me to doubt their guilt. I am in no way suggesting all accused priests are innocent -- if they are guilty, I think they should be punished accordingly -- but I am truly sick of these stories in the New York Times, and of SNAP, a group that actually knocked on doors trying to convince people to say they were abused, and which profits from monetary settlements. I have no respect for SNAP, or greedy lawyers, or journalists who thrive on scandals, as apparently Goostein does.

Mr. Pauwels' reading of the Milwaukee Sentinel and New York Times' articles together is quite convincing, which lends support to Mr. Malloy's characterization of the Times' article. And SNAP's characterization of Dolan's action is contemptible.

It will be very interesting to see how John Allen ends up interpreting this story. If he tries to deny that there is something serious and substantial that Dolan needs to answer for I will lose a great deal of respect for his reporting. Like David Gibson said, transparency, accountability and honesty are the issue in this story and it is striking that the man who is charging Obama with failing to be those things with regard to negotiations over the HHS mandate is himself facing those very questions.

"Given that the payment doesnt seem to have been a payoff, or even the less sensational term settlement is there even a newsworthy story here?"Yes. If the facts happened as you infer then the correct response from the bishop to the question you suggest was asked would be a simple "No."But, even if the question you suggest was the one asked, the bishop's response is not forthcoming and candid. His responses appears to be a response to the suggestion that a payoff would even be considered (hence, the false, preposterous and unjust" response.) It appears that, despite the responses, payoffs were made, even if made for expediency.Summary from the Nicholas Cascardi Commonweal article referenced above:"Laicization requests had poured in after Vatican II, and Pope Paul VI (d. 1978) regularly and speedily granted them. But Pope John Paul II put an end to that practice.In 1988, the CDF was fielding lots of laicization requests many from accused American priests and being pressured by U.S. bishops to grant them quickly.[T]he Code of Canon Law had been revised in 1983, .... the new Code also removed certain episcopal powers that in the past would have made it easier to get rid of abusive priests....a bishop could no longer on his own petition for a priests administrative laicization the priest had to make the request. [B]ishops feared that Rome wouldn't uphold judicially imposed laicizations as a penalty for sexual abuse....some suspended priests have won reinstatement from the Vatican.[E]ventually a few curial officials came to understand the insufficiency of official responses to the scandal and many more couldn't or wouldn't grasp its magnitude.Obviously, there is no shortage of blame to go around. The Catholic community deserves a fuller explanation of Rome's reticence in laicizing known abusers. The pope could do that. He should do that."The Pope's failure to allow streamlined involuntary laicizaitions by by failing to change Canon law is the reason why such payments were even necessary.

The priest who got the money for health care was 69.. I say give him care fare to the SS/Medicare office. like parishes there all over the place. SNAP said BONUS.. NYT quoted it accurately... Rhetoric for sure. SNAP could have said 'hush money' 'go away money'' ' bribe' 'settlement money' , "relocation expenses' 'payolla' Do you know what priests get from the bishop [ 25thousand of them in the 60s70s ] who said they are leaving to get married.. "don't let the door on the way out hit you in the ass'' So some here don't like SNAP's use of the horror word BONUS..What are the other complaints you have about SNAP. ?? Some dioceses thought it would be a great idea to set up abuse victim support groups. to counter SNAP ..Just Like the 'win hearts and minds' approach in Iraq and Afghanistan it all went PUFF. NADA, OVER, went South..I'm collecting posters names that 'have no respect for SNAP' and see if they and the dioceses will take another shot at abuse victim support. NOT

is anyone at all concerned about where these guys are ending up? Very few are imprisoned (like their bishop abetters), and many are simply "invisible" to the society at large if the hierarchy simply lets them "go away."Does the institutional church bear any responsibility for them, especially since, in at least many cases, it seems that the institution has played a very strong role in shaping and enabling the abusive behavior? As I said before, the issue for me goes way beyond giving money (whether corrupt "payoff" or misguided "charity") to get rid of these guys...does anyone else feel concerned that the institution is simply foisting its own hme-bred criminals onto society? And these same guys are worried about their precious religious freedom and trying to scurry up the moutain of their own slime to the moral high ground to make sure that no Catholic employer pays for a condom or an IUD? Seriously???

Many of us here are doing Dolan and Company's job for them. We are diverting from Dolan by attacking SNAP. David Nichol's reasoning can be used to criticize Jesus. How can he call them "Whitened Sepulchers" when they do not physically look like them. And how can he call Samaritan our "neighbor" when everyone knows they are our enemy. Further, the majority of us here may well lack the courage and integrity that SNAP exhibited while we were absolving the clergy. While Thomas Doyle was demoted and exiled we looked at him like some schizoid monster. Clearly Snaps statement speaks of a value system. If you want to parse it then who is doing the grey area thing. SNAP like all of us has made its mistakes. Overall it has been and remains outstanding while the rest of us drowned in denials and apathy.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirms that the money was indeed a payoff to induce voluntary laicization, contra was then-Archbishop Dolan said:

The archdiocese of Milwaukee confirmed to the Associated Press Wednesday that the church paid the priests money to voluntarily sign papers to leave the priesthood because it was cheaper and faster than removing them by other administrative routes, which would have included going through the Vatican."In 2002, the Church affirmed that priest offenders should no longer be functioning as priests in any capacity and having someone seek laicization voluntarily is faster and less expensive and it made sense to try and move these men out of the priesthood as quickly as possible," Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf told local news station WTMJ-TV.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/cardinal-dolan-quiet-20k-payments-pedophile-pri...'m not sure it gets clearer than that. BTW, as much as I think Laurie Goodstein merits props for a perfectly fine article, the MSJ and AP and WSJ and other outlets had it -- I think the Milwaukee paper broke it, or the AP.

Bravo, David. Excellent point. The bishops surely love it when victims, victims' advocates and other prophetic elements get slammed so that they can go on their merry way trying to be the moral leaders they most certainly are not. The scandal of abusive bishops and clergy will never be "history" as long as these men continue to connive, cheat, lie and steal their way along and never truly, really, devoutly and painfully REPENT and believe in the Gospel. One member of the original Review Board said that the bishops operate pretty much the same way organized crime does; isn't it evident by now that this is really and incontrovertibly true? How long are people of good will and real faith supposed to wait to see this proven wrong? They are a living, breathing disgrace. Rot and filth and corruption and crime...it all fits. I for one will never defend them until they show that they actually GET the Gospel that they supposedly are entrusted to teach. The prophetic men among them are few, but they are there and I take inspiration from them. But the majority? The shame of it is simply too overwhelming...

Sorry...it is Bill who made the excellent point! ut lived David's post, too.

UGH! The iPad bites again! Last sentence should read: "But loved David's post, too."Speaking of the prophetic: Tom Doyle----now there is a man after God's own heart. Bless him.

"I think the Milwaukee paper broke it, or the AP.'I glad the Jewish NYT is off the hook. Can we expect to see apologies from some posters?

David Gibson: "The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirms that the money was indeed a payoff to induce voluntary laicization . . .""I'm not sure it gets clearer than that"Sed contra, the A of M does not confirm that the money was a payoff:"Archdiocesan spokeswoman Julie Wolf . . .disputed their characterization as a payoff, saying the money was meant to help the men transition back into lay life."http://www.jsonline.com/features/religion/archdiocese-confirms-payments-... there's still room for clarity.

David G, that ABC News story doesn't include Dolan's quote of "false, preposterous and unjust". That's the aspect of the Goodstein article that I find misleading: her juxtaposition of that quote with the lede, as though the quote is in response to the lede, when in fact it's a response to something different.ABC News, to its credit, also avoids the inflammatory term "payoff".In the Milwaukee JS article, Dolan provides an explanation, one which doesn't seem incredible and which the Milwaukee JS reporter is able to substantiate, as to why the payment to Becker doesn't constitute a "payoff" to laicize. Were pretty sure Goodstein is aware of the Milwaukee JS article, because apparently it is the source the quote in her second paragraph. Why did she accept SNAP's spin on this story at face value, yet fail to note Dolan's credible and substantiated explanation that is contained in the article that, apparently, she's read? As we see, the core contention of these recent stories - that one or more accused priests were being paid by Dolan's archdiocese in connection with their laicization - was being reported out of Milwaukee six years ago. Apparently, this isn't secret information that has suddenly came to light. I still question whether this is "news" - in fact, it's all a bit stale.At this point, this appears to be another instance of a favorite tactic of victims' advocates and their allies in the media: when there is nothing new to talk about, try to shock and horrify by regurgitating old cases.

I think Mark Silk offers a strong rebuttal to those defending Dolan: http://www.religionnews.com/blogs/mark-silk/dolan-fibbed "But in September 2006, when Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tom Heinen asked about a $10,000 pay-out to serial abuser Franklyn Becker, Dolan issued a statement vigorously denying that there had been anything like a quid pro quo.For anyone to assert that this money was a "payoff" or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust.What this was, instead, was 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. If people want to criticize me for that charity, so be it." The reason the health coverage was needed, Dolan wrote, was that Becker was not yet eligible for Medicare. But as Heinen's September 8 story noted, Becker was 69 in 2006, and would have crossed the age-65 Medicare eligibility threshold with room to spare when he received the archdiocese's money in 2004.Jerry Topczewski, spokesman for the Milwaukee archdiocese, acknowledged to Goodstein what the real deal was: It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less. So Dolan fibbed."

Jim P:What makes the news angle current is that bankruptcy proceedings provided the release of archdiocesan minutes where it was made clear that payments were made to predators, not to afford health insurance, but in exchange for going quickly and quietly.The disconnect between Dolan's statement about charity for insurance costs and the contrary facts in the minutes is indeed news. Often it is the delayed dribbling out of secret archives that puts the lie to some prior action or statement. It is ironic that so often the reason for filing bankruptcy is to stop discovery in survivor lawsuits to keep the secrets; it backfired this time.

*** It would have been praiseworthy if Rembert Weakland had used the Dolan strategy to quickly get rid of the notorious priest who abused the boys at the school for the deaf. ***When the church "gets rid of" these pedophiles, they don't just vaporize, they continue to be pedophiles preying on an unsuspecting public. They should be either charged with crimes or if the SOL won't allow that, the church should keep charge of them so that they can't hurt anyone else. To just pay them off and say 'hasta la vista, baby' is really aiding and abetting any furure crimes they may commit.

And there have been crimes, including subsequent charges and a trial in a different state. The bishop mumbled something about being so sad another child was abused elsewhere. I'm sure he was, but is regret after the fact really the only option? Laicization may not be the answer; removal from ministry and some meaningful supervision, or some creative approaches need to be developed.Periodically, SNAP finds a former priest living among unsuspecting neighbors. One had recently befriended a family with a young boy who was delighted with the interest of a grandfatherly gentleman who had recently moved in nearby. The parents were enormously grateful for the heads-up.Please appreciate the visceral sense of urgency SNAP has about possible future victims. In numerous instances, members' own abuse could have been avoided if some measures of accountability had existed somewhere. Thank you for making the point, Crystal (and Janet).Jim P. @ 5/31, 5:35PM - The point is secrecy, no matter the settlement. Whether priest abuser or survivor, may we stipulate that bishops prefer confidentiality based on their actions to date?A bishop has the upper hand with a priest and I believe it is reasonable to "speculate" as I did above that confidentiality is a primary chancery concern in such cases. Wanting to foreclose priests passing word about the cash seems realistic --- given their demonstrated resistance to disclosure in general. If wrong, I stand corrected.

I don't get it -- what spin? Call it what you want -- payoff, inducement, payout -- the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was paying priests not to fight laicization, and when asked about it, then-Archbishop Dolan said that was not the case. What is missing there?

Crystal Watson raises a good point in the last sentence of her message @06/01/2012 - 3:31 am.To be sure, statutes of limitation are one issue. If the priest-perpetrator cannot be charged with a crime, then the legal system cannot put him in jail.Under such circumstances, what to do?Laicizing the priest-perpetrator turns him loose in society without any supervision over him or anybody he has to answer to. So he is thereby free to commit further crimes, even though he would thereby run the risk of being reported to the legal authorities and being arrested and charged with a crime.Instead of laicizing priest-perpetrators, could an argument be made for removing them from ministry but assigning them to live somewhere where they can be supervised and monitored?

Having been involved in offering a number of 'settlement agreements' to facilitate termination, (although NEVER when a criminal offense was involved) I can understand the motivation and the mechanics, and $20,000 is fairly modest given the tradeoffs, financial and public, that are in play.But, as is often the case, it is the cover-up that is the real problem. In this particular case, it is the high-profile Cdl Dolan who certainly seems to at least dissemble in his statement. Perhaps it can be rationalized, but it fits into a pattern of denial and cover-up that is highly damaging and shameful. Of course, SNAP may overstate its case -- it is an advocacy group. But the Church, in the person of the Bishops, are really their own worst enemy when they appear to be trying to preserve the financial and institutional church rather than claiming the high moral ground of openness, penance and compassion.

The editor's comments about SNAP are contemptible. First she said:I agree with David Nickol about the SNAP comment I feel like they have become the functional equivalent of the Catholic League in news reports like this one. If you need someone to say something belligerent and snappy and careless in support of the bishops, you call Donohue; if you need a similar quote in opposition, you turn to SNAP. Then, she felt the need to "stand by" her comparison of SNAP to the Catholic League:Im afraid my mention of the Catholic League has been distracting. It was a very qualified and limited comparison, one I stand by: it has become routine, in articles about the Church, to see a quote from one or the other (or both) filling the what critics say hole. I think its a shame that SNAP spokespersons seem as willing as Bill Donohue to rush into that hole with a sensationalist quote. They may get attention, but in the process they damage their own credibility as David Nickol has said, a reaction like the one they gave Goodstein makes it hard to take them seriously. And the people they represent deserve to be taken seriously.

David Gibson: As you suggest, nothing is missing in the indictment of Timothy Dolan as you have set it forth in your message @06/01/2012 - 8:39 am.In general, I am not a Dolan fan. Grant Gallicho, our super-sensitive censor, keeps deleting my carefully considered characterizations of Dolan. So it will have to suffice here to say that I am not a Dolan fan.Nevertheless, in this instance, I am going to say something in his defense.Are you familiar with the old-time Catholic distinction between a venial sin and a mortal sin? I would like to use these two terms metaphorically to make my point.Metaphorically, in this instance Dolan has committed a venial sin, not a mortal sin.I know, I know, Dolan often expresses himself with a certain amount of bluster, as he did in this instance.In saying that Dolan in this instance committed a venial sin, not a mortal sin, I am allowing that he may have had understandable reasons for offering the priest in question the payment and for denying publicly the characterization of the payment as a payoff.Am I endorsing the practice of a diocese offering such a payment to accused priests as a way to speed up their laicization?No, I have reservations about a diocese making such payments, especially to older priests, as I've indicated in my message @06/01/2012 - 9:03 am.

An example of Separation of Church and State?The Church has a problem with a pedophile priest, laicizes him, and then he becomes the states problem.Has anyone done research on the subsequent behavior of such laicized priests?

Why can't we all just say that Cdl Dolan did not tell the whole truth? The NYT article and SNAP's rhetoric should not be the issue. Whether or not it was a smart and prudential policy is not the issue.The issue is that as Archbishop, he authorized such payments for whatever reason and has not been totally honest in his accounts about them.Wouldn't it be something if he simpoy admitted how many clergy and how much was spent to get them formally out of priesthood with a "regignaation" to avoid the whole laicization process (whihc is a whole other dsad story)? I do not expect that transparency from him or any bishop anymore given their histories unless institutions like SNAP and the NYT keep nibbling at this-- albeit with some overstatements, etc. of their own.

Joe McFaul makes a crucial point: The Popes failure to allow streamlined involuntary laicizaitions by by failing to change Canon law is the reason why such payments were even necessary.And the crucial structural reality is this: How is canon law changed? The Pope can change canon law by writing a letter. Unlike in other modern forms of governance, where laws are constantly reviewed and changed to meet new circumstances, the Church has has no such way to breathe life into canon law.Jesuit canon lawyer Ladislas Orsy makes the following points in his book Receiving the Council (which I again highly recommend for insight into the disaster Church governance has become). Sorry for the length of this post but I think it gets to the underlying structural issue of the sexual abuse crisis: Every legal system must include provision for the ongoing renewal of the law. Civic communities ... have legislatures sensitive to the needs of the community. In the church we have the Code, but, in practice, no organism endowed with the specific task of detecting emerging needs and proposing changes. Serious problems remain unresolved, tensions develop; these tensions lead to crises, and finally the situation explodes. ... This is exactly what happened when the crisis of sexual abuse descended on the church. It was coming for some time, and there was no adequate preventive legislation. A sensible system of the visitation of diocese by outside observers able to interview the people, the clergy, and the bishop separately could have discovered the problems much earlier.But this didnt happen. One reason was that it wasnt envisioned in canon law. Why?Ever since the Renaissance, humanistic secular jurisprudence has made immense strides in such matters as freedom of conscience, respect for human rights, impartial courts, speedy administration of justice, responsibility for the common welfare, and so on. Canon law remained mostly untouched by such developments; ... they are innocent of modernity. On the basis of knowledge gained from them, no one could carry on an intelligent conversation about the law with a well-intentioned contemporary secular thinker.He goes on to say that after the Council progressives pretty much blew off the whole domain of canon law. Opus Dei, on the other hand, fostered the cultivation of this discipline; the University of Navarre became the seedbed for a school of canonists, and from the very moment of the creation of the Committee on the Revision of Canon Law, Opus Dei took an active role in it.The norms in the 1983 Revised Code of Canon Law have been shaping the church and directing its operations. But he says the Code has not been changed to reflect Vatican II. He gives these examples:Centralization - the Synod of Bishops is merely consultative; episcopal conferences have no collegial power; the non-ordained cannot by law share in the governance of the church.Legal positivism, canonical nominalism - the link is weakening between the law and the theological values it is supposed to engender.Acceptance of a historical existence - ... we have no means built into the system for the renewal of our laws. We do not have an organ specifically entrusted with the particular task of watching great cultural movements, assessing the emerging needs, and proposing changes in the law accordingly. Ditto inability to respond to the pedophilia crisis.Learning from secular sages - In the Middle Ages, the study of canon law went hand in hand with the cult of civil law: they shared whatever wisdom they could find. The Reformation and Enlightenment put an end to this partnership, and canon law remained alone and did not benefit from the significant progress in legal wisdom achieved in civic communities. To a large extent, this continues to be the case today.And why is canon law in this state? Because the Church is still run as an absolute monarchy in the style of an eighteenth century royal court. Little will change in the Church until this governance issue is first recognized as the untenable situation it is, and the faithful are finally shamed beyond tolerance to do something about it.

Settlements like this to go quietly are very common in the public school system. I know of one case where a former student of a twenty-something high school teacher moved in with him after graduation. Her family complained and the school district tried to fire him, he contested it, maintaining, along with the young woman, that they'd had no relationship until she graduated. The family and school had reason to suspect otherwise, after several hearings in the civil service system the teacher agreed to a cash settlement to voluntarily resign. He had been receiving full pay and benefits for a year without working. Settlements are a matter of perspective, are they payoffs, as the article says, or charity as Dolan maintains? Getting someone out expeditiously who has no business as a teacher or priest is certainly a charitable act. The miscreant must build a new life and it is charitable to facilitate that. We may want to punish but if that is legally impossible, which is true in many of these cases, this is a defensible way of putting out the trash.

Thank you, Jeanne, for that great analysis.RobertCrass to say "putting out the trash," but again, the point is not the utility of the processs but Dolan's obfuscation and denial. Just admit it, Cardinal!

"I think Mark Silk offers a strong rebuttal to those defending Dolan"No; Silk apparently makes the same mistake that Goodstein did. (He might just be following her lead on this).This is kind of a subtle distinction, so let me try to explain what I think the problem is, and what Silk and Goodstein are missing and/or misstating.There are two sets of facts in play here:* The Milwaukee archdiocese, under Dolan's leadership, certainly paid amounts up to $20,000 to at least one priest who has acknowledged receiving it, and presumably to others, specifically in order to incentivize them to cooperate with the laicization procedure. The Milwaukee archdiocese concedes the incentive motive, Dolan doesn't deny it, and at least one of the perps agrees with it. I don't think this fact is being contested, although the interpretation of it as a "payoff" or "hush money" or something similar is open to debate (I think it's an uncharitable and misleading characterization). But regardless of the interpreation, let's all agree on the fact that the Milwaukee archdiocese monetarily incentivized some abusive priests to not contest their laicization. Fair enough?(There may also be other reasons to pay a laicized priest, as has been discussed a bit in comments here, and those other reasons may come into play in the second set of facts, pertaining to Franklyn Becker - see below).* Here is a second set of facts: one notorious abuser from Milwaukee, Franklyn Becker, was also paid at least $10,000, and may have received more. Here is the key distinction that Goodstein and Silk are glossing over (let's assume, in charity, not deliberately): that payout was *not* to incentivize him to cooperate with the laicization procedure. How do we know this? We know it because Tom Heinen's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story from September 8, 2006 states that "...Becker's laicization was not voluntary. Dolan wrote that he asked the late Pope John Paul II to remove Becker from the priesthood in 2004. The Pope granted that request in October 2004." http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2006_09_08_Heinen_Archdiocese... to make sure this is as clear as possible: the primary point of the payments described in the first set of facts is to incentivize the offender to cooperate with the laicization, because cooperation expedites the laicization by bypassing Rome. But we learn, from the second set of facts, that Becker didn't cooperate, and so Dolan was forced to go to Rome to obtain an involuntary laicization for Becker.So, here is where Goodstein and Silk mislead: the now-made-public meeting minutes that triggered this current round of news stories pertain to the first set of facts (the program to incentivize abusers to cooperate); but the alleged fib told by Cardinal Dolan pertains to the second set of facts. Dolan did *not* characterize the allegation of a program to incentivize abusers to cooperate as "false, preposterous and unjust. He characterized the allegation that the $10,000 payment to Becker was a "payoff" to buy his cooperation as false, preposterous and unjust. And the facts, as we know them now, suggest that Dolan was telling the truth.But we also know that Becker was, indeed, paid $10,000. If not in return for his cooperation with laicization, then for what? Here is Dolan's explanation from the same 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: "What this was, instead, was 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." Is that a credible explanation? As I stated in a previous comment, it's not incredible. Comments from others here have raised some questions that could be pursued as further lines of inquiry: even though Becker was old enough to qualify for Medicare at the time of the payment, had the archdiocese contributed throughout his working career? Could he have needed medical care that was not available through Medicare? Would a lump sum cash payout rather than, say, checks made out directly to medical providers, be the most responsible way to pay for a person's medical care? Those are questions that it might be helpful to know the answers to.

"When the church gets rid of these pedophiles, they dont just vaporize, they continue to be pedophiles preying on an unsuspecting public. "Crystal, it's quite likely that your employer would terminate an employee who is credibly accused of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. After the employee is fired, what happens to him? He is able to prey on an unsuspecting public. The standard should be no different with the church than with any other employer. Unfortunately, tragically, the church has demonstrated, repeatedly, that it's not to be trusted to protect victims when it keeps priests in the fold. Protecting the unsuspecting public from sexual abuse is a problem for all of society, not just for the church. Society as a whole has some protection against sexual abusers. The public needs to not be unsuspecting, it needs to be vigilant; and law enforcement needs to be vigilant. There are a lot of holes in that safety net, but it's what we've got.

Jim P.I don't see how you justify Dolan's "telling the truth." this was senstive area and the story got away from him and for him to cite social njustive principles for his rationale is competely self-serving and ironic!It appears that he intentionally chose to deceive. If you don't call that lying, wha tis it?

David Pasinski, you say, "Why cant we all just say that Cdl Dolan did not tell the whole truth?"That seems to me to be the salient, the central, point that should not be missed here.And the fact that a large percentage of Catholics continue to give the appearance of doing everything possible to evade that point in such discussions is telling, it seems to me.It suggests to me that telling the truth is not a central Catholic value for many of us.And so we can continue talking about and defining catholicity in the absence of truth-telling about, for instance, the savage way in which we've excluded gay and lesbian Catholics from the church in one way or another. We can continue our discussions about communio and catholicity without even entertaining the testimony of the many LGBT Catholics who feel implicitly and explicitly shoved outside communion.Or--another case in point--we can babble on about a religious liberty debate in which our claims about contraception are central, and pretend that those claims are not central to the debate and that we're not trying to impose those claims on society as a whole, in the name of religious freedom.Or we can pretend that 90%+ of married Catholics don't practice contraception at some time in their lives, and that there's not a huge elephant in the living room when the subject of contraception comes up.Or we can pretend that victims of clerical sexual abuse are motivated primarily by the intent to attack the church or to profit from the church when they ask for justice--and that they are not needed or wanted in our Catholic community and their testimony doesn't count.Or we can pretend that the authors of the Manhattan Declaration have made intellectually respectable arguments about marriage, contraception, and the ethic of life, and are more obviously Catholic, more obviously in communion with the church, than are the many Catholics who raise serious critical questions about these issues and ask for respectful, open dialogue about them.We can pretend, too, that Cardinal Dolan makes intellectually respectable arguments about these issues and is an admirable episcopal leader to be defended without question, even when there's strong evidence he has not spoken the truth about a key issue such as pay-offs to abusive clerics.We Catholics seem to be a people given to a lot of pretending.And it's costing us dearly in the public square, where our credibility as moral spokespersons could not be lower right now. And it's also costing us dearly in the area that ought to count most to us, because of what we call ourselves: catholic. It's costing us dearly in the loss of many, many church members for whom the pretense, the refusal to engage in honest and inclusive dialogue, and the evasion of truth are simply too much.

It seems Catholic teaching, at least in Milwaukee, has changed in recent years and abusive priests are not getting any more charity:http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/officials-in-milwaukee-s...

Jim Pauwels @06/01/2012 - 11:01 am: Crystal may respond to you if she wants to.However, I want to argue with your claim that "[t]he standard should be no different with the church than with any other employer."We've got a lot of variables in play here. The most notable variable concerns the age of the alleged priest-perpetrator.Another variable concerns the history of allegations made against the alleged priest-perpetrator.For the sake of discussion, let's say that the priest's bishop disregarded allegations of abuse, for whatever reasons, and transferred the priest from one parish to another. For the sake of discussion, let's say that more than one such transfer occurred.By virtue of making those transfers, the bishop thereby incurs a certain amount of responsibility for the priest's subsequent abuses.Because of the bishop's responsibility in making the transfers, I would argue that the diocese should accept a certain amount of responsibility to supervising and monitoring the priest, rather than laicizing him and turning him loose on society.As you may have surmised, I am not making up all of these details.Consider Archbishop Chaput's recent actions in Philadelphia. As you may know, he has recently decided to remove a certain number of priests from active ministry on the basis of allegations that were made years ago in some cases.After Archbishop Chaput reaches the decision to remove certain priests from active ministry, does he then move to have them laicized as quickly as possible?Or does he offer the priests in question an alternative to being laicized?I don't know. But my point is that I am not making up all of the details that I have set forth.

"It appears that he intentionally chose to deceive."David P - what was the deception? Please don't assume it's obvious on it's face - please spell it out. I'm asking you to do this because I hope it will be the quickest and clearest way to illustrate the disconnect on this.

The complicated and arcane process of termination of the clerical state and adequate supervision as well as the demands of justice and charity allow for a great deal of discernment and sometimes must be case by case within policies. I get it. I have a priest friend who my heart aches for with his termination which, taking his story at face value, surely deserved a better outcome.Nevertheless, my broken record remark-- and admittedly it comes with no sympathy for Cdl. Dolan for many reasons filling these blogs -- is that he is a pompous prescence who can talk his way out of a paper bag, but will not admit to these payouts with whatever rationale."What did they pay out and to how many did they pay it?" to paraphrase...

"By virtue of making those transfers, the bishop thereby incurs a certain amount of responsibility for the priests subsequent abuses."Thomas - I would hold that the bishop who knowingly transferred an abusive priest incurs a certain - and substantial - amount of responsibility for those instances of abuse that occurred *while the priest was under his episcopal supervision*.The whole point of laicization is to get the priest out from under the bishop's episcopal supervision. There is no doubt that a compelling reason to laicize offenders is for the good of the bishop and the diocese, because once he is laicized, then the bishop and diocese are no longer liable for his misdeeds.I would argue that this is prudent and responsible stewardship of the church's finite resources.I certainly recognize that the reason that a number of commenters here are arguing that the church shouldn't just 'turn an offender loose on society' is that the offender is likely to find other victims. I agree that is tragic. I agree with the spirit of that reasoning. We should do what we can to protect victims and potential victims. The only solution I know for that set of circumstances is to imprison the offender. That is, ultimately, society's responsibility; the church doesn't imprison.It is for the sake of victims that I don't support keeping offending priests under the care of the bishop and the diocese. If the church had a track record of keeping priests in the fold, keeping them under indefinite/permanent suspension, under effective surveillance, and in a place where they have little or no chance of coming into contact with victims, I'd strongly support such a program. But I don't know of such a program. And there have been instances, over and over again, in which the church has tried to implement such a program and failed. Surely what is going on in Philadelphia right now, in which 30+ credibly accused priests were found to be in active ministry, is illustration enough of this failure - but of course there are many other instances as well.

If I don't comment, it's not that I'm not interested -- I keep trying to comment but deleting my comments because of their cynicism...

Quoting Jim at 11:01: "Crystal, its quite likely that your employer would terminate an employee who is credibly accused of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. After the employee is fired, what happens to him? He is able to prey on an unsuspecting public. The standard should be no different with the church than with any other employer."Sorry, Jim, but when pedophiles are harbored and abetted in the church, it is the church's responsibility to keep watch over these men once their cimes become known. Unfortunately, the standard is, indeed, different for the Church: it is a far lower standard, by which known abusers and their enablers have been kept from prosecution for decades. This has not been the case in secular institutions for quite some time, and so we see those abusers prosecuted, sometimes imprisoned and normally registered as sex offenders. There are bishops who should also be imprisoned...a few of them have lived here in New England. But no, the church is definitely held to a lower standard, not least by Catholics who continue to bask in the fake security that these men are acting in the name of God. And is that all the Church really IS in these cases---simply the "employer"? Or is it reduced to that as soon as priests act criminally and the bishops want to get rid of them?

Hi, Janet, my response to Thomas Farrell at 12:02 presents my views on the matter of the bishop's and church's responsibility to miscreant priests that you raise in your 12:12 comment (we probably crossed our comments).You're right that the church isn't just an employer - but an employer is one of the things it is, and obeying laws and establishing and abiding by best employment practices is an essential dimension of the church.My view is that, in the matter of criminal sexual abuse, the church and church employees should be held to the same criminal and societal standards as every other person and institution. If a bishop offended, he should be prosecuted. Same with priests, deacons, brothers, sisters, teachers, clerks, bakers, bankers, factory workers and hi-tech gazillionaires. I suspect that whatever halo privileged the church to special treatment in the past has fallen the ground and shattered some time ago.

"I keep trying to comment but deleting my comments because of their cynicism"A very good practice. I frequently delete comments because they are too mean.

I'm always amazed at the level of cognitive dissonance that goes on when some RCs are confronted with prelates who spend $thousands in hush money, that conflate survivors of sexual assault [SNAP] into corrupt interlopers further stigmatizing the victims of rape and sodomy at the hands of clerics.Such is the state of the Catholic Church today. The willful blindness is breathe taking.

Jim PTo be more clear, his deception was calling his the accusation "false, preposterous, unjust" and leaving it there as if nothing wa done. It obviously confused the question and many of us who saw this as a blanket denial -- which I believe that was what he intended.An answer he might have given (which I stil would not be sure is true!) might have been something like, "It is false to say that we paid out money to accept laicization. We paid them because I knew that the process would take a long time and had no sure conclusion. I wanted to have them removed from ministry and unable to present themselves as priests and harm others. This settlement allowed them to leave [and us to be free of them!] and was monetarity, canonically, and legally better for the diocese."The whole question of responsibility for such persons after leaving/dismissal is not addressed, but I have no idea how he could have answered that.

About what to do with the abusers --On the one hand, it seems that at this point in this society the Church cannot afford to take responsibility for keeping the abusers away from children. On the other, "turning them loose in the public" seems mainly to give them more opportunity to abuse. What to do?There is one factor in all this that needs to be noted: when the abuser is a respected person, especially a respected clergyman, the psychological damage to the child is typically much greater than in other cases. So does it make sense to keep the perps as known priests, who, if they do manage to abuse again will do more damage as a priest than as an ordinary layman? Or must they literally be sent off into the mountains away from all children?This also raises a question that I've never seen raised? Why should a church -- or public school, or orther institution -- be responsible for the crimes of their employees? Certainly, to knowingly enable child abuse or any other sort of abuse is wrong. But what if the adult perpetrator is not *known* to be an abuser? Why should any other adult or group of adults be held responsible for that persons behavior?

David: If you are not going to be open and truthful, the correct response would be through a spokesperson to say "The Bishop will have no comment on internal personnel matters." Of course that doesn't work if your ego gets inflated by seeing yourself in the news.

JbrunsThat truly was an option, I suppose, but some part of the story was out even befor SNAP disclosure and then it was damage control it seems.

"To be more clear, his deception was calling his the accusation false, preposterous, unjust "David P - which accusation? There are two different accusations floating around, and the heart of the disconnect here is that the two accusations keep getting conflated."An answer he might have given (which I stil would not be sure is true!) might have been something like, It is false to say that we paid out money to accept laicization. We paid them because I knew that the process would take a long time and had no sure conclusion. I wanted to have them removed from ministry and unable to present themselves as priests and harm others. This settlement allowed them to leave [and us to be free of them!] and was monetarity, canonically, and legally better for the diocese."I'd like to think that he would say what you've written here - except that I would have him say, "It is *true* that we paid out money to accept laicization." He has, kinda/sorta, said this now: one of the news stories (which I can't lay my hands on just now) indicates that he agrees with what the archdiocese of Milwaukee is saying.

"This also raises a question that Ive never seen raised? Why should a church or public school, or orther institution be responsible for the crimes of their employees?"Morally, the institution shouldn't be held responsible if the institution didn't enable it, wasn't aware of it and/or took reasonable precautions to minimize it. As a practical matter, I believe that civil law allows the deep pockets of institutions to be dipped into, even when they are not morally/factually liable.

Jim P: okay, can you confirm for me your statement @6/1 10:51 AM:"So, here is where Goodstein and Silk mislead: the now-made-public meeting minutes that triggered this current round of news stories pertain to the first set of facts (the program to incentivize abusers to cooperate); but the alleged fib told by Cardinal Dolan pertains to the second set of facts. Dolan did *not* characterize the allegation of a program to incentivize abusers to cooperate as false, preposterous and unjust. He characterized the allegation that the $10,000 payment to Becker was a payoff to buy his cooperation as false, preposterous and unjust. And the facts, as we know them now, suggest that Dolan was telling the truth.But we also know that Becker was, indeed, paid $10,000. If not in return for his cooperation with laicization, then for what? Here is Dolans explanation from the same 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: What this was, instead, was 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. Is that a credible explanation? As I stated in a previous comment, its not incredible."Can you provide back up proof or documentation that your structure of how Dolan responded and to which events (Becker case/support or payouts per 2003 minutes) is what really happened? To date, not even the Milwaukee archdiocese has made this type of clarification or distinction?Sounds interesting but does it really align with the facts; the sequence of events/quotes, etc.??

" -- when pedophiles are harbored and abetted in the church, it is the churchs responsibility to keep watch over these men once their cimes become known."This is particularly true when these paedos were men held up by the church as "alter Christi" and the abused and their parents were trained for time immemorial to defer to these priests, never to question them nor their judgement, and to always believe that they were right when their children said otherwise.The church created a climate that fostered these monsters' actions and now has to pay the price. Yes, it will be a GREAT price because the clericalist monster has been so pervasive for hundreds of years. And it appears to be rising again with the new crop of "orthodox" priests that are being churned out of seminaries in the era of cappa magnae, birettas and retrograde liturgies on the part of the SSPX wannabes.

I frequently delete comments because they are too mean.Jim,I am so disillusioned. All this time I thought you were a nice person, and it turns out you're just a good editor! :P

"I frequently delete comments because they are too mean."That's an interesting concept. I frequently delete comments because they are not mean enough. Am I missing something?

Jim P puts out that tiresome excuse we have heard for decade' 'I believe that civil law allows the deep pockets of institutions to be dipped into, even when they are not morally/factually liable.'I have posted this before but Jim P forces me to post it again. I worked in the Bell System for 30 years. Hundred of thousands of Telephone men went into houses, bedrooms, basements, schools, backyards, frontyards in every town and city in the USA,, [more places than the 18000 parishes] No report of child abuse was ever noted by me or my gossipy co-workers. . One manager was an official in the Boy Scouts and he was continually ribbed. "Jack any camping trips wit the boys planned'? . Bell had deeper & more "pockets' than the Church will ever have. I worked with the Archdiocese for ten years and worked with and knew 25 creditably accused priests. So Jim P ...can you even SEE my perspective?

The church created a climate that fostered these monsters actions and now has to pay the price. At the risk of making everybody angry . . . We know some of the stories of these priests, but we don't know all of the stories. Not every accused priest was a violent, serial child rapist. Sexual abuse of children is a terrible thing, but I don't accept that every priest accused (or even guilty) of some kind of child abuse was a "monster." Even with all the restrictions piled on sex offenders by our criminal justice system, people convicted of child abuse are eventually let out of jail. I don't know the statistics, but clearly because of the push to suspend statutes of limitations, many of the accused had done something in the past and (presumably) not repeated it. We know that most sexual abuse of children takes place at the hands of family members or others close to the children. I don't want to rank offenses, but at least we could save some of our outrage for, say, fathers who molest their own daughters. There is something truly shocking about priests molesting children, but if we knew all their stories, I think there would be many whom we would not consider to be monsters and rapists. And let's not forget that a very large percentage of adults who abuse children were themselves abused as children. One of the reasons we are so distressed when a child is abused is because of the potential psychological damage done to the child. So in the cases where that damage results in the abused child growing up to be an adult that abuses children, what has happened to the compassion we felt for that person as an abused child? I am not willing to let the bishops off the hook, and in many ways I think they are more responsible than the abusers themselves. But it does seem to me the bishops were often in an extremely difficult position in trying to handle the priests, and I certainly don't blame anyone for "bribing" an abuser with $10-$20 thousand dollars to get rid of him more quickly. It seems like money well spent.

Well, just for my own sake, this is my last post on this topic, but I am dismayed by Jim P's commentary as it continues to find ways to attempt to vindicate Cdl. Dolan for his less than forthright attitude unltil he is pressed up against the wall and even then is dissembling.Come clean, Cardinal D.... Pass it along....on to other topics....

Jimmy Akin makes many of the same important points that Jim Pauwels has been making:http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/cardinal-dolan-authorized-payi...

"Morally, the institution shouldnt be held responsible if the institution didnt enable it, wasnt aware of it and/or took reasonable precautions to minimize it. As a practical matter, I believe that civil law allows the deep pockets of institutions to be dipped into, even when they are not morally/factually liable.That's an incorect statement of the law. There's no mere "deep pockets" liability. The insitution is not automatically liable by virtue of its wealth for any employee misdeeds.The institution makes the hiring decision, vetted its employees and set up the procedures and protocols for the employee to follow in the course and scope of the employee's employment. The institution is in the best position to prevent harmful employee conduct while acting on the institution's behalf. The institution is very properly held liable when it negliently hires employees, negligently supervises its employees or fails to take reasonable preocautions to prevent employee misconduct.If the employee was acting outside the scope of his employment, the employer is not liable.These rules apply whether the institution is the Church, Exxon or a kid's lemonade stand.See here for one example: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2009/03_04/2009_04_03_Lopez_Fre...

David: Agree 100% that many of the actual abusers are not monsters...they are sick men who entered a sick institution and became sicker. Now THAT would be charity: for the "fathers" and "pastors" to take care of these sick brothers in ways that would protect society and promote healing for EVERYONE, starting with the victims. I blame the bishops who, for the most part, are without excuse and who, for the most part, have behaved abominably from the get-go once their complicity and duplicity were revealed. Their case only worsens when you see them trying to tell everyone else how to be moral. Get rid of the mansions, the silks, the upper middle-class budgets (and for sure toss away all the royal titles and other accoutrements of arrogance that have no place in the Gospel life) and start getting to the real work of God: uniting and building up the Church in Christ Jesus, starting with their own heartfelt repentance in the full light of day. As for bribing abusers---you will have to consider for yourself whether that simply adds to the egregiousness of the original sin or not...in my book it does, and then when they LIE yet again about the bribery, that's the rotten cherry on the sour sundae :(Jimmy Mac is also 100% in his assessment that the sexual abuse of children by priests is truly different from the sexual abuse of children by others, only because of the idolatrous concept of the priesthood that has burdened the Church for centuries. Being abused by your football coach, no matter how much you admire and look up to him, is not quite the same as being abused by a man who claims to represent your God...that's why the bishops' trying to relativize the seriousness of their crimes by pointing to the abuse that occurs in other settings or groups simply adds another layer to their disgrace. They can't have it both ways. For a "God representative" to commit sexual abuse automatically means that he commits spiritual abuse as well.

David N,What you wrote about having compassion for pedophiles reminded me of a past movie, The Woodsman. The film is a pretty good effort to show what it's like to be a pedophile who doesn't want to be one anymore - the challenges faced. I'm not uncompassionate but it's my understanding that pedophillia is a life-time problem and as Wikipedia states, "In the United States, following Kansas v. Hendricks, sex offenders that are diagnosed with certain mental disorders, particularly pedophilia, can be subject to indefinite civil commitment,[21] under various state laws (generically called SVP laws[22][23][24]) and the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006."I'm not saying pedophiles should be forever locked up or done away with, but they should have some supervision. I know many people find it hard to take the effects of child sex abuse very seriously - it happens so often and in so many families, how could it be that damaging? I was abused by one of my stepfathers so I have an idea of how damagin it can be, and as the news about the clergy sex abuse scandal in Belgium makes clear, the damage can sometimes be fatal ... Clergy Sex Abuse Linked To 13 Suicides: Report

Jim at 12:02: The church does, in fact, imprison. Take the case of Maciel: Benedict Ratzinger saw to it that he was shut away to live the rest of his life in prayer and penance. That would be the sort of "imprisonment" I would go for in at least some of these cases. I am not a Benedict fan, but he was correct in this, I think. Yes, Maciel was by then an old man, but I think one could make the case for doing something similar with a lot of the present-day abusers. That the Church doesn't WANT to be responsible for these men is not the same thing as saying the Church CAN'T be responsible for these men. The institution could find a way, for sure. The hierarchy and popes have a pretty flashy history of creatively (!) using power and control over others. Methinks they could come up with some sort of plan for abusive priests. Maybe they could start by spending less energy and money on suing the government and investigating consecrated women...

Joe McF - thanks for that explanation on liability. What I had in mind is what appears to be known as "joint and several liability", which stuck in my legal layperson's mind as "deep pockets liability". I'm pasting Wikipedia's explanation below. If you want to dispute this explanation, please take it up with them! The bishops-accountability article that you referenced seems to me to be in sync with this explanation.Joint and several liabilityUnder joint and several liability or all sums, a claimant may pursue an obligation against any one party as if they were jointly liable and it becomes the responsibility of the defendants to sort out their respective proportions of liability and payment. This means that if the claimant pursues one defendant and receives payment, that defendant must then pursue the other obligors for a contribution to their share of the liability.Joint and several liability is most relevant in tort claims, whereby a plaintiff may recover all the damages from any of the defendants regardless of their individual share of the liability. The rule is often applied in negligence cases, though it is sometimes invoked in other areas of law.In the United States, 46 of the 50 states have a rule of joint and several liability, although in response to "tort reform" efforts, some have limited the applicability of the rule.ExamplesIf Ann is struck by a car driven by Bob, who was served alcohol in Charlotte's bar (and the state has dramshop laws), then both Bob and Charlotte may be held jointly liable for Ann's injuries. The jury determines Ann should be awarded $10 million and that Bob was 90% at fault and Charlotte 10% at fault.Under proportionate liability, Bob would have to pay $9M and Charlotte would have to pay $1M. If Bob does not have any money, Ann only gets the $1M from Charlotte.Under joint and several liability, Ann may recover the full damages from either of the defendants. If Ann sued Charlotte alone, Charlotte would have to pay the full $10M despite only being at fault for $1M. Charlotte would then either have to join Bob as defendant in Ann's suit against her or would have to pursue a separate action against Bob for $9M. Regardless of the outcome of that action, Charlotte would remain liable to Ann for the full $10M.

David P - don't give up and walk away now! We're so close to a meeting of the minds on this!

Joe McF - regarding "deep pockets liability" - I forgot to acknowledge that I did state it incorrectly. Thanks for your correction.

David N and Janet: perhaps not all abusers are monsters. But they are abusive. It seems to me it's for the secular justice system, not the church, to sort out the degree of their mental illness and determine appropriate punishment and treatment. In cases in which an abuser is actively abusing or has recently abused, istm the church's part it is to get him out of the priesthood. Laicizing a priest needn't preclude the church subsidizing appropriate treatment for him. And to bring us back to the topic at hand: Dolan has claimed that the payment to Becker was for health care insurance coverage.But it's also worth keeping in mind that another failed regimen for the institution was to send abusive priests to treatment, and then recycling them back into pastoral ministry after the course of treatment was completed. That policy proved to be disastrous, and tragic, on a number of different levels. If the church feels some residual obligation for the well-being of abusive priests (I've argued that it needn't, but that's just my point of view), it can certainly subsidize their treatment. But not as priests.

Ed - I'm glad you never ran across any instances of sex abuse in your long career. If you're interested, go ahead and Google "AT&T employee sex abuse" and "AT&T sexual harassment". You'll see that there have been cases. (And there are also cases in which AT&T employees have busted residents who have been child pornographers and the like!)

Jim P: I see your point...and perhaps you are right. I think what sticks in my craw is that the bishops have historically been so untrustworthy about reporting properly to authorities and I have no reason to think they are doing any better now. I do think there is some place for the bishops in a diocese to take some direct, personal responsibility---a costly responsibility---for these men...and yes, they need to be laicized, but still somehow monitored and limited by the institution. I really don't know what the solution is, but I know that something remains deeply wrong with the institution's way of dealing with this (and with a good many other things, too). I simply do not trust the bishops, and it is neither a shock nor even a grief if (that?) Dolan is a liar like the rest of them. I have come to expect that. Some day I might share with the other posters a direct and most outrageous experience I had in reporting a priest to a cardinal archbishop. Without knowing quite what I was dealing with, at the time I was chiefly concerned for the well-being of the priest. It was only much later---years later---that I learned he was committing some serious sexual crimes against teens. Of course he was laicized (whatever the hell that really means) and of course he was let loose into society. No arrest, no prosecution, no nothing. And so on and so on...

PS: lest anyone be confused: I was not abused by this priest, nor was ahet I reported direct abuse. But it was definitely behavior that could nourish or incite abuse (and so it did!)

Janet, I'm so sorry that you had to deal with that situation. I'm sure you did the best you could to do the right thing.I wish I could dispute your contention that the bishops haven't earned our trust on this issue. I fear that you and I will be in heaven before the bishops will have been able to bank a measurable balance of trust on this issue.If the situation with the church and sex abuse is improving (and I hope it is), it will be in large part because of the laity and ministers at the grass roots. I hope and believe that our eyes have been opened, and the Protecting God's Children training really has made a difference in recognizing and reporting abuse.

@ David Nickol:You wrote at 06/01/2012 - 2:42 pm: "There is something truly shocking about priests molesting children, but if we knew all their stories, I think there would be many whom we would not consider to be monsters and rapists."This is the kind of moral vacuity that is usually reserved for church hierarchs and politicians. I think Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny described it as looking at the world with "the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer."I don't feel ANGER at how your try to mitigate the rape and sodomy of children by priests. I am only more encouraged to speak out so that these sick and pathetic ideas and delusions will not go unchallenged in the public commons.It is the least Catholics can do for all the survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation, for both those who have already come forward with their stories of their assault, and those who yet live in silence and fear with their abuse. More to the point of this blog stream: By his own admission, Timothy Dolan has demonstrated that he is unworthy and unfit for his high office. Pay-outs to sexual predator priests are antithetical to being A disciple of Jesus and a minister of the Gospel.Reform the priesthood from parish to pope: LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!

Jim: thanks for your comments. May I say without equivocation that for me, the fact that the bishops have lost trust in THIS issue means that they cannot be trusted about anything. Certainly not the precious things of God and the dignity of the human person. Only the ones willing to stand up and speak out---prophets like Gene Robinson and Kevin Dowling---can earn my trust. The rest of them put me in mind of one thing alone: the vicious machinations, political and religious, that sent Jesus of Nazareth to his death. It might reminde them of this, too, should they ever read the Gospel.

OOOPS! I meant GEOFF ROBINSON, not Gene :)

I dont feel ANGER at how your try to mitigate the rape and sodomy of children by priests.Jim Jenkins,I don't know what you feel, but it sure seems like rage. Anger can be constructive, but I don't think rage can be.I am not trying to say the sexual abuse of children is not terrible. One thing I am saying is that not every priest who sexually abused young people raped or sodomized them. Inappropriate touching is certainly very wrong, but it is not rape or sodomy. But when you are in a rage, rape or sodomy sounds much more heinous than inappropriate touching, so you use whatever words sound more violent and shocking. Also, 59% of accused priests had just one allegation against them. Now, one allegation is a serious matter, but I don't think we can assume that all accused priests were relentless predators who needed to be locked away for life. And a great many of the accused priests did not fit the definition of a pedophile (or a homosexual, even though most of the victims were boys). I think sexual abuse by priests is really not very well understood. I thought it was the Catholic understanding of human beings that no one is beyond redemption. No sin is unforgivable. Few people deserve to be called monsters, and while I think we all have read of cases of serial abusers that most of us would call monsters, it is unfair and uncharitable to categorize every priest who had an allegation of sexual abuse made against him as a raping, sodomizing monster. It's simply not true. By all means, make sure they are never alone with children again, but treat them like men, not monsters. I think probably one of the worst things that can be done for abuse victims and those who may be victimized in the future is to create the impression that sexual abuse is a fate worse than death and something that will damage a person for life. It's a very serious matter, but hysteria is counterproductive.

Jim,One thing I don't understand is why a huge, worldwide organization like the Catholic Church cannot find a place for priests who have abused children (and are remorseful) that gives them something useful to do and keeps them away from children.

I'm struggling with the nuance being applied to the case of rapist priests. Are they employees? If a mayor, police officer, judge, social worker, etc. was accused of this, would it be acceptable to pay them $20,000 to leave quietly?

@Jim P 10:51 AM - just catching up after a day offline. I think I see what you are saying about two sets of facts that are unrelated but have been connected in error. At this point, my mind begins to blur and concentration lags, but here goes. I appreciate the patience of all sorting through the underbrush.1)Dolan in the minutes speaks of incentivizing voluntary laicization with two payments of 10K each.2)In the Becker case, Dolan noted 10K was paid to cover Beckers health insurance since his age did not qualify him for Medicare. Since Beckers laicization was involuntary, the payment could not have been an incentive to cooperate. (Confusion: Becker was actually 69 and fully eligible for Medicare.)3)In refuting that Becker received a 10K incentive payment, Dolan said, "For anyone to assert that this money was a 'payoff' or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust.So then, in actual fact, Dolan did not lie according to these pointsor did he?My measure of truthfulness takes this statement of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a guide: Communicating truthfully means more than factual accuracyThere is a way of speaking which isentirely correct and unexceptionable, but which is, nevertheless, a lieWhen an apparently correct statement contains some deliberate ambiguity, or deliberately omits the essential part of the truthit does not express the real as it exists in God. How does Dolan stand up? Is it reasonable to take away from his emphatic remarks that he considers any payment in exchange for agreeing to leave the priesthood as preposterous and unjust ---whether you call it a payoff or not?We know Dolan in fact sponsored a policy of incentive payments, something one would hardly imagine by his deliberate indignation in his statement. He created ambiguity by omitting the essential part of the truth that he indeed paid for voluntary laicizations, just not in this particular case as it happens.The convenient specifics in the Becker case do not invalidate the reality of money paid to go quickly and quietly. That by comparison a survivor seeking justice would be dragged through lengthy obstructive litigation is outrageous.Dolan fails the truth test expressed so insightfully by Bonhoeffer.

Carolyn, the Church's view is that priests are not employees. They are appointed to an office (pastor, parochial vicar, etc) by the bishop but he does not control in detail what they do. There was a great uproar in England last Fall when the High Court ruled that even if priests weren't employees, the diocese still had vicarious liability or them. The judge wrote:

35 I am satisfied, as I have already noted, that the relationship between Father Baldwin and the Defendants was significantly different from a contract of employment; no real element of control or supervision, no wages, no formal contract and so on. But are those differences such that the Defendants should not be made responsible for the tortious acts of the priest acting within the course of his ministry? There are, it seems to me, crucial features which should be recognised. Father Baldwin was appointed by and on behalf of the Defendants. He was so appointed in order to do their work; to undertake the ministry on behalf of the Defendants for the benefit of the church. He was given the full authority of the Defendants to fulfil that role. He was provided with the premises, the pulpit and the clerical robes. He was directed into the community with that full authority and was given free rein to act as representative of the church. He had been trained and ordained for that purpose. He had immense power handed to him by the Defendants. It was they who appointed him to the position of trust which (if the allegations be proved) he so abused.36 Why, one may ask, does it matter that some of the features of a classic contract of employment do not apply here? What is the relevance to the concept of vicarious liability, for example, of the lack of a formal agreement with terms and conditions; or of the manner of remuneration; or of the understanding that the relationship was not subject to adjudication by the secular courts? Those features may have relevance in a different context, but not to the question of whether, in justice, the Defendants should be responsible for the tortious acts of the man appointed and authorised by them to act on their behalf. http://religionlaw.blogspot.com/2011/11/catholic-bishops-and-vicarious.html

A very important point, Carolyn Disco. Nicely said.

Carolyn D - I'm just excited that you've understood what I've been trying to explain :-).Do Dolan's words pass the Bonhoeffer test? It depends on what specifically he was asked by the interviewer that elicited that response - I think we have his response, but not the question - and the context in which it was asked. Here is the relevant snippet from that 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece by Tom Heinen that I've referenced a few times already:"Peter Isely, a victims' advocate who had conversations with Becker about the money and other matters, said Thursday that the money was a payoff in exchange for Becker not contesting his laicization. Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan issued a strong statement, writing, "For anyone to assert that this money was a 'payoff' or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust.""As the information is presented here, there are two points that seem to me to be key: (a) Dolan is responding Isely's allegation, which is about Becker, and (b) what elicited Dolan's emphatic (angry?) response was specifically Isely's charge (as summarized by the reporter Heinen) that the payment constituted a "payoff" . It seems quite possible that Isely said what he did because Isely was aware of the program of payments to incentivize priests to cooperate with laicization, and Isely assumed that the payment to Becker was an instance of that. Really, Isely is describing the program that has now come to light. I do see, too, that we can reasonably assume that Dolan, in 2006, would have been well aware of the program that was conceived in 2003. But my contention is that it is the word "payoff", and especially in reference to Becker (whose case I assume was a highly publicized and embarrassing one for the archdiocese), that caused him to get his Irish up.At any rate, wouldn't it be helpful if people like Isely and people like Dolan could find a better way to communicate than to hurl inflammatory words at or past each other via the newspaper? I think Dolan has cultivated a reputation for actually dealing person-to-person with victims and, perhaps, victims' advocates. I'd say that this is no time to rest on those laurels.

John Hayes,Bishops are known to even posit that priests are independent contractors (esp. Egan when in Bridgeport). But it did not fly.BTW, your posts are outstanding, a legal education and then some. Thank you for your valuable contributions. If I study them hard enough, I may sound knowledgeable.

John Hayes - that's an interesting ruling from the High Court in England. Whether that court's view would survive the passage across the Atlantic, I don't know. But my view is that employee-employer is a practical and functional metaphor (and perhaps a literal description) of the actual relationship between priest and ordinary. I'm vaguely aware that dioceses have tried to convince US courts that priests are independent contractors, but I don't think the courts have accepted those arguments (if that's not right, I hope someone will correct me).The diocese and other administrative units like vicariates sets the priest's salary and benefits scale, maintains a personnel file on him, assigns him to his assignments, disciplines him when necessary, conducts his performance reviews, and in general treats him very much as an employer would treat an employee in the corporate world. Certainly, employer-employee doesn't come close to exhausting the relationship between priest and bishop; theologically it is much richer than that. But there is an element of employee/employer to it as well.

Jim P,Carolyn D Im just excited that youve understood what Ive been trying to explain :-).It happens sometimes!I admit Im fairly spent on this subject by now, but still find Dolans Irish a protest too far in defensiveness. Especially when he knew about and sponsored the laicization payments. Could even Dolan be sensitive to a prickly understanding of a hint of payoff in the whole arrangement? Only the shadow knows(in the Jungian sense).The 2006 news article you quote mentions Peter Isely. Peter is a true hero who gives his life to helping survivors and the church. A feature article in a Milwaukee magazine gives a compelling portrait of this remarkable human being, a psychotherapist and trained theologian. For an understanding of Isely and SNAPs mission, see http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2011/09_10/2011_09_19_Rohde_The... Read about his experiences with Dolan: Weaklands successor, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, initially had a cordial relationship with Isely. They exchanged emails and met several times.Isely and SNAP, meanwhile, were pushing the Wisconsin Legislature for a law that would allow a one-year window for victims to file lawsuits based on allegations and for legislation that would make priests and bishops mandatory reporters of child sex abuse allegations. The archdiocese successfully opposed this, and the law that passed actually gave it greater protection: Anything church officials learned in pastoral communications could be kept secret.After it was clear the legislation was not going to pass, his [Dolans] attitude changed, Isely says. He was more sarcastic and unavailable to meet. Every time the church has had the upper hand, they pounded us down.Isely, however, had his successes: In 2007, the states high court ruled the archdiocese could be sued for fraud if leaders knowingly allowed pedophile priests to remain in the ministry and did not warn parishioners.Yet Dolan was still friendly to Isely: They would chat a bit after Dolans Sunday Mass at the cathedral. So Isely was taken aback by Dolans comment after he became archbishop of New York.The New York Times quoted Dolan as charging that a SNAP member had spat in his face during a parish visit and yelled that he would not rest until there was a going out of business sign in front of every Catholic parish...In a letter to Dolan, Isely called such conduct appalling and asked that the person be identified. This is obviously a very troubled person who needs psychological help, Isely wrote. Isely says hed never heard a word about the alleged incident.Nor did Amy Peterson, the victim assistance coordinator for the archdiocese. I wish he had handled it differently, she says of Dolan. I wish he had said, I can take this because I know your pain is so deep. He should have been really humble and used it as a healing moment.Dolan did not respond to several requests for an interview. Enough said. Another Dolan statement that raises questions.

Let's forget the word "payoff" == it's highly ambiguous, and old folks like C. Dolan and me might have a definition that implies an illegal or under the table connotation which it might not have for younger folks.But when C. Dolan said For anyone to assert that this money was a payoff or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust that statement was a flat-out contradiction of his much later statement that the payment *was* offered to induce the abuser to be laicized more quickly. He can't have it both ways, which is no doubt he refused to comment on the brouhaha.

The New York Times quoted Dolan as charging that a SNAP member had spat in his face during a parish visit and yelled that he would not rest until there was a going out of business sign in front of every Catholic parishIn a letter to Dolan, Isely called such conduct appalling and asked that the person be identified. This is obviously a very troubled person who needs psychological help, Isely wrote. Isely says hed never heard a word about the alleged incident.Maybe Abp. Dolan just made it up so that SNAP would lose credibility.

Claire @ 6/2/12 - 5:13 a.m.:"Maybe Abp. Dolan just made it up so that SNAP would lose credibility."Please see: Claire @ 6/1/12 - 12:10 p.m.

Not the whole truth or not forthright are minimzations of lying.I can beleive that someone who was a victim of abuse spat at Dolan they have much anger, so e of them -hardly worth a generalization about SNAP or others who do not hold the Cardinal in high esteem"Part of the issue here is not only what to do with abusive priest but what to do about our Bishops (llook at Philly, etc.)The whole Dolan metter arose because the Courts forced some disclosure.On another thread Helen characterized our Bishops as mideocrities.I think that's right and they follow the canonical line from which many were mainly hewn.There is a deep systemic problem in the Church today and comparisons to other organizations where profit is the main issue limp quite a bit.

From the assignment desk: Some fearless reporter should inquire of the NYT's Pinch Sulzberger if the recent payment of $25 million to former CEO Janet Robinson was a "payoff." Any guesses as to whether his response will pass the Bonhoeffer test of truthfulness? Or is that test to be selectively applied?"Who slew Times CEO Janet Robinson? Was it Arthur Sulzbergers new lady friend? The advertising market? The frustrated web guru? Or the ambitious Sulzberger cousin?"http://nymag.com/news/features/new-york-times-2012-6/

Sure, let's hold our often self-proclaimed authentic teachers of the Word of Christ to the lowest common denominator we can find.

Bob Nunz: "...comparisons to other organizations where profit is the main issue limp quite a bit."Yes, they do limp. We should cheer that Dolan approaches some cutthroat corporate standard of dancing around the truth?

Jim Pauwels, Congress passed a law saying that all clergy are self-employed. However, the IRS says (rightly, I think) that that was only done to avoid clergy with religious objections from having to pay into Social Security. Therefore, the IRS requires clergy to pay income taxes as employees.Here's an explanation from the USCCB:http://old.usccb.org/bishops/dfi/dualtax.htm

The Vatican's view is that is bishops are not employees of the Pope.This is Jeffrey Lena, he Vatican's lawyer in the U.S. explaining why the Pope or e Vatican cannot be sued by an abuse victim: "The pope is not a five-star general ordering troops around," Lena said. "Diocesan bishops are not agents or vicars of the pope at all. A bishop's authority comes from his office. It is the bishop who controls his diocese and what happens."http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/18/jeffrey-lena-lawyer-for-pope_n_...

As I understand the developing revisionist view, Cardinal Dolan may not have lied in response to the query about Becker in 2006 but he did not tell the full Bonhoeffer truth. To forestall such misunderstandings in the future, journalists should read to their interviewees a clear Bonhoeffer Warning, analogous to the Miranda Warning: Anything you say to me may be judged to fall short of Bonhoeffer level reliability and validity as judged by an impartial panel of SNAP partisans. Failure to conform to these standards will lead to the publisizing of inflammatory claims in the NYT for an indefinite period extending well beyond dates that might allow a reasonable reconstruction of the original exchange. Adherence to Non-Bonhoefferian standards provides no defense in these cases.

Mr. Malloy:Excellent comment! In fact, it is clear that the dishonesty was on the part of the New York Times, which juxtaposed a comment on Becker with the situations of other former priests, without ever bothering to explain this to its readers.

Bonhoeffer's title: "What it means to tell the truth"Repeat: Communicating truthfully means more than factual accuracyThere is a way of speaking which isentirely correct and unexceptionable, but which is, nevertheless, a lieWhen an apparently correct statement contains some deliberate ambiguity, or deliberately omits the essential part of the truthit does not express the real as it exists in God.What about this is not the Gospel standard for all of us? My last word on the matter.

On behalf of C. Dolan, I think it should be said that some people think (and perhaps he is sone of them) that some lies ought to be spoken. For instance, if the Gestapo comes to the door and asks if there are any Jews in the house, one should say No. I would certainly lie in such a circumstance. This, of course, violates the ethical principle that the end does not justify the means. But I think that that principle needs some revision. Maybe the cardinal thinks it needs revision too.(Nah. He always agrees with Rome.)

As a lapsed Catholic who no longer gives money to the diocese but to specific Catholic organizations, I leave the bishops to their consciences and to God.However, it is fascinating how some people here want to make the issue not about the bishops actions and methods, but about their percepton that there is a vast anti-Catholic conspiracy at the NYT. Sometimes, even when people are sincerely trying to do what they think is best for all concerned, they screw up. Sometimes those people are bishops. And sometimes the NYT is right about what it prints, even if they don't much like Catholics."Could even Dolan be sensitive to a prickly understanding of a hint of payoff in the whole arrangement?"Exactly.

Here is the 2006 article from the MSJ. According to the statements quoted, Becker's laicization wasn't voluntary and it was only after he was laicized that his representative asked the diocese to help with his health insurance.If those statements are the facts, then Cardinal Dolan told the truth - whatever program they may have had for paying incentives for priests to request voluntary laicization, Becker wasn't part of that program.I could wish that Cardinal Dolan had just explained he facts clearly and calmly rather than blowing up.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)Archdiocese gave $10,000 to priest Defrocked cleric tied to multimillion-dollar sex abuse settlementTOM HEINENStaffMilwaukee Journal SentinelPublished: September 8, 2006The Archdiocese of Milwaukee gave $10,000 to former priest Franklyn Becker, whose actions were a factor in the archdioceses multimillion-dollar settlement of sexual abuse lawsuits in California last week, to help pay his health insurance premiums until he became eligible for Medicare. Peter Isely, a victims advocate who had conversations with Becker about the money and other matters, said Thursday that the money was a payoff in exchange for Becker not contesting his laicization.Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan issued a strong statement, writing, "For anyone to assert that this money was a payoff or occurred in exchange for Becker agreeing to leave the priesthood is completely false, preposterous and unjust."What this was, instead, was 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. If people want to criticize me for that charity, so be it. Since coming to the (archdiocese) in 2002, I have made my commitment to working with victims-survivors very clear in both word and action, and will continue to do so to ensure the healing occurs, the Church is strengthened, and trust is restored...."Archdiocesan spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl....added that Beckers laicization was not voluntary.Dolan wrote that he asked the late Pope John Paul II to remove Becker from the priesthood in 2004. The Pope granted that request in October 2004.Shortly after that, Beckers "canonical representative" asked for help with Beckers health insurance because he did not yet qualify for Medicare, Dolan wrote. The archdiocese authorized $10,000, making it clear the church had no obligation to do so, Dolan added....http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11406C...

David Nickol:You wrote: I dont know what you feel, but it sure seems like rage. Anger can be constructive, but I dont think rage can be. (6/1/12 10:13 PM)Reminds me of the time when President Truman was whistle-stopping his way across America in 1948, counted out by Republicans in the presidential election that year. Crowds would gather at the town train stations to greet the president with homemade signs and shouts of Givem Hell, Harry! The president would respond: I dont givem Hell. I just tell the truth, and they think its Hell.The reason I use the clinical terms rape and sodomy [instead of more socially polite euphemisms like inappropriate touching] is not because I want to sound more violent and shocking.But rather, having investigated dozens of these cases where the overwhelming majority fits the clinical definition of rape and sodomy, I want to challenge people like yourself being able to mitigate [or explain away, turn their faces away from] the horror of children being violated by priests who have betrayed the trust and confidence that Catholics so innocently placed in them. I dont know where you get the 59% of accused priests had just one allegation against them figure. If it was from the John Jay self-report study, that study fails professional academic standards of reliability and validity. Among academics and researchers, that study didn't pass the laugh test. US bishops contorted and prescribed the findings to conform to their own discredited ideology and politics.The meta-analysis found in the research literature renders that for every survivor of rape and sodomy who comes forward with her/his story, there are 5-7 who remain silent. If you do the math, you will begin to understand the true enormity of the catastrophe that has befallen the global Catholic Church. And if we Catholics dont wake up the reality before us and take the necessary remedial actions sooner rather than later, our church in our American culture will not survive this century.Your concerns, Nickol, about redemption for priests are misplaced and misguided at best. Many of the priests who did not criminally assault children were witnesses to the extensive sexual abuse and exploitation by the brother priests. A few have come forward with their truth. Most have not, and consequently languish in narcissistic self-pity that they have been tarnished unjustly. If they want to redeem themselves, these priests should come forward with their own testimony. [Remember, most of the assaults on children by priests took place in rectories, schools, seminaries, retreat houses where there were many witnessing eyes walking around. To say I didnt see anything is frankly preposterous.]Paul VI famously said: If you want peace, work for justice. I think Nickol JUSTICE would be a better focus for your concerns.To acknowledge and honor the violation of survivors innocence and personhood is not being [hysterical.] Its a corporal work of mercy.I agree, Nickol, about finding something useful for all these complicit bishops and priests to do. How about starting with telling the truth to prosecutors and police, and unfettered cooperation in real independent scientific study of the institution and culture of the Catholic priesthood so we Catholics know how to reform and renew it in the future?

"Here is the 2006 article from the MSJ. According to the statements quoted, Beckers laicization wasnt voluntary and it was only after he was laicized that his representative asked the diocese to help with his health insurance. If those statements are the facts, then Cardinal Dolan told the truth whatever program they may have had for paying incentives for priests to request voluntary laicization, Becker wasnt part of that program."Hey John - you just said, in about 70 words, what I've spent a thousand or more trying to say, and you did it more clearly than I did. Hosanna!I'm with Carolyn - I'm about spent, too, on this.Except for this: Thorin, who agrees with me on the substance of this, suggests that the Goodstein article is an exercise in dishonesty. I hope it isn't. I sometimes wonder if it's realistic to give one reporter a beat that encompasses all of religion, and then expect her to have deep knowledge of Catholicism and Judaism and Lutheranism and Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy and Buddhism and Hinduism et al. Any one of those could require an entire staff, an entire publication.

Great post, Jim Jenkins. (As usual.)

I think one should remebe rthat Cardinal Dolin was one of two US Bishop ssent to Ireland to deal with the issues there.I also note the study on US priests just released which shows how hurt they are by what's happened, how they think their bishops have not done well by them with "zero tolerance" and how they are more drawn back into their own circle of "brotherhood."What will all that mean in terms of clericalism and the role of leadership say, in the Dolon USCCB?I think Jim J.'s call for honesty in its fullness and collaboration on a broad base might help - if it's not too late as Rome continues to come apart and damage control will be in continuing high gear there.

"This, of course, violates the ethical principle that the end does not justify the means."But doesn't it (lying to the Nazis) fall within the parameters of that time-honored clerical and episcopal practice of "mental reservation?"In your case in point, such mental reservation is more than justified. In what we are talking about in issues of the coverups, it most certainly is not.The pope is not a five-star general ordering troops around, Lena said. Diocesan bishops are not agents or vicars of the pope at all. A bishops authority comes from his office. It is the bishop who controls his diocese and what happens. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/18/jeffrey-lena-lawyer-for-pope_n_... refer Mr. Lena (and the pope if he believes this nonsense) to Mt 27:4 and Mt 27:24.If what Lena says is true, then Bp. Bill Morris should be reinstated post haste.

Jimmy Mac --Maybe one could think of something to say that wasn't the whole truth and would send the Nazis on their way. But I still think it would be right to tell a total lie -- "No, there is no Jew in this house". I agree that "the end does not justify the means" is a very important moral principle. But I think it has very important exceptions. The problem is how to generalize about just when and why the principle doesn't hold in some cases. In the case of the Nazi/hiding Jew, it seems to me that the basic moral principle which should obtain is that if we can help our neighbors avoid serious and unjust harm we ought to do so. That principle cancels out the other principle.Actually, I don't think I've ever seen a justification of the "end does not justify the means' principle. Surely one cannot simply claim that speech by it nature is for truth-telling -- one can just as easily claim that speech is also for being charitable and and avoiding injustice. I'd like to know what metaphysical justification can be given for principle.

Please see: Claire @ 6/1/12 12:10 p.m.Then I was talking about broad, sweeping critical assertions. For specific facts there is no reason to put bounds on the questions one may ask. Whatever helps find out what is true, it's all good. Questions have to be asked so that they can be refuted, or so that we have a chance to realize it when the unthinkable happens. There are no limits. I don't rule out any questions (nor any answers) on principle. The more open, the better. That's not cynical. (For an old, tired example, just think how many cases of sexual abuse could have been avoided if people have been willing to entertain preposterous possibilities and had taken steps to verify that their imagination was running wild and the reality was harmless.)

Ann O, Jimmy Mac -- Insight currently useful to me on the potential of mental reservation is available from Cathleen Kaveny in Commonweal, Jan 15, 2010 in "Truth or Consequences - IN IRELAND, STRAYING FAR FROM THE MENTAL RESERVATION".http://commonwealmagazine.org/truth-or-consequences A short review of mental reservation as a handy complement to lying and its long Catholic history is in the Newadvent Catholic Encyclopedia, source Imprimatur as of 1911. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10195b.htm

I see the Cardinal has responded finally lashing out at SNAP(naturally) and the NYT (of course) thus reinforcing his own lack of credibility in many quarters -except he's off to the old Sod bfore rejoining the USCCB communio next week.Interesting to see how ireland sees his visit.I fear USCCB action is predictable.BTW, interesting to note that Comoweal Cuckoos - aproper title for the authors of that blog are after Lisa for this.Another example of the high common ground extant in the Church .

It is unfortunate that Cardinal Dolan did not take the opportunity yesterday to admit what his previous diocese, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, confirmed; that pedophile priests were paid $20,000 in exchange for laicization. The payout plan designated $10,000 to be paid at the beginning of the laicization process, and $10,000 upon its completion.The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has already indicated that this payout plan will not take place in the future. Rather than admit his mistake the Cardinal has chosen to lash out at the messenger. His credibility is severely damaged as he was asked directly about his payment of $10,000 to a pedophile priest in 2006 and he categorically denied that it was linked to his laicization. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has confirmed that indeed it was.John PilmaierSNAP Wisconsin Director414-336-8575Link to SNAP Milwaukee Statement: After five days of silence, Cardinal Dolan attacks victims, media http://03409bc.netsolhost.com/snapwisconsin/2012/06/04/after-five-days-o...

So, it is not the end of the story after all. Dolan keeps on giving."Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of New York, said on Sunday that reports he approved payments to priests facing sex abuse charges while he was archbishop of Milwaukee were "groundless and scurrilous...Dolans comments Sunday seemed to contradict a statement made to WNYC by a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York last week, which said that the cardinal "has read and supports the statement from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee."A spokesman did not return request for clarification on Sunday."http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-blog/2012/jun/03/dolan-rips-groundle...'s what Milwaukee's statement says, that Dolan's spokesman noted Dolan read and supports:"As part of the voluntary laicization process, the archdiocese assisted men who were leaving ministry by providing them with funds for transition. This assistance was provided regardless of the reason for seeking laicization. Some men used these funds for living expenses while they sought secular employment, others used them for medical expenses, and others for seeking training in a new field of work. The archdiocese no longer provides this financial assistance.The financial payments were made to a handful of priest offenders to move them through this process. Like it or not, the archdiocese is canonically responsible for the financial care of a priest even a priest who has committed such a horrible crime and sin such as clergy sexual abuse of a minor." http://www.archmil.org/News/Recent-News-Reports.htmNow, did Dolan approve the payment policy while in Milwaukee or not? The minutes indicate no objection from him. And Milwaukee acknowledges payments to "some men...others" for several reasons.Were no payments made under the policy while Dolan was there until 2009? Why would any payment under the policy, whether by Dolan or his successor, deserve such animated response as "groundless and scurrilous" if it were such a charitable, canonically-sanctioned move?Dolan took off for Ireland yesterday.

Just to muddy the waters a little. It seems like its possible for a priest to opt out of SS, which might affect Medicare eligibility.It is possible for a Minister of the Gospel, by filing an IRS Form 4361 in a timely manner, to be exempted from participating in the Social Security system in-so-far his ministerial income is concerned. Here is the IRS formhttp://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4361.pdf

A good detail to tie up, Bruce, but it seems Becker qualified whenever of age, so he must have been part of the system. "Shortly after that, Becker's canonical representative asked for help with Becker's health insurance because he did not yet qualify for Medicare,..."I find it unusual though that an archdiocese would not know the true age of a priest when authorizing a 10K payment; confusion there, since Becker DID qualify by age at the time.

I don't know how that "q" sneaked in, but here's the best I can do today to clarify the Dolan-Becker "payoff" question: http://bit.ly/NcPPDn.

Mark Silk has done the in-depth research on this at http://www.religionnews.com/blogs/mark-silk/dolan-doubles-down A "must read" with excerpt here: The facts are NOT as Dolan said.Based on interviews and an examination of documents in the hands of Bishop-Accountability.org, some not made public until now, I can report the following.On May 10, 2003, two months after Dolan and the Milwaukee archdiocese's finance committee discussed a proposal to offer $20,000 for laicization ($10,000 at the start and $10,000 at the completion the process), Becker was arrested in California for sexual assault. On May 30, Archbishop Dolan wrote a formal letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), asking that Becker be laicized. Then on October 20, CDF secretary Angelo Amato wrote back, asking that Dolan see if Becker would be willing to ask for laicization. If he should refuse, Amato said, the evidence was sufficiently compelling that the CDF would ask the pope simply to laicize him by fiat.Exactly what happened next is not in the available written record, but at some point in 2004 Becker was in fact laicized. In a telephone interview today, Peter Isely, Midwest regional director for SNAP, said that Becker told him directly that officials from the Milwaukee archdiocese had come to him with the offer of a quid pro quo: Sign this document accepting your laicization and we'll give you this $10,000 check. 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 on February 2 and 8, 2005. In the first, Zimbrich says that Becker expressed concern about his health coverage and that he had told him that he was "too old, too young, or had too high an income" to qualify for government coverage but that he, Zimbrich, had talked to the head of Catholic Charities and that she thought he would qualify for some kind of assistance.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.

SNAP Wisconsin covers additional details...Dolan, apologize to Laurie Goodstein and the NYTimes.http://03409bc.netsolhost.com/snapwisconsin/2012/06/04/after-paying-off-...

Unless the rules have changed since 2003, Cdl. Dolan in becoming a cardinal took an oath before God and Pope including, among other things, "...nor to divulge what may bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church". Talk in the area of child sexual abuse and coverup certainly has the potential to bring dishonor. A relevant though probably unanswerable question is the extent to which Dolan's solemn oath influences whatever he may say on such subjects. Oath trans. by Zenit http://www.zenit.org/article-8491?l=english

I think that Andrew Sullivan had it right about the Cardinal yesterday.In the world of high loyalty and be careful what you say, that may not matter tremendously in the big Apple though!

Carolyn - I agree that this development that Mark Silk reports changes the story. It's also troubling to me that the Milwaukee archdiocese represented to Becker that it would be so untransparent about Becker's abusive history.

[...] Fullam’s May 31st post to the Commonweal blog, titled “Pedophiles Paid to Leave Quietly,” should be her last [...]

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