Anti-Contraception Cardinal Paid Pedophiles to Disappear

Cardinal Timothy DolanTimothy Dolan, Cardinal of New York and head of the Catholic Conference of Bishops, had his prime time career launched by the pedophile priest scandal. Now, despite efforts to distance himself, his role in pedophile protection may come back to bite him. Wednesday the Archdiocese of Miwaukee admitted that during Dolan’s tenure there pedophiles were paid to simply disappear.

In June of 2002, Dolan was appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee after his predecessor, Rembert G. Weakland, admitted a confidential settlement of $450,000 to a man who accused Weakland of sexually assaulting him in 1979. In contrast to Weakland, Dolan was a known theological conservative with the trust of the Vatican, and, despite questionable management of sexual abuse scandals in his previous position, in St. Louis, he was tasked with cleaning up the mess.

From the start, Dolan positioned himself as a victim’s advocate: “…[i]t is impossible to exaggerate the gravity of the situation, and the suffering that victims feel, because I’ve spent the last four months being with them, crying with them, having them express their anger to me.” His response to those tears and anger, however, foreshadowed events of this winter, when Dolan has consistently argued that the Church is above the law.

In the case of the pedophile priests, Dolan almost immediately set about exploring financial incentives that would encourage them to step down and fade away into the community. He emphatically denied in 2006 that this was the case. But during subsequent bankruptcy proceedings for the Milwaukee archdiocese, public documents showed that Dolan had discussed payout options with his finance committee as early as 2003. Now email from Julie Wolf, Communications Director for the archdiocese, confirms that pedophiles were paid up to $20,000 apiece in exchange for quietly relinquishing their positions in the Church.

Peter Isely is Midwest director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and a resident of Milwaukee. Isely expressed outrage at the newly confirmed payoffs, which his organization has long alleged despite Dolan’s denial. “This is as ludicrous as a school board, instead of firing a teacher for criminal acts against children, calling the police, and revoking his license to teach, instead saying that they had to pay the child molester tens of thousands of dollars to hand over their license to the board.”

In 2006, serial molester, Father Franklyn Becker admitted that he had been paid $10,000 for signing “laicization papers” renouncing priesthood. At the time, Dolan insisted that the payment was to cover health care expenses. “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.” Minutes from the 2003 Finance Committee meeting suggest otherwise. Payouts to pedophiles like Becker were to be on top of pension, salary and health care benefits, and had no strings attached.

Since moving to New York and taking over leadership of the Catholic Council of Bishops, Dolan has leveraged his position to advance a set of priorities based on conservative theology, anti-reproductive rights and anti-gay rights in particular. He has been a vocal and visible opponent of comprehensive health care access and marriage equality, arguing, essentially, that the religious freedom operates at the level of institutions and trumps civil rights law.  His position as Cardinal gains him not only the ear of the Catholic laity but of the White House. Last November, for example, a meeting between Dolan and Obama was described as “one among many meetings with officials from the Catholic Church and the administration.”

In this fight, Dolan has had a strong ally in Bill Donohue of the Catholic League. Like Dolan, Donohue appears more concerned with protecting the Catholic Church than past and future abuse victims. In March, Donohue said that the Catholic Church had been too easy on victims, “too quick to write a check,” and should instead “fight them one by one.”  In 2011, Dolan thanked Donohue for a press release that, among other things, called SNAP a “phony victims group.”  In January he scorned a gathering of victims and advocates in Boston as “the professional victims lobby” and “a pitiful bunch of malcontents.”

Like Dolan, Donohue is a staunch Vatican loyalist, who has a played a fierce and vocal role in what are being called the Vagina Wars. He launched a boycott of the Jon Stewart Show after Stewart displayed an image of a manger blocking a vagina that the League called hate speech. Delta Airlines compliantly pulled their advertising. Donohue’s professions of horror at the image are matched only by the “horror” that Dolan expressed at the “strangling nature” of Obama’s narrow contraceptive exemption for Catholic Churches. But will the Vagina Wars be sufficient distraction from Dolan’s history of enabling abusers? That remains to be seen. In a 2011 60 Minutes interview Dolan himself said that the abuse scandal needs to haunt the church for some time to come. Perhaps he should watch what he asks for.

This article first appeared on Truthout.


Eight Ugly Sins the Catholic Bishops Hope Lay Members and Others Won’t Notice
The Difference Between a Dying Fetus and a Dying Woman
Catholic Hierarchy Lobbies to Suppress Religious Freedom
Self-Flagellation and the Kiss of Jesus–Mother Teresa’s Attraction to Pain
The Freedom to Die in Peace

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington.  She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of  Her articles can be found at


About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt; Deas and Other Imaginings.
This entry was posted in Christianity in the Public Square and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Anti-Contraception Cardinal Paid Pedophiles to Disappear

  1. The Truth Seeker says:

    The Catholic Church has a long history of violating human rights by placeing restrictions on it’s members with ridiculous rules. The Church because it requires priests to be celibates has attacted large numbers of gay men and pedophiles to its members. Pedophillia would significantly drop if the requirement of celibacy was dropped. Additionally,women should be allowed to become priests.

    Anyone who examines the Catholic Church history over two millenia can easily see the destructive path this Church has taken. For a millenia and a half, those members who didn’t believe Catholic Orthodoxy were burned at the stake. Murder can never be excused no matter what the reason.

    It amazes me why anyone would want to stay in this church knowing its history. Its position on birth control is criminal. Think of the damage this has done to third world countries who have tried to follow the churchs rule on birth control. Its results have been poverty, starvation, death and a terrible quality of human life.

    I was a member of the Catholic Church for 46 years and I am so sorry I didn’t see the light during that period. By studying the history of the Catholic Church I came to my senses and saw how corrupt the church was. The covering up of pedophillia for who knows how long is just another symptom of the Chruch’s corruption. Further implicating this corruption is the coverup of pedophillia by bishops, archbishops, cardinals , and who knows how high in the church the coverup extended.

    It appears that original sin didn’t begin with the mythical Adam and Eve, but with the Catholic Church.


  2. Pingback: What the Bible Says About #Rape #Gender 3Vaw « kracktivist

  3. Pingback: ¿Qué dice la Biblia acerca de la violación | Alternet « Jestoryas's Blog

  4. Pingback: Valerie Tarico: How the Catholic Bishops Outsmarted Washington Voters | Political Ration

  5. Pingback: Washington Liberals - How the Catholic Bishops Outsmarted Washington Voters

  6. Pingback: Biblical Medicine? How Religious Corporations Are Gobbling Up Healthcare Facilities

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s