The fact that Timothy Dolan is leading the bishops in a partisan direction is not a surprise. Take away the clerical clothes and the cardinal is the central casting version of an old pol, glad-handing and joking in one minute and deflecting and deceiving in the next. As Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times reported in May, the cardinal lied about money paid to Wisconsin priests who had been accused of sexual abuse when he was their bishop. He described the money as "charity" when it was intended to induce them to leave the priesthood as quickly as possible. When documents surfaced contradicting Dolan, local Church officials admitted as much. New York's prelate chose to attack the suggestion that something was amiss as "false, preposterous and unjust."
And, of course, sometimes when we dance with the one what brung us, we suddenly realize it's the devil we've been courting. But when that realization breaks, it's usually too late to do much to reverse the damage.