Thursday, July 4, 2013

New York Times and Wall Street Journal: Dueling Statements about Dolan and His Sheltering $$ Millions in Milwaukee Diocese

The New York Times editorializes about Cardinal Dolan and the sexual abuse scandal:

Tragic as the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church has been, it is shocking to discover that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, while archbishop of Milwaukee, moved $57 million off the archdiocesan books into a cemetery trust fund six years ago in order to protect the money from damage suits by victims of abuse by priests. 
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has denied shielding the funds as an "old and discredited" allegation and "malarkey." But newly released court documents make it clear that he sought and received fast approval from the Vatican to transfer the money just as the Wisconsin Supreme Court was about to open the door to damage suits by victims raped and abused as children by Roman Catholic clergy.

By contrast, the Wall Street Journal heads its story about Dolan and the Milwaukee files, "Files Show Dolan Pushed to Defrock Priests." Which sort of says everything, doesn't it, about who stands with Dolan through thick and thin, who his friends are, what deep-pocketed handlers lean on media outlets to buy him that nice, giltzy press coverage about how avuncular and jovial and aw-shucks-just-one-of-the-boys he is?

Sickening, the shameless collusion of the U.S. Catholic right with business fat cats and media venues like the Wall Street Journal. I don't forget that it was the Wall Street Journal that published Anne Hendershott's astonishing piece a few years ago about how Catholic college and universities are just wonderfully welcoming places for openly gay and lesbian faculty members and administrators. I've thought of that story frequently as I've read Hendershott's recent claim--which has been all over the right-wing media circuit of late--that the IRS singled her out for special scrutiny because she's an anti-abortion Catholic activist.

And guess who stood with the U.S. bishops' "religious freedom" point-man Archbishop Lori several days ago to announce a new statement signed by right-wing Catholics and right-wing evangelicals? If you guessed Ms. Hendershott, you win a prize. As Ian Milheiser notes at Think Progress today, the U.S. Catholic bishops are at the forefront of a new right-wing strategy that's all about extending their "right" to discriminate against gay folks in the name of "religious freedom." Religious freedom as the new code word for "I have a right to curb your rights and your freedom simply because I don't like gay folks": what an astonishing way to rebrand a church that claims to stand represent the values of Christ in the 21st century. A church known for standing against human rights. In the name of Jesus.

P.S. When I posted a link yesterday to the Faithful America petition calling on Dolan to step down from his episcopal position following the release of that damning letter in the Milwaukee archdiocesan files, some 1,500 people had signed the petition as of about 11:30 A.M. CST. Right now, the total stands at 13, 511 at 9:00 A.M. CST.

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