The New York Times reports today that the Roman Catholic hierarchy in this country is moving heaven and hell to prevent states from loosening their statute of limitations laws regarding child molestation charges. After all, as Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference put it, “How can an institution successfully defend itself against a claim that is 40, 50, or 60 years old?” The point, Mr. Brannigan, is that it can’t even defend itself against a 5 year old claim. The church turned a blind eye on its abusive priests because they were priests, called by God, and apparently protected by the Vatican. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing, especially when you compare it to the campaign being waged against American nuns for not being doctrinal enough to speak out against abortion and same-sex marriage. This the bishops and cardinals feel comfortable speaking up about in public, yet they block investigations and litigation of child abuse charges against priests any way they can.
Of course Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for the Preservation of Religious and Civil Rights in the United States (such a lofty title for such an empty-headed individual) will scream bloody murder that the NYT is engaging in Catholic-bashing once again. He has no grounds. His bishops and cardinals provide the proof. It is looking more likely that the old Kraut, Benedict XVI, was right in suggesting a ‘pruning of the church’, making it smaller but more orthodox. For the Donahues of this world, that would be great, and it would relieve the rest of us of the nonsensical postures assumed by the princes and barons of the church. Each year the Roman Catholic Church becomes less and less relevant to living human beings. I urge the church to hurry it up.
In the meanwhile, it would be well to focus in on two of the more egregious examples of the Church’s mendacity. Here is Bernard Cardinal Law, whisked out of Boston to a see in Rome so that he wouldn’t face the ignominy of a trial for hiding sexual offenders in his clergy. And Timothy Cardinal Dolan, a big blowhard, with such a forced bonhomie that is truly difficult to digest, even simply listening to him on the radio. He is, apparently, even more conservative that the pope, but His Emptiness was not above paying off abusive priests to get them to resign. It is getting more and more difficult to even write about the doings of my former church without recoiling in disgust.
Some legislators have offered plans to provide a limited time period-a window, so to speak-so other potential victims could come forward. As the NYT article noted this morning, “Joan Fitz-Gerald, former president of the Colorado Senate, who proposed the window legislation, was an active Catholic who said she was stunned to find in church one Sunday in 2006 that the archdiocese had asked priests to raise the issue during a Mass and distribute lobbying postcards.
“It was the most brutal thing I’ve ever been through,” she said of the church campaign. “The politics, the deception, the lack of concern for not only the children in the past, but for children today.” She has since left the church.”
- Catholic Church paid handful of sexually abusive priests to leave archdiocese (life.nationalpost.com)
- Conference focuses on challenges facing Catholic Church (ajc.com)
- Catholic Bishops Vow to Press On Against Obama Policies (nytimes.com)