Jill at B&B wonders why Jerry Sandusky and the administrators at Penn State get the breathless front page coverage while pedophile enabler Cardinal Timothy Dolan schmoozes with politicians and the media while attempting to set American health policy:
It wasn’t all that long ago that we heard about the massive scale of the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church. It’s obvious to anyone who has a brain that this was clearly a cover-up on a massive, massive scale — and yet how many perpetrators were actually put on trial in a civil, not church, court? Sure, there have been lawsuits, but a lawsuit is not the same as a criminal trial.
At a time when the Catholic Church is trying to hold undue influence over American health care policy regarding contraception, and when politicians from both sides of the political spectrum are giving this church all kinds of unwarranted deference simply because its clergy and its history claims some kind of direct conduit to the Great White Alpha Male in the Sky, I think it’s worth asking what kind of moral authority a church hierarchy that has behaved like a massive criminal enterprise where child sex abuse is concerned can claim to have, and why anyone is even considering building policy around what these people want.
I’m not defending the loathsome Jerry Sandusky, nor am I defending Joe Paterno, whose own blindness to the dictates of authority allowed him to think that it was sufficient to just tell his boss and then forget about it when crimes against children were being committed. But there’s something wrong when a simple claim to have a direct line to God allows Cardinal Timothy Dolan to appear on TV, all smiling and twinkly, to rant piously about the tragedy of birth control and hold the fate of millions of American women in his hands, when as Archbishop of Milwaukee, he authorized the payment of, yes, let’s call it bribes, to abusive priests who agreed to leave the priesthood.
Sandusky and Penn State are on trial because, quite frankly the school has always has a squeaky clean image, Joe-Pa and Happy Valley and all that. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, gets to go blithely about their “business” because we already know that they are corrupt and violent and misogynistic and bigoted; they even have their own crime drama on TV.
Case in point: in 2007 the Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed bankruptcy to protect their assets when confronted with over 150 molestation accusations … and then lied about their assets:
In an unusual confrontation between church and state, San Diego Roman Catholic Bishop Robert H. Brom was grilled for hours Friday by a bankruptcy trustee, lawyers and seven victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.In a federal courthouse, Brom and church officials were clearly on the defensive as U.S. Trustee Steven Jay Katzman repeatedly questioned items in bankruptcy papers filed by the church in the face of 150 damage claims by sexual abuse victims
Officials, led by Brom, answered “I don’t know” dozens of times as they were questioned about the adequacy of the church’s disclosures in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where it is seeking to reorganize. The hearing was a bankruptcy procedure in which the debtor is confronted by creditors about the value of property involved in the case.
In the sometimes testy appearance, Brom, who has been a bishop for 24 years, was flanked by lawyers and church officials as he answered quietly, never taking notes.
Under questioning, church officials acknowledged many differences in the three versions of church financial statements they have filed so far. They promised to do a better job in valuing the church’s real estate and took issue with one portion of a professional audit done on diocesan books last summer.
Across the room, a dozen lawyers for victims sought to maximize diocesan assets that would be available to pay damages to the victims.
Brom only showed annoyance once, when a lawyer asked about discrepancies between the church’s first financial disclosures it filed in February, and two later amendments, the most recent filed less than 24 hours before the hearing.
“Are you aware that property was left off your schedules, but the debts were put on your schedules?” asked Andrea Leavitt, a lawyer who has for years represented victims in the church litigation.
When Leavitt pressed further, Brom bristled.
“There is an insinuation that I’m not telling the truth,” Brom said, his voice rising. “And I don’t like that and I want to say it clearly…. “
In a letter to be published in church bulletins this week and next, Bishop Robert H. Brom, head of the San Diego Diocese, calls on parishioners to lobby Congress to reverse the law that he said “strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for citizens of any faith.”Last Sunday, Catholic bishops in more than 140 dioceses issued similar statements denouncing the decision that were read at each weekend Mass.
In his letter, Brom said the law would affect local Catholic schools, social services such as Father Joe’s Villages and Catholic Charities.”In so ruling, the Obama Administration is denying Catholics the fundamental freedom of religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States,” Brom wrote. “Unless the rule is overturned, we will be compelled either to violate our consciences or to drop health coverage for our employees and thus suffer severe penalties.”
Well, yeah, we wouldn’t want him to violate his conscience.
Getting back to Penn State and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, let’s compare the collateral damage to those who are complicit and how it is covered:
Investigators have obtained internal e-mails that show former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier and another top university official agreed it would be “humane” not to report to authorities that Jerry Sandusky had an encounter with naked boy in a university gym shower, NBC News reported Monday.
NBC said state prosecutors are continuing an investigation and that Spanier, who was forced to resign over the scandal, could now face charges.
Two other former top Penn State officials — Gary Schultz, who was senior vice president for Finance and Business, and Timothy Curley, who was athletic director — are awaiting trial on perjury charges in the Sandusky case.
The minutes of the finance council meeting emerged as part of Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy proceedings, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Wednesday.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection last year in the face of lawsuits from people who said they had been abused by its priests.
On Thursday, the archdiocese confirmed that it had offered payoffs to abusive priests as “the most expedient and cost-effective way to have offenders laicized or removed from the priesthood.”
Having an abuser volunteer to go through the process known as laicization – formally leaving the priesthood – “was faster and less expensive. It made sense to try and move these men out of the priesthood as quickly as possible,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
One Catholic church source defended the payment plan on Thursday, saying, “You either pay them to leave and give them money for food and clothes and shelter as they look for a job or you have a drawn out trial that could take years.”
“Wouldn’t that be preferable than to keep them as priests and paying their salaries,” the source, who would agree to speak only anonymously. “And wouldn’t it be better than a trial and to have victims testifying and cross examined?”
Penn State officials go to jail. Catholics go “on a retreat“.
If Jerry Sandusky had coached at Notre Dame, he’d probably be going to see Justin Bieber tonight…
Disclaimer: The L&T Casey attended Catholic school in San Diego from fourth grade though high school. Additionally Bishop Brom personally approved allowing Casey to be the first female to play on a Catholic high school football team in San Diego. She also attended a Catholic college, so yeah, I guess I’m an enabler or friend of the devil myself or something…