“Groundless and scurrilous” is how Cardinal Timothy Dolan described reports that he approved payments to priests facing sex abuse charges while he was archbishop of Milwaukee.
Cornered by reporters at St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, after Mass on Sunday, Dolan accused the NY Times of inaccurate reporting.
Dolan was also of the view that the way he was treated by the NY Times was unfair.
“The New York Times does not have a reputation for fair and accurate reporting when it comes to this issue,” Dolan said.
“So, to respond to charges like that — that are groundless and scurrilous — in my book it’s useless and counterproductive.”
Earlier in the week Dolan, through a spokesperson, told the NY Post there were no “payoffs” to pedophile priests, only “charity.”
Dolan also denied that similar payments were being made in the New York Archdiocese.
“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.
“What this was, instead, was an act of charity, in line with Catholic social teaching.”
“No, thank God. Cardinal Egan did a splendid job – that’s all taken care of”, Dolan said, referring to his predecessor Cardinal Edward Egan.
The Cardinal also did not spare a few words for the advocacy survivors group SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who accused him of making “secret deals” and giving abusive priests “incentives” to leave the ministry.
“SNAP has no credibility”, Dolan fumed.
However SNAP director David Clohessy accused Dolan of not answering a simple question, and ad hominem arguments.
“It’s sad that America’s top Catholic official won’t answer a simple question: How many predator priests got how much money to quietly move on . . . perhaps to molest again?” Clohessy said.
“This is a predictable tactic bishops use when forced to defend the indefensible – they attack the messenger.”
Last week the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said in a statement that in 2002, the church “affirmed that priest offenders should no longer be functioning as priests in any capacity and having someone seek laicization voluntarily is faster and less expensive and it made sense to try and move these men out of the priesthood as quickly as possible.”
News category: World.