Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thinking About the Church in Milwaukee

It's been a bad week for Abp. Dolan & Co. down at the Puzzle Palace (chancery...)

Documents were released, detailing the Archdiocese's financial problems. Other documents were released which proved conclusively that the Archbishop's two immediate predecessors were horrifically derelict in their duties.

Worse, buried inside the financial reports are notes which are elegantly-worded shrugs ('we don't know and can't guess') about potential future liabilities based on assertions of fraud in assigning ephebophile priests to parishes. It's a novel approach, but it may work.

THEN other documents were released which show that Archdiocesan personnel were aware of a nun's confession of sex abuse in 1996--but that those personnel did not report the abuse.

But that's not all, folks.

Now a thinker, Pat McIlheran, begins to question assertions that 'future funds raised will not be paid out to attorneys and aggrieved plaintiffs' in the fraud-suit.

The archdiocese is trying to raise about $105 million to fund education; it maintains that the money can be protected from lawyers who continue to predate on the church over old abuse. I'd like to believe that. I'm not quite certain,...

Although P-Mac refers to "Federal judges" in his essay (I think the case is in State courts), he does have a point: the State Supremes have not shown a history of reticence in legal interpretations, which tendency might become a vehicle to override legal constructs which 'shelter' the money. In other words, it doesn't really make a difference whether it's in Federal or State court; the effect may well be the same: "BK."

Then McIlheran quotes (Fr.) Richard Neuhaus' review of Phil Lawler's book:

He [Lawler] very gingerly addresses a theory proposed by a number of commentators on the crisis, namely, that bishops engaged in cover-ups and other deceptions because they were threatened with homosexual blackmail. He cites a number of instances in which this appears to be the case and bishops were permitted to resign when their misdeeds could no longer be denied. 'The blackmail hypothesis,” he writes, “provides a logical explanation for behavior that is otherwise inexplicable: the bishops’ willingness to risk the welfare of the faithful and their own reputations in order to protect abusive priests.'"

Fortunately, McIlheran assigned himself the ugly task of reading Lawler's book. Frankly, I don't want to know what P-Mac learns, really...


RAG said...

I think I raised essentially the same question. Technically the money raised isn't supposed to go to pay settlements but the reserves have been depleted and that money presumably would have been used for other purposes had the settlements not been paid.

And while I'm not as far to the right as Dad29, I don't think a married clergy is the answer to solving the scandal. Celibacy should never be equated with perversion.

Dad29 said...

correct-a-mundo, rag.

Men who rape little boys aren't the marrying type, anyway.