US cardinal moves to pre-empt criticism over abuse cases
Claims of payments to abuser priests and concealing funds are 'old and discredited,' he says
In an attempt to both anticipate and deflect “potentially negative publicity,” Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York has written a defense of his time as an auxiliary bishop of the St. Louis archdiocese.
“You know how I always try to alert you to any potentially negative publicity about the Church, or about me. Well, there could be some,” the cardinal wrote in a Feb. 18 blog post.
He noted that the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he was ordained a priest and served as auxiliary bishop from 2001 to 2002, has “just complied with a court order to release the documents regarding cases there of sexual abuse of minors.”
“I would anticipate that my name will again be highlighted in the press,” he wrote. “I sure have nothing to hide, and am very much at peace with law enforcements officials reviewing the files. In fact, we already released all the documentation to them a dozen years ago!”
Last July, Cardinal Dolan criticized the repetition of “old and discredited attacks,” including the claim that he paid abusive priests to apply for laicization while he was Archbishop of Milwaukee. These payments, the cardinal said, were part of his duty to provide basic support for priests until they leave the priesthood.
He has also repeatedly rejected claims that the transfer of $57 million in archdiocesan funds to a perpetual care fund for cemeteries was an effort to “hide” the funds and deny them to victims, saying the funds had been legally designated for the cemeteries.
In his blog post, Cardinal Dolan said he anticipates “a repeat of last year’s attempt by the same tort lawyers to muddy my name.”
“Nothing of course ever came of it [last year], although the ever-compliant press here gave me headlines about being deposed. (The headlines were much smaller when the Judge eventually ruled that I had acted properly.) However, knowing how their attorneys operate, and some reporters here cooperate with them, I would anticipate some attempt at bad publicity again.”
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