Yesterday, Laurie Goodstein reported in the New York Times that Cardinal Timothy Dolan authorized payoffs to accused pedophile priests in hopes that they would leave the priesthood more quickly and quietly. (It’s the old Reverse Monopoly: go directly to $20,000, do not collect jail.) We were hoping for a quick, sassy response from the Catholic League, but so far the only rebuttal has come from Jimmy Akin of the National Catholic Register. Why did it take so long? Because contortin’ ain’t easy.
Consider this: Suppose you are walking down the street and a homeless person approaches you and asks you for some money. You give him the money. Would that justify a headline saying that you have been paying the homeless?
Or suppose you were with your teenage son or daughter and they asked if they could give some money to the homeless person as an act of kindness and you said Yes. Would that justify a headling saying that you authorized paying the homeless?
But what if the homeless person is not a stranger but an employee of yours, and his job involved outreach with children, and some of those children accused him of raping them, and you gave him money to shut up and skip town? I will admit that this is an outrageous hypothetical, but I’ve read this article a few times now, and it is not explored. Nor is the real problem (besides the raping and the lying and the abuse of the trust of children and the faithful): why didn’t someone —anyone — call the fucking police? Akin provides no insight there, but does posit a motive for what he calls Goodstein’s hit piece — the Catholic Church’s position on contraception.
It’s breathtaking: Cardinal Dolan didn’t pay off these priests, he just made a lot of money be in their bank accounts all of a sudden. And if you don’t see the difference, then you’re just thinking with your selfish, hungry vagina. Jesus, if you’re reading, hurry back.