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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

 
Cardinal on the hot seat

by digby

"I'll have to get this molestation deposition done in a hurry. I'm on my way to Rome to elect a new pope"

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, will be deposed on Wednesday afternoon by lawyers representing hundreds of people who say they were sexually abused by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which Cardinal Dolan led before his appointment to New York in 2009.

Cardinal Dolan is one of two American cardinals who are being deposed in sexual abuse lawsuits this week, and who plan to travel to Rome next week in advance of the proceedings to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who stunned the world last week with the announcement that he was resigning effective Feb. 28.

The other American is Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles. He is expected to be deposed on Saturday in Los Angeles, and he has been under fire since the court-ordered release last month of 12,000 pages of internal church files revealing his role in shielding accused priests from the law.

Cardinal Dolan has been much discussed as a possible candidate for pope. The cardinal, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a charismatic figure at ease in parishes as well as in morning talk show studios, and he left a strong impression in the Vatican last year with speeches promoting what the church calls the “new evangelization.”

Yeah, he's a heckuva guy. He led the Catholic Church hierarchy right into the arms of the right wing nuts of the Republican party:

A series of recent developments are renewing questions about the Catholic bishops' alignment with the Republican Party, with much of the attention focusing on comments by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who said he "certainly can't vote for somebody who's either pro-choice or pro-abortion."

In a wide-ranging interview published last week (Sept. 14), Chaput also echoed the views of a number of prominent bishops when he praised Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan for trying to address the "immoral" practice of deficit spending through his libertarian-inflected budget proposals.

"Jesus tells us very clearly that if we don't help the poor, we're going to go to hell. Period. There's just no doubt about it," Chaput told National Catholic Reporter.

"But Jesus didn't say the government has to take care of them, or that we have to pay taxes to take care of them. Those are prudential judgments. Anybody who would condemn someone because of their position on taxes is making a leap that I can't make as a Catholic."

Many church experts say Ryan's views stand in contrast to traditional Catholic teaching on social justice, and Ryan's policies have been the target of sharply critical statements from politically active nuns and the hierarchy's own committee that deals with poverty and domestic issues.

But the dynamic within the USCCB appeared to shift even further to the right on Monday with the announcement that bishops had hired the head of Catholic Charities in Denver, Jonathan Reyes, as the new head of the bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development -- in effect their chief lobbyist on domestic and international social justice issues.

The appointment was being closely watched because it is a critical post in trying to influence Congress on anti-poverty legislation.

The previous head of that office was John Carr, a widely respected social justice advocate who left the job last month after almost 25 years. Carr had come under increasingly sharp attack by the Catholic right for pushing church positions that did not always line up with conservative policies.
Many church experts say Ryan's views stand in contrast to traditional Catholic teaching on social justice, and Ryan's policies have been the target of sharply critical statements from politically active nuns and the hierarchy's own committee that deals with poverty and domestic issues.

Dolan memorably had this to say on Bill O'Reilly's show:

DOLAN: You’re a better historian than I am Bill, you know that every great movement in — in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction. And if we duct tape the churches — I’m just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convince people in the marketplace that’s going to lead to a huge deficit a huge void.

And there are many people who want to fill it up, namely a new religion called secularism, ok, which — which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing.

So to — to see — to see that morally-driven religiously-convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only at the heart of biblical religion, it is at the heart of American enterprise.

I'm guessing that Jesus didn't see himself as a Master of the Universe --- at least not in that way.

How shocking it will be if it turns out that he was heavily involved in one of the many Church molestation scandals. It certainly puts this comment in perspective:

Cardinal Dolan criticized a legislative proposal that would, for a year, drop the statute of limitations for filing civil claims for sexual offenses, allowing for lawsuits by people who say they were abused long ago. The cardinal said he was concerned that a flood of lawsuits over abuse by priests could drain the church of money it is using for charitable purposes.

“I think we bishops have been very contrite in admitting that the church did not handle this well at all in the past,” he said. “But we bristle sometimes in that the church doesn’t get the credit, now being in the vanguard of reform. It does bother us that the church continues to be a whipping boy.”

Yeah, he'd be a great pope. Or a Fox news analyst. Either way.

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