Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, is the highest-profile Catholic prelate in America. He's also the public face of the U.S. Catholic Church's institutional homophobia, leading the nation's Catholic bishops in an unholy crusade against marriage equality.
Dolan claims that his mission to preserve marriage discrimination comes from God himself. He told ABC's George Stephanopoulos earlier this year: "[We] also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that - especially when it comes to sexual love - that is intended only for a man and woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally."
Since Dolan talks to God, I wonder whether that God also told him to shield tens of millions of dollars in church assets from victims of priest sexual abuse?
Because that's what Cardinal Dolan did six years ago, when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee. According to documents released yesterday by the Milwaukee archdiocese, in 2007 Dolan asked for and was granted permission from the Vatican to transfer nearly $57 million in archdiocesan assets into a cemetery trust fund in order to hide the money from clergy sex abuse victims.
The New York Times reports:
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has emphatically denied seeking to shield church funds as the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009. He reiterated in a statement Monday that these were "old and discredited attacks."
However, the files contain a 2007 letter to the Vatican in which he explains that by transferring the assets, "I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability." The Vatican approved the request in five weeks, the files show. [Emphasis mine]
These latest explosive revelations come just over one year after we learned that during his tenure in Milwaukee, Dolan also authorized payouts to suspected pedophile priests who agreed to step down from priestly ministry.
Last week, when the United States Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of DOMA and ended California's Proposition 8, Dolan lambasted the decisions "a tragic day for marriage and our nation," saying they went against "God's wise design" and the clear teachings of Jesus Christ.
Yet the same man who can't abide the thought of me being legally married to Michael -- and who claims the mantle of God to justify his anti-gay animus -- apparently has no problem concealing church funds to avoid properly compensating victims of pedophile priests, and then blatantly lying about it afterwards. For years.
With his breathtaking arrogance and moral bankruptcy, Cardinal Timothy Dolan has managed to pull off something that seemed, to me anyway, virtually unthinkable: he further shredded the already tattered moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
Having so profoundly disgraced himself and his church, Timothy Dolan should resign. But sadly, that step is probably the most unthinkable of them all.