Let the Brawler make sure he has this straight:
Archbishop Timothy Dolan booted the pedophile Franklyn Becker out of the priesthood.
He paid him $10,000 -- with no limits on how the money should be spent. He sent him to
Mayfield Mayville-- he informed the sheriff but not the neighborhoods or the community. And he didn't provide for counseling.
And now, per Peter Isely, the Midwest director of the Surivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Becker is living in an apartment with a view overlooking a playground?
And somehow Dolan's going to skate on this?
That would appear to be the case as of 12:03 a.m. (late night for the housework-tasked Brawler). The name Dolan appears not once in the Journal Sentinel story about the scandal that appears due for Friday's paper.
Now, the Brawler fully expects the amoral likes of Charlie Sykes to politicize this, to say "Look what happened under Rembert" while saying Dolan has done an "extraordinarily good job in trying to clean up this mess."
Charlie says that a lot of people are in denial about what transpired under the liberal Rembert Weakland. And when he says people he means liberals. To which the Brawler says: prove it.
The Brawler says let the Lord have mercy on Rembert for what happened under his watch. The Brawler, being human, brooks no excuses.
But the suggestion that Dolan is somehow above the mess is absurd.
Let's recall what Dolan said back in July 2006:
Dolan said Thursday in his column and in an e-mail to priests and parish leaders that the first of 10 cases of abuse allegedly committed more than 30 years ago in California by two former Archdiocese of Milwaukee priests has been scheduled for trial Nov. 6.
In response, he says, he is following up on a promise to be upfront. That included taking the unusual step of mailing Thursday's Catholic Herald, which included a variety of information on the archdiocese's response to the sexual abuse crisis, to all 200,000 households of registered Catholics in the 10-county archdiocese.
Noting in his Herald of Hope column that "we sure need a lot of HOPE right now," Dolan tells people to expect more secular news coverage of a settlement and trial process that will have harmful effects. He cites "the valuable work and ministries of the archdiocese, which could be seriously curtailed if the resolution of these cases results in staggering financial consequences against us. What adds to the sadness of all this is that we had been making some steady progress."
Among other effects that Dolan cites are:
• "Victims/survivors, who have already suffered so much, will be hurt again . . . as past wounds are reopened."
• "The greater Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin, all 700,000 of us, will be ashamed again, as the church is dragged through the mud, as we are reminded of indefensible, immoral behavior by unfaithful, preying priests over a quarter-century ago, and the failure of some church leadership to deal effectively with it back then."
• "Our virtuous priests, 97% of whom have always acted appropriately . . . will once again suffer because of the disproportionate publicity given to an offender."
I dunno. If he'd been upfront, wouldn't Dolan have told the community of Mayville about Becker?
Does the Journal Sentinel really think the way to "deal effectively" with Becker was to ship him off to Mayville?
And speaking of denial, let's recall how JS columnist Patrick McIlheran bemoaned how the church was on the hook for millions in damages and quoted an archbishop who said most Catholics are tired of being "pillaged" by plaintiffs attorneys:
There's money in reparations, since new cases are scarce, so plaintiffs' lawyers have backed such "windows" in other states, Wisconsin included. This is one of the few ways in which Catholics aren't helpless.
There's no justice in lifting the statute of limitations in Wisconsin, and Catholics here should be unafraid to say so. Victims of abuse now can sue as late as age 35. Wisconsin doesn't shut out victims.
Compassion for victims does not require Catholics to stand silent as law is changed to let the retribution go on - especially now that the church appears to have closed the door on this evil.
Or just shunted it off to Mayville. Jesus totally would have said that.
Here's an excerpt from the archdioceses' statement on Becker:
In November 2004, responding to a petition by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Holy See removes Becker from the clerical state. A payment of $10,000 is provided to subsidize emergency medical insurance until Becker is eligible for Medicare. Notifications are made to the Sheriff in the county where Becker was last known to be residing (that's being upfront! -- Brawler), and neighboring parishes are also informed that he is living in area and can no longer function as a priest (good to hear -- The Brawler).
It seems pretty clear that Dolan hoped -- after everything -- that Becker would just go away.
Now, the Brawler is all about moving on. But let's get real. Dolan. to all appearances, was hoping to sweep Becker under a rug. Not informing the community? (and, as has been shown with McCann, informing law enforcement is not the same as informing the community). Sweet Jesus.
Dolan, to all appearances, was not part of the solution here. He may have been a part of distancing Becker from the church, but informing the sheriff of Walker's whereabouts where he "was last known to be residing" fall significantly short of accountability. And Dolan should be called to account for that.
Addendum: Isely raises issues about Dolan in the first segment of Sykes' show on Thursday. You can find the podcast here. Marvel as Charlie changes the subject every time Isely mentions Dolan's name. Admire his courage as he excuses Dolan -- after Isely is off the show.
The 620 WTMJ news had this to say:
The documents SNAP is releasing even claim that current Archbishop Timothy Dolan paid off Becker when they removed him from the priesthood, didn't help him with treatment, and didn't tell the public about his alleged past.
Dolan admits in a letter to the Archdiocese that it didn't handle the Becker case perfectly.
"Poor decisions were made," says Dolan in regards to Becker's case involving allegations of abuse from 1970 through the early 1990s. "The Church's decisions about Becker were badly misguided."
Why didn't the Journal Sentinel pursue this angle?