Mike Gousha's show on Sunday featured a ginger questioning of Archbishop Timothy Dolan on the archidocese sex abuse scandal.
The televised interview was largely a snoozer. Indeed, it's the extended online interview that features the toughest question of the interview. And Dolan -- who, let's give him credit, is an accomplished answer-giver -- blows it.
Gousha asks the archbishop his opinion on the victims' lawyers' claim that the reason other diocese have filed for bankruptcy was not to protect assets but to protect secrets of abuse.
And Dolan laughs it off, saying "If we got secrets, we're doing a bad job of hiding them."
Ha ha ha.
Actually, the archdiocese has quite a few secrets at this point.
From a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial:
The archdiocese has acknowledged that it knows of more than 40 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct. But it has refused to release clergy personnel files, leaving open the question: If the Becker files are so damning, what's in the other files?
The natural follow up from Gousha would have addressed this issue. But it didn't come.
Dolan talks a good game about how the church is doing a penance, a contrition, etc. But the Brawler recalls from his first confession -- admittedly some time ago -- that if you don't come clean about all the big stuff, all your confessing is for naught.
And Dolan, who wants to have us to believe he's upfront, is committed to hiding wrongdoing by priests from public view. And, of course, he's also opposed to a law that would temporarily drop the statute of limitations against sexually abusive priests -- which would invite more lawsuits.
In testimony opposing the law he says, essentially, that the church shouldn't pay a price for past crimes (and why does the eternal church keep saying these actions happened decades ago? why does that matter if the victims are very much with us?) because of the damage it would do to the poor. "It will kneecap or even eliminate our ministries to vulnerable and needy people," he says.
Is Dolan, who was sporting a nice-looking pair of cufflinks, really going to stop the church's ministry to the poor if the archdiocese is forced to pay up to atone for past sins? Conservatives -- who have no problem demanding the rollback of public services or public school systems that help the poor -- make the same argument. The Brawler, truth be told, is not unsympathetic.
But a great harm was done -- and some price must be paid. Some penance must be performed. So the Brawler suspects the Church will have to find new, more creative ways of cutting costs -- just as businesses and the public sector have. The Brawler also suggests Dolan use his considerable communication skills to hit up some local Catholic executives to gauge the true depth of their faith. Briggs & Stratton CEO John Shiely made a nice haul next year. Maybe he's willing to open his checkbook -- wide.