Milwaukee archdiocese files show pressure on Dolan

From the AP:
As the national clergy sex abuse scandal mounted following revelations in Boston in 2002, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan faced increasing pressure as the archbishop in Milwaukee to cut costs by defrocking problem priests and pushback from his staff when he hesitated, according to newly released records.

Clergy sex abuse victims have harshly criticized Dolan for payments made to at least seven abusive priests who were forced out of the church; they view the money as bonuses given to criminals. The archdiocese has said it long provided money to priests leaving the priesthood as a means of helping them transition into new lives; most were not accused of wrongdoing.

While victims have faulted Dolan for the payments, documents released July 1 show that others in the archdiocese also were pushing to get rid of the priests as a way to ensure that money was focused on caring for victims and church operations. Dolan and others likely saw the payments as a cost-effective way to speed up the priests’ departure.
Sounds like for all their digging, the facts are emerging that Dolan was doing the best he could do with a really lousy hand dealt him.

No, the best he could do is alert the authorities. But instead of protecting children and bringing abusers to justice he helped them “transition into new lives” where no one would know of their crimes and they could continue to hurt children.

I don’t believe that the catholic church is evil or condones abuse as a whole, but I do believe that they need to take a much stronger stance against abusers and their enablers. And yes, the much beloved cardinal Dolan is an enabler.

It does look like at least some of the allegations were reported to authorities, BlueEyedLady. From the article:

Benham, a former priest at St. John Nepomuk in Racine, had been accused in 2003 of abuse that started in 1976, when the victim was 11, and continued for four years. The archdiocese reported the allegations to the district attorney, who determined too much time had passed to bring charges

Wasn’t +Weakland the archbishop of Milwaukee for a long time prior to +Dolan becoming archbishop in 2002? As I recall there were… problems, to put it mildly, during +Weakland’s episcopacy there. Dolan got stuck cleaning up that mess. To be sure, he didn’t deal with everything wonderfully, but he did inherit (not cause) a good deal of that mess.

I guess I kinda see these payments as realistic given that the canonical process for laicization can drag on for years. If the archdiocese hadn’t paid that money, they would have had to pay health insurance and salary etc. to the priests every month while the process dragged on. A catch-22 with no real good options, IMO.

Did you read the article? It completely debunks your claims. Cardinal Dolan INHERITED these priests from the previous archbishop. Further one that caused particular harm HAD been reported to authorities but there was a statute of limitations so civil authority could not do anything about him.

It appears that the as stated in other posts, Cardinal Dolan wanted to get them OUT and by paying them to leave voluntarily not only did he save the Archdiocese the cost of continuing their stipends, insurance etc as the process dragged on, but also it got them defrocked and OUT the door which is what everyone wanted wasn’t it? As to any civil or criminal charges, that was not up to the Church.


100% untrue. For starters, Dolan wasn’t there when most of these priests were accused. Accusations that came in during Dolan’s time were reported to police. “Transition” issues involved priests who the police/AG did not press charges against. Once again, matters that pre-dated Dolan’s arrival. Dolan faced a difficult challenge in getting rid of priests who weren’t convicted of any crime.

I don’t believe that the catholic church is evil or condones abuse as a whole, but I do believe that they need to take a much stronger stance against abusers and their enablers. And yes, the much beloved cardinal Dolan is an enabler.

You’re going to need to provide some actual facts to back up that statement. Otherwise its just plain slanderous…


Unfortunately too many people put the present tense on events that occurred decades ago. The Church has gone to great lengths to provide a safe environment, to train both staff and laity not only what behavior is appropriate or not appropriate but to recognize potential problems and report them immediately.

We cannot change the past. All the Church can do now is to mitigate the damage by responding to the victims and helping them along with the steps taken to prevent future problems.

I know in our Parish we are extremely rigorous in protocols, who can interact with minors and in what capacity. For example we had a homework assistance program for the children of migrant workers. Anyone providing help or transportation not only had to have a background check but our protocols required at least two adults with the children at all time…IOW no adult alone with a minor child unless it was his/her own child or grandchild.

Based on this and other articles I believe Cardinal Dolan did everything possible to address the problems he inherited.


It appears you are confused. The cases in question largely pre-date - some by as much as 6 or 7 decades - Dolan’s tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee. I could find no allegation at all that he was involved in “enabling” any abuse. The questions surrounding Dolan are to do with the propriety of payments to alleged perpetrators in order to get rid of them, and the shielding of millions that could otherwise have been considered in a bankruptcy case. There may be much to question about his actions, but they did not include “enabling” offenders.

From a Newsday report:

“After more victims began coming forward in 2002, however, the archdiocese pulled all the priests with verified allegations of sexual abuse of a minor from active ministry. The church was still financially responsible for the men as long as they were priests.” Abp. Dolan took over in 2002.

Unfortunately, what people like yourself do not know is that the work of the Catholic Church to correct past abuse has produced impressive results.

Here is a link to the USCCB website that had a lot of information about all of the actions taken to correct abuse:

Also, here is a link to a Catholic League press release regarding Cardinal Dolan and the Milwaukee diocese:

A key point to be made regarding abuse in the Church from the Catholic League: “There is no debate: in the past six years, the average number of credible allegations made against over 40,000 priests is exactly 7.0”

That is less than 0.02%. Please compare that rate to any other group or church in the country.

Facts are our friends, Blue Eyed Lady, slander is not.

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