Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Father's a Bum and Go Sister, Go! (Part 1)

What would you do if your child's teacher was known to the school's principal as a child abuser, and instead of alerting the authorities, the principal used school funds to incentivize the rapist to seek other employment?

What if the superintendent of schools blessed the quiet pay off, indeed encouraged or authorized it?

You'd want both administrators' heads on platters, right?

At the minimum, a reasonable parent would call the cops. If faced with such a horrific, and thankfully highly unlikely, scenario, I'd also hire an attorney and make it my life's mission to throw the abuser and the protectors behind bars.

The awful scenario in the first sentence is exactly what happened in Milwaukee. Except the known child predators (yes, more than one) were priests and the administrator who gave them five-figure bonuses to leave their jobs was none other than Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Yes, the same blowhard misogynist who got all knickers-in-a-twist because Congress passed a law mandating insurance companies to offer contraceptive coverage.

Nine years ago, Cardinal Dolan, while serving as bishop in Wisconsin, authorized use of Church funds (those checks parishioners drop in the offering plates) to offer pedophile priests a bargain: laicize voluntarily and get $20,000.

Cardinal Dolan argues the payments were "charity," designed to help the poor child rapists buy health insurance (and pay for their Viagra) while they got new jobs. At no time did Dolan alert the authorities. Or lift one bejeweled finger to offer assistance to the victims.

Seems to me that reasonable minds could conclude he made the payments to save face and brush the crimes and criminals out of sight.  Where would a former priest's skill set transfer most readily? I dunno. But teaching and counseling spring to mind as viable career paths.

If Mr. Dolan can't be charged with conspiracy to endanger children and obstruction of justice, something is gravely wrong with our legal system. I don't know if misappropriation of donated funds is a criminal offense in this case. Perhaps $20,000 is petty cash to the Milwaukee Diocese.

I hope the prosecutors in Wisconsin will have the courage to proceed. Let the bully get a taste of judgment and inquisition, since he metes it out so freely against others.

This week was no exception. Mr. Dolan, the lead spokesman for the Conference of Catholic Bishops, was busy persecuting an elderly nun. A Sister of Mercy, to be specific. One Sister Margaret Farley, who taught at Yale for decades and published several peer-acclaimed academic titles that nobody would care about, but for the fact that the bishops decided to go on the warpath.

Sister Farley addresses the Church's need to evolve. She sees no reason to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.  She's a big fan of masturbation, arguing, quite convincingly, that many women would otherwise have no idea how to enjoy sex. Not a massive stretch. Know any totally inexperienced woman who ever had amazing sex with a totally inexperienced partner?

Me neither.

As an acquaintance once quipped, marrying a virgin is about as clever as embarking on a cross-country road trip with a student driver.

Here's an explosive quote from Sister Margaret Farley's book (the one condemned by the American bishops and the Vatican): "Seduction and manipulation of persons who have limited capacity for choice because of immaturity, special dependency, or loss of ordinary power, are ruled out."

Translation: Adults should never rape or molest children. 

No wonder Cardinal Dolan hates this book. 

The red-dress-wearing gents in Rome are backing him up. They've dispatched a posse of three Cardinals to investigate the good Sister. 

Guess how many emissaries the Vatican has dispatched (over the past several decades) to investigate the cover up of child rape by  bishops and other high-ranking Church officials?


I know, you're shocked. Please, take a second to recover. Then go out and buy Sister Farley's book.

I confess, that while I devour the newspaper daily, I don't read many non-fiction books. And I certainly don't go out of my way looking for semi-obscure academic tomes.

But I'm determined to do my tiny part to make Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, by Sister Margaret Farley, a bestseller. Amazon shows it as out of stock, but you can place an order here. The publisher would be insane not to issue a new printing, and I hope Sister Farley gets an ebook out as well.

She probably will. She seems like a smart lady.


  1. Fantastic. Informative of issues that rarely make the liberal news, 'yeah' Like Stewart and Cobert much truth but with less pain. Thanks for the humor, helps my blood pressure.

  2. Thanks, Rosanne. I didn't realize at the time of writing, but Colbert did in fact address the radical, feminist nuns on his show. Great clip: