Category Archives: Ireland

Around-the-world Editorials (Archive)

Credibility

It’s an amazing statement that Cardinal Timothy Dolan fired up and lobbed out to reporters after Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Sunday before hopping a plane to Ireland.

“SNAP,” declared the Cardinal,” has no credibility whatsoever.”

If Cardinal Dolan had considered what he was saying he’d know the next thing he should say is not another ounce of effort should be put into getting depositions from SNAP’s leaders or getting SNAP records.

No credibility, nothing worth getting. Plenty of Catholic money saved.

In the slap against SNAP, the organization that lifted the veil on Cardinal Dolan’s Milwaukee tactics, New York’s top prelate told reporters on Sunday that the reports of his Milwaukee voluntary laicization incentive payments were “groundless and scurrilous.”

Groundless? Here is the link to the 3/7/03 Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council minutes:

Link: Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council Minutes.pdf 

The minutes include this paragraph:
“Currently unassignable priests are receiving full salaries and are budgeted under the Vicar for Clergy. There is a proposal to reduce their benefit to be the same as the current pension benefit, $1,250 per month and also offer $20,000 for laicization ($10,000 at the start and $10,000 at the completion of the process). Also, they remain on our health insurance until they find other employment. The final effect of all this is not known at this time and it may be awash with the current budget.”

Scurrilous? When the leader of an archdiocese who is charged with being the moral and spiritual beacon contemplates and then executes a plan to use money as an incentive to speed up the process of getting rid of perpetrator priests without a scintilla’s worth of effort to call the police, that is insulting, scandalous, and outrageous behavior on an Archbishop’s part. Scurrilous, indeed.

What we hope Catholics in the pews are not being hoodwinked by is that Dolan’s carrot laicization filing solution centers on dealing with clerics who raped and sodomized children by methods involving the Church’s process only not the US justice system. To know whether Catholics are being hoodwinked or not will involve those in the pews declaring themselves. For those who bought or are still buying “this is all in the past” mantra, we repeat the date of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council minutes: 3/7/2003.

The minutes don’t reflect any caveats, such as, applying for laicization when the judicial process has taken it course. No need to consider the justice system, no one was calling the police. No police investigation was ever intended. No way to safeguard children was ever part of the equation of the exit strategy of the bank account bounce.

Dolan’s come to Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress (June 10-17) that Pope Benedict wisely decided not to attend.

Those who bear the daily burden of the result of rape and sodomy magnified by its perpetration by those who claimed a divine kinship as “alter Christus” will not be silenced here. Indeed if justice is denied to them the very stones of the Burren should cry out.

A transatlantic crossing will not wash away the Milwaukee revelations for Dolan.

He might well bear in mind the old Irish proverb: “There is no use carrying an umbrella if your shoes are leaking.”

Upon his return stateside, the June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops looms. Dolan’s the man on the lead horse for the USCCB. Those who line up behind him should carefully consider what’s likely to be spattered upon them.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, (NSAC)  KristineWard@hotmail.com

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Justice Can Rise Up

 History says, don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
Seamus Heaney,”The Cure at Troy”

Life is hard here. Here in Northern Ireland. This is the land of Derry and Belfast. These are the cities of the datelines of the decades of the most recent “troubles.”

The peace is still nascent here.

As the Olympic Torch moves through a five (5) day relay across this part of the United Kingdom there is determination that the days will not be marred by violence or incident.

This is country that still lives intimately with heaviness and hardship. It cannot be hidden. It embosses the faces of the local residents even as they play hide and seek with it in the lifting of a Saturday night pint of Guinness to the rhythms of the fiddle.

We take pause in asking more of these people.

But ask we must for the government of Northern Ireland is on the verge of announcing an inquiry into sexual abuse in Northern Ireland.

Inquiry yes.

But not a vapid whitewash.

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) stands up and shouts for an inquiry with teeth and spine.

This means an inquiry constituted and vested with the power to call hierarchs, the authorities at the De La Salle boys home in County Down, and any and all in positions of knowledge and authority to testify.

This means an inquiry with subpoena power for documents.

Short of that, the government of Northern Ireland should save the paper to make the announcement, the electricity to turn on the computer to compose the document, and the ink to sign it.

God knows the people of Northern Ireland have been through hell in the troubles.

To wound them again cannot be done without recognizing the highest gravity of this matter.

Recognize it we do.

Only the will and drive to get to the truth and stop not one millimeter short of it will be acceptable.

God knows what the children in Northern Ireland have suffered by being raped and sodomized and having their innocence stripped from them in the ugliest and most soul searing of ways.

It is beyond time that the rest of the world knew the facts of it.

Inquiry yes.

But not for accommodation, for show, for placating.

Inquiry for truth alone.

—- Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com

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Atlantic Seepage

Every layer they strip
Seems camped on before.
The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.
Seamus Heaney, the “Bogland”

The National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC) stands on the sod of Ireland to bear witness to the incredible courage of the children raped, sodomized, and demeaned from whom childhood was cruelly and crudely ripped asunder by molesting priests and nuns in Irish parishes, schools and orphanages.

When we lived in the void of unknowing before the survivors’ truth penetrated our consciousness, Seamus Heaney’s portrait of Ireland’s bogs might have simply been stunning poetry.

Not today.

Today they are heavy with Irish melancholy that moans without ceasing for deliverance from the fraud of self-preservation over genuine leadership for justice and the protection of children.

We speak of two prelates – one on each side of the Atlantic, — two Irishmen — the Cardinal Primate of All Ireland, Sean Brady and the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, former Archbishop of Milwaukee, and current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Timothy Dolan.

Atlantic seepage indeed.

Cardinal Brady, who has chosen the pedantic response to the rape and sodomy of children, speaks most vigorously not for justice for children robbed of childhood by the vilest of crimes but to defend his own position.

A recent BBC This World documentary revealed that Cardinal Brady when he was a priest and teacher was part of an investigation on behalf of his bishop into charges of sexual abuse by Brendan Smyth, whom the world would later come to know as the most prolific of the known Ireland clerical pedophiles.

Brady, the BBC documentary revealed, when he gained knowledge of Smyth took no action inform parents or parishioners. He says he thought his superiors would.

He has characterized his role in the investigation of Smyth as a note taker.

He defends his action by saying, “In 1975 no State or Church guidelines existed in the Republic of Ireland to assist those responding to an allegation of abuse against a minor.” (The investigation took place in 1975).

And this man holds the highest clerical office in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. His defense is that he was bereft of a pamphlet of guidelines for how to act when a child body is torn apart by rape, when a child’s psyche is battered harder than the Atlantic’s waves pound Skellig Michael, when a child is seared by sodomy?

Guidelines? How about the Scriptures?

In his famine of principles, could ethics and morality at least have been served up in side dish portions?

NSAC calls on Cardinal Brady to discard the fig leaf of face saving in a two year hide behind a almost certainly to be appointed coadjutor bishop for a safe steerage into a mandatory retirement age resignation.

To resign is the least Cardinal Brady can do.

The least he can do to honor the courage of Helen McGonigle, who became a victim of Brendan Smyth, at the age of 6 in Rhode Ireland – and for her sister, also victimized who committed suicide.

We have touched this scarred and wounded earth, called Ireland, in an act of reverence for Helen McGonigle’s courage and in her sister’s memory – for them and for all of the victims of the horrors of Smyth who traveled the world, courtesy of perpetrator transfer travels.

On the other side of the Atlantic comes word today that the United States’ newest Cardinal, while he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, invented a payoff system for priest perpetrators who voluntarily agreed to laicization to the tune of $20,000.

We call our readers’ attention to the Minutes of the March 7, 2003 Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council Meeting.

Here is the link:  Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council Minutes.pdf

The minutes include this paragraph:

“Currently unassignable priests are receiving full salaries and are budgeted under the Vicar for Clergy. There is a proposal to reduce their benefit to be the same as the current pension benefit, $1,250 per month and also offer $20,000 for laicization ($10,000 at the start and $10,000 at the completion of the process). Also, they remain on our health insurance until they find other employment. The final effect of all this is not known at this time and it may be awash with the current budget.”

So, if you were a priest perpetrator in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee during Archbishop Dolan’s tenure you were staked with at least $10,000 and a possible $20,000 to get out and get lost.

This was on top of whatever amount of money you collected while you were on paid vacation or receiving pension benefits as a coyly categorized “unassignable” priest.

This is a children protection policy?

Vatican action on ridding the priesthood of rapists and sodomites worked too slow for Dolan it appeared. A call to the local police station wouldn’t have involved near the paperwork that a laicization case would. A call to the police station would also have saved the good Catholics of Milwaukee from tossing $20,000 bouquets at “unassignable” priests to use the clever language of deceit and deflection.

We are given to believe that no one on the diocesan Finance Council objected to this scheme, including the Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba. The same auxiliary bishop who did not object to the previous Archbishop Rembert Weakland, lifting nearly a half million dollars from the good Catholics of Milwaukee to pay off a former lover.

The $20,000 per willing perpetrator that Dolan was so willing to dole out we remind our readers came from the collection baskets of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee through the diocesan assessment. There is no tooth fairy for diocesan coffers. This money came from the wallets, the purses, and the coin jars of in the pew Catholics.

We called our readers attention again to the date of this meeting: March 7, 2003. The crisis in its Boston’s incarnation broke on January 6, 2002.

If Dolan was holding open an exit door for perpetrators with a gilded carrot, what else was he doing?

How many payoffs were there?

What else had a dollar sign attached to it?

Nothing short of the full release of records is called for in these circumstances.

The bogholes might be Atlantic seepage.
The wet centre is bottomless.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, (NSAC) KristineWard@hotmail.com