Files released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday revealed that in 2007, the diocese’s archbishop at the time, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, requested permission from the Vatican to move nearly $57 million into a cemetery trust fund in order to protect the assets from victims of clergy sexual abuse who were demanding compensation.
Cardinal Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, has in the past emphatically denied seeking to shield church funds as archbishop of Milwaukee, and he reiterated in a statement on Monday that these were “old and discredited attacks.”
However, the files released Monday contain a letter he wrote to the Vatican in 2007, in which he explained that by transferring the assets, “I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.”
The Vatican moved swiftly to approve the request, the files show, even though it often took years to remove known abusers from the priesthood.
Move fast to protect money, move slow, slow, slow to protect children and families. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds:
During his tenure in Milwaukee, Dolan also pleaded repeatedly with the Vatican to “laicize,” or defrock, sexually abusive priests, a process that often took years.
One case dragged on for five years, even though the priest was convicted and had sought his own dismissal. At one point a Vatican official told Dolan he could not turn the case over to Pope Benedict XVI without “an admission of guilt and a sincere expression of remorse.”