More perfidy from the Catholic Church: Lobbying against laws to prevent child abuse

Before you dismiss this as dubious because it came from the New York Daily News, remember that unsubstantiated accusations against the Catholic Church are dangerous, as they have fancy lawyers, and the story has also been reported by other sources (e.g., Gawker). And this time the Church’s naked venality exposes it for the horrid and insensitive institution it is.

According to both articles, the Church has spent over $2 million dollars hiring lobbyists to fight the passage of the Child Victims Act, which would make it easier for victims of sexual child abuse to get justice from their predators. Among other things, that Act would open a one-year window for people older than 23 to file charges against sexual abusers—something that they can’t do now.

Why on Earth would the Church lobby against an act that protects the victims for which it now shows contrition? Yep, you guessed it:



State records show that the [New York Catholic conference], a group representing the bishops of the state’s eight dioceses, retained lobbyists to work on a number of issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.”

“We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust told the New York Times in 2009.
That conference is led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, who himself has been accused of delaying discussion of on Church reform.  I really don’t know why anyone still belongs to the Church. Were I part of an institution that had an organized coverup of endemic child rape, and also fought against birth control on scriptural grounds, I’d be deeply ashamed of myself, and get the hell out as soon as possible. This latest act shows that it cares far more about its coffers, which are well full, than about the rape of children.

h/t: Barry


  1. Posted May 31, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    “We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church”.

    Is there any better way to acknowledge the fact that the victims of paedophile catholic priests are countless ?

    • rickflick
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Correct. In fact, the behavior of the Church would be the root cause of their bankruptcy, not the laws protecting children.

  2. Posted May 31, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    “We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church”

    Or in a different context: “We believe this prison has been designed to prevent convicted murderers from using public transport.”

  3. Trevor H
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    If only they could be ACTUALLY bankrupt as well as MORALLY…

  4. GBJames
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    “I really don’t know why anyone still belongs to the Church.”

    One of the mysterious ways of Faith.

  5. Posted May 31, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    So..go ahead and bankrupt the Catholic Church!
    It is well past time! Their policy of not letting priests marry in order to keep priest’s “wealth” within the church coffers is directly responsible for pedophile priests. When made aware of the massive problem, they covered it up. There should be no statute of limitations preventing abused individuals from legally confronting their abusers and, potentially, receiving compensation (which will never be enough to give them back their innocence) or still the nightmares.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Just this one thing. Catholic priests in the Eastern Rite are allowed to marry if they do so prior to ordination. As the Eastern Orthodox priests outside of communion with Rome do.
      Another thing. I am not sure how you can say that keeping priests from being married results in pedophile priests. I am sure we can all agree that it is in the Catholic Church’s best interest they do not marry to spare the church potential costs that would be involved.
      I am a former christian who at the last stages of my faith a near convert to Eastern Orthodoxy and my last stint as a christian was as a Catholic before ditching the entire faith idea and now am free. Free now.
      I am free mostly due to Dr. Coyne at the end stage. It took a very long time to get here but I am here now. I really feel that we need to be clear about what we say.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      While it may not be quite as simple as that power makes abusers (e.g. rape) according to some research, pedophilia isn’t within the normal sexual spectrum. It is therefore unlikely that abstinence would make for pedophilia, and indeed I hear the percentage of pedophiliacs within that sect is the normal rate.

      The problem is fully the moral one. The sect aided and abetted sex crimes and sex criminals. And they ask all their victims for protection money against an imagined crime that will eventually mean an imagined endless torture if they don’t pay.

      They are a de facto mafia. And then has the astounding manner to continue to pretend they have some higher moral ground.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        With “normal” I mean usual average.

        Nothing is normal about that behavior…

        • Helen Hollis
          Posted May 31, 2016 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          I would not be surprised that the average Catholic that financially supports the church does so with the thought that they are supporting a family. A family of like wise thinkers.
          They graduate from Notre Dame and they have life long relationships that help them in life.

          • Helen Hollis
            Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

            It does make me wonder how they can live with this.

  6. Posted May 31, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Bill Donohue met these issues head-on (not!) on his website:

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how anyone can remain a member of an organisation in good conscience that has for years shielded the paedophiles in its ranks. Every penny they give the Church is aiding and abetting the abuse of children.

    • Posted May 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Not to sound simplistic, but it really is a fear-based membership for every Catholic I’ve ever carefully questioned.

      Sadly, frustratingly, that very fear is difficult to get on the list of bad things those Catholics already agree is sinister within their cult.

      This fear has been acknowledged by some of the most intelligent, accomplished, and for lack of a better word, “stable,” people I’ve known.

      Fear of leaving, and being wrong, overshadows everything.


      • Posted May 31, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention sunk costs, which seems to be true of many of the “good” clergy. They would have been social workers or something if the world had been better set up, but now …

        • Posted May 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Sunk cost fallacy indeed; an integral part.



      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        You’re right about that. It’s why I save most of my attacks for the organisations and belief systems concerned rather than the people who follow them. I see the fear instilled in followers as one of the greatest evils of religions.

        Amongst other atheists who are ex-theists, you can often tell which religion they came from by their reaction to certain things.

        • Posted May 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          Very interesting!


          • Helen Hollis
            Posted May 31, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            I had more fear being strong enough as a child to stand up to the JW cult than leaving the Catholic Church. Everyone I see there when I must attend things for my child still welcomes me and treats me as if I never left.

            • Posted May 31, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

              As the saying goes, YMMV.

              Nothing would please those Catholics smiling cordially to you during your child’s events than seeing the “prodigal child” return. It would make THEM happy, and we mustn’t forget that’s what it’s all about. 🙂

              Good luck!


              • Helen Hollis
                Posted May 31, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

                Hello Mike!
                I agree that the Catholics smile and wave, hoping I will come back.
                The difference is, they are not shunning me for not going to mass, They are not preventing me from speaking to my family. They have not formally excommunicated me. I did that myself.
                They don’t stop at my house pretending they want to see how I am doing so they can assess if I have contraband books or materials in my home. They don’t care to spy on me. Or guilt me into coming back.
                I had enough of that in the JW cult. They would pop over if you missed a single meeting. They made a point of calling you incessantly until you picked up the phone. For those of you who did not grow up in a cell phone era pre- caller ID, this meant having to ignore the phone constantly ringing and ringing and ringing. And you had to pick it up, you had no idea who was calling.

            • Scott Draper
              Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

              “they are not shunning me for not going to mass,”

              Yeah, well, how’s that working for them? 😉

              The organizations that have a severe penalty for leaving seem to do better holding on to members.

    • Scott Draper
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      A person already had to engage in massive cognitive dissonance reduction to be Catholic long before the pedophilia problem became well-known, so what’s one more thing?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Yeah, good point. And there’s a whole lot more they’re engaging in constant cognitive dissonance over besides this.

  8. keith cook + / -
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Oh G8D, thank you for the poor so we can assist in furthering their destitute existence and we can fiddle about with them… thank you for not existing so we can carry on with our oh so worldly ways in the high offices of the land and behind the bell tower, keep the cash coming G8D, the unholy are growing in numbers and not laying down.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t know why anyone still belongs to the Church.

    Open-bar night at the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Youth Organization football leagues, bingo, the annual carnival and raffle, hell, some folk even enjoy doing maintenance on the rectory or covenant — these are the coalface where Catholicism American-style is practiced.

    My guestimate is that there aren’t two in ten Catholics in it for doctrinal reasons. Fewer still among those of reproductive age who abide the Church’s dictates on birth control. And that doctrinal resistance isn’t limited to the rank-and-file; many parish priests tergiversate on Church teachings, too. Which doesn’t even begin to count the numerous “Catholics” who continue to identify as such for cultural and familial reasons, but are otherwise outright lapsed, who haven’t given a thought to attending Sunday Mass in ages.

    • Hele
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Ken, you win the thread!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 31, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Most of the Catholics I know (which includes almost the whole of the maternal side of my family) are no more religious than my secular Jewish friends who celebrate Seder, take Yom Kippur off work, pick up a box of rugelach on the weekend, and hang the mezuzah mom gave them by the door before she comes over to visit.

        In both instances, it’s about cultural identity, nothing more.

        • philfinn7
          Posted June 1, 2016 at 2:51 am | Permalink

          Maintenance on the covenant – is that related to building the Ark? OK, I’ll leave now …

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 1, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

            Nice one.

            As a parochial-school kid, I crossed a few nuns I’d have just as soon pulled out of the convent and put on an ark without a paddle.

      • steve
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 5:16 am | Permalink

        Just for the word “tergiversate”

        • steve
          Posted June 1, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

          I meant in reply to Hele: “Ken, you win the thread!”

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 3:58 am | Permalink

      It’s a ‘team’ matter. Just as people can wear their team’s merchandise they don’t necessarily play the game themselves or even attend matches. They are pleased when their team wins, but the sadness of their team losing is soon forgotten.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      You could say, then, that the polling stats on the number of Christians in the U.S. is probably way off. If you consider believers with definite doctrinal beliefs as opposed to cultural identity motives, there are far fewer Christians and maybe far fewer religious. That’s a spiritually elevating thought.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Excellent excursus, Mr. Kucek! In the small city where I have lived the last 4+ decades of my life, the Irish-descended Catholics rule. Literally. From dog-catcher to state senator the incumbent’s surname is likely to be Brady. These folks, like Italian-Americans, are thoroughly tribal, and the church is one of their most important pow-wow places.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    And what can you say about little Timothy Doland, it’s all bad. He got his big promotion to cardinal by discovering a great way to protect church money while working in Milwaukee for the church there. They hid millions of dollars in the graveyard fund so the victims could not get anything. He denied it all of course but he got the big job in New York not long after. He can get you through bankruptcy better than Donald Trump.

  11. Gabriel
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    And don’t forget cardinal Pell’s (the dude totally pwned by Dawkins…) song by Tim Minchin:
    Ridicule, a most powerful weapon vs religious idiocy (or any other).

  12. somer
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    The church gets its power by dint of its Roman style law as an institution, and of course owns a huge amount of property. I gather in Rome it owns a huge amount of property too. The sex scandals are part of the celibacy thing and originally I think instituted to protect the wealth and power of the church by focussing the allegiance of clergy on the church itself. Unfortunately I suspect that is still part of the reason the church is powerful today; it both puts the clergy on a different, unimpeachable plane to the laity, it protects the finances and brings stability and loyalty to the church.

    Also the Church still has its own mini state in the Vatican protecting it from legal issues because it has the status of a state.

    Lastly, even if liberalism and publicising of the scandals means it drives its Western faithful away and south american faithful are 25% less already it wont lose its African faithful. Hence Pope Francis keeps telling us modern ways are corrupt.

    The church does teach some very good things – its just bound up with other things like teaching on divorce and contraception, male only clergy etc. And it does do good charitable work.

    In most Western countries these days the priests and nuns don’t deal directly with children only lay people do, and in Australia at least, the Church offers a good education at reasonable price, and takes non catholics as well as catholics.

    But the clerical structure and institutional norms are the base of its power, including doctrinal power, and in places with weak transactional accountability and low education like some parts of Italy it appears to act as its own mini state to the population
    Travels in Sicily

    I think religion has a place for some people and at some times; it just needs to be kept in the right place, or called out when acting inappropriately

    • somer
      Posted June 2, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      PS in 1922 as I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site the then Pope issued a directive to bishops and archbishops obliging them to protect sex abusing priests from the arm of the law of the secular state – something presumably only uncovered by the exposure of some secret papers by the secretary of Benedict XVI – this has been revealed by a former Australian judge – it was part of the Churches strategy to remain independent of the power of the Italian state.
      Sex abuse and international secrecy imposed by the Vatican

      The Vatican should not exist as a state and many other things should change about the church.

  13. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Just because one’s enemies are morally bankrupt and evil, doesn’t mean that they’re stupid. The payback (in terms of reduced penalties, and failures of prosecutions through time-outs and technical failures) for these couple of million of lobbying fees could easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Very sensible move. I take it that they’ve been listening to the advice of their lawyers. Totally aimed at preventing damaged people from getting justice, but since when did churches have any relationship to morality.

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