Only a couple of weeks after Jeffrey Anderson went after Archbishop Timothy Dolan for his alleged money hiding, the unscrupulous lawyer once again went after Dolan accusing him of covering up sex abuse cases during his time as the head of the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
Anderson is a liar and the media were giving him a free ride. Anderson said he possessed a “smoking gun” that showed when Archbishop Dolan led the Milwaukee archdiocese before coming to New York, he and the Vatican worked in concert to “keep secrets and avoid scandal” in their handling of an abusive priest, Franklyn Becker. If lying were a crime, Anderson would have been imprisoned.
Instead of focusing on Dolan’s predecessor, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, the disgraced darling of dissident Catholics who left office after revelations of a homosexual affair and ripping off the Catholic Church of close to a half-million dollars, Anderson and his army of Catholic-bashing lawyers deliberately twisted the meaning of the word “scandal,” as understood in ecclesiastical parlance, to indict an innocent man, Archbishop Dolan.
Unlike Weakland, Dolan moved with dispatch to get Becker out of ministry. In his letter of May 27, 2003 to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (then in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), he said that all efforts to rehabilitate Becker were a failure, and that “it is clear that he will never be able to assume public ministry” (Becker had just been arrested in California for crimes he allegedly committed in the 1970s). Furthermore, Dolan said that if the California trial goes forward, it “makes the potential for true scandal very real.”
The term “scandal” in the Catholic lexicon is very specific: it is defined as “a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another spiritual ruin.” In other words, once the public finds out more about Becker, his misconduct will give scandal to the Church by causing the faithful to question their faith.
For that reason, and for his past record—that Becker had abused his status as a priest to gain access to vulnerable boys—Dolan said he wanted him out of the priesthood “in order that justice may be made manifest and healing of the victims and the Church may proceed.”
Jeffrey Anderson knows his way around Catholic circles and knows full well what Archbishop Dolan meant, yet he chose the more conventional understanding of the word “scandal” to condemn him. It didn’t matter to him that Dolan even recommended against Becker slipping away on a technicality!
When taking a closer look at this story, it is apparent that Dolan is a hero—he’s the one who moved to get Becker kicked out of the priesthood. There was no “smoking gun,” but rather a stench coming from Anderson and his lackeys.