Report on Newsday (NY) and the Church

January 22, 2004 by  
Filed under Special Reports

January 2004

Part 1: General Catholic Church Coverage

January 2002-December 2003


  • Dick Ryan: “The laity must begin to convince those Catholics who seem asleep that their church is in a terminal crisis that involves everybody. It can no longer be enough to ‘hit the rail’ on Sunday and piously say the rosary, while the abuse of authority and position continues to be a blemish on the face of the church.” (“Bishop’s Response to Questions Is More PR,” 11/18/03) 
  • Paul Vitello: “The Diocese of Rockville Centre, like many dioceses all over the United States, would walk through hell itself rather than tell. … If you were a person with a sexual appetite for child abuse and sadism, the priesthood was a good bet for you. … Most priests are not sexual predators. And there are sexual predators in other lines of work besides the priesthood. But for many years, the hierarchy of the diocese of Rockville Centre knew the names of just about every sexual predator who wore the collar in its parishes—and never once turned one over to the law.” (“Battle of the Legal Gladiators,” 11/4/03)  
  • Bob Keeler: “My attitude is to rejoice in John Paul’s breakthroughs on Jewish-Catholic relations (accomplishment enough for any pope), to forgive him his flaws, and to pray that future popes will heal the hurts that his sometimes tyrannical papacy has caused women, theologians, sexual-abuse victims, gay folks and others.” (“The Legacy of a Great Pope Is a Mixed Blessing,” 10/20/03)  
  • Jimmy Breslin: On Pope John Paul II: “As he sits in a wheelchair, tilted over, these minions scurry about and announce that his mind is more brilliant than ever, his judgments swift and sound—when the last years of this pope have come down to five issues: Poland, Poland, Poland, abortion and contraception.” (“Mystery That Can’t Be Divined,” 10/19/03)  
  • Ellis Henican: On Mother Teresa’s beatification: “I hate to ruin a good party, especially with all the bad news the church has had. But I just hope we don’t have another Christopher on our hands.” (“Too Swift to Sainthood,” 10/15/03) 
  • Dennis Duggan:“The St. Patrick’s Day Parade…is run by old, beefy men who have rules for everyone, and God help you if you don’t abide by them. They are the Magdalene sisters of parades.” (“Old Parades, Give Way,” 10/14/03) 
  • Bob Keeler: “Among other things, critics believe John Paul’s centralization of the church has smothered the collegial relationship between the bishop of Rome and his brother bishops.” (“A Quarter Century of John Paul II: A Giant Among Popes,” 10/12/03) 
  • Paul Vitello: “The issue…is a self-protecting silence at the core that permits children to be hurt. In the Catholic Church, it has meant sending predatory priests from one parish to another without warning because, on the advice of counsel, disclosure might lead to lawsuits.” (“Playing the Legal Book,” 9/28/03)  
  • Dennis Duggan: “The Catholic Church has gone the way of the big corporate honchos who cheated their stockholders, holding them in the same disdain that the church hierarchy holds its faithful.” (“Few Tears Are Shed,” 8/26/03) 
  • Marie Cocco: “New York is, after all, a state where kowtowing to the cardinal is a practiced political art. Where finding deep meaning in the seating of pols at the annual Al Smith benefit dinner for Catholic causes is a local Kremlinology.” (“Anti-Catholic Slur on Schumer Has No Basis,” 8/14/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The pope announced that gays are gravely immoral. They are put on earth by God, but this old man can put on a big pope’s high hat and condemn them.” (“Stranger Isn’t Needed,” 8/3/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: The bishops “strut around with these big crosses hanging on chains around their necks. Also on that chain they might hang a photo, a new one every week, of a child molested by one of their priests.” (“What a Church Should Be,” 7/27/03) 
  • Dick Ryan: “Postpone, delay, stall and string along—the safe and sanctified side of silence in the Catholic Church.” (“Murphy Needs to Respond to Laity Complaints,” 6/26/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: On the clergy scandal, “Egan could care less. He only wants to protect the priests, but in reality he only wants to protect himself and his job now and the one he wants next, over in Rome.” (“Royal Stench of Arrogance,” 6/12/03) 
  • Sheryl McCarthy: “Hundreds, perhaps thousands of children, women, male seminarians, even nuns were sexually abused and had their lives ruined by priests, while the bishops looked the other way. They used the same tactics that are used by organized crime. … Petty drug sellers languish in prison while the seedy bishops go free.” (“Bishops, Drug Felons Show Fickleness of Justice,” 6/5/03) 
  • Dick Ryan: The youth “must become actively involved with prophetic new groups such as Voice of the Faithful, which have been described as the first authentic religious order of the 21st century. … But with the ban on Voice of the Faithful in many dioceses and the recent prohibition against priests meeting in Brooklyn, the young must be prepared to be criticized or perhaps even condemned by leaders in a church that has regressed from the Church Paralyzed of 2002 to the Church Paranoid of 2003.” (“Catholic Church Needs to Hear from Its Young,” 3/25/03) 
  • Dennis Duggan: Robert Rygor was the “first gay man to try to march with a banner in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, which is still mired in bigotry, run by dinosaurs, and tied to a church that has disgraced itself by covering up for wayward priests who sexually abused those who trusted them the most.” (“Still Behind Barrier Son Fought to Break,” 3/18/03) 
  • Bob Keeler: In defense of Fr. Charles Papa, accused of perusing porn sites: “A tiny minority of right-wing zealots has been waging a tenacious guerrilla struggle in the Catholic Church for years. … They’re always ready to spy, disrupt, and report to higher authority those they see as less than orthodox.” (“In Sad Times for Church, the Spies Have It,” 3/17/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin telephoned the Catholic League making wild accusations. He charged that Bill Donohue was as bad as accused priest Msgr. Alan Placa. (2/12/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The district attorney of Nassau County, Denis Dillon, wrote a letter toNewsday saying that of course I was wrong about his bishop, Mansion Murphy. … That is some public servant, Dillon; he goes around in place of doing the people’s work and backbites in the name of the church. Slips around in some strange fringe organization, Opus Dei, which sounds like soapsuds but is not nearly as useful. … For the new year, I am buying him vestments, and they will be needed because I am going to Rome and I am going to have the name officially changed to the Divine Denis.” (“Fitting a DA For Divine Vestments,” 12/31/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The pope of Rome, on whose watch all of this has happened, has decreed that in January they will say a right-to-life Mass. This is what the pope, stubborn old pope, and the slip-and-slide schemers around him have decided to use as a distraction from the sex scandals. They have no idea that this is a tired subject with Americans, particularly women. It can only raise their fury at an old man in a wheelchair, surrounded by fawning white-haired men in dresses, demanding to control a woman’s body.” (“Spirit of Holiday Stolen by the Church,” 12/24/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: “What happened to turn an institution such as the Catholic Church into a virtual sanctuary for pedophiles? … Bishops and cardinals have apologized for their failure to protect the young (after years of denial and dissembling) but they have never actually explained what happened, never held an extended news conference to answer questions and explain their views in simple language, never bought airtime on national TV to speak directly to the country’s 61 million Catholics.” (“Their Sanctuary of Silence,” 12/8/02) 
  • Bob Keeler: “In the furor over the malfeasance of the nation’s Catholic bishops in the sexual-abuse scandal, it is easy to forget their longer-term failings as teachers. Compared with the scandal, that scandal is much less sensational—almost invisible in the secular press. But it really matters.” (“Catholic Bishops Fail in Their Teaching Roles,” 11/18/02) 
  • Sheryl McCarthy: On Halloween costumes, “A Catholic priest’s costume would also be a crowd pleaser this year, replete with clerical collar and lascivious grin.” (“Scary Monsters Are So Passé This Halloween,” (10/24/02) 
  • Dick Ryan: The “Vatican response is a sanctimonious sham, shielding and again hiding several of those in the hierarchy who not only allowed the scandal to fester but, far more criminal, gave license to a few ordained misfits to go out and molest little boys at will.” (“The Vatican Should Honor Thy Laity,” 10/22/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “These people who protest the church are not against a religion based on Christ. They just don’t want their children and grandchildren abused at choir practice.” (“Faithful To Kids, Christ,” 8/27/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “That there have been no protests is because of the simple rule of this church: If you dare disagree you go to hell.” (“Taking back Their Church,” 7/21/02)
  • Bob Keeler:“Many Catholics think that God is already answering the prayers for male, celibate priests, and the answer is: No!” (“Asides,” 6/30/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The Catholic Church, led by unctuous, arrogant men, could easily wind up being half the size it is now.” (“Principal Stands on Her Principles,” 6/23/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “I got on a flight in Dallas and I announced, ‘Boy, what fat slobs those bishops are.’” (“Get Serious About Battle of the Bulge,” 6/20/02) 
  • Dick Ryan: The bishops “would presumably like the Catholic Church to return to business as usual while piously suggesting that Catholics put the entire scandal out of their minds like some dirty little impure thought.” (“Bishops Can’t Ignore Laity’s Cries for Change,” 6/20/02) 
  • Marie Cocco: “The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops needed to end the agony they’d caused themselves. They did it the way corrupt politicians who wish to cling to power inevitably do, once the spinners convince them there is no choice. The churchmen came up with a quick fix that looks pretty good on paper and may, or may not, work in practice. … [The victims] have been twice abused, once by the men who violated their bodies and twisted their psyches, and again by the institution that refused until now to treat life-altering horrors as anything but embarrassments to be covered up. … The number of diocesan priests in the United States has been dropping since 1965…. Pick your explanation. But among those offered by church scholars is the aversion of today’s young men to the vow of celibacy and the ban on marriage. Even if these were to remain pillars of the church, the shortage could be eased with the ordination of women. But the bar against women priests stands, another sex policy perpetuated no matter the consequence. ” (“‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy at Least Looks Good,” 6/18/02) 
  • Paul Vitello:“The bishops were guilty of protecting their boys, the priests—and sacrificing children on the altar of good appearances. … The bishops…issued no new policy regarding themselves. … They addressed the sins of others. And then, after voting to adopt their new rules, they stood up and applauded themselves. That apparently is the style of the church.” (“Odd Notion Of Whom to Protect,” 6/18/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The Vatican could not start the day without the money from America. And yet those in the Vatican dislike America and demand that the Catholics here live under laws that were originally written with a quill pen or on parchment, if they ever were written. Rome makes mistakes. Rome is less than forthcoming. Rome doesn’t tell the truth. Yet Rome rules.” (“Will Rome Ignore Dallas?” 6/16/02)
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The meeting was conducted by Call to Action, a coalition of Catholics who are irritated, angered, disgusted by the way the church hierarchy has maimed their faith. … A couple of weeks ago, [Bishop Wilton Gregory] was viewed on a stage at the Vatican. On that occasion he failed his magic class when he tried to say that the American Bishops have accomplished much when they did absolutely nothing. … Later, the thick green wall of New York’s Irish church hierarchy came out with the startling statement that priests should not abuse infants.” (“Dissenters Make Their Case,” 6/14/02)
  • Jimmy Breslin: On Cardinal Edward Egan: “He acts as if he has done nothing to betray us with his arrogant covering up of pedophiles in Hartford [sic; Cardinal Egan was bishop of Bridgeport]; that he has not disgraced all Catholics.” (“A Collection Conundrum,” 5/12/02) 
  • Carol Richards: Comparing the clergy scandal to teacher/student sex abuse: “What distinguishes this 1997 case from those that are haunting the Catholic Church today is that the wrongdoers were caught within months and punished. And therein lies a lesson for America’s cardinals as they plan their June meeting in Dallas to decide how to deal with the scandal…. Once teachers lose their certification, they can no longer teach in New York. And – cardinals, please note – New York swaps names with the 49 other states in a national clearinghouse so that bad apples can’t just move and keep on abusing kids.” (“Cardinals Can Learn from the Schools,” 5/5/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: On Nassau County DA Denis Dillon: “Dillon has a constitutionally guaranteed right to his attitude about priests and the Catholic Church. But he does not necessarily have a right to bring that attitude to work as a public official charged with protecting all citizens. … This is a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach to priestly abuse. … [The letter written by Denis Dillon to State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, stating accused priests are mostly homosexuals and not pedophiles] is an interesting letter, revealing interesting assumptions about sexuality and sexual abuse, which happens to mirror church doctrine, which is probably wrong on all counts. But let that go. He cites studies. He quotes Latin. It is very erudite. But in reality, it is the letter of a church apologist, which is Denis Dillon’s every right as an American to be. But he should not be in charge of investigating allegations against priests.” (“The Wrong Man For This Job,” 4/30/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: “To hire a PR firm usually requires of a client three basic conditions: to be caught dead to rights in scandal, to have lots of money and to be determined against all odds to live in denial. The church qualifies.” (“The Church’s PR Nightmare,” 4/28/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “And if they start getting rid of homosexuals, as they seem bent on doing, what with all these attacks by men in red hats, there will be mornings around New York when your aunt is going to have to say mass. … In the Vatican at this hour, a room full of old men, the supposed shepherds, were plotting how to present a large lie of omission to the American people. … The papers the cardinals worked on all day and then would try to shove down Catholic throats should be their last.” (“They Need a Lesson in Proper Confession,” 4/25/02) 
  • Marie Cocco: According to a CBS News poll, “About half of the nation’s Catholics said they believe the church today is ‘out of touch’ with their needs. It is not clear what that means. Out of touch on birth control? On divorce? On Women? On celibacy? Or just pedophilia”? (“Cardinals are missing a talk with their most faithful; Alas, they look inward,” 4/25/02) 
  • Sheryl McCarthy: “The celibacy requirement is unique to Catholicism, and in no other religious group has there been a sexual abuse problem of these dimensions. Celibacy requires priests to fight powerful natural urges, and those who can’t or won’t do that, at the risk of facing public disgrace, prey on the people over whom they have control, which means minors.” (“The Church Stumbles to Lay Blame on Gays,” 4/25/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: “The pope says nothing about the role of his cardinals and his bishops…in allowing ‘the abuse of the young’ to flourish throughout the world.” (“Holy See Still Has Its Blinders On,” 4/25/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “These cardinals will say anything, cling to any piece of driftwood and hide anywhere, but never mention that the problem is in their lying, covering up their people as they do so. … Rather than accountability, the cardinals yesterday seemed to spend much time on the ‘one strike’ rule for priests involved in sex abuse. Fourteen or 16 or so white-haired unmarried men defining sex and the family for us. Wonderful.” (“Cardinals Strike Out At Vatican Meeting,” 4/24/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: On Pope John Paul II: “Age and illness have left him with an instinctive dislike of anything to do with women.” (“Pain of Abused Lost in Wisps of Vatican Fog,” 4/23/02) 
  • Dennis Duggan: “The mob is not the Catholic Church, and no one wants to suggest that. But there is a lesson to be learned here. The similarities are inescapable when you look at two ancient, far-flung organizations historically controlled by local bosses who report only to a distant leader. … The pope has been far more concerned with what he regards as the evil of abortion, so far directing much of his passion toward children yet to be born and not those being victimized by the fathers of their churches.” (“This Thing of Theirs Has Gone Too Far,” 4/17/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: Pope John Paul II “called the cardinals to Rome because on his best days I don’t think he ever knew where America was. … The pope dislikes this country, as do all the bitter little old Italian men surrounding him. The pope and his lackeys see New York as sinful.” (“Bishop Breslin Seizes the Day,” 4/16/02) 
  • Sheryl McCarthy: “All the old, self-serving men in the Catholic Church who, while sparks of sexual abuse by the priests in their charge were flickering all around them, bobbed and weaved and hid the evidence, and fiddled until now the whole church is going up in flames. … [The bishops] run a huge bureaucracy that’s more concerned with protecting its reputation and hiding ugly secrets than with the pain of the children and teenagers who were picked off by these priests, and of their families.” (“Church Needs to Do Some Serious Spring Cleaning,” 4/15/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “This is the largest institution on earth, and it is in the most trouble in its modern history. A few women could have saved them, but it is an all-male institution that hates and fears women.” (“Of Mortality And Morality,” 4/11/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: “To date, no bishop, no cardinal and no pope has made a real address to the victims of the untold number of criminal Catholic priests who were shuffled around the country—for decades—to new fields of criminal opportunity. All to spare the church the serious work of self-examination.” (“Unbelievable Noise in Church,” 3/26/02) 
  • Ellis Henican: On the actions of Church leaders: “Hide. Avoid. Stay Quiet. Issue the flattest possible platitudes. ‘Mysterium iniquitatis!’ Pope John Paul II finally roared from Rome yesterday.” (“Doleful Book Of Revelation,” 3/22/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “I qualify as the next bishop because I am not a pedophile. … The loyal parishioners will not have to worry about Bishop Breslin chasing little boys. He hates them and they hate him. Nor will he stalk women.” (“You can just kiss my ring,” 3/21/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin:“[Cardinal] Egan was in the cathedral pulpit at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Mass. His homily suggested that he was numb. He cloaked himself in the firefighters and cops and everybody else in the World Trade Center catastrophe to keep the word pedophile out of all minds. … The man betrayed Catholics, and the Irish, and he puts on his red hat. … [Nell McCafferty, a friend of Breslin’s] called to say, ‘I wanted to give [Cardinal Egan] a kiss and tell him I’m gay and marching right along and how are you with the pedophiles? Oh, and we just passed an abortion bill in Ireland. You are losing the whole thing.’” (“A Betrayal of Catholics, Irish,” 3/17/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “This is the church that has the confessional box as one of its core beliefs, and yet the bishops and cardinals stand out on the steps and defend, deny, dispute, lie, hide, bury and omit. … Either the pedophiles were this way before they entered the priesthood, finding it a good place to hide their faults, or they were twisted by the doctrine of celibacy. ” (“Celibacy Doesn’t Stand a Prayer,” 3/14/02) 
  • Sheryl McCarthy: “Because the church hierarchy, from the pope on down to the bishops, has conspired to cover up these scandals and keep the offending priests in circulation, the church’s credibility has been badly damaged.” (“Catholics Must Examine Crisis in Priesthood,” 3/14/02) 
  • Carol Richards:On voucher schools: “They’re Catholic schools, not Muslim, and the girls wear cute plaid skirts, not graceful head scarves—but the gimmick that advocates cite for their supposed constitutionality is that vouchers can be used at any nonpublic school and so don’t violate the First Amendment ban on establishment of a religion. It is ironic that the pitch for vouchers has reached the nation’s highest court just as Americans have been made forcefully aware by the September 11 terrorist attacks that the religious indoctrination of school children can breed poisonous hatred.” (“State Shouldn’t Subsidize Religious Schools,” 3/10/02) 
  • Paul Vitello: On Nassau County DA Denis Dillon’s Catholicism, “This is Enron asking Arthur Andersen to investigate its books.” (“A Crime Hardly on the Record,” 3/10/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The priests and bishops around here form a white conservative church that speaks in whispers against capital punishment, if at all, because they really want it. Then they roar against abortion and even birth control. … But the speed and ease with which you bring the cardinal and his associates out when the matter is about women is an indictment of a church of men who are either bald or white-haired and who either don’t know or don’t care a wit about women.” (“They’ve Lost Touch with Jesus’ Ways,” 2/7/02)


  • Seth Armus, professor of history, St.Joseph’s College: “As a historian, I am wary of proclaiming about the legacy of a still-ruling pope. One need only remember Pius XII, a hero at the time of his death in 1958 who today is held in rather lower esteem. One wonders, in particular, about how history will regard preaching against condoms in AIDS-ravaged Africa.” (“A Global Champion of All of Humanity,” 10/15/03)
  • Jacqueline Burt Wang, freelance writer: “I left the faith myself. Part of me wanted to shake some sense into the reverent folks around me, list every misdeed of the Catholic Church in chronological order and stop them from turning a blind eye to the flaws of their creed.” (“This Believer Reached Her Statute of Limitations,” 9/23/03) 
  • Fenton Johnson, author and visiting professor, University of California: “The struggles of…gays and lesbians everywhere are less religious than political, which is both troubling and inspiring. Troubling because the far right has so successfully appropriated Jesus’ story and the label ‘Christian’ that these are in danger of losing altogether their connections to their roots. But inspiring because they present us with the challenge to reclaim Jesus and his message.” (“On Gay Issues, ‘Right’ Has Stolen Christianity,” 8/4/03) 
  • Caitlin Marinelli, High School student: “I know the church hierarchy protected pedophile priests with the same fervor that they protected Nazi war criminals…. Church history is replete with anti-Semitism.” (“It’s Ignorance,” 7/7/03) 
  • Bill Nemitz, columnist, Portland Press Herald: On Cardinal Law’s resignation: “Did the prospect of financial ruin push Rome’s well-insulated panic button in a way the litany of unspeakable sins—beasts, disguised as priests, preying on the most vulnerable among their flocks—somehow could not? Was it the criminal justice system? Did the vision of Law sitting before a Massachusetts grand jury (or, even worse, a trial jury) persuade his superiors that earthly justice has at last trumped papal infallibility?” (“After Cardinal Law, The Church Quakes,” 12/15/02) 
  • Jack Miles, author and senior advisor to president of J. Paul Getty Trust: “In October 1962, when Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, millions of Catholics hoped for a change in the teaching that holds abortion as a crime equivalent to murder and artificial birth control a crime equivalent to abortion.” (“The Church Needs New Direction,” 5/6/02) 
  • Kevin Farrell, freelance writer: “The good priests of your youth are forgotten, and all you’re left with is a revulsion, a nausea, over self-righteous hypocrites who never opted for women priests in the rectory (which almost anybody would forgive compared to the felonies of pedophilia) but who chose to attack children.” (“School Days of Scowling Nuns, Smiling Priests,” 5/1/02) 
  • Mark D. Jordan, professor in the Religion Department of Emory University: “The Catholic Church is and has long been both loudly homophobic and intensely homoerotic. Our public discussions of priestly sexuality won’t make any progress until we can begin to talk about the homoeroticism written into Catholic imagination and its institutions.” (“The Forbidden Question,” 4/28/02) 
  • Nell Merlino, representative from the MsFoundation: “And when it comes to women and girls being heard, some very powerful men are still not listening. The Catholic Church, which bars women from leadership, is spinning out of control with multi-million dollar sex scandals across the United States and around the globe.” (“Ten Years Later, Girls Still Need Their Own Day,” 4/18/02) 
  • Laura Ahearn, author and executive director of Parents For Megan’s Law: “In this century, we have the Catholic Church being resistant to the reporting of child abuse. It claims that such reporting might compromise the sacramental seal of confession. Just as physicians were previously resistant to putting children’s safety first, the Catholic Church is doing the same. And Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon is in the church’s corner. … The Catholic Church and any other clergy cannot be exempt because that leaves children too vulnerable and puts the church above the law. Mandated reporting for clergy doesn’t go far enough. If we really want to put children first, we will require any people in pastoral roles in any places of worship to be licensed by the state so they can be carefully monitored in their roles with children—as other professionals are.” (“Society Must Put Children’s Safety First,” 4/16/02)

Part II: Long Island Bishop William F. Murphy

January 2002-December 2003


  • Dick Ryan: “The bishop’s response to three long evenings of troubling questions about agonizing issues are at best bland and disingenuous and at worst condescending and coldly hypocritical. … And that is also why his 8,000-word exercise should be the last straw for outraged Catholics who are now officially leaderless and who, along with the priests and the national hierarchy, must begin to take it to another level if the church is to survive the scandal of countless priest predators and the shenanigans of a few bitter old men. … Unless [Bishop Murphy] has the grace, and good sense, to step down and walk away from all of it, the only way he can do any true shepherding is to come down from the tower, drop the innocuous PR statements and talk openly and honestly, face to face, with all of the people.” (“Bishop’s Response to Questions Is More PR,” 11/18/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: Pope John Paul II “has ignored the monstrous scandals of priests attacking children in thousands of cases in America. Only rotting at the top can explain, locally, William Mansion Murphy in Long Island. The Vatican doesn’t care. The faithful here believe silence is the easiest way.Meanwhile, Murphy is going to be infamous forever as the man who came down from Boston, the home of pedophiles he was supposed to supervise, and threw nuns out of a building and set up a castle for himself. He lives forever as Mansion Murphy through a book that has been written, a stage play under way and a probable movie about him.” (“Mystery That Can’t be Divined,” 10/19/03) 
  • Dick Ryan: “When he’s not silencing his priests or distancing himself from his parishioners, Bishop William Murphy occasionally indulges in some classic church speak.” (“Let’s Not Misinterpret What Catholics Desire,” 9/30/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “[Bishop Thomas] Daily came down here from Boston with William ‘Mansion’ Murphy, both hideous failures in the sex scandals. … And Mansion Murphy is the outgoing bishop of Rockville Centre. If he had any shame, he would be out of here by nightfall.” (“Stranger Isn’t Needed,” 8/3/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “How do you like it if you’re a Catholic and they make your bishop the central figure in a report on pedophiles? … I cannot understand why, today, right now Mansion Murphy of Rockville Centre dares to remain on church grounds after all he has done to place children in jeopardy.” (“What A Church Should Be,” 7/27/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: On Bishop Murphy’s residence: “The kitchen cost something like $220,000, the money for which came from such collections of the faithful in the parishes of the diocese as the Bishop’s Appeal. ‘Send money to keep Mansion Murphy eating big thick roast beef!’” Newsday made two corrections to this article. Breslin reported that the luncheon took place at “Mansion Murphy’s dining room,” when in fact it did not. He said there was a Franciscan in attendance, and that it occurred on Ascension Thursday. It was a Dominican in attendance, and it occurred on a Saturday. ” (“Royal Stench of Arrogance,” 6/12/03) 
  • Dick Ryan: “If Catholics and their priests are to be truly ‘catholic’ and ‘church’ in the profoundly honest meaning of those two words, they must first avoid the two extremes of being obsessed with Bishop Murphy and his behavior or ignoring him as just another statue in church or part of the furniture. Instead, they must forgive him for some of his stubborn truculence in the face of so much pain.” (“Needs Priest-Parishioner Partnership,” 5/15/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “His career in his church consists of being a central figure in the largest scandal the American Catholic Church has had, with priests as pedophiles and bishops as pimps….” (“Betrayed by a Family Friend,” 2/13/03) 
  • Dick Ryan: “I’ll say this for the 2003 Bishop’s Annual Appeal that arrived in the mail last week from Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre: The timing is all wrong. Mailed out one year after the first revelations of rampant child abuse in the priesthood, the timing has all the sensitivity of an ant. … I will be sending my ‘appeal’ money to my pastor…because pastors and their priests shouldn’t have to be penalized for the evasiveness or shoddy bookkeeping of a few bishops. … Perhaps if Bishop Murphy converted his residence into a homeless shelter or a hospice for AIDS patients, some of that old trust might be restored.” (“Diocese Money Appeal Doesn’t Merit Support,” 1/14/03) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: Murphy “threw nuns out and the diocese spent—what, $5 million?—to make over the place, including creating personal living quarters out of the top floor of the huge, great former convent. He could have put about three dozen apartments in there for people to live, but he wants to be alone. … Mansion Murphy told somebody I know who works for him that there was a big shipment of china and glasses for his dinner parties coming and he didn’t want it delivered directly to his mansion. He said this was because Breslin goes through his garbage.” (“Fitting a DA for Divine Vestments,” 12/31/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: Bishop Murphy “has just spent $5 million and more to rebuild his surroundings, including a full floor of a building that once was a convent but now is the place where he keeps a $210,000 kitchen and a wine cooler of red and white at different temperatures, the better to entertain. … The bishop is one of those who stole the spirit out of all of this and all other days of a Catholic’s life. Because of this, even on this holiday, the name of the bishop is Mansion Murphy” (“Spirit of Holiday Stolen by Church,” 12/24/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “While Mansion Murphy’s mansion is extraordinarily expensive, the Diocese of Rockville Centre spent untold amounts on secret payments to victims of sexual abuse by priests. … Just about all of this came from the collection basket, the money of people who get up in the morning and earn it.” (“Out In The Cold As Wine Chills,” 11/24/02)  
  • Jimmy Breslin:“In honor of Christ, Mansion Murphy has a mansion that has room for 36 apartments. … The building was once a convent. He threw out the nuns to make room for himself. … Christ walked on foot. Mansion Murphy likes cars. Rather than have one bishop’s car, he has several cars so that he can have auto relay races with himself. Sensational! … He was at the bishops conference in Washington. The usual 400 white-haired old men in black dresses tried making rules about child molestation. Mansion Murphy was heard. He asked if any new guidelines would mean that he was legally and financially responsible for sexual molestation cases out of his diocese. That is exactly what he cared about. There are a lot of poor people who were hurt by priests under his direction here and in Boston but the last thing on his mind is a victim.” (“At Home In His Greed,” 11/17/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The bishop in Rockville Centre, Murphy, makes a high art of foolishness. He is rebuilding a great former convent, a place that could hold 36 apartments, into his residence. He spends fortunes of parishioners’ money to rebuild the place. He is criticized for greed, and meets this with a remarkable lack of shame.” (“Church Gets It Wrong Again,” 10/1/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The bishop of the diocese, William Murphy, refused to allow this group of Catholics [Voice of the Faithful] to use a Catholic church…Murphy is one of the three Irish bishops down from New England who run the New York area. All arrived with questionable backgrounds in handling the sex cases. … Murphy has grabbed the huge convent building, chasing the nuns out to anywhere they can find.” (“An Appeal to the Bishop,” 9/15/02) 
  • Dick Ryan: “Whether its next meeting is held at Shea Stadium or the roof of a Home Depot, the Voice of the Faithful on Long Island is not about to be shut up or shut out. But it would be sad indeed if the only things shut were the minds of some bishops who still cling feverishly to the waning glory days of pomp and power within the hierarchy. And sadder still if Bishop William Francis Murphy, ordained shepherd, truly believes that his flock is the enemy.” (“Bishop’s Meeting Ban Can’t Silence LI Flock,” 8/14/02) 
  • Bob Keeler: On Bishop Murphy’s plan to invite Nigerian nuns to New York to pray for vocations: “Now the bishop has chosen to fly to Nigeria to pursue his vision, instead of attending this weekend’s celebration by Catholic Charities: people living out the Gospel by serving the poor. His priorities seem misplaced.” (“Asides,” 6/30/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “As for Bishop Murphy of Long Island, the new garage behind his castle at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre is almost done. Soon, a fleet of cars will have a roof. His name forever shall be Mansion Murphy.” (“Dissenters Make Their Case,” 6/14/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “With Law going, the three men around here, Cardinal Egan in Manhattan, Bishop Daily in Brooklyn and Bishop Murphy in Rockville Centre, should get plane tickets. Daily and Murphy were in Boston with Law at the time that pedophiles were transferred from one parish to another.” (“The Hierarchy of Decency,” 5/19/02) 
  • Dick Ryan: On Bishop Murphy’s hiring of a PR spokesman: “Bishop Murphy has shunted his public relations staff aside and gone for the glamour name. So it is obvious that he is trying to manipulate, instead of communicate, in fixing the enormous credibility gap that now exists in the church.” (“Diocese Should Tell Truth, Without PR Spin,” 5/15/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: On pedophile John Geoghan: “Each time there was a complaint about him, the bosses of the Boston archdiocese, Law and Bishop Thomas Daily and Bishop William Murphy…moved Geoghan to another parish.” The following dayNewsday issued a correction noting Bishop Murphy has said he was not aware of church leaders shifting Geoghan from parish to parish. (“Bishop Breslin: Time to Step In,” 5/9/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “Straight east, out in Rockville Centre, the bishop, Murphy, has hired a public relations man, Howard Rubenstein, for what I’m told is at least $250,000 for a couple of months to make him look good after all the bad he’s done. That figure is not as high as what Murphy has them spending on his new residence, an entire four-story building that could be used for 36 apartments, and a four-car garage to go with it.” (“Close to God in Bushwick,” 4/30/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “The bishop, Murphy, was just here from Boston, where he has been in charge of assigning priests. The major part of that work appears to have been the shifting of pedophiles around as if they were substitutes in a game.” (“Greed That Can Move Mountains,” 4/18/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: “Thomas V. Daily and William Murphy, two of our bishops, got into hideous trouble over covering up pedophiles. Daily and Murphy transferred a priest named Geoghan each time he drew sex abuse charges in a parish. They transferred him four times, the last to a parish where he was in charge of altar boys and two other youth groups.” (“A Betrayal of Catholics, Irish,” 3/17/02) 
  • Jimmy Breslin: The “Rev. John Geoghan…seemed to be the personal charge of Bishop Murphy. Geoghan was transferred from parish to parish in order to cover up his crimes….” (“Celibacy Doesn’t Stand a Prayer,” 3/14/02)

Recent Catholic League Material on Newsday


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Written by Bill