A recent editorial in the New York Times, “Victims of Priests’ Abuse Face a Choice,” must be challenged on several counts. Its principal focus is the new initiative by the Archdiocese of New York, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. This program is designed to deal fairly with claims of clergy sexual abuse.
The editorial said “the program is confidential.” It is important to emphasize that if someone requests confidentiality, the archdiocese will respect it, but it is also true that under the provisions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, it has no authority to require it. Of course, the archdiocese is not going to publicize information on these matters on its website, but that is not the same as requiring claimants to sign a confidentiality agreement. That will not happen.
The editorial is unhappy with the provision that claimants are given only a few months to file. Naturally, the Times wants no deadline. Should they be given years? Decades? Is this its idea of justice?
The editorial falsely referred to “pedophile priests” as the problem: 8 in 10 cases involve homosexual priests and less than 5 percent involve pedophilia. The gay cover-up is a constant feature with the Times.
The editorial slights the sincerity of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, saying he is launching this program to avoid bigger problems if the Child Victims Act is passed in Albany; it faults him for working against the bill. It also argues that when he directed the Milwaukee Archdiocese “he tried to shield millions of dollars of church assets from abuse survivors,” and is doing the same now in New York.
The Child Victims Act was not written to protect most minors from being molested. If it were, it would apply to the public schools. But it didn’t—the fix was in. Would the New York Times support a bill to lift the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of minors if it excluded Catholic schools?