Our Boosters are matching gifts up to $45,000. We have $32,942 to go. Your gift today will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Milwaukee archdiocese paid abusive priests to accelerate laicization

Catholic World News - May 31, 2012

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee offered “a handful” of priests cash payouts to persuade them to leave the priesthood after they were implicated in sexual abuse.

The payments of up to $20,000 were authorized by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is now the Archbishop of New York, while he was serving as head of the Milwaukee archdiocese. The payments were offered in order to encourage the priests to surrender the salary and benefits that the archdiocese would otherwise have been obligated to pay them, and to leave the priesthood without contesting the archbishop’s move to force their laicization. In other words, the payments were made to accelerate the process of removing abusive priests from the clergy.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which has frequently denounced bishops for their failure to defrock clerical abusers, seized on the Milwaukee payments to level a sensational charge against the archdiocese and against Cardinal Dolan. In a blizzard of press releases, SNAP characterized the payments as bonuses, and implied that the archdiocese had given extra awards to molesters. “You don’t give a bonus to a man who rapes children,” said Peter Isely, a spokesman for SNAP.

The Milwaukee archdiocese has not disclosed how many priests were given payments to accept laicization. The payments were confirmed in documents submitted to a federal court in which the archdiocese is seeking bankruptcy protection.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($118,091 to go):
$150,000.00 $31,908.98
79% 21%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - May. 31, 2012 11:28 PM ET USA

    This is the moment we can all look at SNAP and wonder if they are really FOR abused chilfren or AGAINST the Church. If the payments were made to facilitate the removal of abusive priests who otherwise could have remained until due process played its (important, when you consider false accusations) role, this was the right thing to do. What if the priest had stayed long enough to earn $22,000? Then you have paid him $2,000 more AND exposed more children. Where's the good in that?

  • Posted by: koinonia - May. 31, 2012 7:49 PM ET USA

    As is each story that hits the news in this staggering PR debacle for the Church, this one is also going to prove difficult. Remember: The diocese is seeking bankruptcy protection. It's seminal leader has embarassed the archdiocese by recounting his own sexual issues in his published memoirs. The physical, psychological and spiritual pain of the victims is ongoing. The Church's enemies have been provided with copious progaganda material to assault the Church. There is nothing good about it.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs 21 hours ago
How not to be persuasive 22 hours ago
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28
Clarifying what it might mean for a pope to wish to change Catholic doctrine October 28
Does the Kasper Proposal make Pope Francis a heretic? Invalid marriages and mortal sin October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6