Posts Tagged “archdiocese of new york”

Saint Patricks Cathedral in New York - NYC - USA - panoramioFallout from the worldwide Catholic clerical abuse scandal continues raining down all over the place. The latest example comes from New York City, whose archdiocese wants to borrow money to improve their cashflow, as Reuters reports, which has been choked due to payouts to abuse victims (WebCite cached article):

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York is seeking permission for a $100 million mortgage on some of its valuable Manhattan property to fund its compensation program for people sexually abused by its priests, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The archdiocese said last October it would compensate people who had accused priests of abusing them as children, including those prevented by statutes of limitations from filing civil lawsuits. It said at the time it would seek loans to fund the payouts, which are being decided by two independent arbitrators.

On Monday, the archdiocese filed a petition in New York state court in Manhattan seeking approval for a one-year mortgage from JPMorgan Chase on land it owns behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral; the Lotte New York Palace hotel is located on the site. The petition was necessary under a New York law governing the use of church property, Joseph Zwilling, an archdiocese spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

“Because we have begun the process of paying out the compensation to victims, the archdiocese has taken this short-term loan to cover the payments,” Zwilling said.

As Reuters explains, the archdiocese is also soliciting claims by abusers who haven’t come forward yet, which may well add to their liabilities. That’s laudable, as such, but really, it’s the least they could do at this point. As with almost every other diocese on the planet, they spent years, and maybe decades, covering for abusive clergy and effectively enabling the abuse by continuing to grant abusers access to children, even in cases when they were known abusers.

It’s widely assumed that Catholic dioceses are wealthy … and nearly all of them are. But in many cases, their wealth is tied up in real estate, and while it has value, it’s not cash in the bank that they can write checks against. Hence, tactics like this, borrowing against their real estate. But I can’t say I’m sympathetic. As I said, this scandal was decades in the making and was fuelled by depraved and amoral hierarchs who put the reputation of their precious Church above everything else — even the welfare of children in its care. Disgusting.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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St Patrick's CathedralIt’s not just abuse of children that Roman Catholic hierarchs have been known to cover up. They tend to protect a lot of clerical misbehaviors. Anything that might make their Church look bad, can be something they don’t want to be widely known. An example of this was revealed in a parishioners’ lawsuit against a priest accused of embezzlement, his “boy toy,” and the archdiocese and archbishop whom they accuse of covering it all up. The (NY) Daily News reports on this ambling, sordid tale involving two parishes (WebCite cached article):

Father, forgive him.

A scandalous lawsuit accuses a Bronx priest of looting more than $1 million from a pair of city parishes — then spending the cash on a long-running S&M romance with a muscle-bound boyfriend.

The Rev. Peter Miqueli reportedly paid $1,000 per rough sex session with his hunky lover, who demanded the priest address him as “Master” — and drink his urine, the lawsuit said.

The sex-slave priest and his boy toy have shared a house in Brick, N.J., after Miqueli paid $264,000 cash six years ago, according to the suit.

Miqueli, 53, was also accused of stealing money donated to fix a church pipe organ, siphoning funds from a parish thrift shop and getting high on drugs provided by a Bronx parishioner.…

The suit was filed by parishioners from St. Frances de Chantal Church in Throgs Neck, where Miqueli remains the pastor, and from his old church, St. Francis Cabrini, on Roosevelt Island.

“These charges of theft and misconduct have been made for at least 10 years,” said lawyer Michael Dowd, who represents the two parishes.

“It is unbelievable that the diocese can’t come to a conclusion about the misconduct of Miqueli when there is money missing that may be a million dollars.”

The Daily News offers more details of the accusations, plus the plaintiffs’ assertion that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the archdiocese helped Fr Miqueli cover up what he’d done. Dolan, you may recall, has something of a history along these lines; back when he’d been archbishop of Milwaukee, he paid off a few abusive priests so they’d quit, rather than turn them over to authorities. He may have viewed Fr Miqueli’s embezzled funds as a kind of “price” the parishes should pay in order to keep this scandal quiet, too.

To be clear, this is a lawsuit, and by itself, the filing proves nothing. Even so, there’s the possibility of corroboration … such as the emails sent to and from the archdiocese by the girlfriend of Fr Miqueli’s lover. We’ll see how this turns out.

Photo credit: Andy Cross, via Flickr.

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New York StatehouseAs most of my readers are probably aware, gay marriage is tantalizingly close to being legalized in the state of New York (WebCite cached article). The Religious Right in that state, naturally, is throwing fits over this possibility. Among them is New York’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan. He’s known for his screaming irrationality, which I’ve noted previously, for example, in a diatribe he penned on his own blog, accusing the New York Times of being “anti-Catholic” because it was insolent enough to dare run stories on the reports of abuse within the Catholic Church in Ireland. It was worldwide news for months, as first the Ryan report and then the Murphy report were released there — but the Archibishop thinks that newspapers who reported on them must — by definition — be “anti-Catholic.”

It almost goes without saying, then, that Dolan’s knickers are again in a knot, as Albany edges closer to allowing gay marriage. In his irrational, sanctimonious rage, he made a comparison that is, quite frankly, completely unreasonable (cached):

Last time I consulted an atlas, it is clear we are living in New York, in the United States of America – not in China or North Korea. In those countries, government presumes daily to “redefine” rights, relationships, values, and natural law. There, communiqués from the government can dictate the size of families, who lives and who dies, and what the very definition of “family” and “marriage” means.

Dolan dislikes the idea of gay marriage, therefore if the state of New York allows it, then New York will have become a vicious totalitarian regime that will kill people at will.

I have to ask: Your Excellency, are you serious? Or are you daft?

Dolan is — as usual — just being childish. The legalization of gay marriage has no relation to totalitarianism, no matter where it’s practiced. Permitting gay marriage will not — repeat not — affect anyone other than gays who wish to marry. Heterosexual people will not be forced to marry others of their own gender. It will never happen. If gay marriage is permitted in New York, it will not change the lives of heterosexual couples in any way. Period.

Note also that His Excellency’s complaint is, more or less, the fallacious debate tactic known as reductio ad Hitlerum. The only difference is that he’s naming different bogeymen than the Nazis or Adolf Hitler. Otherwise it’s the same thing.

Hat tip: Religion Dispatches.

Photo credit: J. Stephen Conn.

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