One frequent demand from Catholic Church abuse victims is that abusive clerics be laicized or removed from the priesthood as expeditiously and quickly as possible.
So if the Archdiocese of Milwaukee discovered a fast and economical way to make that happen, wouldn't that be a good thing for both victims and the Church? Not according to the New York Times' Laurie Goodstein.
In her latest Catholic Church-obsessed piece, Goodstein takes issue with the fact that New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, when he was the Archbishop of Milwaukee a while back, approved a number of $20,000 settlements to rid the Church of abusive priests in a more time-efficient and expeditious manner – without long, drawn-out canonical or civil proceedings.
The agenda: Attack the Catholic Church
Goodstein characterizes these settlements as "payoffs to sexually abusive priests" in an attempt to somehow besmirch Cardinal Dolan. In fact, these were settlement payments designed to save the Church and everyone involved the legal expenses and distraction of engaging in the protracted proceedings necessary to rid the Church of abusive priests.
This isn't the first time that Goodstein, the Times' purported national religion reporter, has shilled for contingency lawyers and loud professional victims' groups, who wish to plant hit pieces on the Catholic Church in America's declining newspaper of record.
Just a couple months ago, Goodstein waxed sympathetic for the anti-Catholic group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) after its national director, David Clohessy, griped that he simply had to obey a court order and finally come clean about his unseemly contacts with contingency lawyers in Missouri. Goodstein crafted a wobbly piece with the predictable premise that the big, bad Catholic Church was bullying an innocent, little victims group.
In her new article, Goodstein uncritically quotes a letter from SNAP to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. After hysterically labelling the settlements as "cash bonuses," the letter asks:
"In what other occupation, especially one working with families and operating schools and youth programs, is an employee given a cash bonus for raping and sexually assaulting children?"
Well, SNAP could have easily answered its own question.
Just a few months ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District paid $40,000 to a third-grade teacher accused of committing numerous lewd acts on children in exchange for him not appealing his firing.
Then there was the teacher in New York City who was accused of ogling eighth-grade girls and collected a whopping $100,049-a-year salary without setting foot in a classroom for over a decade.
In fact, such settlements happen in the education profession all the time.
SNAP's venom against the Catholic Church is now beyond the realm of reason or logic. The group endlessly gripes about abusive priests not being removed quickly enough. Then when the Church actually does something to correct this, SNAP complains.
An ongoing obsession
Even when the Catholic Church does something good in the handling of abusive priests, Goodstein and the Times somehow find a way to portray it as something sinister and unseemly.
Meanwhile, the Times continues its obsession with sex abuse in the Catholic Church from decades ago. Why?
As the Times itself summarily reported recently, just in the first three months alone of 2012 in New York City public schools, there were "248 complaints of sexual misconduct involving school employees, a 35 percent increase over the same period last year."
How about the Times finally digging a little deeper into this shocking story happening today right in its own backyard rather than attacking Cardinal Dolan for what he wisely did in Milwaukee years ago?
-- Dave Pierre is the creator and author of TheMediaReport.com, which analyzes the media's coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. Dave is also the author of two books and is a contributing writer to NewsBusters.