The church has earned our healthy skepticism

(NCR Online) New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan may have the purest of motives in designing the new compensation program for victims of clergy sex abuse. He must realize, however, that he is working against a history of activity, including his own, of members of the U.S. hierarchy that hardly inspires trust.

Dolan’s effort, understandably applauded in some quarters as an act inspired by Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy, sets a legal framework for compensating victims outside of court procedures. The process will be administered by respected professionals, by most measures impeccably independent, and the compensation offered will be delivered quickly.

So, what’s not to like about it? Anne Barrett Doyle does a service to abuse victims and to the Catholic community at large in raising serious questions about the process and whether the plan is an unalloyed benefit to all victims.

Doyle is co-director with Terry McKiernan of, a unique repository of data and arguably the most extensive catalogued collection anywhere of newspaper stories, court records, depositions, analyses and internal church correspondence having to do with the Catholic church’s clergy sex abuse scandal.

Consequently, it is not too much of a stretch to say that Doyle knows more detail about the scandal than most people, including bishops, ever will. [More]


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