Last Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention, offering a divisive sermon that touched on abortion and marriage equality.
“We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected.”
“Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community.”
While he prayed against my family and for the unborn, a Catholic leader in Kansas City, Bishop Robert W. Finn, was convicted of covering up the crimes of a pedophile priest, Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who liked to take nude pictures of the barely born. According to a detailed article by Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times:
In December 2010, Bishop Finn got some disturbing news: Father Ratigan had just tried to commit suicide by running his motorcycle in a closed garage. The day before, a computer technician had discovered sexually explicit photographs of young girls on Father Ratigan’s laptop, including one of a toddler with her diaper pulled away to expose her genitals.
Apparently, the $2.5 billion that the Vatican has spent on pedophile priest settlements wasn’t enough for Finn to get the message that reshuffling reprobates in robes is always wrong. Finn buried his head in the sandand ignored a mountain of evidence at the expense of the children.
Indeed, well before pornography was discovered on the priest’s laptop, Julie Hess, the principal of the parochial school next door to St. Patrick Parish where Father Ratigan served, had sent a memorandum in May of 2010 to the diocese, which said:
Father Ratigan had put a girl on his lap on a bus trip, attempted to “friend” an eighth grader on Facebook, and had an inappropriate “peer to peer” relationship with a fifth-grade girl. On a children’s group excursion to Father Ratigan’s house, parents spotted hand towels shaped to look like dolls’ clothes, and a pair of girls’ panties in a planter in his yard.
Unfortunately, Finn reduced these concerns to “boundary issues,” and even failed to contact authorities when a stash of kiddie porn was found on Ratigan’s laptop:
“…hundreds of photographs,” according to the testimony, many taken on playgrounds, under tables or in one case, while a girl was sleeping. Many pictures did not show faces — only close-ups of crotches. Ms. Creech wrote a report for her superiors noting that only four or five of the hundreds of pictures appeared to have been downloaded from the Internet: “the rest appeared to have been taken with a personal camera.”
Amazingly, the bishop assigned Father Ratigan to serve as an unsupervised chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Eucharist, in Independence, MO. I suppose there was already a long waiting list for priests to work at the Young Brothers of the Holy Eucharist.
Over the next five months, Father Ratigan, who is now 46 attended a sixth-grader’s birthday party, co-celebrated a child’s confirmation, communicated with children on his Facebook page, hosted an Easter egg hunt and attended a parade, the testimony recounts. Invited to dinner at the home of parishioners, he was caught taking photographs, under the table, up their daughter’s skirt, according to a federal indictment of Father Ratigan.
Ratigan was displaying more overt signs of pedophilia than Herbert, the character from Family Guy. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church demonstrated, once more, that it is more interested in shielding its reputation than protecting vulnerable youth from child rape.
Instead of praying to end the depravity in his own church, Dolan took his opportunity at the Democratic and Republican conventions to bash healthy, happy gay families and promote a bogus storyline of Catholics losing religious liberty.
Want to talk about religious liberty, Dolan? I think a toddler should have the freedom to attend a Catholic Church without having nude pictures taken of her — and the molester who took the photos shouldn’t freely walk away without paying the consequences. Of course, what else could we expect from Dolan? According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirmed that it [under Dolan’s leadership] paid suspected pedophile priests to surrender their clerical collars, after a document surfaced in its bankruptcy discussing a 2003 proposal to pay $20,000 to “unassignable priests” who accept laicization.
I’m sure a $20,000 “pedophile parachute” could buy a creepy used van with tinted windows and a bucketful of lollypops. When it comes to talking about sexual morality, Timothy Dolan is the last person on the planet I’d listen to. Any bishop that places an institution over the welfare of children ought to be institutionalized – and at the very least praying for the church’s victims, instead of playing religious liberty victim at political rallies.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”