Tag Archives: Jeff Anderson

(Full Text) Archbishop Dolan blogs response to scandal chaser’s allegation

“I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson…”

I owe it to all of you — both the Catholic and wider community — to be very clear about the ridiculous and groundless gossip spread about me by a tort lawyer named Jeff Anderson.

You may have heard this man claim that, when I was Archbishop of Milwaukee, I “hid’ $130 million of archdiocesan funds so victims of clergy sexual abuse could not sue for it.

Malarkey! The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has an excellent record of fiscal integrity and transparency. I worked hard at that, and my successor, Archbishop Listecki, continues to do so. (By the way, you might also be interested to know that during my years as Archbishop of Milwaukee, and with the generous service of many dedicated people, we established a mediation process that reached settlements with almost 200 victim survivors; that mediation process has been praised by the victim survivors who have participated in the process.)

In my seven years there, the meager resources of the archdiocese were under the vigilance of a sound and respected finance council, composed of prominent and respected business leaders from the financial community; annually we were audited; and each year there was complete, published financial disclosure. You can find the audited financial statements here. To claim that, given this rigorous supervision, an archbishop could have “hidden” $130 million, is beyond ridiculous.

I do want you to know that, when I arrived as archbishop, the financials showed that parishes had $70 million of their peoples’ money on deposit with the archdiocese. This was not archdiocesan money at all, but belonged to parishes. That’s why the finance council, and our outside professional auditors, advised me that it was inappropriate for the archdiocese to hold money for parishes, and that it should be returned to the parishes to which it belonged anyway. This was done, and publicly reported in the annual audit.

So much for “hidden funds.” Far from inappropriate, this decision was virtuous, open, and in accord with the clear directives of the professionals on our finance council and outside auditors.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee has issued an enlightening statement speculating that this lawyer’s reckless charges also included “hiding” the “cemetery fund,” which, of course, by state law, is scrupulously protected, and cannot be touched or transferred by anybody.

So, these silly charges are baloney. Unfortunately, this man got the attention he wanted and has come to expect from the news, tarnishing the good name of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and of me. Some of our priests reported that people at Sunday Mass asked them “Why did Archbishop Dolan hide those funds?”

Lord knows I’ve made mistakes, but “hiding” $130 million is hardly one of them!

P.S. The Catholic League issued a statement on this matter today. You can read it here.

A dissenter in the pews of the Church of the New York Times

 Former Newsweek Editor Slams NY Times For Creating ‘Own Version’ Of Church Scandal

Kennedy's reading Hell's Bible...

New York City, N.Y., May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News).- A former editor for Newsweek slammed the New York Times for their recent attempts to link the Pope with Church sex abuse cover up and charged that the paper created its “own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new.”

Kenneth Woodward, former religion editor of Newsweek, argued in an April 28 Commonweal article that the NY Times has not been “fair” in its “all-hands-on-deck drive to implicate the pope in diocesan cover-ups of abusive priests.”

Woodward began his commentary by suggesting that that lawyer Jeff Anderson, the “nation’s most aggressive litigator,” who has a financial interest in prosecuting the Church and who provided documents to the NY Times on the Fr. Murphy abuse case in Milwaukee, should have had a “co-byline” in the paper’s coverage of the scandal.

Not only did the NY Times fail to mention that Anderson has already received more that 60 million in settlements from the Church to date, said Woodward, they have also unfairly zeroed in on abuse committed by Catholics priests over other groups. Recent stories on sex abuse scandals within other organizations were given much less coverage and were buried “deep inside” the paper as opposed to the front page, Woodward claimed.

The former Newsweek editor continued in his article to liken the NY Times to the Catholic Church in the sense that the paper resembles the Church in “size, organization, internal culture, and international reach.”

Although the NY Times is not distinct in that it “rivals the Catholic worldview,” said Woodward, what makes the paper unique is its scope and influence.

“Again like the Church of Rome,” he explained, “the Times exercises a powerful magisterium or teaching authority through its editorial board. There is no issue, local or global, on which these (usually anonymous) writers do not pronounce with a papal-like editorial ‘we.’”

“Like the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” Woodward added, “the editorial board is there to defend received truth as well as advance the paper’s political, social, and cultural agendas.”

“The Times, of course, does not claim to speak infallibly in its judgments on current events. (Neither does the pope.) But to the truly orthodox believers in the Times, its editorials carry the burden of liberal holy writ.”

Woodward then criticized the current executive editor of the NY Times, Bill Keller, who Woodward claims has described himself as a “collapsed” Catholic.

“As executive editor, Keller is now responsible for front-paging journalistically questionable stories that attempt but never quite manage to make the pope personally complicit in the clergy-abuse scandal,” Woodward underscored. “He apparently thinks that Jeff Anderson has handed over the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.”

The former Newsweek editor then clarified that he is “not suggesting that the scandal is merely media-driven, as some at the Vatican have argued. There would be no stories if there had been no history of abuses and cover-ups in the first place.”

However, he added, “I am saying that the Times has created its own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new.

“They haven’t,” Woodward charged. “Until they do, I remain a dissenter in the pews of the Church of the New York Times.”

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