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When Timothy Dolan was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2010, Frank Cocozzelli wrote that this was an indication that "They are going to escalate the culture wars at the expense of economic justice."

The Dolan-led Bishops and their allies on the Religious Right have certainly lived up to that prediction, even as it is worth underscoring that they had been moving in that direction for some time.  This is important context for what I am going to say here.   But this is not about that.

I couldn't help but notice that Cardinal Dolan is listed, as of this writing, as among the invited and confirmed speakers for the Values Voters Summit, the premier annual political conference of the Religious Right. Held in September, it is sponsored by such leading groups as The Family Research Council and AFA Action, the political arm of The American Family Association.  

Dolan is among those who have been invited but have not yet confirmed. He joins an impressive roster of conservative movement leaders, GOP politicians and Fox News celebrities. While the final mix will undoubtedly be different than the current page, I can't help but wonder whether the invitation will be quietly withdrawn or perhaps, quietly declined.

The reason for such a discreet move might be the extraordinary recent story about how when Dolan was Bishop of Milwaukee, prior to his promotion to New York, he paid off priests accused of child sex abuse with as much a $20,000 to leave the priesthood.

The New York Times recently reported:

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.

Minutes of a meeting presided over by Dolan in 2003 inwhich the payments were discussed, were part of the 2011 bankruptcy proceedings of the Diocese of Milwaukee, but only recently became public. Dolan had denied at the time that such payments constituted a "payoff" to pedophile priests. But that, it turns out to be exactly what they were. He refused to speak to the Times, but the story has made for riveting national news. (Such as this report on ABC News. National Catholic Reporter has a detailed run down of the scandal.)

But the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) made a point quoted in the Times' report that may haunt the values voters crowd for years to come:

“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?”

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 07:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, Street Prophets , ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, House of LIGHTS, and Pro Choice.

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