Dolan's " Thunderous" Silence

By Peter Isely
SNAP Wisconsin
May 31, 2012

In an email today to Catholic leaders in the Milwaukee Archdiocese "chief of staff" Jerry Topczewski once again admitted that unrestricted payouts were made to priest sex offenders by the Milwaukee Archdiocese as a "signing bonus" to quietly leave the priesthood. The payments have now, according to Topczewski, been stopped.

Is this not a clear admission that they were wrong in the first place?

And isn't it time for Cardinal Dolan and his successor Jerome Listecki to acknowledge the deep moral wrong of taking Catholic charitable funds and funneling them to priest child molesters?

Topczewski, contradicting himself, also writes that the archdiocese made these payouts because the archdiocese is "canonically responsible for the financial care of a priest, even one who has committed child sexual assault…like it or not."

Like it or not? Really?

The money to pay off these child molesters came from the hard earned contributions of loyal, faithful Catholics. It's doubtful they are going to "like" discovering that their contributions were being deposited into the bank accounts of pedophile priests so that the men who raped and molested their children could disappear, as Topczewski writes, "into a new field of work". Topczewski says these priest offenders used the money to seek secular employment, medical expenses, or training for new jobs. But these funds were given in lump sums with no restrictions. We do know that some of these priests—like Daniel Massie and Jerome Wagner—have secreted themselves into new "secular" jobs working with children and families.

How does the archdiocese know these offenders did not use their bonus checks to lure a child into a new apartment, take a trip to Thailand, or buy a computer to download child pornography? It's easy enough for the archdiocese to substantiate its claims: let's see the receipts and a full financial disclosure showing which nonprofit church accounts these funds were siphoned from.

But the loudest noise coming today from this week's revelations is the thunderous silence of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

We know, incontrovertibly, that while Dolan was claiming to heal the Milwaukee Church of the sexual abuse scandal he was instead running a shadow operation to pay off priests who had raped, sexually assaulted or abused children so that they could quietly take this money and disappear into the community unprosecuted, undetected, and unrepentant.

Instead of answering for his conduct, Dolan is reported to have cancelled all his public appointments today. Dolan is hardly known for his quiet and soft spoken presentation and never hesitates to broadcast his ideas and opinions. So, where is the voice of the premier Catholic of America, especially when hundreds of victims and families in the Milwaukee community need to hear from him, the man who never hesitates to take the moral pulpit and preach to the public, including its elected officials, as to right and wrong conduct?

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us at and

CONTACT: 414.429.7259; 414.336.8575


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.