New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is rushing to judgment and defending a priest being investigated for potential financial misdeeds.
In New York Magazine, Dolan says this about the just-resigned president of St. John’s University, Fr.Donald Harrington: "I am delighted to learn that in his retirement Father Harrington will be available to the Church to continue to champion Catholic education," Dolan said in a statement. "I expect to call on him."
This kind of premature rallying around a potential criminal that discourages people who see suspect and suffer wrongdoing in the church from speaking up.
Dolan should be using his massive resources to encourage, not discourage, those with information or suspicions about Fr. Harrington to step forward.
Even someone who is professionally accomplished can be a criminal. Dolan knows this. Yet, like thousands of other Catholic officials, he chooses to publicly back an accused wrongdoer, rather than stay silent or help with the investigation.
These aren’t petty or hastily-made accusations.
According to the New York Times, Fr. Harrington “acknowledged going on trips with a former dean who committed suicide while on trial for corruption,” accused of “pocketing tens of thousands of dollars.”
The Times also reports that there is “a pending inquiry requested a few months ago by the board of trustees into possible financial improprieties involving officials at the university.”
In court, Fr. Harrington testified that he had traveled several times . . to Asia, where he (and the accused dean) stayed at opulent hotels.” He also admitted “accepting gifts, like a designer watch and suits custom-made in Hong Kong, from Chinese businessmen.”
And Dolan is essentially defending Fr. Harrington, and sending an unfortunate and likely chilling message to others who are pondering whether to step forward with other allegations of wrongdoing in the archdiocese.
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org)