Cardinals Sean O’Malley and Timothy Dolan Spar Over New York Abuse Case

The highest ranking Catholic prelates in New York and Boston are in an apparent rift over clergy sex abuse and cover ups, according to a Catholic news source. We are encouraged by this dispute and hope other bishops will emulate the Boston Cardinal.

Boston Cardinal Seán O’Malley wrote the Vatican’s US nuncio to the US about a credibly accused abusive cleric who was kept on the job in New York for years despite a large settlement paid to one of his victims. In reality, Cardinal O’Malley was really pointing out the misconduct of New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

The accused cleric in question, Fr. Donald Timone, taught for years at John Paul the Great University in California. Officials there had never been told about the allegations against Fr. Timone in New York, but had been deceptively reassured by the Archdiocese of New York that the priest was “suitable” for ministry.

“Officials at John Paul the Great evidently felt betrayed and spoke to reporters,” the Herald notes.

We have seen many cases like this in which church officials deceive even one another about predator priests, such as this very week with the case of Fr. C. John McCloskey. If they cannot be honest with one another, why would anyone expect them to be honest with police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners, the press or the public?

Pope Francis recently called for “unity” in the church hierarchy. We disagree. For decades, bishops have refused to publicly identify or criticize their complicit colleagues. The result was devastating: tens of thousands of deeply wounded boys and girls and families who were hurt and betrayed by clerics who committed and concealed heinous child sex crimes.

We welcome disagreement among bishops. More prelates should pressure their peers to do more to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth. That would be a huge step toward making the church a healthier place.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is

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