The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
New proof of Dolan-Ratzinger delays surfaces; SNAP responds
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
This newly-released letter shows both Dolan and Ratzinger acting slowly and selfishly about a dangerous cleric.
In June 2002, Dolan became Milwaukee’s archbishop. In May 2003, he wrote to Ratzinger about Becker. So Dolan waited almost a year to do anything about an admitted and diagnosed serial pedophile priest. Even then, he acted only because of external pressure.
What happened in May 2003 that prodded Dolan to act? Becker was arrested. Had Dolan learned anything new about Becker’s crimes? No. It just became clear that, because of his arrest, Becker’s crimes could no longer be kept hidden. That’s when and why, by his own admission, Dolan finally acted.
Did the delays stop then? Nope. It took Ratzinger and his Vatican colleagues more than a year and a half to finally oust this admitted and diagnosed serial predator priest.
Over this period of more than two years, as best we can tell, neither Dolan nor Ratzinger took any real step to protect kids from or warn parents about this admitted and diagnosed serial predator priest.
Keep in mind that these letters were written more than a year after America’s bishops adopted a formal policy in June 2002 that mandated putting the safety of kids first and ‘openness’ in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Neither Dolan nor Ratzinger even mentioned the safety of kids in their letters. And neither Dolan nor Ratzinger were truly “open” about Becker’s admitted crimes.
Keep in mind too that the first known indications of Becker’s crimes surfaced in 1963, even before he was ordained. In 1983, he was officially diagnosed as being a pedophile. Yet Dolan waits nine months until he takes action against Becker, and Ratzinger waits 1.5 years after that until he takes action against Becker.
Finally, keep in mind that in his previous assignment in St. Louis, Dolan was in charge of directly handling clergy sex abuse cases. There were many such cases.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790 cell, [email protected], Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, [email protected], Peter Isely 414-429-7259, [email protected], Barbara Dorris 314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]
Dolan wrote Ratzinger in 2003 seeking defrocking of pedophile priest
By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel - March 1, 2011 1:32 p.m.
Then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan sought to have notorious pedophile priest Franklyn Becker defrocked in May 2003 in a letter to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, saying Becker's recent arrest and likely court proceedings "make the potential for true scandal very real."
Attorneys for Wisconsin sex abuse victims, who hope to depose Dolan as part of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's pending bankruptcy, released the letter on Tuesday, in an effort to show that Dolan — like Archbishops William Cousins and Rembert Weakland before him, they argue — was more concerned about the church's reputation than the actions of an abusive priest.
"It underscores the whole ethos, the whole desire to keep secrets and avoid scandal," said St. Paul, Minn., attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who posted the documents Tuesday on his website, andersonadvocates.com.
Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Dolan and his successor, Archbishop Jerome Listecki, said the letter, written nine months after Dolan's arrival in Milwaukee, suggests he acted quickly to remove Becker, and that the "true scandal" referred not to the church or hierarchy, but to the people of the archdiocese. The delay by the Vatican may have been caused by the deluge of requests after the Dallas Charter on the protection of children passed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was passed in 2002, Topczewski said.
A spokesman for Dolan at the Archdiocese of New York did not immediately comment.
Becker, 73, who was diagnosed as a pedophile in 1983, was laicized in November 2004, 18 months after Dolan's request. Becker had been arrested on sex abuse charges in California weeks before Dolan wrote to Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who at the time headed the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Ratzinger's secretary responded in October 2003, asking Dolan to ask Becker to voluntarily seek laicization, agreeing to remove him if the priest declined.
Becker, who lives in Mayville and appears on the archdiocese website of abusive priests, molested numerous minors between 1966 and 1982, according to the documents Dolan provided to the Vatican in 2003. He was reported to archdiocese officials as early as 1970 and admitted a relationship with a boy in a letter to then Archbishop Rembert Weakland in 1980.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests