A blog post by Cardinal Timothy Dolan this week warns that the possible release of new documents from his home diocese in St. Louis will be a “repeat of last year’s attempt by the same tort lawyers to muddy my name.”
Dolan, of course, is referring to the documents in Milwaukee which showed he fraudulently transferred tens of millions of dollars before the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy. Contra Dolan’s claim, a Federal judge ruled not that Dolan’s transfer wasn’t fraudulent but that it could not be examined by the court because the church’s canon law trumps US federal under the establishment clause of the US constitution. (He said what?)
That decision is being appealed and is likely to be overturned, according to most court observers. In the meantime, a St. Louis judge has ordered documents turned over to a victim and her attorney involving a case (or cases) in which Dolan was involved when he was put in charge of abuse cases in St. Louis for several months before coming to Milwaukee in 2002.
We are not seeing and hearing much of Dolan since the Milwaukee revelations and the election of the new Pope (Dolan also fails to mention in his post the documents in Milwaukee that proved he lied about paying pedophile priests “signing bonuses” to leave the priesthood).
It’s purely coincidence, but I have always been struck by the similarity of gesture and performance between Dolan and Robert De Niro when Capone addresses the press in scenes from Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables”. Capone masterfully yucks it up with reporters between bits of home spun wisdom and political pragmatism. The press can’t get enough of it. A marvelous screen play by the great (and more and more crazy) David Mamet. Mamet also wrote that year (1987) an incredibly prescient screenplay for “The Verdict”, James Mason’s last film and maybe Paul Newman’s best, most subtle, and moving performance. It‘s about a lawsuit against the Boston Archdiocese and one of its hospitals. Fire up the Netflix. The unforgettable film score for “The Untouchables” by the great Ennio Morricone alone is worth the price of admission. “Now, I have done nothing to harm these people but they are angered with me, so what do they do, doctor up some income tax, for which they have no case. To speak to me like me? No. To harass a peaceful man. I pray to god if I ever had a grievance I’d have a little more self respect.”