Cardinal Dolan is under attack, a la Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. I’ll outline some of the specific tactics I see in a moment, but first, a note about the charge against him in the media. Of course, the lead article on this story, via Memeorandum, is at the New York Times:
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.
Why does the Left want to make an issue of this? Well, my guess is that they want to pin on him a charge of “material cooperation in evil” to make people think he is a hypocrite for opposing the Left’s demand that we Catholics materially cooperate in evil by paying for contraception via Obamacare.
Did Cardinal Dolan “materially cooperate in evil”? Absolutely not.
Having an abuser volunteer to go through the process known as laicization – formally leaving the priesthood – “was faster and less expensive. It made sense to try and move these men out of the priesthood as quickly as possible,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
“Like it or not, the archdiocese is canonically responsible for the financial care of a priest – even a priest who has committed such a horrible crime and sin such as clergy sexual abuse of a minor,” the statement said.
The payment did not, in any way, facilitate sin. I suppose a lot of folks would like to have seen Cardinal Dolan, who was then Archbishop of Milwaukee, take these priests out into the street, strip them of their clerical garments, and send them off to the authorities naked and broken. But in the case of priests, the Church is responsible for their well-being just the same as a family is responsible for the other members of the family. If any person commits a crime, it is still the moral duty of his/her family to make sure he/she is taken care of financially. Such financial assistance would not, under any circumstances, be considered facilitation of sin, but this is Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic Church we’re talking about here, not just John Doe on the street. As the archdiocese statement noted, it’s a “canonical responsibility” for the Church to financially care for priests, regardless of what they may have been charged with or convicted of. Lots of folks don’t like it that we Catholics stick up for the lives of people on death row, but we don’t let that stop us from performing our obligation in that regard, either.
Essentially, what we have on our hands with this attack on Cardinal Dolan is an Alinsky-style maneuver to attempt to destroy his credibility as Obama and the Left try to force us to materially cooperate in evil via the HHS mandate. If they can paint the Cardinal as a hypocrite, they’ll be closer to obtaining their wish on this matter. It’s the politics of the Left, folks.
Here are some of the specific tactics involved from Rules for Radicals, in my opinion:
2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat…. [and] the collapse of communication.
Many people are away of the sexual abuse case, and so, this issue is not “outside the expertise of the people.” The public might readily grab onto a claim pinning something dealing with the sexual abuse cases onto a Church authority, but particularly Cardinal Dolan since he is causing problems for Obama right now, being in opposition to the HHS mandate. If the sexual abuse story were not something people have heard about, this would not be a story at all. No one would really care that the Church provided financially for a priest convicted of a crime. It would be easier for people to understand the canonical duty of the Church to do such a thing, just as people understand it’s the duty of a family to provide for a family member convicted of a crime.
3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
Absolutely, Cardinal Dolan is now being blind-sided by an attack out of the blue that is essentially an irrelevant argument. It is certainly irrelevant to current events since it happened even before he became head of the USCCB and before he became a Cardinal. It has nothing to do with anything that is currently impacting people.
4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”
Again, Cardinal Dolan is being (essentially) accused of material cooperation in evil precisely because the Church is opposed to Obama’s HHS mandate based on the fact that it is material cooperation in evil.
5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”
Does anyone doubt that the sexual abuse cases are the ultimate tool for ridicule against the Church, and especially our priests? This charge against Cardinal Dolan is certainly going to add fuel to the flames of public ridicule against the Church, but not because of what Cardinal Dolan has done. Rather, it will be because of people refusing to accept the Church’s canonical responsibility to care for all priests financially.
6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
Certainly, the Left loves to drive a wedge on this issue.
11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.”
If they can convince enough people that Cardinal Dolan materially cooperated in evil, the political advantage to them is destroying the Church’s credibility on the HHS mandate issue…which, again, is about material cooperation in evil. The end they seek “justifies” the means in which they obtain it. The means is destroying Cardinal Dolan’s credibility and, with it, the credibility of the Catholic Church. At least, this is what they likely hope will happen.
Read all of the tactics and you’ll see, this will not be the only attack. More will come. We Catholics need to pray for Cardinal Dolan and stand with him as the Left seeks to destroy religious freedom in America. No matter what headlines you may see, or stories you see written, stand with the bishops. Don’t let the Left distract you from their agenda to crush our freedoms.