New York's top bishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan announced the formation of IRCP, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which would offer survivors/victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic archdiocesan clergy a path to obtaining damages n the Archdiocese of New York, which he heads. According to a October 7th New York Daily News piece that bears Dolan's byline, 170 "victims" have, thus far, come forward to report abuse by 40 priests. Anyone who has followed this crisis knows that those numbers are very low. Still, the formation of the IRCP may be a first step in the right direction. But it must be a first step, not an endpoint.
Dolan described this new program as one formed with the of Pope Francis I's "Year of Mercy" in mind (The Year of Mercy comes to a close on November 20th, at the end of liturgical calendar year). Certainly Dolan's program has the potential to extend both mercy and relief to so many who have suffered at the hands of predator priests--New York's cardinal appears to be interested in showing increased empathy. That is good. His effort to develop a program for hearing and examining these claims, and plan to award just damages where appropriate, is not nothing. It's a start, but Dolan must do more.
Survivors need more, and Dolan himself needs more if he wants to demonstrate good faith in this effort. He has a poor track record when it comes to responding to the cries of those who suffered, as children, at the hands of predator priests. While archbishop of Milwaukee (2002-2009) Timothy Dolan was credibly accused of hiding diocese money to insulate it from seizure in clerical sex abuse cases. His Milwaukee diocese went bankrupt two years after he departed it. He has been accused of paying predator priests to disappear, has strenuously opposed New York's Child Victims Act in all of its iterations, and he has joined forces with the lunatic Catholic fringe to publicly degrade victims traumatized by sexual abuse by Catholic clerics.
The 2015 film Spotlight -- which had to have left the cardinal feeling jittery -- has been out for a little over a year.
Read "Cardinal Dolan's Year of Mercy Plan to Address Clergy Sex Abuse Crimes in NY Archdiocese" on IndieTheology.