NEW YORK — New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in a Sirius XM broadcast Jan. 29 criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his “stinging criticism of the Catholic Church” in singling out Catholics over the crisis surrounding the sexual abuse of minors.”
“He really caricatured the Church and only the Church, singling it out for the sexual abuse of minors and contesting that we were the ones that had blocked the Child Victims Act,” Cardinal Dolan told Father Dave Dwyer, co-host of “Conversation With Cardinal Dolan,” which airs every Tuesday afternoon on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel.
“And then misquoting, taking out of context, Pope Francis, and to flaunt his dissent from established Church teaching and to use all that as an applause line,” the cardinal said of the governor.
He was referring to Cuomo’s State of the State address in which he cited his own Catholic faith and Pope Francis and at the same time emphasized his full backing of a bill — now signed into law — to radically expand abortion access in the state. Cuomo also criticized the state’s Catholic bishops for their earlier opposition to the Child Victims Act, also now a law.
The new law makes it easier for abuse victim-survivors to sue. The bishops did support the final measure because it included both private and public institutions. Earlier versions only targeted the Church.
Cuomo also criticized the Catholic bishops in a news conference and radio interview Jan. 28 claiming that despite the teachings of Christ about “truth and justice,” the bishops resisted justice for victims and had worked to protect the Church over doing justice.”“I found that very hurtful, I found that very disappointing and most of all I found it terribly inaccurate,” Cardinal Dolan told Father Dwyer according to a transcript of the show provided by Sirius XM.
He said he had not watched Cuomo’s address live and when he watched a videotape of it, he thought someone was imitating the governor, because he couldn’t believe his “stinging criticism.”
“Now we know and he knows that if you want to talk about sexual abuse of minors, you’re talking about families, foster care programs, public schools,” Cardinal Dolan said. “You’re talking about organizations, every religion, you’re talking about public schools, it is a societal, cultural problem. There is no occupation that is freed from it.”
The U.S. Catholic Church “is no greater (an) offender than anybody else. In fact, some of the statistics would say that priestly abuse among minors is less than other professions,” the cardinal said. “Now he knows that, he knows that, and yet he singled out the Catholic Church and continues to do so for negligence in this terribly important area.”
He explained that bishops of the state had first been against the Child Victims Act because it exclusively focused on the Church, but that the bishops and their policy people worked with the lawmakers to get an acceptable bill.
It raises the statutes of limitations and creates a one-year “look-back window” to allow adults abused as children to file claims no matter how long ago they said the abuse occurred.
Cardinal Dolan also expanded on the Catholic Church’s opposition to what he called the “ghoulish” Reproductive Health Act, signed into law by Cuomo Jan. 22. “It’s not an issue of the catechism, (abortion is) an issue of civil rights.”
“To talk about the fact that a baby born alive who survives an abortion, the doctor’s under no legal … expectation to save that baby’s life,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Now, a doctor isn’t even necessary. I thought this was supposed to be about women’s health. Conscience rights of people who oppose it, that it can be done right up to the moment of birth. This is hideous. All right? And, this isn’t a Catholic issue.”
He added that not only was such a “ghoulish law” passed, but “then to celebrate it. … to have parties, to light up the Twin Towers here. Twin Towers, by the way, have you heard? Twin Towers is right at the site of 9/11.”
He was referring to Cuomo ordering that the needle atop the One World Trade Center — the tallest building in the United States — be lit pink in celebration of the new law.
N.Y. raises statute of limitations for abuse lawsuits, creates ‘look-back’ window
By Emily Benson | Catholic News Service
ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act into law Jan. 28.
Catholic Church in the state had removed its opposition to the Child
Victims Act, or CVA, after the Legislature a week earlier expanded the
retroactive window to include both private and public institutions,
noting that the support for all victims — regardless of where the abuse
occurred — had been a critical reason the bishops could not support past
versions of the bill.
The Senate passed the act unanimously, while the Assembly voted 130-3 in favor of the measure.
raises the statutes of limitations and creates a one-year “look-back
window” to allow adults abused as children to file claims no matter how
long ago they said the abuse occurred.
“I hope this brings some
measure of relief and comfort to those who can make use of the CVA’s
provisions to seek justice and healing,” Albany Bishop Edward B.
Scharfenberger wrote in a statement on the passage of the legislation.
efforts at education, prevention and restorative justice must continue
as we accompany all survivors and many others in our community who have
been wounded by the incidence of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable
adults,” he said.
New York state’s bishops wrote in a statement
issued by the New York State Catholic Conference: “Sadly, we in the
Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors,
their families, and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in
New York has taken important steps to support survivors of child sexual
abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and compensation
It added, “We are proud that these pioneering programs
have not only helped well more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse
in New York, but have also become a model for how to help survivors in
other states and in other institutions.”
The Child Victims Act
will raise the statute of limitations for individuals to bring civil
claims related to child sexual abuse from ages 23 to 55. Previously, New
York state’s statute of limitations for child sexual abuse was among
the most restrictive in the nation.
The Child Victims Act also
creates a one-time “look-back” window of one year’s duration during
which adults who were abused as children may file claims, no matter how
long ago the abuse allegedly occurred. This one-year window will open in
six months, waiving the state’s civil statute of limitations so that
such claims can be made.
The state’s Catholic bishops had opposed
previous versions of the look-back provision because those bills would
have permitted cases of long-ago abuse to be brought only against