Archbishop Robert Carlson, Asshole of the Day for June 11, 2014
In presidential or other executive scandals where people in the administration committed a crime or may have crossed the line, one of the big questions is always what did the president know and when did he know it? The point being to determine whether the leader orchestrated it, allowed it, or was even aware.
Now the Catholic Church has a long running scandal of priests who raped children. Most priests were not involved, and many unaware, but some knew and the scandal aside from the crimes was the cover up and enabling it to continue. Bishops in particular often knew at some point it was going on and didn’t hand over the offenders to the police. And in many cases they moved the perpetrator to another parish or location without warning the people there about the allegations which allowed the priest to victimize more children. In the best case the bishop moved the perpetrator to a location where no children were present. Almost no priests were dismissed from the priesthood or turned over to authorities until the scandal became public.
So a question in that scandal was when did the bishop know about the abuse allegations, and what did they do about it. But in a deposition in St. Louis Archbishop Carlson tried the novel approach that he didn’t know whether child rape by the priests under his authority was a crime:
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson claimed to be uncertain that he knew sexual abuse of a child by a priest constituted a crime when he was auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to a deposition released Monday.
During the deposition taken last month, attorney Jeff Anderson asked Carlson whether he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.
“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson replied. “I understand today it’s a crime.”
Anderson went on to ask Carlson whether he knew in 1984, when he was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, that it was crime for a priest to engage in sex with a child.
“I’m not sure if I did or didn’t,” Carlson said.
Is there anyone who believes a bishop in 1984 was unaware that raping a child was a crime?
Bishops aren’t cloistered monks living off in the mountains spending all day in prayer. They are spiritual leaders and administrators in metropolitan areas, responsible not only for the churches, but also the schools and social programs. For the person at the very top of a large Catholic school system to pretend he didn’t know whether child rape was a crime, or isn’t sure whether he knew, just doesn’t pass the smell test. He’s lying.
And it’s not much of a consolation that he concedes he knows now that child rape is a crime.
So, for pretending he didn’t know child rape was against the law, Archbishop Carlson is the Asshole of the Day.
It is Archbishop Carlson’s first time as Asshole of the Day, though not the first Catholic bishop to be named. Previous bishops featured on the site include:
- Cardinal Dolan claimed that IUDs could be cheaply purchased at any 7-11 (they cost $500-1000)
- Archbishop Myers put a $500,000 expansion onto his retirement home
- Bishop Paprocki said gays must be treated like children
- Bishop Paprocki held an exorcism when gay marriage was legalized in Illinois
- Archbishop Michalik blamed the child for tempting priests into raping them
Full story: St. Louis Today
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