Sunday, 23 October 2016


Catholic Church spent $2M on lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform


ALBANY — Not leaving it to divine chance, the state Catholic Conference has turned in recent years to some of Albany’s most well-connected and influential lobby firms to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.

The Catholic Conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.

All told, the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015, state records show. That does not include the conference’s own internal lobbying team.
Filings show the lobbyists were retained, in part, to work on issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.” Other issues included parochial school funding and investment tax credits.
 “They are willing to spend limitless money in order to basically keep bad guys from being accountable for their actions,” said Melanie Blow, chief operations officer of the Stop Abuse Campaign. “I think they’re doing it because they don’t want to have to pay out settlements.”

Added Kathryn Robb, an advocate and survivor who says she was abused by her brother as a 9-year-old: “If they need to spend that much money on lobbying, clearly, then, they have some pretty big secrets to hide.”

While a far cry from the millions in lobbying top special interests spend in Albany each year, advocates for child sex abuse survivors say the $2.1 million spent likely represents a worthwhile investment to the Catholic Conference if it can continue to block legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sex abuse civil cases and open a one-year window to bring lawsuits for victims who can no longer sue under current law.
The Catholic Conference has argued that opening a one-year window to revive old cases could ultimately bankrupt the Church.
The firms the Catholic Conference chose is also telling.
Wilson Elser has long been Albany’s biggest lobbying firm. The firm represented the Catholic Conference from at least 2007 through the end of 2015 and was paid more than $1 million during that time, according to online filings with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Hank Sheinkopf 

After several key people either left the firm or reduced their responsibilities, the Church did not renew the contract with Wilson Elser for 2016, sources said.
Wilson Elser, which was being paid $10,000 a month by the Catholic Conference, had no comment.In its place, state records show, the Catholic Conference hired another prominent firm, Greenberg Traurig, which it is paying $6,000-a-month. The lobbyist from the firm representing the Church is Michael Murphy, who used to be an assistant counsel for the Senate Republicans.
The Senate GOP opposes the one-year “lookback” window that Democrats are calling for.
The Catholic Church, some Orthodox Jewish groups, and other private entities oppose legislation by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) and Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) that would eliminate the time limit that prohibits adults who were victimized as children from bringing civil cases after their 23rd birthdays.

Another top firm, Patricia Lynch & Associates, whose namesake had close ties to now disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by the Catholic Conference in 2009. Lynch’s firm for many years was ranked in the top 3 of well-paid lobbyists.

Lynch’s hiring by the Catholic Conference came after the Assembly passed different versions of the Child Victims Act four times from 2006 to 2008. The measure never came up again for a vote after Lynch was hired.
 “Once Ms. Lynch lobbied for the Catholic Conference, Mr. Silver’s support for our bill ended, and the bill did not come out of the Assembly’s Codes Committee ... which as speaker, he controlled,” John Aretakis, a former lawyer and an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, wrote in a scathing letter recently to a judge handling Silver's recent criminal sentencing.

State lobbying records show the firm’s contract with the Catholic Conference was terminated earlier this year, not long after Lynch was outed in court papers as having had an affair with Silver.
Silver was sentenced earlier this month to 12 years in prison after his conviction on federal corruption charges.
Lynch, whose firm was being paid $7,500-a-month, would only say her contract with the Catholic Conference was ended by “mutual consent.”
Sheinkopf, meanwhile, has had close ties with Gov. Cuomo, the former leadership of the Senate Democrats when they were in control of the chamber, and even the Senate Republicans.
Like the others who were hired by the Catholic Conference, he would not discuss the specifics about what he does for the $5,000-a-month he is being paid.
“They like me,” he said. “They think I’m smart.”
In an email, Catholic Conference spokesman Dennis Poust wouldn’t comment directly on his organization’s lobbying efforts. He also would not comment on the reasoning behind why specific lobbying firms were chosen.
 “The Catholic Conference lobbies on many issues, from assisted suicide to farm worker rights to school choice to criminal justice reform,” Poust said.
He said the conference’s lobbying activity is in full compliance with the law and is reported, as required, to the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

“As such it is all a matter of public record,” Poust said. “We have no further comment beyond that.”


Its horrific enough when the Church ignores victims and tries to cover up abuse.

But imagine the Church - and a cardinal spending $2 million to lobby against laws that will militate against victims getting justice !!!

This SHOWS CLEARLY that all the empty talk about the Church having "learned lessons from the past" is just hot air.

I wonder how much effort and money is used in Ireland to:

Cover up for Maynooth and other seminaries in the past?

Cover up for bishops and priests who do and have done all kinds of wrong?

Don't believe them when they say that they have learned from the past.

They are saying that to put you off their trail so that they can return to their dark corners to continue their old ways and to plan new schemes.



  1. Lack of belief extends beyond the homosexual set within the Church (though I am certain that it has a strong hold among them). Someone I know in Ireland (an ex-religious who was asked to leave the order because he was 'too pious'!) goes to daily Mass and couldn't get to his own church during the week so went to one on his route to work. He attended for several months (just him, a guy in his forties, and several old ladies). One day the priest caught up with him on his way out and asked if he had time for a chat. They went to the presbytery for coffee. The priest asked him why he came to his church every weekday. The man thought that he was asking why he wasn't there on Sundays and on the parish register and explained. The priest said, 'No I am wondering why anyone would attend Mass every day'. My friend explained that he wanted the strength and graces available from the Mass to see him through each day. The priest said, 'So you believe all this stuff?' 'I certainly do', he said, 'Don't you?'. 'Not for years' was the reply 'But it's too late to do anything else'. I wonder what kind of homilies that priest gives?

    Another friend was in Lourdes and came across an English bishop who was very friendly and chatty and he was very impressed with him. At the end of the conversation the bishop said, 'So you're here because you actually believe the story about Our Lady appearing?' Said in a tone that clearly indicated that he didn't (he was shortly thereafter exposed in the press by an irate husband, resigned his diocese and has 'gone off the radar'). It's a mess and lack of belief by seminarians, priest and bishops is a major source of the rot. If they did believe, they would leave because they would know that the consequences of staying are (in eternal terms) too horrible to contemplate.

  2. E L I can see where you are coming from. Traditional church is an'army' type system. Cause and effect. Spirituality could be an optional extra.Furstrated clerics left with no support or hope. Pat can you get your hands on any of the old penitentiaries. The list of sins and penances pre vat 2. Would give an interesting insight I think. Perhaps divesting the church of cash might be the penance they need

  3. The trouble is if you dont believe but you choosevto live a comfortable bachelourhood in the clerical state you don't believe in eternal consequences.

    A friend of mine was a Dublin seminarian. He joined a social group of priests from there who met weekly. He was horrified when told that what united them was that they didn't believe but enjoyed the lifestyle. There was a dozen priests there that day!

    It really is the ultimate boys club.

  4. 10.30 I believe you also are right. Church encourages boys clubs for whatever reason. I cultivated friendships outside of church for my sanity. This exposed me to the real world but what the heck..

  5. MourneManMichael23 October 2016 at 13:13

    EL's comment and that @ 10:30 above combine with the many revelations of these blogs to support my belief for many years, to the effect that a very significant proportion of RC clerics do not believe in the tenets of the RC church, and additionally among those, are many who do not believe in the existence of a god nor of an afterlife.
    I can find no other satisfactory explanation for patterns of repetitive wrongdoing both historically and presently.

  6. MMM Got it in 1. Historical abuse going back to middle ages has used the fear of God to control and manipulate people and governments. Many clergy over time got no help from above so the cancer was bound to spread. We arrive at today. I've been saying for a long time we need a modern Reformation

    1. The thing is, in the actual Reformation itself, to solidify the power of the new Churches and their clergy, the Devil became even more powerful and all pervading and the number of the saved dropped.Fear has always been necessary to cement power and discipline the people.

    2. Fear was a powerful weapon in the past Sadly some of the old conditioning still remains in force. As to who is saved and who is not I would refer to the concept of Church visible and church invisible. Also the final judgement remains with God.

  7. "The road to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops and priests" (St John Chrysostom).

  8. The irony that Catholic failure is the basis of Islam, Founded on the basis that 'infidel' Christians failed to carry the word of God authentically. Not that I agree with Islam, but the Catholic church remains faithful today to its own failures rather than its own teachings. Today people turn to secularism, capitalism, a host of spiritual organisations and many a hedonistic pleasure. And sure what's the point of being catholic if the leaders can't be catholic?

    Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach - the first promise of every priest.

    God have mercy on us.

  9. Perhaps the following promise should be made by every new bishop on the day of his installation. " I hereby promise that I will do all in my power to enhance and protect the finances and church assets in my diocese. I will see that only when required will I publish accounts and only in abbreviated form with little transparency.I will also cover up to the best of my ability any abuses, wrong doing, illicit relationships or other serious shortcoming by the members of my presbyterate. I will also subdue any clergy who have more talent than me or who are seen to be too popular. In my role as bishop I will become totally subservient to the will of my nuncio. The pastoral care of souls and proclamation of the gospel I will leave to others so help me God ......who's God? "
    Episcopal watcher

    1. 18.20
      Sad, very sad sense of humour!

  10. But it is so true to form,Sam, reading this usa stuff is truly very sad.

  11. "...ignores victims'. Can we stop right there! If I were accused of something and the person accusing me was being described as a 'victim' when I was innocent, I would already have been found guilty. In the US the 'victims' receive around $100,000 a case from the Church. Lawyers trail around US gaols pointing out the profit to be made (not least to themselves) for an accusation of sexual assault against a Catholic priest. It doesn't work for protestant ministers or Jewish rabbis, who are considered employees of their local congregation (and who therefore have minimal funds to pay accusers), it doesn't work in the school system as the local and federal governments are excused liability for the misdeeds of guilty teachers (of which there are very many). The money only comes by accusing a Catholic priest. This proposed legislation was aimed solely at Catholic priests.
    One priest, accused of assaulting a man in his late teens, declined a plea bargain of 2-3 years and pleaded not guilty against legal advice and received a sentence of from 33 to 67 years. Subsequently the diocese settled with other accusers without asking for any evidence whatever that had ever even met him and who he denied knowing at all. There have certainly been many genuine victims but there is also a well oiled gravy-train aimed solely at the Church without any concern as to truth, not forgetting the inconvenient but highly necessary 'presumption of innocence'.

  12. I do, agree that the USA stuff is unconscionable - I do , nevertheless, find some peoples' humour somewhat sick!

  13. Great to see cardinal Archbishop Timothy Dolan joining Hillary Clinton for dinner. They look like great friends. On a business level they share so many values. On a religious level he has had zero impact, but that's OK because the church gets richer and abortions get quicker.

  14. @23.41
    if the Catholic Church had dealt with complaints honourably when they arose it might have found itself in a better position today, and with fewer complaints.

    They reap what they have sow, and sadly some good men are now part of the collatoral damage. There is no excuse for their suffering, but the Church has a massive responsibility for its position.

  15. It seems the Church needs to reform. As Tradition is so important in Church teaching, no better result can be accomplished than by reverting to the following traditions that were displaced only after hundreds of years of supposed 'reforming':
    • No Church ownership of property
    • Would-be priests to be trained personally by bishops, no need for 'seminaries'
    • Bishops to be elected by the members of their diocese
    • Prior to ordination, candidate priests to be free to marry
    • Marriage/divorce after ordination means automatic laicisation
    • No homosexuals in the priesthood
    • Clear declaration that Pope, bishops, priests are subject to the civil laws
    • Canon law to be renamed 'Church regulations' because it is not a 'law'
    • Priests and bishops to be paid a uniform salary
    • Church schools and other facilities to be given to the state if it wants them
    • 'Practising' Catholics to tithe minimum 1% of their income to fund the Church
    Because the Church seems to grapple with what homosexuality means, this state of existence to be clarified: anyone who has ever had sex with a man is a homosexual. 'Sex' is not the Bill Clinton definition. It is the common sense definition that every adult person knows.
    Athlone Andy

  16. "anyone who has ever had sex with a man is a homosexual" -- quite untrue, of course.

    1. Correct at 09:43 and a mistake. Should have said 'any man'.
      Athlone Andy

  17. So why Andy would not allow homosexual
    men into the priesthood, is it because they not capbable of keeping the celibacy vow? in your opinion

    1. They may be able to keep the celibacy vow though I think that is doubtful because the nature of homosexuality is that it seeks expression for itself. But the reason I would not allow them into the priesthood is because homosexuality is incompatible with the nature of the priesthood which entails being a faithful follower of Christian teaching.
      Athlone Andy

  18. 00.26 I understood the dinner was provided by the church, sort of a tradition there
    Now who actually paid for the meal is questionable....working people
    What was annoying was all the pink/ red or is it purple fancy dress on the cardinal.
    A suit would have been more appropriate
    Have to add if those 3 are important people in truly is a sad world

  19. I have met Dolan on three ocassions. IMHO he has a real tinny rattle of him. Far far too sweet to be wholesome

  20. It shows on the tv dinner too
    Plus less dinners might be good

  21. Met Dolan many many times . He is an ultra Conservative. Loves the frills and lace and everything that goes with been a Cardinal. Comes across as friendly and sweet but is two faced. A
    Real true faithful Roman boy. Was more in the picture and decision making when Benedict was pope.

  22. is a good page and discusses how much collection money is stolen by priests and parish workers in American and how the bishops won't even bring in reasonable procedure to guard against theft. There is a book too called nonfeasance