Johnson Can't Release Names of Pedophile Priests Because He Took Diocese Oath of Secrecy | WisCommunity

Johnson Can't Release Names of Pedophile Priests Because He Took Diocese Oath of Secrecy

In this campaign, there have been numerous glaring omissions by the media in their introduction of Ron Johnson to Wisconsin voters, but one of the biggest is that Johnson used to serve on the Green Bay Diocese's Finance Council. 

What is a Diocese Finance Council?  It's actually one of the most powerful entities within the Catholic Church:  By Canon Law, every diocese is required to have one, it has full control over the diocese's finances, and has the power to overrule the Diocese's Bishop on all issues related to the Church's finances. 

In recent years, Diocese Finance Councils have been in the news, because dealing with sex abuse lawsuits (as well as other lawsuits) is a financial issue and their responsibility. 

Here in Wisconsin, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has for years been trying to get the Green Bay Diocese Finance Council to release the names of pedophile priests that the church has acknowledged, via civil lawsuit settlements, are guilty of sexually assaulting children.

Johnson has said that the Diocese Finance Council should release the names, but the obvious question is why doesn't Johnson just release the names himself?  Answer:  He can't, because he took a double-pinky promise oath to the Green Bay Diocese that whatever happens in the Finance Council, stays in the Finance Council.

OK, double-pinky-promise isn't the official terminology. According to the religious scholar Sebastian Karambai, in his book Ministers and Ministries, members of the Finance Council are required to take an oath before they assume their office:

When s/he takes charge of his/her office, s/he is required by law to take an oath that s/he will uphold confidentiality and will be efficient in his/her performance. (c 1283.1)

So, give Johnson credit:  When he makes a double-pinky-promise he keeps it!  Even if it means that keeping such a promise puts thousands of Wisconsin children at risk.  (Tragically, the vast majority of these pedophiles that Johnson and the rest of the Finance Council should have dealt-with, are still on the street.) 

Most reporters are dismissing this story as bombastic sensationalism the month before an election, but the reality is that Ron Johnson served on a Green Bay Finance Council that hides and protects the the identies of pedophiles, and Ron Johnson is the one that decided to enter public life months before an election.  If this isn't a relevent issue, I don't know what is-- and if Feingold has to answer for his record-- why shouldn't Johnson?

At a minimum, the media should at least ask him something abot the Finance Council.  They don't even have to ask him about the sex abuse lawsuits. The Finance Council also requires that an oath be taken to obey and uphold Canon Law... maybe... they could ask him about that?  Like... does he still agree with the Church's extreme stance on birth control, for example?

I know, I know silly, silly, silly hypotheticals I'm posing here.




October 4, 2010 - 3:46pm