Publication Gay City News is reporting that the New York State Catholic Conference, a group that lobbies on behalf of the Empire State’s Catholic Bishops, spent more cash lobbying to protect priests accused of pedophilia than against the recently passed Marriage Equality bill.
Duncan Osbourne, the article’s author, even managed to get a nice quote from the conference’s spokesman- though something tells me he didn’t disclose who he works for. (You know how hard it must be to get a quote from Catholic Bishops when you work for a organization called Gay City News???)
According to Gay City, “reports filed with the state agency that regulates lobbyists show that the bishops spent far more money lobbying against bills extending the statute of limitations for bringing civil lawsuits or criminal cases for sex crimes against children.”
Here’s the breakdown:
Collectively, the Conference paid… just over $111,000 in fees and expenses. The firms lobbied the governor, the State Senate, and the Assembly. The Church is concerned with limiting its financial liability in lawsuits resulting from allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests.
Richard Barnes, the executive director of the Conference, lobbied… at a cost of just over $5,800 in January and February.
In March and April, Barnes lobbied… at a cost of nearly $34,000. Of that cash, just under $27,000 was spent on a one-day forum the Conference produced to discuss a variety of issues.
As of July 18, the Conference’s report for May and June was not in the Commission’s online database. Dennis Poust, the spokesman for the Conference, said the lobbying costs for those two months were similar to those reported for the first four months of 2011.
“It would be consistent,” said Poust who otherwise declined to comment. “There won’t be a big spike.”
In the article, reporter Duncan Osbourne comes to the logical conclusion that the Catholic Conference knew the battle for same-sex marriage in New York State was a lost cause and decided to spend its money accordingly.
Now about those pedophile priests…
To our readers, how do you feel about the Church trying to insulate itself from the consequences of sexual abuse by its priests here in New York? Are the bishops merely practicing self preservation or does this go too far?
And to my fellow Catholics, will this news affect the relationship between you and your local parish? And if so, how?