(CBS News) Calling the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal “hideous” and “nauseating,” New York’s Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan says the scandal “needs to haunt” the church for some time to come.
In the wide-ranging interview, Dolan also discusses his past role as the archbishop of Milwaukee, his current mission and the state of the church in America with “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer. The profile of the leader of New York City’s two-million-plus Roman Catholics will be broadcast Sunday, March 20 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
Asked if he feared the impact of the scandal would go on forever, Dolan replies, “In some ways, I don’t want it to be over, because…this was such a crisis in the Catholic Church that in a way, we don’t want to get over it too easily,” he tells Safer. “This needs to haunt us.”
Dolan defended the church’s recent response to the sex abuse crisis, but the deeds themselves and the decades-long cover-up are hard for him to bear or understand. “When you think of what happened, both…that a man who proposes to act in the name of God would’ve abused an innocent young person,” says Dolan. “And that some bishops would have, in a way, countenanced that by reassigning abusers, that’s nothing less than hideous. That’s nothing less than nauseating,” he says.
Then Safer points out that many believe the cover-up was worse than the abuse. “I’d say there’s some truth in that, you’d think that the church of all would know better,” answers Dolan.
The archbishop was tasked with airing out the child sex abuse scandal in Milwaukee, where he replaced an archbishop who stepped down over his own sex scandal. Dolan published the names of 43 abusive priests. He recalls the times he spent with victims and their families.
“Those were some of the more difficult, wrenching, touching moments in my life,” he tells Safer. “Some of them were terribly painful and did not go well. Others I remember with gratitude. Praying together, crying together,” he says, “Those were very powerful moments that you don’t forget.”
To hear Safer’s impressions of the archbishop and more about the interview, go to 60MinutesOvertime.com on Sunday.