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The Archdiocese of New York IRCP Was Never a Righteous Effort

Cardinal Dolan’s messaging to his congregation around the Archdiocese of New York’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) was one of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. But behind closed doors, Dolan’s message to attorneys, administrators, and political lobbyists was one of self-preservation, persuasion, and intimidation.

As noted in an article released today by ABC News Cardinal Dolan, while speaking to Catholic New York in 2016, dismissed the suggestion that the IRCP was an effort to win political favor in Albany and instead claims he believed, “The IRCP is the right thing to do.” Right for who? The thousands of survivors in New York or the hierarchy of the Catholic Church of New York (with Cardinal Dolan seat at the top)?

The same article details a recently-leaked transcript of a phone call involving attorney Kenneth Feinberg, whose firm administrated the IRCP for the Archdiocese of New York, which clearly illustrates that Cardinal Dolan’s intentions behind the IRCP were less than righteous. In fact, it reveals that Dolan did not want to reconcile the harm the Church has done at all. Instead, according to Feinberg, Dolan had to “bite the bullet” and go along with the program.

The IRCP was never a righteous effort on behalf of the Church to take responsibility for the many lives affected by decades of clergy sexual abuse of minors. As Feinberg reveals, it was a plan pushed down from the top of the Catholic Church hierarchy; a plan build on political persuasion, self-interest, and survivor intimidation. All of it hidden behind the leering mask of good faith, transparency and reconciliation…at a discount.