In a blustery, half-hour talk that opened this year's SNAP conference in Chicago, Dominican priest and celebrity expert witness for contingency lawyers Fr. Thomas Doyle reiterated his contempt for the Catholic Church, according to sources present.
In a talk about the clergy scandals entitled, "1982 to 2012: Thirty years – What's changed, and what hasn't," Doyle did acknowledge that "there has been a lot of positive change" and "children are safer." But despite the unprecedented efforts that the Catholic Church has undertaken to protect kids, Doyle has still somehow concluded that the bishops' approach to victims has "gotten worse."
Fr. Doyle's most eye-opening remarks, however, came during a Q&A period following his talk, when Doyle essentially conceded that he is really not even Catholic.
Although he said he was still "legally a priest," he freely acknowledged that he has "nothing to do with the Catholic Church" and "nothing to do with the clerical life."
He added that he is "not associated with the Church in any way," he operates on his own, and his beliefs are "about as far away from the Vatican as you can get."
When Fr. Doyle was ordained to the priesthood, he took a vow of obedience to the Catholic Church and to his order (the Dominicans). Sadly, if he were ever serious in his vows, it appears that he has now renounced them.
Laying into the bishops
Much of Doyle's talk was aimed at the nation's bishops, whom he accused of displaying a "disdain for the victims." He also accused bishops of "slandering" victims and trying to gain a "semblance of superiority" over them.
He claimed the bishops' assault on victims is aided by The Catholic League's Bill Donohue and other defenders of the Church, who have supposedly "defamed" leaders of SNAP. Yet he provided no specific examples of this alleged "defamation."
Wobbly on the facts
Doyle also asserted that the Church subjects victims to "embarrassing, humiliating, and victimizing treatment."
What Doyle apparently meant by this is that bishops have recently been opposing numerous states' efforts to lift the statutes of limitations for civil lawsuits, which would allow accusers to sue the Catholic Church for abuse committed 40, 50 or even 60 years ago, long after memories have faded, evidence has been destroyed, and often after the accused has died.
But Doyle failed to mention that these legislative efforts to lift such statutes are aimed squarely at the Catholic Church, as they explicitly exempt public schools from such legislation, even though massive abuse and cover-ups are happening in our public schools today.
Doyle even faulted the bishops for actually spending money and resources on defense attorneys, as if the Church does not even have the right to defend itself in court.
Much of Doyle's tempestuous presentation was a rant against the purported "power structure" of the Catholic Church (which was met by approving applause by the audience). He asserted that the scandals were not really about the abuse of children, but "ecclesiastical power" and "a radical misunderstanding of the meaning of the concept of Church."
Doyle has long worked as a professional witness for contingency lawyers suing the Catholic Church. However, from Doyle's own words, one can conclude that his work on behalf of lawyers is not merely an effort for accusers to gain monetary settlements for past abuse, but also an attempt to punish an institution for which he has a profound distaste and animus.
Doyle's efforts obviously mesh well with the anti-Catholic ventures at SNAP.