“I think the bishops have worked to protect the church over doing justice,” he said. “They compounded the problem by covering it up and not taking responsibility . . . I don’t think I’m against the Catholic Church. I think the bishops may have a different position than the pope, and I’m with the pope.”
In response, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York told the television show Fox & Friends that “we have a governor that takes quotes from Pope Francis out of context to draw lines between bishops of New York and the Holy Father himself.”
Poust told CNA he was “puzzled” by the Cuomo’s comments.
“Previous versions of the bill sought to shield public institutions, which would have treated abuse survivors differently depending on where they suffered their abuse. Thankfully, the bill’s sponsors amended this, and the conference dropped any opposition to its passage,” Poust said.
“Why the governor has doubled, or even tripled down on his criticisms of the Church in recent days I couldn’t say for sure, though I would note he shared our reservations on previous versions of the bill until recently.”
“In the wake of recent abortion legislation, the governor seems to think the Church is a useful common enemy to have with some legislators.”
The bishops’ statement said that “sadly, we in the Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors, their families, and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in New York has taken important steps to support survivors of child sexual abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and compensation programs.”
“We are proud that these pioneering programs have not only helped well more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse in New York, but have also become a model for how to help survivors in other states and in other institutions,” the bishops wrote.
Poust told CNA that "it’s truly unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo continues to portray the social issue of child sexual abuse as a Catholic-only problem. Thankfully, the legislature and victim advocates understand this is not the case.”