Diocese Files for Bankruptcy Due to Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

Slightly loaded language with “protect itself’ when used in this particular situation.

A diocese is much more than the admins who run it. It is also all the Faithful.

So what exactly is being protected here? The reputation of “the diocese AKA the clergy”? Nope. The ‘big pockets’ of the Church? Nope. How about the ‘little pockets’ of the faithful?

Mind you, I don’t grudge settlements to people who were abused. Not at all. Money cannot restore innocence but it can help pay for therapy and help for the abused. We get that. We’re all for it.

At the same time, a majority of people who actually did the abuse and even ‘covered’ for it are dead and gone. They cannot give restitution. And a HUGE majority of people in a given diocese have absolutely nothing to do with abuse, have never abused, have fought for abuse rights, have fought to keep the churches going, the schools going, funded the groups to fight abortion, to help pregnant women, to feed the hungry, find jobs, etc. All these things which are part of what makes up that diocese.

If there is no bankruptcy, as I understand it (and I’m no accountant), what happens is that as the plaintiffs come forward and are awarded settlements, the Church ‘pays out’ until it is drained. And if there are more plaintiffs than money, some get ‘all’ and others get ‘none.’ Whereas with bankruptcy, all plaintiffs will get ‘some’ and the assets of the diocese such as the churches, schools (which pay salaries to teachers and support), programs to help the poor, etc., manage to stay afloat instead of being gutted and eliminated to pay off plaintiffs.

To me that seems like a responsible way to help make restitution to victims and to protect innocents.

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My diocese required all parishes to register as separate non-profit corporations. The diocese has no financial interest or assets at the parish level.

Also, I believe that when the annual charity appeal is run, they promise that none of those donations will be used to settle abuse lawsuits. I believe a separate fund is established for that purpose.

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