As a practicing Catholic, fellow parishioners are deeply concerned their sacrificial tithes and offerings might be going towards attorney’s fees and court costs. Is anyone else hearing this subject discussed within their parish community…?
Considering the US Catholic Church has already lost an estimated 3 billion dollars to abuse settlements, it should be an issue. The unfortunate fact is that the US, and some other countries, have had a number of bishops of lax orthodoxy, judgment, and morals. Another unfortunate fact is that many powerful Catholics outside the US resent the US Church, and want to see it taken down several notches.
there is a fund running for Cardinal Pell’s defence here, and one running for the case of his accusers.
I realized years ago that I couldn’t in good conscience contribute to the RCC diocese, as I was effectively, dollar for dollar, increasing the settlement pot rather than the operation of the diocese or charity.
I am a bankruptcy attorney.
The reality is that each diocese that hasn’t settled will be settling for the value of the assets, whether inside or outside of bankruptcy court.
What needs to happen is to have new legal entities formed, and for us to only donate to the new entities, which will start buying the assets (churches, schools, whathaveyou) of the existing entities.
In almost all cases, the bishop is the diocese, and literally owns every last scrap of building and land. Going forward, each parish and school, and each endowment for tuition for children of a parish, should be a separate entity, even though the bishop will be the trustee of each.
Yes and Cardinal Pell’s fund was advertised in the Catholic Weekly, seeking donations.
So I guess from the tenor and tone of this thread, that the Church, as represented by the diocese or archdiocese, should be abandoned to its fate and we should all just walk away.
That really sounds like charity in action.
Christ didn’t abandon the Apostles - and in particular, Peter and Judas - when they sinned and denied him. And I don’t see any accounts of the other apostles abandoning either (judas took himself out, but Peter didn’t).
We - all of us - are the Church. It is not some ephemeral idea floating around in space; we are, each and all of us, a part of the Church. And we - each and every one of us - are responsible for our brothers, be they saints or the most wretched of sinners.
Out of evil, God can bring goodness. Part of that goodness is we - all of us - facing our sinfulness and dealing with the consequences of that sin. Just because most of us have not committed sins for which the Church must pay settlements does not relieve us of the responsibility of settling those debts.
Another part of that goodness which God can bring about is taking action to see that children are protected - a point well missed in the past. Bishops hopefully have learned by now that the children are not to blame for the sexual abuse of their priests (a point totally missed several decades ago when bishops turned victims into even greater victims). And policies set in place have provided protection to children; it is not as if this has had no positive results to that diocese some seem to want to abandon.
Do we purify the priesthood by giving tons of money to our dioceses to be used to pay off abuse victims, probably not as much as we do by praying for our priests on a daily basis. All our priests, the ones that have abused innocents, and the ones that have been lied about, and maligned.
I am speaking as an abuse victim myself. Quite frankly I dont care if someone doubts I was abused or not. I know what happened to me and so does god, and I have no intentions to do anything expect speak in love about my experience and how I overcame it.
The church is suffering in more ways than one because of the finances going to those the church is settling with. Not everyone has been telling the truth, and I am certain some of these accusers were liars.
People will always take advantage of others. I had an ex friend of mine start a vicious rumor at church that I was having an affair with the former pastor of my church. I knew that speaking about it, coming forward, writing a letter to the bishop, and telling him that it was a rumor and nothing ever happened would not help my already bad reputation. I did not care. I did what I needed to do. I did the right thing. I did the moral thing. I even went against my families wishes and my personal desires to see this priests reputation ruined for hurt he personally caused me with his words.
Some times it is not easy to do the right thing, this is my point here. We know we should be supporting our church, even in the midst of the scandals, she is the Church of Christ, founded by Jesus, his firm rock, and even with the tests of this generation, the gates of hell will not prevail against her.
Very good point. And the laity cannot abandon the church, unless the vast majority couldn’t care if the Catholic Church in the United States continues to exist.
docHawk makes a good point about creating new financial structures. It would be a good thing if the bishops, as a sign of faith with their congregations, instituted such financial vehicles. Dioceses have already filed bankruptcy and creditors (the abuse victims and their lawyers among other) have recourse to the assets of those dioceses. Some financial protections need to be put in place to reassure the people in the pews, that they are simply working to pay off the sins of the past.
I’ll note that my Eastern Catholic eparchy is moving in this direction.
Maybe I’m FAR off in left field on this but I ALWAYS thought that cash settlements should never be handed to anyone who is a victim of abuse. NOW WAIT------Don’t fall off your chair yet. I believe instead of cash settlements being handed over that all therapy, counseling and support help that the abused need should be paid for by the Church. In other words even if you go to therapy every day 5 times a day for the rest of your life for this if you have to, the bills go directly to the Church. To me that is a better solution. Throwing money at somebody who has been abused doesn’t solve their problem. Only through proper therapy, counseling and other ways can they be helped. Is this just me being too simplistic bout the way to help those abused.
I agree they need to set up legal defense funds so that the parishoners aren’t the ones paying for the settlements. Churches/schools shouldn’t have to close their doors over this.
Anyone who donates to the Church when the Church is not audited by outside and public firms with a full view of the finances is foolish. Very few people even know where their parish money goes to.
I think a lot more people know than you believe. Parish financial records are open in many parishes and I’ve even been in parishes that once a year provide a full accounting of all monies spent in balance sheet form in the church bulletin.
And given the troubles of the church over the past couple decades, if you can go to Mass on Sunday, celebrated by an ordained Catholic priest, receive the Eucharist, and the other sacraments, and be warm in the winter and cool in the Summer, thank the Church instead of throwing mud. Somebody’s doing something right.
Yep ours does that. Every penny is accounted for.
This information is published weekly in my parish’s bulletin.
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