Skylstad throws us under the bus

Skylstad throws us under the bus

Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, president of the USCCBureaucracy, facing numerous sex-abuse lawsuits and the prospect of diocesan bankruptcy proceedings agrees to settlement terms that completely surrender the diocese’s future and throws the rest of us under the bus.

The bottom line on the agreement is that 75 plaintiffs will get $46 million (less one-third for their lawyers). But what of the nonfinancial concessions? According to the New York Times:

The victims, Mr. Kosnoff said, are to be allowed to return to the parishes where they came into contact with their molesters and possibly face them, a provision that victims’ groups said appeared to be a first.

Unless the abusers are still serving those parishes in active ministry, who exactly are these victims going to confront? The parishioners? The priests who serve there now? The concessions also include an agreement to no longer call the victims “alleged” and to allow them to write about what happened to them in the diocesan newspaper. Even more surprising is the following:

Further, Mr. Kosnoff said, the bishop will lobby state lawmakers to abolish statutes of limitations on child sex crimes and will go to every parish where any plaintiff was abused, tell the parishioners that an abusive priest had ministered there and encourage them to report any suspicions of abuse.

As part of a settlement he’s going to lobby to have the state law changed to open up not just his own diocese, but every diocese in Washington to further lawsuits without end. And since he’s USCCB president, lawyer-lobbyists in other states, seeking the potential crack in the wall, will ask for similar laws, noting that if the USCCB president agrees with them then it must be okay (completely passing over the irrelevancy of the USCCB president’s office to the matter.)

And when all those lawsuits arrive from every possible 40-year-old claim, the alleged abuser having long been dead and gone and no possible defense possible, who gets the bill? Will Skylstad have to pay out of his own pocket? No. All the Catholics of Spokane and Seattle and Yakima will pay and pay and pay. Maybe they’ll have to sell off their churches and schools. They may end up with nothing. But Skylstad will have the moral satisfaction of having signed a settlement.

You could get no clearer indication that this is a bad move than that SNAP and VOTF both applaud it as a good move.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
12 comments
  • Can we conclude that there is a movement afoot to destroy the institutional Church in America now, or do we still have to await further evidence?

  • Thanks to weak, limp-wristed “shepherds” like this, we faithful Catholics may face a future of poverty and persecution. 

    Poverty because we will have less hospitals, churches, schools, chancery bureaucracies, and diminished means of supporting the poor after all of these legal sharks get their pound of flesh. 

    Persecution because more laws will be passed to make the dioceses “accountable” (which really means that dissenters will be able to second-guess internal Church decisions), increased media-driven cultural hostility, and more “hate crimes” legislation which will criminalize the teaching of the truths of our faith.

    It’s coming.  Just look at Canada, the European Union, and Massachusetts.

  • Of course the Church will survive.  The more critical question for those of us in the U.S. is will the Church survive here?  Is there a point at which Catholics will walk away in disgust?  When they see the money they contributed being given away to atone for these terrible offenses, will that be the end of their giving?

  • Don’t forget the Church not only Spiritual but Incarnational as well. Physical manifestations of the Faith cannot be dismissed as simply unimportant. Your talking about our visible patrimony, that serves to inspire a faithless world. Otherwise, why not just dispose of the creative incarnation of twenty centuries of Sacred Art and Architecture. After all, its only material! “It’s not really about real estate.”

    The parroted line, “The Church is not buildings” seeks to justify and minimize the visible destruction of the Church in the world. This attitude seems not to care about the generation that follows, to live only for the moment. If all our ancestors had the same attitude we would be worshiping on “Mass rocks” (at least the Irish amongst us). Maybe its back to the Catacombs, or better yet let’s return to a tent in the desert.

    To diminish the Church as only spiritual in many ways diminishes the importance of the Incarnational aspect of our Faith.

    Sorry, this touches a nerve. I’ll admit I’m an architect.

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