Spokane parishes asked to pay for settlements

How much worse can it get? The Diocese of Spokane is asking parishes to raise $10 million toward legal settlements for clergy sex-abuse. That’s got to be a tough sell.

The diocese declared bankruptcy because of the lawsuits and now must pay $48 million to victims in 177 claims of abuse. Now $10 million falls on the the 95,000 parishioners and 82 parishes. That’s $105 per person or $121,951 per parish on average. That’s over and above what the diocese itself has to raise. The diocese needs to come up with $6 million; independent Catholic agencies like Catholic Charities and children’s homes need to give another $6.5 million. Insurance will cover the rest.

Think of all the corporal works of mercy that could be accomplished with that money, the children that could be served, the poor that could be helped. Think of all the capital improvements that could be made in parishes, the ministries that won’t happen.

Some parishioners are angry at Skylstad for taking the diocese into bankruptcy, while others balk at paying bankruptcy lawyer fees. Still others question why they should pay for priests who molested children decades ago in other parishes, Borchardt said. The pastor has evoked the parable of the good Samaritan, who stopped to help a man who had been beaten and robbed as others looked the other way.

If the Devil were looking for a way to seriously undermine the work of the Church in the world, he couldn’t have found a better way. In one fell swoop, he undermines the confidence in the priesthood and bishops and then strips parishes and charitable agencies of badly needed funds to do the good work of worshipping the Lord, forming the people in faith, and carrying out the corporal works of mercy.

It truly is the butcher’s bill.

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