Blogger note: At this point I consider myself barely catholic, I have been lied too so much about the Catholic Church priest abuse scandal.
About a week ago I was watching my nightly local news program, I was killing time before bed yet what I saw caused nightmares. A very somber Northern CA Bishop Jaime Soto was giving an interview about how the diocese (ruling group for an area of churches) is out of insurance money to pay liability claims arising from the sex abuse scandal. They will be needing to monetize (sell) assets and liquidate funds to cover costs. This interview was in response to a change in the law regarding the statute of limitations regarding the church sex abuse scandal.
The Statute of Limitations (SOL) has to do with how far back you can go to bring claims against someone/corporation. Typically the time frame is about 3-5 years. This is to prevent lawsuits decades later/after the perpetrator is dead. Note: If any sexual abuse happened to a victim under the age of 18 there is no statute, the suit can be brought forward at any time.
The legislative change to throw out the statute of limitations only applies to the Catholic Church, not the Mormon Church or any other religious order, even though they are having their own sex scandals. This failed to surprise me, this state, and our current governor are hostile to religion, even more so after the overturning of Roe V. Wade. This is his turn to exact revenge. He won. The diocese of Northern California will likely be filing for bankruptcy. I hear San Francisco, and San Diego are even further toward filing BK.
The dirty little secret is the Bishop and his team were all aware of this change, yet failed to alert any of the congregation. (Typically, the bishop instructs the priest, who in turn give a sermon/homily on the subject.) They did nothing, head in the ground ostrich style. I guess they prayed the issue would resolve itself, now the flood gates are open and the lawsuits have been flying. I hear ads on the radio on my way to work, and have heard folks saying there are commercials airing on the tv. You know the ones, “If you have been a victim, call Dewey, Screwum, and Howe…”.
Bigger problem: most of these new lawsuits are against priests who have fled the country, or have passed away. This makes the claims impossible to defend. (Not that you would want to anyway.) I will quote the famous McDonald’s quality control manager Chris Appleton “this number of injuries was insufficient to cause the company to evaluate its practices.” That’s corporate speak for its easier to pay a lawsuit then to change your practice. The Catholic Church is finding out this same lesson. Lawsuits are flying and now the church will be put on trial (figuratively and via the media) about their practices.
What the Catholic Church hierarchy doesn’t want to hear is the truth. They keep whistling past the graveyard. I can tell you the first mistake the church made was “covering up the abuse.” It appears to me the accused were moved to different churches, then shuffled again, and if it got to be too large a problem moved to a different state/diocese entirely. The public school system has a term for this its called “passing the trash”; in essence you trade one set of problems for another in hope the accused never gets formally caught. Another ploy they tried was the “Father so and so will spend the remainder of his life in silent meditation/prayer for his sins to be forgiven. Notice the accused were never fired (defrocked) and still were allowed to preach. This shows a lack of institutional control. When you prove time and again you cannot handle the issue internally, eventually the government takes over. Rarely do they actually help.
The issue continued to grow and gain steam. This was initially blamed on a couple of rogue priests taking advantage of the flock, instead the problem grew exponentially. We were told time and again the issue is small, and resolved. Turns out there are not just priests and bishops, but cardinals also under scrutiny. Meaning the issue goes almost the whole way to the top, it’s a generation of folks looking the other way. SAD!
The dirty little secret is the flock is about to see just how mismanaged the church is, this time at the diocese level. We hear all the time about assets owned by the church, be it buildings, land, schools, money etc, and how it’s protected from certain uses. They call this “restricted money” we will see just how restricted it was/is. It’s all going to come out folks. As Warren Buffett once said “only when the tide goes out do you learn who is swimming naked.” We as Catholics are in for a rude awakening.
My solution? Actually it’s not difficult.
Any priest accused should be turned over to the local authorities, and suspended from clergy immediately. Let the legal process actually play out. The accused can defend themselves, the church may still be on the hook, but it starts a healing process. No more hiding behind the collar. Purge!
Allow priests to marry. They have to keep the family/other issues out of church business, but it is time. The old guard won’t like it, but the secret is the old guard hates that most priests in the USA are English as a second language types.
Recruit folks from here. I know it sounds bad or racist, but when you recruit folks from war torn/drug infested/crime ridden area’s, you get what you get. Sadly that’s a lot of folks who flee just for an opportunity.
Get your popcorn ready this could be good.