Let’s All Sue…

By August 22, 2007News

…the Catholic Church! It is depressingly vogue to sue the US Catholic Church these days. Of course, our litigious society makes it oh so easy. Articles like this one over on Catholic World News illustrate that not only do victims win playing the legal lottery so do the lawyers! I’m not trying to diminish the emotional pain any REAL victims may have endured even if I can’t understand how to put a $ on recovering one’s emotional health but dog-piling on the Church is irrational and unacceptable. After the victims (supposed and real) bankrupt the diocese the lawyers have to make sure they get their fair share. I can’t remember where I read it but a lawyer representing a group of victims suggested a portion of the Sunday collection should be surrendered for payment to his clients. This would ensure he and his clients get paid regardless of the solvency status of the diocese.

I was not raised a Catholic but I wonder if I were to approach a lawyer and ask to make a claim against a diocese if that little fact would hinder my case at all? I wonder if my children will have to grow up in a world where their weekly collections are divided between Church and state? How many churches are going to have to close their doors because they’ve been sued out of existence? Folks are going to have an awful lot to answer for all in the name of trying to make a quick/easy buck. Makes meditating on Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Olives much easier let me tell you. The gates of hell may not prevail against the Church but US law will ensure there is a lien on the property.

Author Extra Frate

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • apostolate says:

    What drives me nuts is when these judges start pointing their finger at us when they are the ones who have allowed pornography to come into the public which is the root cause of the moral malaise that has lead to so many law suites of this sort not only against the Church but against every social institution in the US. Are the judges then playing the role of Satan, first tempting people into sin with pornography and then accusing them afterwards?

    The perpetrators of these crimes need to be punished but why the innocent parishioners?

  • magdalen says:

    Of course then you have an archdiocese willing to pay our 660 MILLION dollars to ‘protect’ the clergy and to ‘compensate’ alleged victims and their lawyers. And there is the legal fee for another archdiocese of 19 million in legal fees.

    A smaller, poorer church? That will certainly be the case as long as some are ‘protected’ or ‘compensated’.

  • Set All Afire says:

    What happened to the idea of suffering? Now I’m not saying that the victims of these crimes were not victimized, and how horribly damaging it must be to not only the victim’s mentality, but also to their soul, but if they are truly “Catholic??? they would offer up their sufferings to the Lord as a penance to “pay??? for the souls in purgatory. But I guess that they feel that the payment should be in a form of monetary gain on their behalf, and not others. Don’t these victims realize that they are victimizing us? Then don’t we in turn become the victim’s? Hey can we sue them back for the money they got from us?

  • apostolate says:

    Dear Magdalene,

    Yeah, that was big!! You have a right to be mad at that one. Let us hope that this is the end of the problems for LA.

    However, I must point out that the LA diocese did not pay this out willingly, it was forced to pay by the court. Nor was it a plea bargain to avoid some bigger penalty because $660 million is as bad as it gets (again, let us hope). Nor was it an attempt to protect a priest’s reputation since the verdict was very public, all over the press.

    However, I agree, this big law suit was due to failed attempts in the past at protecting priests by paying hush money and moving them to other parishes instead of getting rid of them. But at this point, the decision to pay or not to pay is clearly in the hands of the courts not in the diocese’s. And it will be painful, especially for parishoners and good bishops like Card O’Malley who have to take over these ruined diocese, many hard decisions. Many prayers are needed.

    Speaking of suing for not removing priests, did you see the article linked to by Spirit Daily on the California Catholic Daily suggesting that dioceses should sue the psychologists who recommended that many of these predators be returned to ministry? It’s a really good point. In a way these bishops were following publicly accepted norms (accepted at least by the mass media) on how to deal with these problems, ask a psychologist and pay lawyers when the psychologists are wrong. Of course, the bishops should have been following more Catholic (and even common sense) norms and simply removed them from ministry.

    But this is another case of a secular institution playing the role of the devil, first tempt and then accuse. The popular culture as presented by the mass media first proposes using science and psychology and even lawyers as our new source of moral wisdom and then when some well meaning but perhaps overly trusting bishops are tempted into this wishful thinking the mass media is the first to accuse them of their folly. And if anything the mass media has played a bigger role than the above mentioned judges in spreading pornography far and wide.

    Yes, I think the psychologists and lawyers who gave this bad advice should be sued. They should at least be fired. Yet in the wake of the scandals the payrolls of diocese across the country surge with more and more psychologists and lawyers. When will we learn!!

    Ave Maria!

    Fra roderic