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Diocese of Gallup, N.M., poised to file for bankruptcy protection
Catholic Philly ^ | September 4, 2013 | Joseph J. Kolb

Posted on 09/04/2013 5:54:51 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

GALLUP, N.M. (CNS) — When Bishop James Wall was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Gallup in 2009, he knew there were festering issues regarding allegations of clergy sex abuse, but not to the extent that has brought the sprawling southwestern diocese to the doors of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

At Masses throughout the diocese Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, shocked parishioners were read a letter from Bishop Wall saying that in the face of insurmountable lawsuits the diocese intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Bishop Wall set no date for the court filing in his letter, or how much in damages the diocese is facing. He could not be reached for comment.

Seven other U.S. dioceses have filed for bankruptcy protection in the aftermath of sexual abuse lawsuits.

“While some of the claims relate to times when the diocese had some insurance, many relate to times when the diocese does not appear to have had insurance or the insurance is limited and not likely to cover the damages for which the diocese might be found liable,” Bishop Wall wrote. “Given the financial circumstances of the diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the only fair, equitable and merciful way to balance these obligations is by filing a Chapter 11 reorganization.”

Merritt Selleck, a parishioner at St. John Vianney Church, told Catholic News Service he was disappointed by the announcement but felt it may be the right step to take.

“I don’t think the bishop had much of choice given the number of lawsuits the diocese is facing,” Selleck said.

The Diocese of Gallup in northwestern New Mexico is the poorest diocese in the U.S., said Father Tim Farrell, diocesan spokesman, and includes the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and parts of the Apache Reservations.

The strategy, Bishop Wall explained in his letter, will give the diocese the opportunity to present a reorganization plan that provides for a fair and equitable way to compensate those who were sexually abused as children by church workers and clergy as well as anyone who has not yet come forward with allegations of abuse but may do so in the future.

“I firmly believe that the process of Chapter 11 is the best and only way that will allow us to work constructively with all those who suffered from the sexual abuse,” Bishop Wall said.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: catholic
“While some of the claims relate to times when the diocese had some insurance, many relate to times when the diocese does not appear to have had insurance or the insurance is limited and not likely to cover the damages for which the diocese might be found liable,” Bishop Wall wrote. “Given the financial circumstances of the diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the only fair, equitable and merciful way to balance these obligations is by filing a Chapter 11 reorganization....”

....The Diocese of Gallup in northwestern New Mexico is the poorest diocese in the U.S., said Father Tim Farrell, diocesan spokesman, and includes the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni and parts of the Apache Reservations.

1 posted on 09/04/2013 5:54:52 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: All
re the question of insurance coverage, this thread may be helpful:
Church adviser says insurance company dictated protocol on how to treat victims of clerical abuse
2 posted on 09/04/2013 5:56:36 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Just a common, ordinary, simple savior of America's destiny.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Disgusting.

For years the Church allowed this to happen with knowledge of it going on.

How much of it is still going on?

As a Catholic I am disgusted by it.


3 posted on 09/04/2013 6:04:11 AM PDT by Venturer ( cowardice posturing as tolerance =political correctness)
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To: Alex Murphy

JESUS is coming soon for an unblemished bride (THE CHURCH):

http://www.patburt.com/


4 posted on 09/04/2013 6:06:43 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever
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To: Alex Murphy

Interesting how the “Universal Church” doesn’t act very “universal” when it comes to debt.


5 posted on 09/04/2013 6:06:51 AM PDT by armydoc
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To: armydoc
Interesting how the “Universal Church” doesn’t act very “universal” when it comes to debt.

Good point.

6 posted on 09/04/2013 6:24:26 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Just a common, ordinary, simple savior of America's destiny.)
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To: Alex Murphy

When the Clergy opts to listen to their insurance adjuster instead of the Word of God, nothing good can happen.


7 posted on 09/04/2013 6:28:15 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Alex Murphy

Our Diocese is currently engaged in a massive fundraising campaign. They seem almost deliberately vague and obtuse on what they plan to do with the money. They have said that it will be in a separate “lockbox”, under the control of it’s own Board of Directors.

That got my antenna up and I started thinking “slush fund”.
For a rainy day when some jury awards a priestly pedophile victim 90% of their assets.


8 posted on 09/04/2013 6:29:57 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: armydoc

cannot the Vatican pay the debts?


9 posted on 09/04/2013 6:30:46 AM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: armydoc

Rather, they seem to have a fairly sophisticated strategy to use bankruptcy by geography to protect church assets and limit recompense.


10 posted on 09/04/2013 6:34:45 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: armydoc; Alex Murphy

Catholics, who are spiritual brothers and sisters of the poor diocese will rush their donations in to help offset the needs of the diocese, won’t they? They will won’t they?

A few pennies per adult Catholic in the U.S. would do it but I expect the Gallup diocese better not hold it’s collective breath.


11 posted on 09/04/2013 6:37:15 AM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough)
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To: Alex Murphy

Good.

I hope they’re required to sell off all their assets, starting with their chancery building.


12 posted on 09/04/2013 6:48:54 AM PDT by markomalley (Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
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To: Alex Murphy

one


13 posted on 09/04/2013 11:06:05 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

two


14 posted on 09/04/2013 1:22:04 PM PDT by BlueDragon
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To: Salvation

...buckle my shoe?


15 posted on 09/04/2013 1:22:27 PM PDT by BlueDragon
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