Skip to comments.Sexual abuse hits Church finances: Even the Vatican is now being sued
Posted on 05/04/2002 7:40:00 AM PDT by history_matters
Payments to victims of sexual abuse by priests in the United States could reach $1bn.
The estimate is quoted by the leading Catholic magazine America, which says many people are so angry about the scandal that they want to punish the church.
In addition to multi-million dollar law suits, it is thought that some Roman Catholics may now withhold donations to the church.
And many insurance companies, who used to offer the Church cover for claims of sexual abuse, are said to be no longer prepared to take the risk.
The reason is the size of the payments being made to victims, either in jury awards or out-of-court settlements.
The Archdiocese of Boston alone is facing costs estimated at $100m, and new cases are emerging across the country.
Last week two American men who say they were abused as teenagers began legal action against the Vatican.
The magazine says estimates of the total payments made since 1985 ranged from $350m to $1bn.
"But no-one really knows, because in many cases the court records are sealed," it says in an editorial.
The amounts were often kept secret at the insistence of the insurance companies, who preferred to settle out of court because legal fees could amount to $500,000 per case.
The magazine says that following a large jury award in 1985, practically all insurance companies had excluded cover for sexual abuse from their liability policies.
It warns that if church assets have to be liquidated to settle claims, it could mean less money for scholarships, parish schools, soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless.
The editorial says the payments made to victims were not so much "hush money" as attempts to help them meet the cost of therapy and rebuild their lives.
"Even so, many Catholics have expressed outrage that their donations are being used to pay millions of dollars to victims of abuse for out of court settlements or jury awards," says America.
The magazine says anger over the crimes was not only being directed at the perpetrators, but also at church officials who had failed to take action to protect children.
Many dioceses were now turning over to the authorities the names of priests accused of sexual abuse.
But many people also wanted to punish the church, specifically the bishops who moved priests to new parishes where they had abused again and again.
"Some Catholics are so angry with their bishop that they are calling for a boycott of donations to the diocese," it says.
"Many intend to give to their local parish, but not the bishop."
The magazine also questions to size of awards being made by juries.
"Multi-million dollar awards, like the boycotting of diocesan collections, punish the wrong people," it argues in its editorial.
"Big jury awards make sense as a way to punish profit-making businesses, but they are a very blunt instrument for dealing with non-profit organizations, which have no stockholders.
"The church is not just the bishops, it is the people in the pews. There are no deep pockets with unlimited funds. Churches depend on the small weekly contributions from their congregations.
"Punishing the church means punishing the people of God and those they serve. Justice demands that we find another way."
"America" is a liberal rag serving people who are Catholic in name only. Fr. Thomas Reese is a pro-deviancy spokesperson.
I don't see why the insurers should have had to pay anything after the first offense per individual. I also don't see why the insurers didn't lean on the archdiocese and say, "Keep this one away from kids -- we're not paying for him again."
Insurers aren't the list bit shy about insisting that ordinary policyholders minimize risk.
"Leading?" The only thing America mag is leading is a left wing effort to destroy the Church from within. The Jesuits are part of the problem it seems, not the solution.
That's a very good point. I do dog rescue in my spare time and we often have to deal with insurance companies who cancel homeowners insurance because of dog bites. They have threatened to cancel even where a stranger was bitten when, without permission, he climbed a fence into someone's back yard. (Seems to me the dog should have received a medal rather than a reprimand).
Yet, when it came to rapist priests, the insurance people seemed to look the other way and continued coverage. I don't have a heck of lot of sympathy for the insurance companies if that is what happened.
How extensive is abuse of teenage girls and children by lesbians? Anybody know?
Personally, I think you're making stuff up. There is no evidence that there is any kind of problem with "lesbian nuns" and girls in their charge. Just how extensive is female rape?
However I have known a lot of girls who told me that nuns used to take them aside and talk about how wearing "indecent" underwear would "lead boys on" and the nuns seemed keen to talk about what kind of underwear the girls owned and wore...)
You mean like the Vice-Principal in a public school out in California who just last week was checking for thong underwear?
There are prudish busybodies in all professions, the Catholic sisterhood has had and will continue to have its share. But to act as if there's some looming abuse problem among nuns is just ludicrous.
Is there also one in Ocean City, NJ?
French underwear cheese knife yogurt onion union.
Well, that is all well and good, but we do have the little temporal matter of lawsuits,which will somehow have to be addressed.
Contingency lawyers won't take 40% of "prayer and faith".
Maybe they should take it, because I don't know if the money is going to be forthcoming. (Can you tell that this is a great concern of mine?)
Money is often a substitute for those who cannot get justice in any other way.
I do not understand how the hierarchy can get off without charges of criminal activity.
There are laws about "required reporters," i.e. those who suspect child abuse. Does this not apply to these bishops and cardianls ?
Most likely they are Catholic. Only a Catholic would defend this and allow it to continue to save some imaginary image of this church as being righteous. Oh, I know, ANY criticism, even when justified as in this situation is "bashing". It just goes to show you just how some will blindly defend evil.
And then there was the (sex AND money) case of the late Cardinal Cody of Chicago, who shifted millions of dollars worth of church insurance policies to his "nephew"s" company. When the old sinner died in 1981, it was revealed that the "nephew" was really his son. And the beat goes on.....
But, of course, these other denominations , ruled by justice, pay a living wage to their pastors,and provide them with decent housing and company cars. Many of them can well afford domestic help, which frees up their wives tobe true help-mates in the parish.
OTOH, the Catholic Church would probably treat married clergy the way they treat their married teachers--as second class citizens--paying them slave wages, no pension, minimum benefits.
Your vile, obscene reply to sinkspur proves your intent. Despicable.
No, it hasn't in Massachusetts. I don't know who else is not covered, but a bill is being worked on in the legislature.
If you are referring to St. Peter, he was married, was he not?
Both your points elude me.
(1) As I said, neither I nor anyone I know was ever propositioned by a priest. To most people such a thing is unthinkable. Yet apparently such goings on are happening every day. The fact that you weren't propositioned by any nuns is hardly much of a comment on the situation. The notion that fringe men would engage in a deviant, abusive type of behavior but fringe women would not engage in deviant, abusive behavior is childish and thoughtless and further isolates the victims of women who do engage in such behavior.
(2) The idiot said he thought I was making stuff up! I put up a link to a book that is so famous book stores on the north side of Chicago classed it as a "local best seller" and the idiot accused me of making stuff up. Screw him. My reply was measured, tame and downright pleasant compared to what he deserved.
(extra) The issue of lesbian abuse is a remarkable topic because it is not only taboo to discuss in "normal" society -- as we've seen in this thread -- but even within the gay community the issue is hardly ever spoken of. That's one reason actual numbers are hard to come by.
But at least some people are trying to get past the knee jerk denial phase. For instance:
|Amazon Editorial Reviews
Perhaps the most isolated crime victims are lesbian and bisexual survivors of woman-to-woman sexual violence. Multifaceted sexual-identity issues combine with shame and institutionalized heterosexism to make society unable to acknowledge such assaults. The legal system, women's support services, and the lesbian community are just beginning to name such behaviors, let alone confronting and dealing with them. Women's studies professor Girshick breaks new ground as she plumbs the experiences and thoughts of 70 women, gleaned from a nationwide U.S. survey and in-depth interviews. She documents the women's responses to the violence, whether they received or were denied aid, and whether silence was imposed on them. Her insightful and provocative work well may stir controversy even as it sheds light on a previously shadowed subject. Dedicated to "those who are still silenced," the book also powerfully explores the need for community and such preconceived notions and myths as lesbian utopia. A worthy addition to the sociology of violence in women's lives.Book Description
A woman raping another woman is unthinkable. This is not how women behave, society tells us. Our legal system is not equipped to handle woman-to-woman sexual assault, our women's services do not have the resources or even the words to reach out to its victims, and our lesbian and gay communities face hurdles in acknowledging its existence. Already dealing with complex issues related to their sexual identities, and frequently overwhelmed by shame, lesbian and bisexual survivors of such...
|"Woman-To-Woman Sexual Violence : Does She Call It Rape? (The Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and the Law)," by Lori B. Girshick
At least let's learn a little something for the tribulations everyone is enduring from the uncovering of the priest scandals. Pretending something ISN'T or CAN'T be going on is just a way of 1) burying your head in the sand; and 2) ensuring there will be further victims of the monsters your denial has enabled.
Catholics don't necessarily want to hurt the Church they have only one way to let the Bishops know they want things to change, by withholding money so these self inflated Idiots like law get the message real fast.
It is very obvious Law is not a man of his word and is blinded by his own arrogance.
Catholics want to see the victims taken care of,NOW!
If you can post some evidence that there is even an inkling of lesbian abuse committed by Catholic nuns, you might have some credibility. Otherwise, you are making inferences from a book that has nothing to do with Catholic nuns.
IOW, you are MAKING STUFF UP!
PROVE what you are saying or you are nothing but a common liar!
Well said! The article called America "the leading Catholic magazine." Goofy!
My friend slammed the door in her face and, until she left the order a couple of years later, heard the ladies scampering up and down the hall and enjoying themselves.
This woman eventually decided that she was a lesbian, but that was (I think) simply a reaction, because she had grown up among women, and had then suddenly seen all of these innocent friendships suddenly turn sexual.
Remember that before Vatican II, men and women religious were severely chastised for having "particular friendships." This phrase may not mean anything to you, but what it meant in the real world was the building of individual and group (cliquish) friendships that excluded the rest of the community.
Having lived in lay communities, I can tell you that cliques are enormously dangerous. And two-person cliques that suddenly become sexual are the most dangerous of all.
Generally, it seems to me that women do not form the sort of Lavender Mafia that men do; women seem to leave their orders if they plan to pursue a non-Christian "life-style." A point in favor of women, who may be more honest than men, such as the great guys and practicing clergy who gave us the "Sebastian's Angels"website...
Now that we have abandoned the saints (when was the last time you saw the feast of a saint in your "missalette"?) and almost 2,000 years of experience, I guess it's not to wonder that everyone, male and female, has gone way off the tracks and crashed and burned in the underbrush.
Your anecdotal story notwithstanding, it IS ridiculous to posit an abuse problem among nuns without any evidence or testimony to the fact.