Thursday, July 08, 2004

Other Dioceses to Declare Bankruptcy?

From State News - StatesmanJournal.com:

"The Portland Archdiocese is the first, and probably not the last, U.S. Roman Catholic diocese to seek bankruptcy protection from multimillion-dollar judgments in clergy sexual-abuse cases.

"I'm surprised it didn't happen earlier," said Father Thomas Reese, editor-in-chief of America, the weekly Catholic magazine published by the Jesuit Society. "Given the judgments, someone had to run out of money. I don't think this is the last diocese."

The Tucson Diocese in Arizona has set a mid-September deadline for deciding whether to file for bankruptcy, and the Boston Archdiocese sold the former archbishop?s residence and surrounding land to raise $90 million to help pay a settlement with sexual-abuse victims.

The Boston Archdiocese is closing schools and parish churches to cut costs because donations and attendance at Mass dropped after revelations of sexual abuse by priests. The Boston Archdiocese's Web site states that the properties will be sold and the proceeds will be shared with remaining parishes and used to support health and pension funds for church employees.

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas has publicly considered Chapter 11 bankruptcy as one way to deal with possible judgments in the cases of more than 20 alleged victims. Lawyers representing people with possible claims have asked the courts to stop the diocese from selling any property before Kicanas decides whether to file for bankruptcy."