Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mammon et Magister

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel welcomes Archbishop Listecki, but notes that financially there are Lingering challenges for new leader.
His opposition to a bill [SB319/AB453] that would make it easier for victims to sue their abusers is standard for church leaders, but not helpful for victims.

The issue isn't victims suing individual priests, it's retroactively lifting of the statute of limitations, temporarily, for suits against the Church. While this is called a "window", it obliterates the wall. If statutes of limitations are subject to retroactive repeal, then closing a supposedly temporary window cannot prevent it being reopened later on, or being left open.

The strategy behind the current spate of fraud suits, which are not covered by insurance, is to use the financial exposure to leverage bishops to support this legislation. Lifting the statute of limitations would arguably permit recharacterizing claims as involving negligence rather than fraud in an attempt to get back within insurance coverage.

In response,
He [Bishop Listecki] argues that the church has done more on this issue than other institutions.

That might be persuasive if a group of victims said it. Bishops saying it comes across as self-serving. Quoting Dr. Paul McHugh isn't helping.
Given the scale and nature of what happened, it still hasn't been enough. And arguing that others need to do more doesn't do much for the many victims of a handful of clergy.

They ought to be the ones doing more than other institutions if for no other reason than that Catholic dioceses are the institutions going bankrupt due to abuse claims.
Listecki's challenges are formidable, but he's coming to a generous, believing community that has been led well in recent years.

As opposed to during the preceding era that dare not speak its name.



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