Monday, December 2, 2002

Moral Bankruptcy Filing Considered

The Archdiocese of Boston is considering filing for bankruptcy to get out from under the enormous civil judgments coming down from the sexual abuse cases. If this were a corporation trying to get out from under civil suits for injuries caused by a defective product, I would be upset, but when an institution that purports to represent Jesus Christ here on Earth does that, I get really, really angry. It isn't like these suits could not have been forseen; the data that has been dripping out of this scandal makes it clear that the archdiocese knew full well that they had child molesting priests, or should have known this. (When you find out that one of your priests was a founder of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, most sensible people would ask a few questions.)

This is despicable. Even if the Archdiocese of Boston uses bankruptcy to avoid paying off the many claims against it, this is only a clever legal trick. The problem of the Catholic Church looking the other way with respect to child molesting priests isn't just a problem of one archdiocese. The Church as a whole is morally obligated, and using bankruptcy to avoid claims wipes out any moral authority that the Catholic Church has.

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