The Church's estate assets are on sale to pay for the lawsuits against paedophile priests
. When the funds of his diocese began to languish, Los Angeles Archbishop, Cardinal
Roger Mahony, was presented with the question: how can the Church produce the
amount of cash necessary to compensate the tens of sexual abuse victims of his
priests? It was enough just to look around to find the answer and without further
ado he had decided to sell the priesthood’s treasured items. The first to go is
the main office, 12 administrative floors which will be sold off as soon as possible,
and the cession of 50 estate assets deemed ‘unnecessary’ by the highest representative
of the Catholic Church in Los Angeles, will soon follow The Archbishop assured
that no parish church or school would be sold. Only the estate assets. But will
this be enough to settle the lawsuits of more than 500 cases?
Half a million in indemnities.
The Los Angeles diocese is the largest in the US and has nearly five million
followers. The sexual abuse scandal in the Californian city competes with that
of Boston, where in the last 60 years more than 500 clergy members have been accused
of abuse of minors, and where lawsuirs carried out in 2003 came to 85 million
euros. The lawyers involved in the propitiation in Los Angeles have confirmed
that if a general agreement can be reached between the appeals and the Church,
the outlay could come to 500 million dollars. Since 1985, the Los Angeles diocese
has paid out 100 million dollars to ‘accommodate’ 85 cases.
. Some of the most symbolic cases include those of Rev. Michael Baker and Father
Lynn Caffoe, mainly due to the fact that they were among the few people to have
been ‘covered’ or not suitably sanctioned by ecclesiastical authorities, rather
than due to the seriousness of the accusations against them. For years it has
gone without saying that the Church believed that sexual abuse cases could be
dealt with in a similar manner to that of being pardoned for sins confessed. Despite
the events over the last 15 years, the attitude towards paedophile priests is
gradually becoming stricter, in comparison to the cases of Bamasse and Caffoe
which remained ‘dormant’ on file for years. The sanction inflicted resulted in
the temporary suspension of their work. When Archbishop Mahony became aware of
the abuses, rather than informing the police he suspended them both and sent them
to a psychiatrist who forbid them from coming into contact with minors. Some time
later another case was charged against them, but in the new parishes history repeats
itself. Only after second relapsing offenses were the priests finally sent to
the magistrate’s court. Despite the plethora of accusations towards LA priests,
Archbishop Mahony has remained the Archdiocese. Today, the Cardinal hopes that
the Californian Church’s material goods can cover the legal propitiation costs.
A propitiation which is far from holy.