The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Roman Catholic Clerics is the most damaging financial event in over two centuries. Not since Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) turned over the Papal States (central Italy) and disbanded the Papal army in the 1860s has the Church lost so many assets. Just recently, the bishops of California settled for in excess of 1.8 billion U.S. Dollars with national totals closing in on $4 billion.
But they shouldn’t be surprised … The 1985 Doyle/Peterson/Mouton Report warned the bishops of $1 billion worth of exposure.
What should concern the average American are the billions of Federal and State government dollars given to Catholic Charities for social services.
Yes, your tax dollars.
We can only hope that taxpayers and the government will take notice.
Just think: what will happen when society FINALLY makes the connection that the same bishops covering-up the rape of thousands of children are taking millions of tax dollars for Roman Catholic orphanages, day care centers, and social service centers?
Even when many of these places were the backdrop for decades of sexual abuse.
The 2007 Official Catholic Directory, the official communication between the United States Bishops and the I.R.S. for tax exception purposes, claims the following number of facilities and children under their care:
Residential Care facilities of Children (Orphanages): 986
Total assisted annually: 60,861
Day Care and Extended Day Care Centers: 1,231
Total assisted annually: 115,190
Special Centers for Social Services: 3,007
Total assisted annually: 27,887,358
I can only imagine what a federal inquiry would uncover.
If there were one policy change I suggest for the new president, congress, attorney general, and all state governors it is this:
Get out of the business of supporting the Roman Catholic Church through grants to Catholic Charities and related services.
There are other groups who can perform the same task with equal professionalism. No quantity or quality of good done by Catholic Charities personnel can cancel or forgive the criminal conduct condoned by the U.S. Bishops.
And I wonder: what is the legal liability for the government when children are abused in Catholic programs funded by tax dollars?
Many civil lawyers and government attorneys will rightly claim that the government tort claims act will stop or hinder such claims. Legally, I am sure that is correct.
But I believe that good does conquer evil. I also believe that the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults is an age-old reality in the life of the Catholic Church that will likely continue.
And the government should and must get out of the business of supporting the Catholic Church.
Finally: It is hard to believe that the Archdiocese of Chicago paid for the Defenbaugh report but it is a nice summary of how the post Dallas 2002 system still doesn’t protect children.