John Paul II's favorite Cardinal Mahony pays 60 Million to victims...the first payment, more to come!
December 02, 2006
Church pays for abuse
Catherine Philp, Los Angeles
The largest Roman Catholic archdiocese in the US has agreed to pay out $60 million (£30 million) to settle 45 lawsuits alleging sex abuse of children by priests.
The cases in Los Angeles were among more than 500 lawsuits pending against the Church there for its alleged failure to protect children. Sex abuse by priests has cost the Catholic Church in the US at least $1.5 billion since 1950.
Cardinal Roger Mahoney, the head of the archdiocese, said he hoped that the settlement would bring closure, but police are considering whether he can be held accountable for failing to prevent abuse.
Hundreds of cases remain in litigation
By Peter Y. Hong and John Spano, Times Staff WritersDecember 2, 2006
How did the church sex abuse scandal emerge?Media reports in January 2002 revealed that Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law had knowingly transferred priests with histories of molesting young people, moving them among numerous parishes. Law resigned in December 2002. In 2003, the Boston Archdiocese reached an $85-million settlement with 552 people who said they or their children were molested by priests. (Emphases added)
More than a dozen prosecutors across the country convened grand juries to investigate possible crimes by priests and church officials, though no bishops have been indicted. Thousands of civil lawsuits against dioceses followed, including more than 500 pending in Los Angeles.How do the 45 claims settled Friday by Los Angeles differ from other pending suits?
The cases settled Friday resolve only allegations of abuse in years during which the archdiocese was either not insured or was underinsured — cases that took place before 1954 and after 1986.
Who will pay the settlement?The diocese, insurers and religious orders will pay.
Will parish operations be cut to cover the cost?
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said Friday that the diocese had set aside money for the settlement, so parishes will not be otherwise affected.Are any of the priests in the settlement active in ministry?Yes. Edward Dober, Richard Martini and Samuel Orellana denied allegations raised in civil lawsuits. They were investigated by the archdiocese, which found no grounds to remove them from ministry.
What is the status of the remaining Los Angeles suits?Seventy-seven of the 562 total have now been settled: 45 by Mahony on Friday; 7 by the Carmelite order last month; and 25 by the Franciscan order in March.
Dozens of lawyers have spent more than three years trying to settle all the cases instead of preparing for trial. Last month, attorneys for the victims began investigating more than 100 of those claims after a judge released them from a freeze that had been in effect during the years of negotiations.
Starting Dec. 12, a judge will begin hearing defense challenges to the claims in many of the cases — the first step toward resolution by trial, rather than by settlement.
What is the status of the L.A. County district attorney's criminal investigation?The district attorney's office is continuing to investigate possible crimes by clergy and church officials.
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Catholics cite scandals for Mass decline
2nd December 2006, 8:45 WST
Disillusionment with the Catholic Church in the wake of sexual abuse scandals has contributed to a steady decline in Mass attendance, a report to the Church’s 43 bishops says.
It also cites the restricted roles of women in the Church and a feeling that its leaders are “not intelligent, not vibrant and not relevant” as reasons for the decline.
Those who have stopped going to Mass who were interviewed for the Church project Disconnected Catholics, published yesterday, complained of the silencing of prominent theologians and other Catholic thinkers, decisions being made without consultation and a Church focused on rules, not compassion.
Some said their parish priest promoted an anti-intellectual environment where “his word was law and critical thinking discouraged”.
Others pointed to their priest’s problem with alcohol, sexual indiscretions or abuse as a key reason for not attending Mass.
For some Catholics, faith no longer provided meaning or made sense.
But this was not driven by better education or scientific discoveries, a questioning of Church teachings, the role of religion in world conflicts and a sense of uncertainty about the meaning of life and the existence of God, the study said. Catholic bishops promised to learn from the study and use it to form pastoral strategies to reach out to those Catholics who had stopped practising their faith and “chart a way forward”.
The bishops noted that many of the study’s participants were still open to returning to Mass. Half said they still attended Mass occasionally, and almost one-third said they might return to weekly Mass attendance.
Attendance has been falling in all age groups under 75 but, worryingly for the Church, it has identified up to 60,000 young Catholics between the 1991 and 2001 censuses who no longer identified themselves as such.
The research was conducted by the Pastoral Projects Office of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and involved interviewing 41 Catholics aged between 29 and 74.
Other excuses for non-attendance included time clashes with sport, work or family, not feeling welcomed, laziness and unkind gossip.
The report warned that criticising non-attenders for their laziness, lack of faith or respect for legitimate authority would not attract them back to Mass, and if no action was taken now there would be regular Mass attenders who would soon disappear from Church life.