On October 18, 2009, the Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy because of sexual abuse claims. It was a way that the powers-that-be could avoid the rigors, (and perversities), of many trials. Fast forward to now. How has this effected the priests of today? (I am aware that some people will not give a hoot.)
We have medical insurance, very good medical insurance. It is a different insurance plan than all of the lay people who work for the diocese have. Their plan is good but not as good as the clergy plan. Except the clergy plan will not exist soon because we will all have the same, not quite as good as the clergy plan, plan in order to save the diocese money. Okay, I see how that can be considered a good thing but that is not the point. And I don’t think I’m being petty, I hope I’m not, although I’m annoyed I’m just using this as an illustration.
The bankruptcy declared in 2009 is effecting priests in 2019. In the back of my mind I knew the bankruptcy would effect all of us but the reality of it all is a kick in the teeth. Every year each parish is assessed a “goal” for the annual catholic appeal. By goal I mean that if parishioners don’t meet the seemingly arbitrary goal, set by the muckety-mucks in charge, with pledges of their own then the parish will be billed for the shortfall. And that money will come from the Sunday collection. Either way the people get fleeced. Where does that collected money really go, and how much is it?
There is also a money grab for the support of retired priests. Since we do not have a retirement home for priests, (we are on our own…I plan to live in a box under an overpass), in this diocese we do get a pension. So is that where this money goes? How much is collected every year diocesan wide? How much is distributed, and to what?
I know that the diocese is trying to build up their reserve that dissipated with bankruptcy an all of sexual abuse claim settlements. The irony, at least to me, is that if the sexual abuse had been handled in a godly and timely manner there never would have been a need to declare bankruptcy.
There are people, like me, who didn’t come forward for many years out of fear and shame. There are also people who told their families and they were not believed. There were people who told their families, were believed and then their families confronted the bishop. That is when it should have been handled and not by a priest transfer and/or a signed confidentiality agreement.
Secracy, cover-up, a stated desire not to cause scandal…lies by both omission and comission. Recalling my childhood catechism lessons I do recall who the father of lies really is. Has he infiltrated the Church? It sure looks that way. But also from my childhood catechism lessons I know he will not prevail.