The laity are properly referred to as the Church Militant. Corruption and immorality entered the church as soon as we became members. This is not a new problem. The problem developed as the leadership lacked the moral courage to actually address the problem. It was Vatican II that called on the Laity to have more involvement with the church. Throughout history it has been the laity frustrated with corruption that has led the church back to holiness.
This is the only way to fix this problem today! This is the only reason the problem has come to light. Good people, fed up with the corruption, have fought back using every means possible.
"In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." Catechism of the Catholic Church #907
FINANCIAL- Money has always been a source of corruption and is fueling the problem today.
Bishops have and are extorting and misappropriating our financial wealth to hide their failures. It is only through demanding complete accountability that we can restore holiness to our church.
As long as Bishops can manipulate money with no supervision or accountability then these problems will continue.
LEGAL- the civil and criminal laws have allowed victims to unearth decades of abuse that would not have been possible. Although we allow the church to be sued we are in effect preventing greater abuse and future lawsuits.
For many years we have been told the church has been struggling with it’s financial obligations.
We have to look at the impact that this scandal has caused.
Numbers alone - There has been a vast number of people who have left the church because of this scandal. This is not a recent problem because the laity have know for many years what has been going on. Many of the people I encounter have left the church because of the hypocrisy of the organization. Families and friends of abuse victims have know for many years what has been going on in the church and this has caused thousands to leave the practice of their faith.
Embezzlement - is the theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one's trust. For decades the Diocese has embezzled funds to hide these problems. In published settlements alone in just the past twenty (20) to twenty five (25) years the diocese has shelled out 14 million dollars in payments. This does not account for any of the hidden payments made which easily totals into the millions of dollars. Catholics had no idea that millions of dollars were used to pay off these settlements. Even in published court cases Catholics were under the impression (given by the diocese) that these cases were untrue. In the Luddy lawsuit the diocese spent over 2.5 million defending an admitted serial child molester. They publish articles in the local newspaper saying the accusations were unfounded even though the priest had already admitted to them, many of the allegations were true. From the USCCB records we are told, in the US alone settlement payments in the last 10 years have exceeded 2.4 billion dollars. Of those monies 1.7 billion went to settlements, 211 million went to therapy and support but over 411 million paid attorney fees.
Intimidation - the victims and whistleblowers were often met with legal resistance by the diocese, in order to discourage them from coming forward. In the Maruzio case, after the diocese was presented with video tapes of victims telling their stories, nothing was done. When the child advocates keep pushing they were finally met by attorneys from the diocese.
Parish and School collapse - The diocese has been increasingly taxing the parishes to the point that over a dozen schools have been closed further devastating the lives of our children. Over 25 percent of most parishes monies go to the diocese in one form of tax or another.
Rewarding criminal behavior - The priests removed continue to share in the support from the diocese. So if you have molested children you retire on a pension at the expense of the laity.
Legal - There has been much debate over the legal aspects of this situation.
Unfortunately here is what we know. The Diocese has been aware of child molesters in our midst and has actively worked to hide them. Current people have been accused but are not removed from service. There has been almost no real pro-active effort on the diocese to correct these problems.
The diocesan efforts have been "after the fact", and have only been the result of civil and criminal investigations. If not for the legal system in the United States these issues would not have been addressed. A reporter ask Bishop Bartchak if the Attorney Genral had not gotten involved would these priests still be out there. The Bishop said that was a "speculative question".
Currently there is an effort to change the civil law to allow older cases to come forward. This involves changing the statute of limitations.
This action has been vigorously opposed by the church and most people would agree that the statute of limitations has very moral and sound teachings.
However, the statute of limitations was never intended to cover issues where there was a concerted effort by both the offender and legal authorities to subvert the law. There is legal precedent for changing this. Please take the time to review these legal links and briefs. See Brief
The most persuasive argument for not changing the statue is that time makes it harder for people to defend themselves.
Well, this time problem was caused by the accused themselves. It is well documented that this diocesan church and many diocese across the US have followed a policy to hide, conceal and deceive people as to what was really going on.
The diocese spent money and published lies to convince people that these molestations were not true. The local church used the power of the pulpits to further these lies both intentionally and unintentionally by spreading falsehoods to its priestly population. The diocese intimidated witnesses and families for decades to bully them into silence. They went so far as to have psycologist interview then and tell the victims it was their fault. Nesbella
It is often mentioned how all organizations can have these problems. What is left unsaid is few organizations protected and allowed this problem to flourish and spread. We have an unparalleled level of criminal activity that was promulgated and supported for decades.
Victims signed documents under the impression that a remote and rare instance occurred. They were told these rapists and predators would be removed and or defrocked. For the good of the church they were offered minimal counseling fees and asked to sign confidentiality agreements. This was a widespread deception to hide serial childmolesters and bind victims to silence. Lawyers and judges and police all acted in favor of the criminals because they too were in the dark. People later found out the legal system was used, not to bring justice, but to silence victims, which kept them from saving others. The legal system was manipulated for decades to hide these problems, it should be remedied to fix them.