January 01, 2005

Faith helps shape the news, culture in 2004

Lancaster Eagle Gazette


If 2004 had one code word, it might be "values." But as Humpty Dumpty said, a word can mean whatever one chooses it to mean. Indeed, nuanced voices on values often were lost in the clash of extreme sound bites. Looking back: ...


U.S. bishops are still accounting for the spiritual, financial and emotional costs of the scandal of child sexual abuse by clergy. The first national audit of Catholic dioceses found overwhelming compliance with the church's policies on preventing and reporting abuse and caring for victims.

But a second report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, released in February, found that 4 percent of U.S. priests in the last half-century had been involved in abuse. By November, the cost of litigation, settlements and care for victims and abusers passed $772 million, a USA TODAY study showed. The dioceses of Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tucson declared bankruptcy in the face of more lawsuits.

In Boston, epicenter of the scandal, the bishop acknowledged that declining donations were among the many reasons for reconfiguring the entire diocese and closing 67 parishes. Primary reasons, he said, were demographic changes and a shortage of priests, which experts say will drive more parish closings. But the lesson of Boston in 2005 may be the church finally calling on the laity to participate more in church governance.

Posted by kshaw at January 1, 2005 07:55 AM