May 14, 2005

Diocese's move can help heal

Cincinnati Enquirer

The Catholic Diocese of Covington's decision to move its offices to less costly quarters in St. Elizabeth Hospital North's inner city unit gives further proof that the priest sex-abuse scandal left behind not only shattered lives but crippled finances.

Bishop Roger Foys says good stewardship would have dictated the move in any case from the current Erlanger-based Catholic Center, a sprawling former seminary. But almost $4 million in savings paid out to settle sex abuse claims since 2003 also has diminished interest income that had been used to pay for the center's maintenance costs. The diocese still faces a class-action lawsuit, the only one of its kind brought in the United States. Some claims go back 50 years. Foys arrived in summer 2002.

The move makes sense for more than the expected $300,000 in cost savings, 24-hour security, a location closer to the cathedral and computer-ready office space. It's a chance to make a fresh start, returning to the church's humbler, simpler roots in the urban core. The church and the Catholic hospital share a common mission. It's especially good that diocesan officials can embrace a vow of "never again" in a less luxurious context that helps them to "never forget."

Posted by kshaw at May 14, 2005 08:43 AM