July 09, 2005

Spokane Diocese bankruptcy may have dire consequences

King County Journal

by Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press

The bankruptcy filing of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane raises the prospect that some or all of the 82 parishes could be sold to pay victims of sexual abuse by priests.

It could also prompt Catholic schools to close; Catholic cemeteries to be sold and the bodies disinterred; and charities tied to the Catholic church to scale back their work.

That has outraged some Catholics who wonder why they must pay for the depredations of a few pedophile priests.

``Do 90,000 innocent people deserve to be punished for the sins of those few,'' said Robert Hailey, co-chairman of an association of parishes in the Spokane Diocese. ``These people and their ancestors put their sweat and their money into building the churches and schools that you see in parishes today.''

At a key hearing last week that has national implications, attorneys for victims tried to convince a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge that individual parishes within the Spokane Diocese -- along with some other Catholic institutions -- should be included in the pool of money available to victims.

Posted by kshaw at July 9, 2005 09:06 AM