While the victims talked about the settlement in Waterloo, church leaders in Dubuque gave a public apology and talked about how the archdiocese would move forward. Closure and restitution seem to be the two words that best describe this settlement for abuse cases that happened in the 1950’s and 1960’s. During a news conference, archbishop Jerome Hanus outlined exactly how the church will pay $5 million to abuse victims. “The bulk of it will come from the Dubuque Archdiocesan Protection Program,” says Hanus.
That protection program is like a self-run insurance policy. All churches in the archdiocese pay into it, using money from offerings and other sources. Many church members wouldn’t talk to us about this settlement after their noon mass. The few that did speak with us, were split. “As far as the money goes, I see and feel way more of the good that comes from it than the other side,” says one St. Patrick’s parishioner. “I’m glad it’s settled, but I don’t think it should come from the collection money,” says another St. Patrick’s parishioner.
They may disagree on where the settlement money comes from, but they do agree it’s time to put the negative in the past. “There are 45,000 good priests in our country that I’ve heard of so we’ve got to keep our minds on the good things,” says one St. Patrick’s parishioner.
In addition to the $5 million pay out, the archdiocese is also going to do a number of other things including letting the victims speak at their home parish, printing the names of the accused priests, and paying for up to 12 counseling sessions for the victims and their families for the rest of the calendar year. During his apology on Tuesday, Archbishop Hanus said he will continue to pray for abuse victims and their families.