Catholic Church Paid $1B for Sex Abuse Claims So Far

Recently, the Associated Press reported that the Catholic Church’s payment for sexual abuse claims has reached the $1billion mark. It’s sad to note that the Church hierarchy was warned of such a financial cataclysm back in 1985 when Fr. Thomas Doyle and others warned the US bishops that priests preying on minors was a major problem. Doyle, a Dominican priest, has been vilified for his outspoken and prophetic position on such matters.
As the US Catholic bishops meet in Chicago this week to discuss revisions to their sex abuse policy, it appears that they will vote to weaken it. Some of the proposed changes include: moving to a system by which the Bishops are in charge of their own audits and leaving it up to the individual bishop to determine if past cases of sexual abuse are to be sent to the authorities. Present policy mandates that all abuse allegations are to be sent to the civil authorities for investigation. This seems like a clear bacwards step.
It’s truly a sad commentary when it takes major financial consequences for a large institution to begin to mend its ways. The jury is still out on whether true reform has begun. The US bishops are wavering and equivocating. Real change is difficult and takes courage and integrity. We’ll have to wait and see if these bishops have those qualities of character.