Stupidocrisy: Church bankruptcy to avoid sexual abuse lawsuits

In an effort to reduce liability for systemic child sexual abuse by priests, the Baltimore Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori wrote in an email “the Archdiocese of Baltimore faces a great number of lawsuits of historic cases of child sexual abuse that were previously barred by Maryland law. After consulting with numerous lay leaders and the clergy of the Archdiocese, I have made the decision I believe will best allow the Archdiocese both to equitably compensate victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and ensure the local Church can continue its mission and ministries. Thus, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.”

Lori’s words are quite loud, but his actions are louder. Lori wrote: “I acknowledge that no apology, compensation or knowledge of our present-day accountability measures will necessarily lead to healing for victim survivors, nor repair the harm they suffered. To be sure, conversations with victim-survivors have taught me that neither I nor the Archdiocese can undo what was taken from them. At the same time, the Church cannot and will not abandon its moral responsibility to assist victims and accompany them on their journeys.” In reality, however, declaring bankruptcy and reorganization under Chapter 11, will prevent any future civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese and will limit the amount that can be paid to victims of priest child sex abuse who already filed suit.

As Lori says, “With an approved plan under Chapter 11, the Archdiocese will be reorganized, victim-survivors will be equitably compensated, and the Church will continue its mission and ministries.” Sounds good, but in reality the “equitably compensated” part essentially means that the court will order equal settlements paid out, not necessarily commensurate with the abuse that was committed. Plus, and this is the real point, Lori admits, “no future claims for past cases of abuse can be brought against the Church.” This is the Catholic Church’s workaround Maryland law, in Lori’s own words from a March email, “that would remove the statute of limitations on civil claims for future incidents of child sexual abuse and retroactively revive claims that are currently time-barred, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.”

In November 2022, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh completed a 463-page report on an investigation that identified 158 Roman Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore accused of abusing more than 600 victims over 80 years. Of course, Lori apologized and continues to do so, but bottom line is that the Archdiocese is using bankruptcy to circumvent the law passed to ensure justice for the victims of these priests, which according to the Catholic doctrine, “hold the power and authority of the immortal God.” Christ said in Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” How much tithe money perpetuates this evil and stains the hands of givers? Allowing a church to use bankruptcy to get off the hook for systemic sexual misconduct is…say it with me…Stupidocrisy.


 “The priest is the man of God, the minister of God…… He that despiseth the priest despiseth God; he that hears him hears God. The priest remits sins as God, and that which he calls his body at the altar is adored as God by himself and by the congregation….. It is clear that their function is such that none greater can be conceived. Wherefore they are justly called not only angels, but also God, holding as they do among us the power and authority of the immortal

God.” –The Council of Trent (1546)

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Bill Wilson