Monday, August 22, 2005

Who's really paying for the pederasty settlements?

The Tennesseean today is covering the Diocese of Nashville's move to deed properties to parishes (as they should have been all along). The article is linked in today.

Anyways, here's a typical line from the Tennessean article, the substance of which we've seen repeated ad nauseam in too, too many newspapers:

"A blind, dumb man can figure out what they're doing," said David Brown, a 58-year-old Memphis man who says he was raped as a teenager by former Nashville priest Paul Haas, who has since died. The diocese settled Brown's case for $5,700, the cost of his therapy. "I can understand a corporation doing this, (but) these are men of God."

Um, yeah, these might be men "of God" (I don't know enough about the Bishop of Nashville or his predecessors to have an opinion), but they're also, in material terms, trustees for the parishes and people of the diocese.

If I'm John Doe's trustee or conservator, and while I'm his fiduciary, I ignore the fact that my agents diddle teenage boys, the teenage boys, whatever wrongs they've suffered, don't have any right to John Doe's property because of it. If they try to make me pay for my negligence or recklessness, perhaps they're seeking justice. But if they take John Doe's property just because I happen to be his fiduciary, they're just theives and scoundrels, and whatever wrongs they've suffered, they're preparing a hot place for themselves in hell. How much more so for the greedy, bottom-feeding lawyers who haven't been diddled, but are facilitating (and probably in most cases instigating) the shake-down, and when it's all over, taking their 20%, 30%, 40% cuts?

For a serious canonical analysis of the American bishops' systematic mishandling of parish properties over decades (nay, over centuries) the St. Joseph's foundation has several good articles in back issues of its newsletters. Go to See especially articles from October 2001 and January 2002.

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