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L.A. abuse settlement: $660 million.

The figure is astonishing--over half a billion dollars in abuse settlements involving 508 victims. And that is not including the $114 million the L.A. Archdiocese paid out earlier this year. No wonder Cardinal Mahony announced he was selling the chancery in May. But that building won't come close to covering the payout. The archdiocese will pay $250 million in cash. How much will insurance kick in? The religious orders? What else will have to be sold?

The terms of the settlement require the archdiocese to release information from files relating to clergy-abuse allegations.

Cardinal Mahony was supposed to testify on Monday. Now that the settlement is approved, that won't happen.

$660 million. Read the L.A. Times account right here.

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Is it possible to have an honest dialogue and tie this is with "subsist in" and how the RCC has all the marbles and is losing the game or at least is showing some serious deficiencies? Can we tackle the issue head on and stop the theorizing to approximate what is meant by "by their fruits you will know them?"

The expected settlements of hundreds of sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will also do another very important thing. It will make public some of the records of these sexual predators. Not all, not enough, but some at least.Jeff Anderson along with all the lawyers out there on the west coast are to be congratulated for their hard work.I hope they make the public release of those files part of any settlement agreement.What did the hierarchy know, when did they know about it and what did they do, or not do in respose to it? If truth be told, Mahony, his bishops and clerical staff are up to their pectoral crosses and birettas in compromise.Unfortunately, by not going to trail, Mahony and his cohorts escape any possibility of real censure when, if fact, any number of them should be facing jail time for the collusion, conspiracy and cover up that they have been part of for so long. I know that Roger Cardinal Mahony dislikes that description, but in comparision, the Mafia are just bit players on the world's stage.It is a sad, sad commentary on the state of the church today and it should never should have been so badly mishandled in the first place.Sister M. Immaculata Dunnmaryidunn@yahoo.comArchdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A few comments:-it amazed me that this settlement to be received such broad coverage across the entire world - of course, the dollar figure drove that.-everyone interested should read the SNAP statement by their president, Barbara Blaine.--I suppose the issue of whether "justice" was done here will again arise. I guess from the usual civil justice perspective, a rough justice occurred, victims will get some substantial sums (do they make up for the things lost in life?), some disclosure may occur, Mahony etc. won't be faced with testifyng and many may say we can now put this behind us.I don't and will never think this approximates the ideal of justice the Church should exemplify where we admit our wrongs and take real responsibility for them. (I also tend to beleive that if Church leaders had done this at the outset ,instead of institutional/self protection, settlements could have been significantly smaller.)Still, many Catholics will probably want to see this as one of the final scenes in a tawdry chapter in Church history in the USA that they'd like to put behind them. They'll tell you how tires they are of hearing about this.Bishops will tell them the sagfeguards are now in place so that this won't happen again.That's like the rough civil justice of LA, but still far removed from the real example of justice that should have is and will continue to need to be set for those who really care about those so awfully victimized.

>>I don't and will never think this approximates the ideal of justice the Church should exemplify where we admit our wrongs and take real responsibility for them. (I also tend to beleive that if Church leaders had done this at the outset ,instead of institutional/self protection, settlements could have been significantly smaller.)<

I guess there really is a reason that Roger Cardinal Mahony is referred to as "The Teflon Cardinal." The release of priests' confidential personnel files will also be part of the settlement.From YAHOO'S NEWS STORY:LOS ANGELES - Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, apologized Sunday to the hundreds of people who will get a share of a $660 million settlement over allegations of clergy sex abuse. "There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims ... I cannot," he said."Once again, I apologize to anyone who has been offended, who has been abused. It should not have happened, and it will not happen again."Mahony said that he has met in the past 14 months with dozens of people alleging clergy abuse and that those meetings helped him understand the importance of a quick resolution to the lawsuits.The settlement will not affect the archdiocese's core ministry, Mahony said, but the church will have to sell buildings, use some of its invested funds and borrow money. The archdiocese will not sell any parish property, he said.The deal between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse reached late Saturday is by far the largest payout since the nationwide clergy abuse scandal emerged in 2002 in Boston.The settlement also calls for the release of priests' confidential personnel files after review by a judge. According to Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the archdiocese, the settlement had not required Mahony to make his public apology.

What is there to say? Every cent is owed to survivors and then some. That settlement could have been negotiated ages ago, except that Mahony used legal hardball for four years to keep the secrets - even going so far as to take a bogus first amendment claim to the Supreme Court, who refused to hear it. Regarding non-existent bishop accountability throughout the scandal, the Oscar-nominated movie, Deliver Us From Evil, has footage of Mahony in deposition. It is a priceless example of dissembling to the point of lying, IMHO. The moments he and his vicar are on screen are worth ten times the price of admission.But a disturbing point in the movie is perpetrator O'Grady's account of being visited by Mahony's diocesan reps in prison the night before he was to testify in a civil case about what Mahony knew when about his case. Having been convicted, awaiting a 7-year prison term, a contempt citation for not testifying in a civil case was inconsequential.O'Grady said he was offered an annuity for not appearing, and he accepted. How is that not witness tampering, bribery, or obstruction of justice by the good cardinal? BTW, I understand annuity payments are due to start shortly, decades after the trial.In the current settlement, please consult the archives of a survivor's website, http://cityofangels3.blogspot.com/, to get the details about Mahony's delays and obstruction. The writer is understandably emotional, but it does not take too long after reading what maneuvers the archdiocese engaged in to share the disgust. Is it up to 15 church law firms by now? Let me count the ways you can get Mahony off the hook for anwering interrogatories 1-8? Bleak House is a model of justice by comparison.Any Mahony apology to survivors is useless, since he had the power to admit the obvious, and settle without putting them through legal hell. The man is a disgrace and belongs in prison, not in power.

A reflection from Rick Garnet at Mirror of Justice:http://www.mirrorofjustice.com/mirrorofjustice/2007/07/mixed-signals.htm... 15, 2007Mixed signals?In today's New York Times, I read here about the huge (more than $600 million) global settlement to which the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed in about 500 abuse-allegation cases. (How much is that for Mr. Raymond Boucher, "the lawyer who is representing 242 of the plaintiffs in the Los Angeles cases"?).Then, over in the book-review section, I read this glowing review (one of many the book has received) of Andrew O'Hagan's "Be Near Me," a sensitive and sympathetic portrayal (I'm told) of a depressed, middle-aged priest, who misses his glory days as a university aesthete and who gets intimately involved with a working-class, not-so-innocent 15-year-old boy. After the priest is caught, we are told by the reviewer, he falls victim to the town's "anarchic spite", its "brief spasm of righteousness", and we are (apparently) left wondering "[s]o why are two people alone, in a rectory, murmuring over a nice potage, finally not enough?"Strange times.

The Monitor / Eight Quick Points about the LA SettlementDear Friend,Like you, we've been absorbing the news of the long-awaited settlement with clergy sexual abuse survivors in Los Angeles. We wanted to share with you a few immediate thoughts.The survivors have earned this settlement by courage and determination. The great wealth of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (understated by Cardinal Mahony) makes this outcome a win-win - the survivors have won recognition and the means to pursue their healing, and the dollar amount is entirely feasible for the Archdiocese. A much more bitter pill for Mahony to swallow - and the crown of the survivors' victory in LA - will be the release of documents that Mahony has promised. It is crucial that he honor his commitment. 1. The final total of $660 million is lower than many expected. Predicted totals had ranged as high as $1.6 billion.2. The smaller total may have resulted from survivors' determination to force release of priest files. The settlement requires the Archdiocese to release confidential personnel files of accused priests. 3. Of the $660M, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay only $250M. The balance will be paid by insurance companies (reportedly dozens of them) and more than 30 religious orders. 4. The Archdiocese can afford this. With 1600 properties worth an estimated $4 billion, it is one of the wealthiest landowners in Southern California, according to a Los Angeles Times report published last December. While this sum includes parishes, it also includes $175 million in properties not classified for religious use -- commercial parking lots, single family homes, retail buildings, and oil wells. 5. It's a good deal for the Cardinal. For a mere $250 million -- just a third more than the $190 million he spent to build Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral -- the Cardinal has gained the cancellation of 15 civil trials that already had been scheduled and the end to possibly hundreds of additional lawsuits by the remaining plaintiffs. If cases had gone to trial, legal experts believe that juries would have awarded victims not just compensatory damages, but punitive damages -- something that bishops have used every trick to avoid ever since the landmark Kos case.6. The Cardinal avoided perjury. Had trials occurred, Mahony himself would have had to take the stand repeatedly, forced to either expose the hierarchy's complicity or perjure himself. 7. The settlement leads us again to consider bishops' cover-up of finances. The LA Archdiocese's public financial reports have been incomplete and misleading. Despite land holdings worth billions, it publicly claims only $494 million in total assets. Other dioceses behave the same way. Bankruptcy proceedings in San Diego and an ongoing criminal trial in Cleveland reveal that both dioceses stashed monies in hundreds of bank accounts, making an accurate count of total assets nearly impossible. 8. Will we see another bogus "release of confidential documents?" In 2005, though ordered by a judge to release priest personnel files, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles managed to release instead highly edited "summaries of information" that were sanitized to the point of falsehood. The Portland OR archdiocese also showed disingenuous "compliance" with a similar document-release commitment in their plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Bishop Vlazny released just a few hundred pages, a strange hodgepodge of incomplete files (compared to the 40,000-page archive forced out of Boston and the 9,000-page archive released by the Manchester NH diocese).Finally, with Roger Mahony having the temerity to claim as recently as yesterday he "didn't know" pedophile priests would re-offend, we recommend you read this powerful article about his deposition in the Oliver O'Grady case. It reminds us of the incalculable harm to children that Mahony enabled. He knew.Regards,Anne Barrett DoyleCo-DirectorBishopAccountability.org

I gave my comment above, but, I guess I'm supposed to be impressed by Mr. Garnet's resiume - it sure beats mine - but..I'm truly p.o.d. by complaints about the deep pockets of defense attorneys in abuse cases.Shortly before the settlement in LA, Mahony brought on another high powereed legal; team. Throughout the course of the suit, he had all kind of folk writing in the Tidings (LA Catholic newspaper,) including professor Schiltz and that eminent "scholar", BishopCurry, denigrating the suees.It would be ice to know empirically how muc h dioceses and LA in particular have spent on legal fees vis =a -vis the defense attorneys who have usually had to spend years working with people damaged by priests and then Bishops,Needless to say, the deep pockets argument tis to my mind, the most revolting kind of propaganda by the hierarchy who can't stand up to the truth of their own behavior.

Our adversarial legal system is not always the best means to justice, and I'm certainly not comfortable with how rich some plaintiffs' attorneys are getting off the abuse scandals (40 percent of the $660 million will go to victims' lawyers). And I have my questions about the role they play in funding victim advocacy groups, but Bob raises another pertinent question: how much has been spent on defense attorneys? To what extent do their delaying tactics serve their own financial interests? There's plenty of blame to go around.But I must confess that I don't quite get Rick's headline, "Mixed Signals." The New York Times is a huge organization. The news desk is one part of that institution; the book-review section is another. Their relative independence is an asset--and standard practice at newspapers across the country. Another point: the Bishop Accountability statement fails to note that the archdiocese will have to take out loans to cover whatever insurers and religious orders won't. I'm sure the vast majority of the archdiocese's land holdings are parishes and schools. It would be interesting to know the annual budget of the archdiocese, and how much of it is funded by the investments Barrett Doyle lists. Once those financial sources dry up, what will be the long-term effect on the budget? Will parishes really escape unscathed?

Grant, I know you are trying to be fair or at least pay attention to those who say the victim's lawyers deserve the blame. Yet you are well aware that this scandal, despite Andrew Greeley and Tom Doyle, was denied by 95% of the Catholic world until the indefatigability of the Boston Globe brought this criminal practice to light and acknowledgement. Bob Nunz acutely noted above how the vast public relations apparatus of the LA archdiocese was blasting the victims almost to the day of the settlement.This is not just criminal behavior. These are crimes done to children which cry out to the heavens.Moreover, there is strange irony in the fact that bishops are overseers of great wealth, building absurdly excessive cathedrals while advising peasants, especially in Latin America, to accept the status quo of making $50.00 a month. Many who had nary a good word for the victims now are sympathizing to a privileged royalty. The blame to go around is first and foremost to the bishops of the Catholic church. That should not be forgotten for an instant. Especially with their continual stonewalling.

I am puzzled by Bob Imbelli's strange post above in relation to the LA settlement. Its reference to lawyers' fees, and a book review about an aged lonely priest taking up with a "not-so-innocent 15-year old boy" mean what? BishopAccountability's newsletter includes eight quick points about the settlement that are clear and straightforward. All link to back-up documentation, but those hyperlinks do not come through here. I have added some URL's directly. Yes, do read Mahony's depositions as suggested.1. The final total of $660 million is lower than many expected. Predicted totals had ranged as high as $1.6 billion.2. The smaller total may have resulted from survivors' determination to force release of priest files. The settlement requires the Archdiocese to release confidential personnel files of accused priests. 3. Of the $660M, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay only $250M. The balance will be paid by insurance companies (reportedly dozens of them) and more than 30 religious orders. 4. The Archdiocese can afford this. With 1600 properties worth an estimated $4 billion, it is one of the wealthiest landowners in Southern California, according to a Los Angeles Times report published last December. While this sum includes parishes, it also includes $175 million in properties not classified for religious use -- commercial parking lots, single family homes, retail buildings, and oil wells. (CD note: Similar to Boston where the archdiocese owned $220 million market value in commercial rental property unrelated to church use when it agreed to an $85 million settlement. It was photos of those properties presented by survivor lawyers that broke the dam in negotiations.) 5. It's a good deal for the Cardinal. For a mere $250 million -- just a third more than the $190 million he spent to build Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral -- the Cardinal has gained the cancellation of 15 civil trials that already had been scheduled and the end to possibly hundreds of additional lawsuits by the remaining plaintiffs. If cases had gone to trial, legal experts believe that juries would have awarded victims not just compensatory damages, but punitive damages -- something that bishops have used every trick to avoid ever since the landmark Kos case. (Dallas in 1993)6. The Cardinal avoided perjury. Had trials occurred, Mahony himself would have had to take the stand repeatedly, forced to either expose the hierarchy's complicity or perjure himself. 7. The settlement leads us again to consider bishops' cover-up of finances. The LA Archdiocese's public financial reports have been incomplete and misleading. Despite land holdings worth billions, it publicly claims only $494 million in total assets. Other dioceses behave the same way. Bankruptcy proceedings in San Diego and an ongoing criminal trial in Cleveland reveal that both dioceses stashed monies in hundreds of bank accounts, making an accurate count of total assets nearly impossible. 8. Will we see another bogus "release of confidential documents?" In 2005, though ordered by a judge to release priest personnel files, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles managed to release instead highly edited "summaries of information" (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/usccb/natureandscope/dioceses/repor...) that were sanitized to the point of falsehood. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/03_04/2007_03_20_Spano_Mah...) The Portland OR archdiocese also showed disingenuous "compliance" with a similar document-release commitment in their plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Bishop Vlazny released just a few hundred pages, a strange hodgepodge of incomplete files (compared to the 40,000-page archive forced out of Boston and the 9,000-page archive released by the Manchester NH diocese).Finally, with Roger Mahony having the temerity to claim as recently as yesterday he "didn't know" pedophile priests would re-offend, we recommend you read this powerful article about his deposition in the Oliver O'Grady case (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2004_07_12/2004_12_15_Anderson_...) It reminds us of the incalculable harm to children that Mahony enabled. He knew."

I apologize for the repeat of the ba.org newsletter post. I had minimized the page earlier this evening and not refreshed it when I returned to my computer.

RE: loans by LA archdiocese, and impact on parishesI see nothing wrong with loans to pay settlements, when loans are a normal part of church business practices. Is it the fact that survivors benefit that is objectionable?And why should parishes be exempt from any impact of what was done in them? The idea that settlements must not burden current parishioners for past actions strikes me as counter to the Gospel. Sin (and crime) has consequences and we all as the Body of Christ share in them. Jesus rejected notions like its not my fault, and so should we. Child sexual abuse survivors stand as victims of the Church herself, and as such should have a special claim on our consciences. Lets pay the price in justice, not in charity, and then move on together with heads held high.Survivor attorneys went unpaid for four years, bearing huge costs along the way - with no guarantee of payback. They upheld their clients through brutal legal tactics, and many lawyers have to get counseling themselves to cope with the emotional drain. They endure threats against them and their families, some have serious financial losses, one was even shot at at home. They earn their money the hard way.

Hello all,A few observations can't escape my notice. Actually - let's just call them questions.1) Given the size of the payout relative to Boston - over four times as much, even allowing for inflation - and the difficulties entailed in Cardinal Mahoney's various testimonies and actions, why has he so far managed to escape the kind of relentless public obloquy that brought down Cardinal Law for a sex scandal apparently dwarfed by Los Angeles's?2) Is there a reason why virtually all of the lawsuits settled apparently date from after Cardinal Mahoney's tenure began?3) Will there be further exploration of the role in all this played by the formation at St. John's seminary - the training ground of a disproportionate number of accused priests in Southern California? Just askin'.

Lender: You ask good questions. Mahony already settled the cases involving abuse during his tenure as archbishop--for $114 million. The $660 million settlement, as I understand it, covers cases that occurred (mostly?) before he became archbishop. I suspect St. John's will feature in the epidemiological study that is being conducted by John Jay College. Carolyn: What would give you the impression that I suggested victims' benefiting from the settlement makes the loans objectionable? That implication is unfair. The problem is that the conversation about the abuse crisis tends toward extremes: the bishops are all wrong or the victims are all right. The scandal is simply too large for our understanding to be well-served by such habits of thought. Obviously loans are standard practice. But you can't seriously believe loans on this order qualify as ordinary. Why should parishes be exempt? Well, not all the abuse actually took place in parishes, and the abuse that did may not have been aided or abetted by the faithful paying the bills. (I don't know that Jesus addressed this particular problem.) And of course, not all parishes are created equal. Or are you suggesting some kind of progressive "sexual-abuse scandal tax." I doubt that would go over. Justice is a two-way street. I have no way of knowing how many lawyers worked abuse cases pro bono or for how long they did so. But the notion that most or even many are long-suffering seems strained to me. I can tell you now that it is in fact big business. The L.A. settlement will pay them handsomely. When Jeff Anderson goes before cameras and irresponsibly asserts that there are "tens of thousands of unreported" abuser-priests roaming the countryside and churches, what do you think he's after? How do you grapple with the testimony of so many victims that the money doesn't help them heal?

I return to my original post on this: the Vatican is reported to have reacted by saying that the abuse problem is not only in the Church, and that the settlerment now means we can move on and leave the problem behind. I repeat my original note on the idea of justice and responsibility in the Church and conclude this is why blame tends to be "extreme."Or is it?If you've been the victim of a horrible crime of violence, you know that there may be technecalities or big bucks lawyers that can limit justice for those who offend you. In this instance, as in many of the editorials/comentaries appearing in the press today after the settlemet was approved, the blame is not on victims but on the Church, whose lawyers, the consensus of LA paper reports state, received millions.Before attacking defense attorneys, it might interest a reporter to sit down with one and go over in some depth their experiences with victims to see how they arrived at their approach. One might find less of a suggestion of venality there.

If the money doesn't help the victims to heal, I wonder how they would have reacted if, rather than getting cash, they would be reimbursed for as much time it takes in counseling and other forms of care and concern?I would like to see a clear and open accounting of how much goes to the victims and how much to the legal teams that got made these awards possible. Does anyone know if that information is readily or easily available anywhere?That said, I do NOT believe that all victims are money-grubbing, but one does have to wonder about some of them.Another point: is it alright for victims of obvious abuse to seek satisfaction by effectively abusing the innocent, i.e., those parishioners who have had nothing to do with the abuse, but who are being stuck with the bills for years to come? Just asking.And, lost in all of this financial posturing on all sides, is this point which we, as Catholic Christians, should at least consider: http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007c/072007/072007q.php

Grant: I don't know if clarifying my post will be helpful or not, since I believe the chasm between our views of survivors is so wide. I base my points on our varying reactions to Mark Sargent's article about the supposed vengeance of survivors. and our previous exchanges.So, briefly - Re: "Why should parishes be exempt? Well, not all the abuse actually took place in parishes, and the abuse that did may not have been aided or abetted by the faithful paying the bills. (I don't know that Jesus addressed this particular problem.)"My understanding of Jesus' sacrifice is that He was innocent. He did not tell the Father, but, but, that evil was not my fault, and I should not have to pay the price. So, parishioners saying but, but, the abuse was not our fault, or it did not occur on our property, sound unlike the Jesus I understand. I grant that my theology may be simplistic, and on this blog, the level of sophistication on the subject is intimidating. But that is the gist of my reference. We are all part of the Body of Christ and need to step up to the plate here. Stop the whining. There has been a cruel injustice, and since bishops criminally mishandled the matter by choosing adversarial stances instead of outreach, we do indeed pay the price. They just get promoted.I note the LA archdiocesan lawyer who spoke movingly of his education by survivors and how it radically changed him. People need to do what only the plaintiff attorneys did - listen to them in person. It changed me.Money does not make the pain go away, but it is the currency of accountability. It took legal action to wake up the bishops. Money was what got their attention. The real hope is for the truth to be known, hence the focus on document releases. Bishops pay huge amounts to keep the secrets, or edited versions of them.As to money-hungry survivors, my experience is just the opposite. Begging them to report the abuse or file a complaint is the issue. And since only 20% report, there are indeed many unidentified priest abusers out there.

I said nothing about "money-hungry survivors," Carolyn. Do you accept Anderson's figure? Tens of thousands of unnamed abuser priests roaming the countryside? Who would argue that there are not many? But tens of thousands? I ask again: why do you think he says such things? It's very easy for those of us in relatively well-to-do parishes to talk about sacrifices parishes should make. In the rhetoric of victims' advocates, I detect little sensitivity for the problem of competing goods.

Carolyn, theology or not, you are as much if not more accurate and knowledgeable on this issue as anyone here. Any greedy lawyer or possibly indiscreet victim, should in no way detract from this horrible crime done to innocent, trusting Catholic children.Grant, please remind of the few situations in the abuse situation where the bishops were right. I know you are sympathetic towards those who have been abused. Is it wrong to ask that you document the few times the bishops may have been right. The fact is you have been consistently in error on the facts of Votf and tend to excessively see them as extreme. You disagreed when I asserted that the New York archdiocese does not allow Votf to meet in its churches. Votf NY only meets in Jesuit churches. Votf strugges for funding while the dioceses remain well endowed. What an injustice. Just shows. We remain status quo sheep.I am flabbergasted that you feel the need to defend the bishops when they continue to stonewall. The LA settlement is a step in the right direction. But bishops remain lords and still lord it over others.Jimmy Mac, I do object to your juxtaposition of the neglect of priest abusers as they languish in prison. http://ncronline.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2007c/072007/072007q.phpNo question we should forgive but the context makes it appear as if it is the victim's fault or those who support the victims.Bravo, for Carolyn to bring out that as the body of Christ we should endure this together. Furthermore, money is not the problem. Commitment is. Here Rev. 3;15 is quite appropriate.

This conversation is a good example of what's wrong with the public conversation about the tragic issue of sexual abuse in the church. Determining who's right isn't a zero-sum game. I haven't "defended the bishops." I've raised questions about the proper response to the scourge of clergy sexual abuse. The climate is such that even asking brings branding. I don't think either side has comported itself very well--to put the matter broadly. The notion that I've been consistently wrong about VOTF, a group I've been covering since 2002, strikes me as strange--not as strange as your belief that I view them as extreme. But again, the black hat/white hat trope doesn't serve us well. VOTF has made some missteps. I've pointed them out. I've also consistently defended them against disinformation campaigns waged by the likes of "Diogenes" at Catholic World News (whoever he is), Deal Hudson, and Bishop Lori.

Bill:I am very sure that not all priest abusers in prison are guilty of the same degree of abuse. Not all are serial abusers. If we all ended up in prison for our stupidity of many years ago, the prisons would be full. I say let the punishment fit the crime. I also ask you and anyone else if you ever thought a corrective measure would do the trick, but found out later that you were mislead by those on whose advice you were relying. I have some pretty painful experiences in the stock market that made me a realist! In the Churchs panic over the degree and extent of the problem acknowledged by me and shockingly pervasive . she has been very quick to throw all accused priests to the wolves. I dont doubt that most priests in prison are guilty of heinous crimes against the vulnerable. However, there seems to be a lack of balance and due process in way too many cases.I will feel much less sympathetic about those old men in prison who are subjected to daily harassment and violence WHEN their enablers (i.e., the episcopacy) are held accountable in a civil court. The courts of Church opinion are self-defendingly meaningless in this matter. The fact that Bernard Law is home scot-free is nothing less than a mortal sin! And he is not alone.Re-read the article and tell me that there is not a kernel of truth in what the writer is saying.

Jimmy Mac, I did not say the article was not truthful. My point is that it is inappropriate to bring it up in this context. Certainly the bishops have no right to abandon those clergy the way they did.Things are always a matter of nuances, Grant. The victims have been ignored, ridiculed, castigated, ostracized for decades. This is not the time for criticism of Anderson nor the victims. Especially since we are still dealing with the hubris of self righteousness in the RCC. How empty the motus and the Ratzinger Book when such injustices are still officially continuing.You have indeed defended Votf. But it is like "damning with faint praise" or patronizing at best.

Bill,You're about to fall off that limb you've gone out on in order to criticize my coverage of VOTF. Obviously you've forgotten what Commonweal and I have written about the group. Google "Commonweal + VOTF" and refresh your memory. I'm curious: when will we be able to raise questions about the victims' advocates and attorneys?