Throwing words away one syllable at a time.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Blogfodder: Dark lords of the universe.

BC-Church Abuse, 2nd Ld-Writethru,0617
Judge approves settlement of up to $85 million in church sex abuse case
Eds: Adds details.

With BC-Church Abuse-List


Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A judge approved a settlement of up to $85 million Tuesday between sexual abuse victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, one of the largest deals the church has reached with U.S. parishioners who were molested by clergy.

The settlement covers 361 victims who claim they were abused over a period of 50 years by priests in a diocese that once included 57 counties across a large swath of Kentucky. Special
Judge John Potter said a desire by the Covington Diocese to make reparations to the victims contributed to the settlement.

The diocese had originally agreed to pay up to $120 million to abuse victims, saying it would pay out $40 million and its insurance companies would pay up to $80 million, which would have made it the largest church sex abuse settlement in the country...

Eds: ADDS Covington, Ky. settlement

With BC-Church Abuse

By The Associated Press

Sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests has cost the U.S. church more than $1 billion since 1950. Here are some of the largest known payouts to victims since the crisis intensified in 2002 with revelations that a molester priest was moved among parishes in the Boston Archdiocese without alerting parents or police:

- Diocese of Orange, Calif., 2004, $100 million for 90 abuse claims.

- Diocese of Covington, Ky., 2006, up to $85 million for 361 people.

- Archdiocese of Boston, 2003, $85 million for 552 claims.

- Diocese of Oakland, Calif., 2005, $56 million to 56 people.

- Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., 2003, $25.7 million to 243 victims.

- Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., 2005, agrees to fund a settlement trust worth about $22 million for more than 50 victims as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

- Diocese of Providence, R.I., 2002, $13.5 million to settle 36 claims.

AP-ES-01-31-06 1658EST

I had a reaction to this story I didn't expect.
Previous settlement stories against the Catholic Church left me thinking along the lines, "Good, they deserve it. All of them. The Church for their curruption and the people for being victimized. For shame -- to fuck with someone's spirituality..."

My grandmother's death last month changed that feeling, I think. Tempered it might be a better word...

She told me once that she had two life choices growing up: become a nun or marry. She said she got a job, instead, and did risque things like play tennis in a tennis dress -- said that was how she met my grandfather.

On her deathbed, I fell into a situation where I ended up praying the rosary with a couple of my aunts and a cousin. Grandma was coherent enough to try to say the words. There was poignance and sisterhood the ritual -- five women bound by blood in a mediation circle. The Hail Mary prayer is a very feminine prayer. Because of how meaningful this was to her, I think the funeral Mass later was more of a comfort to me than the usual torture it's always been.

Mass has been historically intolerable to me. I remember them as endless as a kid. I never knew what was going on or how much longer it lasted. I never quite understood why we had to go when we did. Add to that, my church clothes were itchy. Sometimes I'd see kids from school there in jeans. My brother and I were never confirmed so being forced into Catholic Church was just another way of feeling caught on the outside, looking in and never quite being part of the game. I hated it. I always felt like a party crasher. I never knew when to kneel, stand, sit or what to sing. But I've come to understand there's a value there. A key part of a journalist's personal history is the alienation factor. For some reason, the best journalists are the ones who were shaped by being outsiders in some way. When they finally do fit in they turn to the dark side and become agents of the dark lord of P.R.

My spiritual path is somewhere other than the Catholic Church. My grandma's death helped me to understand the spiritual side of her faith and appreciate it.

So, I was pretty stunned to find out that cash settlements for molestation have cost the church more than $1 billion. It hit me that money came from people like my grandparents who were truly poor for many years. And it royally pissed me off to see a part of their spirituality come to that end. I suppose when I read this, I saw a much wider pool of victims.

The other thing that hit me about this story was the line that the church's insurance company was going to take on a chuck of the payout. How does a church get molestation insurance??? Insurance companies in the U.S. are pulling out of states like Florida. Ours dropped us because of the hurricanes. And yet they are representing the church in molestation cases??

Insurance companies are the other agents of the dark lords of the universe.


Post a Comment

<< Home