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The bill for clerical abuse



It'll be higher than you might think, argues Villanova law dean Mark Sargent (via Bainbridge):

Who, then, will pay? Not the molesters, not the long-dead or retired bishops and chancery officials who enabled them, and not even the superiors who are still in office. The bill will be paid by closing and selling off older, marginal parishes that can barely support themselves in the inner cities and poor rural areas. It will be paid by closing Catholic schools already stressed by the increasing cost of providing private education, particularly to the poor. As usual, the poor will pay, but they won�t be the only ones.

The church in America is a bit like a rust-belt manufacturing company with responsibility for the pensions and health care of tens of thousands of retirees who far outnumber current employees. The church has a significant number of aging priests, women religious, and lay employees with pensions it has to support. In the same way that mass tort liabilities can threaten pension systems in manufacturing companies, these settlements risk the church�s capacity to meet its pension obligations. The scale of this threat is not yet certain, because little is publicly known about church pension programs, but the threat cannot be dismissed.

The indifference of at least some victims and advocates to these problems, their assumption that the bishops are cynically crying poverty, and their tendency to treat every diocese as if it were as bad as the worst ones, suggest that they want not only to be compensated, but to burn down the house.

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.