The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has filed for bankruptcy in the face of millions of dollars in liabilities over child sex abuse by priests. The diocese has settled 111 cases, but there are an estimated 200 more. It claims liabilities of between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million. The announcement comes after the disclosure that the diocese paid $12 million to people abused as children. In 2018, a grand jury concluded that more than 1,000 children were abused by Roman Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses alone over the last several decades. The report, the product of a two-year investigation, identified 300 abusing priests and lay “brothers” and found evidence of a systematic cover-up by senior church leaders in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican in Rome (“Report Identifies More Than 1,000,” Associated Press, Aug. 14, 2018). At a news conference, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, “The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation.” The six dioceses represent only half of the Catholic churches in Pennsylvania. Most of the victims were boys. The Roman Catholic Church in America has paid over $2 billion to settle lawsuits against immoral priests. The Bishop Accountability organization said that more than 4,000 priests have been accused of abusing children (“US Church to Pay 12.6 Million,” AFP, Aug. 11, 2008). A conservative Catholic organization documented this wretched business in the fall/winter 2002 issue of the magazine Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, observing: “the overwhelming majority of sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church–about 90%–involve homosexual priests preying on teenage boys. The major media and the U.S. culture at large want to deny or spin the homosexual factor out of the scandal.” So far, at least 22 Catholic dioceses and religious orders in the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy.
(Friday Church News Notes, August 24, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)