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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Thanks, Archbishop Vlazny

We got our formal notice this week -- my wife and I have been named class defendants in the lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Portland for priestly pedophilia and coverup. For the curious among you who wonder what such a notice might look like, here is the eight-page mailing we and hundreds of thousands of other Catholics in western Oregon are receiving.

I won't bother to repeat my views on the archdiocesan bankruptcy here, but let me just say that this is the lowest I've ever felt as a Catholic. And this is the most bizarre and saddest document that I believe has ever been addressed to me.

May the God of justice help the victims receive what they are entitled to.

Comments (14)

Hi ya man but you put your cash onto the collection plate and de facto allowed the sin while sleeping on the job...lets connect roost and home

Sorry, you won't lay this one on me. There's a difference between the folks in the seats and the folks in the robes up front.

Amen, Jack.

I grew up Catholic on the north side of Chicago and the priests and nuns at Queen of All Saints were nothing but supportive of me, though the nuns could be a bit tough at times.

I just wish the Catholic "brass" would have done more to weed out (and turn over to the authorities) the handful of priests who ruined so many young lives.

You can't pin this one on the churchgoers, teehee, but just keep laughing, sweetie. It "goes to", as the lawyers say, your lack of character.

My late father (a Protestant) credited the wonderful priests of the University of Portland for showing him how to be a good man. I (a lapsed Catholic) grew up with a wonderful priest as a role model - Father Schmidt of St. Therese. I don't know why this is important for me to say, but the pleadings Jack posted brought tears to my eyes.

This whole episode is just bizarre and sad as you note. How the parishoners got dragged into this is just beyond me.

I'm just curious. I happen to own stock in a wide variety of corporations through my various mutual funds. If the CEO or corporate officers of some corporation like Microsoft happen to get involved in a child molestation or pedophilia ring and the company covers it up, as a stockholder am I also liable for their misdeeds? If not, then how are the legal protections different for stockholders vs parishoners?

My own experience with this ongoing sex scandal is rather interesting. My wife is from Chile and when we met I was living and working in Juneau Alaska. She moved up to Juneau to join me and our plan was to have a small civil wedding in Juneau and then a larger Catholic wedding in Chile. For those of you who are not Catholic, what you need to know is that before Catholics can get married, they must go through a series of Catholic marriage classes that are usually held in the evenings by the local priest over the course of a couple months. You show up with the other young couples and listen to the priests tell you how to be a good Catholic couple. They won't marry you until you complete the class.

My mother-in-law in Chile has a lot of "pull" with the Catholic authorities down there and she managed to get permission from the Archdiocese of Santiago for us to do our marriage class in Juneau and still get married in Santiago. But it wasn't easy and took several letters back and forth between the Alaska and Santiago dioceses. So we're finally good to go and attend our first marriage class in Juneau. Then BAM, the next day the local paper runs a front page expose on the local priest who was giving us the class. Turns out he was one of the recycled pedophiles who had a history of abuse allegations in Arizona or some other state. He vanished the next day. The church brought in other priests eventually but our sessions of the marriage classes were canceled. With the clock ticking, my mother in law was starting to freak out and search out alternative arrangements like us showing up two weeks early to Chile. When we didn't bite she starts telling my wife "If you're not going to take this seriously then you just shouldn't even do it"

By this time everything had spiraled totally out of control as my mother-in-law was handling everything in our absence and had booked the very upscale polo club for the wedding and reception and was interviewing various caterers. And she was totally shocked when my wife said: "You're right. Let's just not do this, let's just call everything off and have a party in Santiago instead." Not the answer my mother-in-law was expecting. To say the least. But seeing as how we were already legally married at that point the idea of a giant monstrosity of a Catholic wedding in Chile was growing less appealing by the hour. In the end, mymother-in-law finally recovered from her shock and shame, and we had a great reception party at my their house with lots of Chilean seafood (razor clams, abalone, king crab, and various fish dishes.

So I have the pedophilia scandal to thank for getting me out of a giant overblown Catholic wedding ceremony. I guess we still aren't officially married in the eyes of the Church, but if my wife doesn't care then neither do I.

my friends and I when we were kids, not all that long ago, used to tease our catholic guy friends all the time. I'm not a catholic but I knew, as well as pretty much every other young teen in my school, that if you were catholic and a young alter boy, you'd probably been fondled.

I know today the vast majority of catholic boys probably never did get the "little too friendly touch" from their priest. The fact remains however that to us the jokes led us to the belief that these acts would actually occur had we strolled alone into the closest catholic church.

If I had been a member of an organization and the jokes among young teens were about being molested, I'd expect some sort of accountability from the leaders of my congregation as well as the leaders of the entire organization to clear the record. There would be no money falling into the collection plate from my hands had my kid told me a dirty joke about the priest until I could be certain this wasn't being condoned, hidden, or quietly accepted from my church leaders. Where has the accountability, or outrage for that matter, been from church members who have quietly laughed about these jokes while slipping money into the plate every week?

Oh, I forgot, a molesting priest is okay, but damn the unmarried, divorced, or gay!

Posters like MarkDaMan and teehee, in addition to giving gratuitous offense to parishoners, totally misunderstand the issues. The point of joining churchgoers in the bankruptcy action is not to hold the congregation accountable for the evil acts of evil clerics. Rather, its purpose is to cut off the plaintiffs' access to recovery by making extra sure that everyone who could possibly have a legal or equitable interest in the church's assets is bound by, and gets the "benefit" of, the discharge of debts in bankruptcy.

^^ I don't know anything about the Catholic Church including what they are shamefully doing to their faithful parishioners by declaring bankruptcy. You see, I'm an outsider and the outsider view is that the church has been woefully negligent and now that their hand has been caught in the cookie jar, they are trying to weasel their way out of the repercussions. I also cannot understand why as a kid practicing another religion I knew what was going on behind close doors more so than their own members sitting in the pews. Or is it possibly they just didn't want to acknowledge the ugly and therefore allowed many more young men to be molested instead of speaking up?

I, too, don't understand why parishioners keep giving money to pedophiles and their sympathizers. It looks like a huge weird cult. Seems like nowadays, somehow, you could have church without money. Anyway, it sounds like Perkins Coie is behind the procedural attempts to shield assets, not the clergy.

Mr. DaMan

It is not clear from your post whether you actually knew a victim of abuse. If you did, did you do something to alert the authorities, or just make jokes? If all you knew was rumour, did you try to verify the truth of the rumour, or just sit on the sidelines and snicker? Don't take too much pride in the fact that as an "outsider" you sat back and made fun of these abuse victims, did nothing (although it was "common knowledge") and now feel free to blame others. If you "knew" and did nothing, aren't you as culpable as others you are so free to blame?

“I'm just curious. I happen to own stock ...If the CEO or corporate officers ...get involved in a child molestation or pedophilia ring and the company covers it up, I also liable for their misdeeds? “

Your analogy lends food for thought. Without getting into the nuances of employer liability , you as the stockholder would indeed be affected by employer liability in the sense that your stock would plunge in value. You could anticipate the adverse impact and sell, limiting your losses. Bankruptcy would likely make your stock worthless.

The “stock” one holds in their religion is based on faith and belief in the dogma and moral values which find expression from following the tenants espoused. The “shareholders” can limit losses by renouncing their association with the church.

By forcing it’s parishioners to confront the sins of institutionalized pedophilia, (in a misguided attempt to limit liability) the church is inviting it’s parishioners to cut their losses and depart from it’s membership.

If the church is unable to “see the light” dismiss it’s silly bankruptcy proceeding and use assets to effect a global settlement, then, the future of catholicism is in jeopardy. Of course my departure occurred as soon as I considered the legitimacy of a religion which actively practices gender discrimination. Apparently women are not endowed with priestly qualities. When it comes to pedophilia, I would agree. I say, good riddance!

I'm not a Catholic, but I think all of this is just a bit harsh. I mean, yes - they had some pedophiles in the priesthood, and they SHOULD have done something about it. But the people sitting in the pews shouldn't have to be involved in this bankruptcy thing. The Church shouldn't even be in bankruptcy. They have many assets; they should sell some - as was done centuries ago to finance construction of St. Peter's and the Vatican. They - not the parishoners - should pay for the pain inflicted upon the innocent, and then they should clean house. Take steps to ensure that such stain will never darken them again, and proceed with important business of ministering, and in lightness and in grace.

Meg, no my 10, 11 and 12 year old ass didn't do anything about the abuse and I'm not sure if I knew a victim as we were all young and as kids didn't think that maybe one of the other kids we were making fun of might have actually been touched. By the time I turned 18 or 19, a couple years ago, and more in the know to do something, the abuse was already making the front page of the papers.

Had I been an alter boy myself maybe I would have asked, WTF man, really, and exposed the dirty secrets, but that wasn't my circle and my voice didn't seem to matter to anyone from that group.

I laughed as a kid at the joke the Catholic Church had already positioned itself to become, as an adult I feel great sorrow that so many adults in the know, or having the capability to learn the truth, did nothing while even their sons were being abused at the hands of the men they paid to preach.

Don't you just long for the good old days when Father Sheridan would find an excuse to slap a poor altarboy around or Father Murray could pound you with the window pole for not knowing your Latin declentions?
Drinks before noon can do that to you.


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