Wednesday, February 6, 2008

January 2008 Information - Questions and Answers

These were part of the recent Archdiocesan document dump on Clergy Sexual Abuse cases (see this earlier post). I have selected some for translation.
Q: Why share this information?
A: The information will be part of a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and will be released to the plaintiffs’ attorneys. ...

Q: So, are you sharing this now only because of these lawsuits?
A: No. ...

Translation: Yes, see answer to first question.
Q: Is this the worst of the news?
A: ... We do not make judgments on what is “better” or “worse.”

Translation: No!

Q: What is the financial impact of these lawsuits?
A: ...It is too early to tell what, if any, financial impact these lawsuits will have. ...

Translation: Unspeakably bad. That "if any" is just our little joke to ease the tension.
Q: What about Legislation to open the statute of limitations?
A: ...Removing the statute of limitations would simply make it more attractive to sue the Catholic Church, and would do nothing to punish the offenders themselves.

Translation: Why do they keep beating us with these clubs we hand out?
Q: Why aren’t priests who have sexually abused children in jail?
A: The archdiocese would fully cooperate with law enforcement officials if they moved to put a know [sic] abuser in jail. ...

Translation: Our Hands Are Tied.
Q: Recently you announced a capital campaign – how does this affect that campaign?
A: The Faith in Our Future Trust has been legally established to ensure that the intent and conditions of donors are followed and respected. ...

Translation: Remember when Archbishop Weakland wrote to Paul Marcoux in 1980 and said ""I consider all that church money as a sacred trust; it represents the offerings of faithful and I must be accountable to them for how it is all spent." Remember how our Archdiocese later paid Mr. Marcoux $450,000? Remember how Bishop Sklba and the then financial officer okayed that payment? Well, forget all that, this time everything is completely different.
Q: If you suspect that priests are guilty, why are you defending lawsuits? Why don’t you just settle with the victims?
A: Resolution has been reached with 170 individuals – the majority through the independent mediation system. ...

Translation: We set up the "independent" mediation system. If it was up to us, we could only be sued in "independent" courts that we set up.
Q: That’s great, but why defend lawsuits?
A: For people who have chosen to sue, that is a decision they have made. ...

Translation: Our Hands Are Tied.
Q: I thought victims/survivors could not sue the Church in Wisconsin.
A: ... Victims/survivors have always had the right to sue the Church. However, just like with any civil action, the window for suing the Church has been governed by a statute of limitations. ...

Translation: We misunderstood our own made-up question about immunity under Pritzlaff v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 194 Wis. 2d 302, 533 N.W.2d 780 (1995).
Q: What about Becker?
A: ...Because Becker is laicized, the archdiocese has no influence over where Becker lives as an independent citizen. ...

Translation: For some unknown reasons, we don't seem to have the influence over lay Catholics we once did.


  1. That all sounds pretty right on. I would change the translation concerning why abusers are not in jail though. Bishops have (according to Vatican documents) a special father/son relationship with priests that means that they should try to protect them in every scenario to the fullest extent - even when that means bad news for the rest of the Church (and any children at large).

  2. That might help explain why lay staff who embezzle aren't quietly sent off for therapy and then reassigned to a new parish.