Irish Catholic Diocese running out of money as it pays for its sins against children

Tuesday 9 March 2010
popularity : 100%

An Irish bishop is asking parishioners to top up the Church’s finances so that it can pay for the abuse cases caused by its priests. Bishop of Ferns Dr Denis Brennan said the diocese has had to pay over €10.5m settling civil actions, paying its lawyers at the Ferns Inquiry, and treating offenders.

He said the diocese had spent over €8m settling 48 civil actions. Some litigants were abused over 60 years ago. Another 13 lawsuits are pending. Over €750,000 had been spent treating offenders, which Dr Brennan called a long-term investment in protecting children. Almost €1.5m had been paid recently for legal work on the State’s Ferns Inquiry.

He thanked the Irish bishops’ Stewardship Fund for paying over half of Ferns’ total abuse bill. His finance officer said insurance had paid another one-seventh but that, so far, the diocese had spent €3.5m partly by running down its savings and recently, by raising a €1.8m loan. Bishop Brennan said one-fifth of ’the road to justice’ remained to be travelled and that to complete it, he would have to seek funding from parishes.

But Colm O’Gorman, founder of the victim support group One in Four said: "If the Vatican is serious about supporting the Irish church and the rebuilding and recovery of the church let it finance it. It’s a bit rich for the diocese to ask parishioners to put their hands in their pocket to pay for the corruption of the institution of the church."

He said the Catholic Church was one of the wealthiest institutions on the planet and should show some of the much vaunted humility it is good at preaching but not good at practising. He said victims of clerical sex abuse took cases against the church because they wanted to hold the institution responsible, not the people sitting in pews.

"I would encourage them to get the church to look to its own assets and own wealth. Anyone that was offended by the sheer vulgarity and grandiosity of the pictures that we saw coming out of the so-called summit by Irish bishops in Rome last week will see the amount of money that swills around in the Vatican and the global church coffers. Let [us] see them divest themselves of some of that sort of wealth," he added. See also: The amounts that some Irish dioceses have paid out Vatican still cocooned from reality (See also Letter from Enda Farrell in the letters section below .) Why don’t politicians do God any more? Because nobody else does.... Singer exhorts Catholics not to pay for child abuse


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