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Thursday, February 19, 2009


From the Catholic News Agency:
Portland, Ore., Feb 18, 2009 / 08:20 pm (CNA).- The Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday following additional sexual abuse lawsuits, thus becoming the first religious order to do so.

The bankruptcy petition was filed in Portland Federal Bankruptcy Court as an additional 200 claims of sexual abuse of primarily Alaskan children were pending or threatened against the Jesuit province, the Daily News-Miner reports.
A lawyer for the victims, however, points out filing for bankruptcy is "ultimately an acknowledgment of what we have been saying for years is true, that Alaska was used as a dumping ground for problem priests..."

While filing for Chapter 11 will no doubt speed up the process of settling claims, it will also shut down further discovery in the matter, which means the public, including Catholic laypeople, will never know the full extent of the pernicious rot that infested this province. More's the pity. If Mother Church truly wishes to purge this evil, once and for all, the only way is to dig to the core of the rot and chop it out; not flee to the bankruptcy courts and issue mealy-mouth statements like this one from Fr. Patrick J. Lee, SJ, provincial of the Oregon Province:
Our hope is that by filing Chapter 11, we can begin to bring this sad chapter in our province’s history to an end.

We continue to pray for all those who have been hurt by the actions of a few men, so that they can receive the healing and reconciliation that they deserve.

Chapter 11 will allow the Oregon Province to resolve pending claims, manage its financial situation and continue its various ministries in the Northwest in which it has been engaged since 1831...
Fr. Lee neglects to mention that in addition to the 200-plus victims (he calls them "claimants"), those "few men" (how "few," I wonder) guilty of the hideous acts are also in need of "healing and reconciliation," that their souls are imperiled. By hiding behind legal procedure, it seems to this layman they are compounding their sin.

Justice Brandeis wrote:
Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
And St. John wrote: "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." The Holy Catholic Church, therefore, need not fear for dragging the murky and sordid outrage of child rape out of the darkness and into the clear bright light of truth.

(Thanks to New

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