Yes, you heard it right. Following the precedent set by 2 other Dioceses around the country, the Spokane Catholics have decided that they simply cannot afford to fight all of the allegations against them in court. So, they will chapter 11 and dodge the bullet.
There are 28 lawsuits right now against the Spokane Diocese, and about 130 claimants. Two priests who worked for the diocese over 30 years ago accounted for about half of those claims. All of these are sexual abuse claims.
The issue here is not that a priest made a mistake. After all, priests are just men who can make mistakes, and should be held responsible for those mistakes like every one else. The root issue is how the Church handed the issues.
‘…drawing attention to Skylstad’s relationship with Patrick G. O’Donnell Jr., one of Spokane’s most notorious priests. Forced from ministry in the 1980s, O’Donnell abused, by his own admission, at least 30 boys. That admission came out in a recent set of depositions taken as part of the lawsuits, and which were first reported by the Spokesman-Review and Seattle Times. O’Donnell’s testimony has provided critics like SNAP with more information, which, they believe, suggests that Skylstad failed to intervene when he had the chance more than 20 years ago.
from the Inlander
In every instance, there has been evidence of conspiracy, collusion and cover ups by the Church. If a private company, say a daycare, had these allegations raised, no one would raise a stink about lawsuits nor give them any special treatment. However, since this is Religion, here we go.
To dig down to the essence of the issue, Power corrupts. When ever a ‘universal truth’ is espoused, this gives the espouser’s a lot of moral leeway. After all, they are the ‘one true way’ and everyone else is wrong.
We can see evidence of this in the history of the Church. Look at how they treated indigenous peoples and religions. In Wales, it was a crime to teach Welsh. Over 5 million women were burned at the stake, with the blessing of the church, because they were suspected to be witches. The Church even published, or at least blessed (the reports differ on that), a book “The Malleus Maleficarum“, that detailed how to torture “witches” into confessing their heresy. Often the “witches” were just women that offended the local priest or headman. Also, how many people were tortured and killed by the Inquisition for any number of things , including not agreeing with the Inquisition on religious matters?
For example, did you know that a Council of bishops declared that Jesus was divine? (Council of Nicea, 325 AD – here and here. Many more resources are available on the net , use Google). All over the place, we have Men declaring Their truth is The Only Truth and killing those that oppose them.
What about the bible? Is is inspired by god or just a convenient fiction? I do not know, but this is fact , large parts of the bible that did not agree with the Church’s views were tossed right out. Here is a partial list of the books that they had. Many are still available, and the Anglican Church still uses many of them in their services. Here is a good discussion on forms of criticism of the bible, it’s tactics and the arguments used by Christians to defend it.
I will never stand in the way of someone who wants to believe a certain way – I simply hold that they should extend me the same right. I also firmly believe that people and organizations should be held responsible for their actions, under the law of the land. To believe that we are ‘above’ or ‘better’ then the law of the land is inviting disaster. In my most humble opinion, the most important law is – do no harm.