Another side of the story in Milwaukee...

I recently posted a statement by Archbishop Listecki of Milwaukee. Several commenters challenged the piece and now comes this statement which deserves our attention.

In a Jan. 4 letter to the members of the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki explained why he felt forced to file for bankruptcy, explaining “priest-perpetrators sexually abused minors, going against everything the church and the priesthood represents.”

This is true as far as it goes, but it is hardly enough to address what many experts have described as the most significant crisis in the Roman Catholic Church’s over-2,000 year history, possibly even eclipsing the Reformation.

This evil emanated not only from the sexual violations of innocent children by predatory priests, but also from the failures of enabling bishops to protect them.

Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is really about keeping the whole truth of this tragic matter from being made public. The filing has most likely delayed, if not canceled, the previously scheduled deposition of its former auxiliary, Bishop Richard J. Sklba among others.

Is Archbishop Listecki encouraging Sklba to go ahead with his deposition in the interests of truth and justice or isn’t he? Remember that Sklba had already pursued legal grounds to have his deposition sealed.

A public statement from Listecki that Sklba’s deposition should go forward regardless of the Chapter 11 filing would be a sure sign the archbishop is more concerned about accountability and transparency, truth and justice than in keeping secrets and avoiding episcopal responsibility.

Listecki does not mention the actions of enabling or complicit bishops in his letter nor the fact that such actions would have triggered criminal charges in a majority of jurisdictions except for the inadequacies of statutes of limitation across the U.S. Most perpetrators and enablers have escaped criminal prosecution because of this, and access to justice in civil courts is being thwarted by bishops and Catholic Conferences in state after state.
(Read the entire column by Maureen Paul Turlish here.)

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  1. Thank you for posting this viewpoint. It touches on all the points that disturb me about the crisis in the Church brought on by the abuse. Perhaps I am not fair, but I blame the hierarchy far more than the priest abusers for the crisis. I really do not understand what made these men abusers. The two I knew seemed charming but somewhat shallow. I do not believe that it has anything to do with homosexual orientation; the Vatican efforts to ban homosexual priests will not eliminate pedophiles from the priesthood. (I have known several homosexual priests who are good priests and definitely not pedophiles.)

    The motivation of the bishops seems clearer. They were trying to protect the reputation of the Church at great cost to its most vulnerable members.

  2. CP, can you share with us why you think this piece "deserves our attention"?

  3. I posted a report on Listecki's statement which drew several comments unbelieving of his sincerity. The second post was of a report which supported those commenters.

    Having posted favorably on Listecki's statement I thought it incumbent on me to post the Turlish piece which supported the earlier comments.

    I was first going to update the original post but then thought the update might be lost there and so I created a separate post.

  4. Thanks for your response. I went back and re-read the original 3 responses. I don't believe any of them are unbelieving of the bishop's sincerity. apc actually said he was sincere.

    The point I was making is that there is more to the bancrupcy story than just abusive priests. There is the role of the bishops.

    There are also some interesting side effects to the bancrupcy decision. The main one being the delay or possible elimination of depositions of fellow bishops in a civil court on the public record.

    I thank you for posting the Turlish article. I also thank you for allowing all voices to be heard. There are few places that I know of on the web where multiple opinions may be shared regarding these challenging church issues.

    I have a great deal of respect for you and this blog. God bless.


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