New Orleans Archbishop: local Catholic institutions must contribute to clergy abuse claims; SNAP responds
For Immediate Release: September 11, 2023
On Friday, New Orleans’s Archbishop Gregory Aymond told the area’s Catholic churches, schools, and other ministries that they will have to shoulder some of the cost of resolving hundreds of clergy abuse claims. This contradicts promises the Archbishop made to those institutions when he declared bankruptcy in 2020.
We are not surprised by this turn-about. After a bad news week for the Archdiocese, we believe that Archbishop Aymond is trying to deflect local anger and disappointment away from Church officials and onto long-suffering survivors. Moreover, we have always believed that the arbitrary division of Catholic dioceses into separate corporate entities is pure fiction. The bishops are absolute monarchs, and if they decide to use the assets belonging to parishes, educational institutions, and other ministries to pay off diocesan debts, there is little, if anything, that can be done by the faithful to stop them.
We are grateful that Archbishop Aymond has put the lie to the corporate shell game that the Catholic Church plays when filing for bankruptcy. However, we are disturbed that the victims of clergy sex crimes, who have up until now suffered all the consequences of unconscionable decisions made by morally compromised hierarchs, may now also bear the brunt of the faithful’s ire as well.
Hopefully, parishioners will not be fooled again. Church officials – not victims -- made obscene choices that led to permanent harm for countless young lives. Many have been lost to suicide, substance abuse, and mental illness. That a portion of the remaining survivors have bravely come forward to seek just compensation for their injuries should not subject them to the wrath of the faithful. That anger should be directed at those who caused the harm, and those who covered up for them, enabling the perpetrator to do even more damage to innocent Catholic boys and girls.
Unless those who endangered children are held accountable for their actions, nothing will change, and the boys and girls who today are a part of Catholic churches and schools will continue to be at grave risk of harm.
CONTACT: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board of Directors President ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)