Monday, November 23, 2009

Diocese of Wilmington: Pay Defrocked Priests, But Not Just Debts

From yesterday's Washington Times, we read of some very skewed priorities of the Diocese of Wilmington (DE).  Some commentary is in order.

The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.  It had been paying retirement benefits to six priests who were removed from ministry because they were confirmed child sex abusers.  They had agreed in court not to pay such benefits without court approval; but they are arguing for that approval.

In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor files for protection because it ostensibly is unable to pay its just debts.  The creditors are barred from making attempts to collect monies due to them.  The intention of these measures is to let the debtor reorganize itself so it can one again become viable and solvent. 

In this case, we must question how on one hand the Diocese of Wilmington can claim that it is unable to pay its just debts while on the other hand pay pederast priests to do essentially nothing.  One of the priests in question, Francis DeLuca, was actually defrocked after serving a jail sentence for abusing his own nephew; yet the diocese is intent on paying him.  Attorneys for the diocese wrote, "corporal works of mercy such as the provision of charity to Mr. DeLuca are fundamental to the Christian faith."  Wrong, dear attorney!  It is NOT a "corporal work of mercy" to essentially steal from creditors to pony the proceeds over to a criminal who most likely helped put the archdiocese in its financially-precarious position (let alone rape his own blood relative).  It is no "work of mercy" to violate the Seventh Commandment!

Barbara Dorris, an official with SNAP, writes, "it is morally wrong for a church official to put helping child predators ahead of helping child victims."  I don't find myself agreeing with SNAP often, but I do in this case.

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