Thursday, January 03, 2008

That's Fucked Up

    When will the Catholic Church learn to just shut its trap?

     Bernando Álvarez, the bishop of Tenerife in Spain (ironically pictured above with a young boy), recently said that young boys abused by Catholic priests "[t]here are 13 year old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you." Naturally, there are plenty of people in Spain who are plenty ticked off with the good bishop. Of course, his Excellency's PR guys immediately jumped on top of the story, explaining that the bishop would never (openly) condone such morally despicable action.

    I recently heard a story on NPR of a Dominican priest who was shuffled around all over the world, from Peru to Ohio, rather than being properly dealt with by the Catholic Church. The egregious inability (or refusal) by the Vatican to properly address such serious moral and ethical lapses are really telling of some greater problems with the church. I've never been very hostile to Catholicism (at least not anymore than I am most organize religious institutions), but I've got to say that I'm a little frustrated by how much they get away with.

There are plenty of faithful parishioners out there, just as there are plenty of devout and upright priests. But how many regular church-goers have really thought about the $660 million dollars that the Los Angeles Diocese (American's largest, mind you) paid out to its abuse victims. Where, exactly did that cash come from? Hint, be on the watch for the donation plate getting handed out for a second go around. Now, I'm not saying that honest Catholics are funding child abuse, but the higher-ups certainly seem willing to be put hard-working people's money towards less-than-holy purposes.

Slate's breakdown of how the $660 million was raised reveals plenty about the Diocese's inner workings. Basically, it splits up like this:
  • ~$250 million = Los Angeles Diocese's own bank accounts
  • $60 million = other religious orders under the Catholic Church
  • $123 million = litigation with other orders that chose to sit out the settlement
For those of you properly following along with your calculators, that leaves $227 million of the total deal to be paid. And by whom? Insurance companies. That's right, folks, the Los Angeles Diocese, like any other business, can purchase insurance from an insurance company protecting it from a lawsuit. Yes, the Catholic Church purchased sex abuse insurance. And that might be the creepiest part of this whole sordid thing.

(Story and image courtesy of Typically Spanish)

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