Catholic Church at crossroads in Milwaukee over abuse charges

April 9, 2010

Sexual abuse victims meet journalists outside the Cousin's Center, owned by the Milwaukee Archdiocese in St. Francis, Wisconsin March 25, 2010/Allen Fredrickson

Stung by fresh charges of priestly sexual abuse and allegations of a cover-up that reach the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States faces a crisis of empty pews and empty coffers.

Attendance was down noticeably at some Easter Sunday services in Milwaukee, reflecting the litany of troubles facing the U.S. Church and a torrent of criticism over its handling of abuse cases.

“The Church is at a crossroads,” said Tim Flanner, 51, a member of St. John Vianney church. “There are people who are really ticked off, and there are a lot of them.  The Church needs to address its own failures, acknowledge its own guilt, and ask for forgiveness, and heal as a family.”

Last month, amid explosive charges that a now-dead priest molested some 200 boys at a school for the deaf over more than two decades, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki apologized to the victims and acknowledged the Church was wrong to not defrock the priest, Rev. Lawrence Murphy.

But beyond the church’s tarnished reputation, the financial fallout from paying settlement claims to victims is being felt in Milwaukee and dioceses across the United States. Four lawsuits are pending in Milwaukee, and the diocese has put its headquarters, the Cousins Center, up for sale to help pay $27 million in settlement costs that have threatened to bankrupt the diocese.

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One comment

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It would germane to please have a link here to the April 1 (and I don’t think it was a joke) comment in FaithWorld by Thomas Brundage, JCL who claims he was the then PRESIDING JUDGE for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and dealt with Murphy. I commented on two incongruous statements in Brundage’s account and your readers should see those too.
Here is the link:  /03/29/pope-seen-undeterred-by-abuse-sc andal-reform-calls/#comments
I think this will enhance this discussion.
Thank you. Good coverage.
Anura Guruge
Papal Historian

Posted by aguruge | Report as abusive