June 10, 2005

Paying for Sex

Paying for Sex
They say that prostitution is the oldest profession and that people have been paying for sex since time immemorial, but it now appears that the Catholics in the pews are paying for it...Big Time. No, Catholics aren't getting their jollies for pay. They're paying for the jollies of priests, whose jollies were both immoral and illegal. I'm talking about the sex abuse scandal, of course, and today we have a report on the cost, to date.

The cost to the U.S. Roman Catholic Church of sexual predators in the priesthood has climbed past $1 billion, according to tallies by American bishops and an Associated Press review of known settlements.

And the figure is guaranteed to rise, probably by tens of millions of dollars, because hundreds more claims are pending.

Dioceses around the country have spent at least $1.06 billion on settlements with victims, verdicts, legal fees, counseling and other expenses since 1950, the AP found. A $120 million compensation fund announced last week by the Diocese of Covington, Ky., pushed the figure past the billion-dollar mark.

A large share of the costs — at least $378 million — have been incurred in just the past three years, when the crisis erupted in the Boston Archdiocese and spread nationwide.

Source: click here.

The Catholic Church depends on free-will donations from people like me. I admire, support, and applaud the charitable work of the Catholic Church through its various dioceses and agencies, but I have to admit that I give as much, or more, money every month to an environmental protection organization as I do to the Church, and, as far as I know, that organization has been scandal free. I figure I donate something like $10,500.00 a year to our local Council on Aging in my time, and they're scandal-free, too. I believe in Catholic schools, and, indeed, I went to them for 16 years, but my wife and I have a combined record of 65 years in public education. The money and time we donate to education goes to the Bay Education Foundation, not to our parish's Catholic school.

Three dioceses have declared bankruptcy over this scandal, and, supposedly, more are waiting in the wings to do the same thing. I had never imagined that something like this could happen, but it's happening every day.

And in the face of this they want to tell me what I can and can't do in the bedroom? Or that my single daughter can't adopt a frozen embryo, if she wants to? Or that my friends who have been a faithful gay couple for 25 years can't have the same rights as a married couple? Or that a gay couple have to put up for adoption a kid they've raise from birth, once thought to have HIV but later proved not to have it, and they're not eligible to adopt him is right?

$1 billion. That's a hell of a lot of soup kitchens and homeless shelters. That's a hell of a lot of Christianity to go to waste.