Parishioners, priests to dig deep for abuse victims

The Catholic Diocese of San Diego is asking parishioners and priests to make contributions to help pay for the recent $198.1 million sexual abuse settlement.

A memo issued this week by Bishop Robert Brom asked priests to contribute one month's salary, the Associated Press reported.

"We cannot ask of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves," Brom wrote in the memo to about 280 priests, whose monthly salary can be as much as $1,535.

The donation requests will help "cover the expense involved in compassionate outreach to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of
the church," the memo said.

The idea came from current priests who saw it as a gesture toward the 144 people who allege they were abused by clergy members and church workers when they were minors.

"It's a way of kind of righting some of the injustices done to them and also start the healing process," said the Rev. Ned Brockhaus of St. John of the Cross in Lemon Grove.

Judy Bethel, a Catholic and San Diego resident, said that if Brom hadn't sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the diocese in February, he could have settled the suits for less money.

"I think he's asking us to bear the cost of his mistakes," Bethel said. "I, for one, am not willing to do this."

The average payout will be $1.38 million per victim, according to the terms of the agreement announced last month.

The San Diego diocese will pay about $107 million of the total; the rest will come from insurance and the Diocese of San Bernardino, which was once part of the San Diego diocese.

San Diego Diocese Seeks Donations, October 7, 2007, AP

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
San Diego Parish

8 Oct 2007