Catholics Claim Religious Liberty To Refuse Compensating Sex Abuse Victims

There is little argument that the Constitution’s Framers intended religious freedom to mean exactly that; freedom to worship without government intrusion or interference. However, due to a deceitful plot by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the early 1980s, the concept of religious liberty has become a powerful tool to impose religion on the people and disregard the nation’s laws, including the Constitution. In an ironic twist, as a result of Catholic Justices on the nation’s highest court, for the second time in six months high-ranking Catholics are exercising religious supremacy over the nation’s judicial system.

Last November the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese claimed that according to its distorted interpretation of the Supreme Court’s definition of “free exercise” of religious liberty, it had no obligation and would not go to court; at all.  The issue was over a Catholic -affiliated school violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bans all employers from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The school fired a female teacher for going through fertility treatments (in vitro fertilization) and informed the woman that because she wanted to give birth, she was “a grave, immoral sinner” and was also now unemployed. The woman rightly filed a lawsuit against the school for violating her Title VII Civil Rights.  The Church said it did not have to acknowledge the lawsuit, or go to court for a discrimination jury trial on the basis that doing so violated its religious liberty; the same religious liberty granted by 5 Catholic Justices on the nation’s highest court just a few months earlier.

It is telling  then, and no surprise, that the Church claims it does not have to abide by a court-ordered settlement to compensate victims of ‘priestly’ sexual abuse (apparently not a grave, immoral sin) because it is exercising its High Court-approved religious liberty. It is also likely violating bankruptcy laws; but the Church’s religious liberty means no federal laws apply and that is particularly true when there is the Church’s taxpayer-provided money involved.

The case concerns the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee that hid $55 million to shield the money from compensation after at least 45 Milwaukee priests ‘allegedly’ sexually abused children; including one accused of molesting about 200 deaf boys. The diocese agreed to a $17 million settlement involving only 10 of the victims, but after a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision allowed other lawsuits to move forward, now-cardinal Anthony Dolan quickly transferred $55 million into a cemetery trust to “protect these funds from any legal claim and liability” according to a letter he wrote to the Vatican celebrating the despicable act.

Then, in 2011, the archdiocese did what any despicable business would do and promptly filed bankruptcy “due to the financial burden” of having to pay the agreed settlement to the sexual abuse victims.  When the sexual abuse victims sought redress and the compensation the Catholics agreed to during the archdiocese’ bankruptcy proceeding, the Catholics said no way because it “had a Canonical obligation to properly maintain cemeteries and mausoleums funded through the trust.” The archdiocese complained vehemently that if it had to compensate the victims of sex abuse out of the funds Cardinal Dolan hid away, “there will be insufficient funds to care for the Catholic Cemeteries;” thus the archdiocese claimed adhering to the agreed settlement means it will be unable to fulfill its religious obligation and the victims were out of luck.

In 2013 a federal district judge agreed with the archdiocese that its religious freedom certainly included the right not to compensate sexual abuse victims, but last week a bipartisan panel of the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision noting there is still an unresolved “issue of whether the Archdiocese made a fraudulent, preferential or avoidable transfer” to avoid paying out the agreed settlement. The Court did not dare address the issue of accusing the archdiocese of breaking the law. It did, however, note that the “religious liberty” ploy the archdiocese proposed would lead to “absurd consequences” and “favor dishonest debtors by preventing courts from inquiring whether a religious entity made a fraudulent transfer” in order to dodge its debts, but it did not in any way say the Catholics were “dishonest” debtors. There is that unwritten American law that ‘thou shalt utter an unkind word about Christians” that no court or politician (except President Obama) dare violate.  The Seventh Circuit said it could not allow the  Church set a precedent that would “undermine the compelling interest of the [bankruptcy] Code by allowing a debtor who made fraudulent and avoidable transfers to intentionally harm its creditors,” or in the case of the Milwaukee Catholic archdiocese; hundreds of victims of “priestly sexual abuse.”

It is highly likely the nation’s High Court will have a much different opinion of Cardinal Dolan’s dishonest actions and preserve the archdiocese’s religious liberty to “not compensate sexual abuse victims” based on the Church’s religious liberty. This is in spite of the Seventh Circuit’s warning that “if an exemption to the Code is created in the name of religious beliefs, we can envision scenarios where individuals join religious sects to circumvent the law.” Obviously, the Seventh Court is as unaware the preponderance of state legislation giving religious individuals the legal right to circumvent the law as it is of the High Court’s predilection to give religious corporations exemptions to circumvent the law; all in the name of the fundamentalist version of the Christian religion.

It is noteworthy to repeat that the entire “religious liberty” ploy is a USCCB machination to exert theocratic control over every aspect of American society; not just to control women, discriminate against the LGBT community, or refuse to honor court settlements for “priestly sexual abuse” by illegally transferring taxpayer-provided welfare. It was a well-conceived, well-executed, and concerted effort to help the Southern religious right abandon a doomed racist and illegal school segregation program and embrace a desperately needed new cause célèbre for their theocratic electoral movement.  It turned out to be the same moral majority movement that empowered Republicans power to install the Vatican-5 on the Supreme Court and push America closer toward a dirty Christian-extremist theocracy founded on an even dirtier definition of “religious liberty.” A definition the Constitution’s Framers never intended because they knew it would lead to exactly where America is heading; an ISIS-like Christian theocracy.

26 Replies to “Catholics Claim Religious Liberty To Refuse Compensating Sex Abuse Victims”

  1. Any person that gives a dime to a Catholic church needs to have their heads examined. Throw these serial pedophiles in the slammer where they belong. They ARE NOT above the law. Start taxing their asses, they sure want to take advantage of America. Corruption is rampant in the church.

  2. Even IF the Catholic Church doesn’t have a legal obligation they certainly have a moral one. Isn’t that what churches are all about? Morality?

  3. It doesn’t make any difference WHAT religion, they are busy destroying themselves among the vast majority of educated peoples worldwide. The youth of today have information sources beyond mom and dad and a church, mosque, tabernacle or whatever. Organized religions are on their way out. It might take a few more generations, but religion will slowly lose its power over people. I just wish it could happen yesterday.

  4. Euro-Christianity is crumbling. The less their credibility, the tighter they try to draw power.

    If the GOP had not made common cause with religion, they would never have achieved political power. Religion was the dragon they fed to be able to command obedience. They’re running out of virgins to feed it. but it’s still hungry. And we’re not volunteering to be lunch. Ask France, Germany, England and Holland how mixing Church and state works. My ancestors fled to America rather than live in a State where the Church rules.

  5. Personal Responsibility.

    Are now dirty words when it comes up against Money and ‘Religious Liberty’.

  6. When Kennedy was running for the oval office there was a great fear of the pope running the nation through the Kennedy. We now have the Catholic Bishops basically imposing their rules on the nations courts. If the Suprevme Court goes along with this shit then the court gives up it’s authority to the church and becomes a business court only.

  7. I am so done with any religion for any number of reasons.I was raised Catholic but have other friends of other Christian and Islamic faiths (faith) who are leaving too.Screw it, give me the Golden Rule and the rest of the dogma can go away.I don’t need corrupt religious institutions to tell me how to live.

  8. Totally agree with you Sean. I left the church decades ago. All religions care about is money and brain washing the sheeple.

  9. In other words, “priestly sexual abuse” is now a recognized, accepted part of Catholic religious doctrine. Good to know.

  10. Mine too Robyn. Family history says in the middle of the night. Then possibly changed the spelling of their name.

  11. In 1969 at the age of 11 I decided to leave the bonds of the Catholic Church after my brother Mike was murdered on an Army base. Long before that I had discovered the sanity of Atheism, I’m so glad I woke up and survived the Catholic Church. Religion IS the worlds problem not the solution.

  12. The Catholic Church has accumulated riches beyond counting. The Vatican houses paintings, statues, books and other works of art worth hundreds of millions $s. It’s priests wear garments worth hundreds of thousand $s. They own property and buildings worth, probably, billions. All tax free.

    Jesus said it, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Mark 10:25, Mathew 14:24 AND Luke 18:25.

    I wonder what he would think of HIS church today.

  13. It’s beyond nauseating. I am so not proud to be a Catholic. So, from now on, I will keep my faith personal, and offer prayers and good works rather than money to the church that doesn’t need it, and won’t do monetary penance for sins committed against humans. THEY OWE!

  14. I hope you are correct, John. But there are the weak minded who can’t seem to stand on their own to feet and they are the ones who are “finding” Jesus or some other savior and they give up their minds to them.

    Ever notice that drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes suddenly claim they found Jesus? Or Allah, or some other figure head who is supposed to help them find the way?

    They trade one crutch for another.

  15. I was born a Catholic, have lived Catholic, but I have the feeling that my religion has become like the other Christian branches. Politics seems to be the order of the day with the men of the frock.

  16. John lenon said it better:

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today…

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

  17. I truely wish that all practicing Catholics who hate what the church officials have done would stop donating money to the already fabulously wealthy Church and instead put it into a victim restitution fund, created and managed by parishioners, who believe rape and avoidance of the law are wrong, and completely outside of church influence.

    Never happen, I know, but it would be something.

  18. How many millions of people across the globe are being killed, tortured and persecuted over the last fifteen years due to one religious sect or another dominating the political influence or holding power. Our hands, the US, are not clean.
    Now, our own government is giving way to these
    influences that are seeking to breakdown our democracy and who’d rather have a Theocracy. We’ve have seen laws constrict on hard won victories. Why? No one appointed these hypocrites guardians of a woman’s conscience. When they choose to make heartless decisions that will leave families with less food so they make more tax cuts, leaving Veterans and active duty personnel among the hungry. When they block grant Medicaid to states so there’s no oversight, these are not people with credibility. People in states without access to healthcare are still suffering. Texas is a great example. The GOP needs to be challenged at every turn. They will look to distract and create scandal. Just watch the money!

  19. WAITAMINIT! The Church called the lady a “grave, immoral sinner” for WANTING to have a baby????? Where are all those Right-To-Lifers in the Catholic Church now??? What a bunch of HYPOTWITS!!

  20. Jose:
    Sorry to break the news to you, but the Roman Cath church has always been political, and has been a fight for world domination.
    Just review the European wars, then the crusades, war against the ottoman empire, wars of expansion and the grandiose division of the new continent only between Spain and Portugal!

    The current waves of wars, here and there are just a continuation of the holy war in one side and a holy jihad in the islamic side. Just back out and review your notes from your homework and you’ll clearly see it.

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