Diocese may need to sell assets to meet claims

The Irish Times – Wednesday, March 3, 2010
CARL O’BRIEN, Chief Reporter

THE DIOCESE of Ferns says it may be forced to sell properties if it cannot raise enough donations from parishioners to fund compensation arising from abuse claims.

The Bishop of Ferns Dr Denis Brennan told parishioners on Monday night it has had to pay more than €8 million to settle 48 civil actions, while a further 13 actions were pending.

Other dioceses such as Dublin, which has paid out €11 million in abuse settlements, are also facing severe financial challenges. This diocese has settled 99 actions, and a further 34 are pending.

Dr Brennan said a request for financial help from parishioners was not about sharing blame, but about “asking for help to fulfil a God-given responsibility”.

He said people who suffered abuse were not the cause of the diocese’s problems. Instead, the actions of “individual perpetrators, along with mismanagement, poor understanding and/or lack of resolve” were to blame.

“The Diocese of Ferns has been on a road involving the settlement of claims for 15 years now. It has been very much a team effort – various administrations and personnel, local diocesan and national church funding,” Dr Brennan said.

“Up to 80 per cent of the road of justice has been travelled. As we look to complete this road, it will be necessary to invite the parishes to become part of the process financially.”

The diocese estimates it will need to raise €60,000 a year from its 100,000 parishioners over a period of 20 years. An alternative plan is to sell assets and properties, including the Bishop’s Palace in Wexford, St Peter’s College Seminary, or agricultural land on the Rosslare road. It insists that none of the money from weekly collections will go towards settlement costs.

Diocese spokesman Fr John Carroll said yesterday that the bishop’s request was about sparking a debate on the issue. “This is more of an internal discussion within the church,” he said. “We’ve had people come forward with offers of help, but maybe there is a better way, like selling off property. We want to open up that discussion.” He confirmed that of the €8 million paid in compensation, about €5 million came from the Stewardship Fund, set up by Irish bishops.

The diocese has paid the balance through its savings, remortgaging the bishop’s residence, and raising a €1.8 million loan. It has paid out a further €2.1 million on legal fees for abuse inquiries, and €836,000 towards the treatment of paedophile priests.

In addition to Ferns, other Catholic dioceses may be forced to take similar actions to fund major compensation bills arising from abuse claims. While many dioceses have insurance policies to indemnify against abuse claims, these typically relate to future claims and do not cover cases which were known about in the past. In addition, most of the Stewardship Funds, which have helped fund abuse settlements across the Catholic Church in Ireland, are no longer available for abuse cases.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said the finances of the Dublin Archdiocese are under severe pressure as a result of compensation and the economic downturn. Church collections are responsible for 70 per cent of the annual income in Dublin. However, money from the sale of assets and investment income has fallen sharply.

  1. REF: A DAY IN THE LIFE

    Barry !

    That is BEAU….TIFUL WRI’ting. I would be delighted to read more. I also hope that you have been able to write as vividly and graphically about all the BAD days and your terrible experiences.

    raymondlambert@eircom.net

  2. The night-MARE that is Florence Horsman Hogan returns. The former sluice pan operative of “Nurse Ratchett” cuckcoo flying escapades, once again displays the degree of nothingness which she attributes to her Lobotomy.

    Out of “retirement” , but still covered in mothballs, the self acclaimed LUDDITE has been moved by the bishop Brennans “GOD GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY” to impose a LEVY ON RAPE, that it has Florence queuing up once again to offer her “services” to shirt and wimple lifters.

    Will Florence remember to forget to leave the FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME at home.!

    THE ONE HORSEWOMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE CAN DEPEND ON HER TRUSTY STEED, MUFFIN THE MULE, TO CARRY HER INTO BATTLE.. WELCOME BACK FLORENCE, WHAT A RELIEF TO HAVE A PROFESSIONAL GOMBEEN TO DEAL WITH.

  3. Bishop Eamonn Walsh – Letter to Dublin Priests of 3 Deaneries, 17 December 2009

    http://www.iol.ie/~fuller/BishopEamonnWalshLetterToDublinPriestsOf3Deaneries17December2009.pdf

  4. Ahhhhhhhhhh, makes one want to weep.!!

    The church assets do not belong to the church in law anyway, as they have no receipt from Mother Earth to state that they paid her for anything.

    They are mere custodians of the wealth, which was meant to be shared equally by all of humanity and not just men in frocks with fish hats etc.

    If the bishop wants to be a shepherd, then let him live like the poor sheep do and get a taste of real life.

    After all- “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”

  5. Paddy
    Its all about money what I would say to Brennan is go to Rome, your HQ has billions they shared in the for profit church/state run child sex abuse system of the INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS of Ireland they did not call them
    INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS for nothing,
    How many millions did the Irish people pay them from 1930-1960? try 133 try any thing it will blow your mind

    Christy

  6. Waking up this morning , if you are the bishop of Ferns, presents a problem, do you reach for the Prozac, hair shirt, whip or celice or just have cornflakes.

    Donning the mitre, and making sure the bling is hanging correctly before cracking one`s egg and making one`s little soldiers of toast before getting down to the business of “philosophical theology” and how to provide one`s adoring parishoners with a rational understanding, not only of the mere tenderness of life, but the means by which they can now “contribute” to us here in the PALACE to enable us to show these unfortunate abused children that we care, yes, thats it , we really care and we will show them that the “tenderness” of life can come through “”healing, reconciliation and of course forgiveness””.

    We must dispense with the notion, that we as bishops, can no longer be seen as tyrants and absolute despots who are intent on degrading the doctrine of grace, and worse, our recent “atonements” are now seen for what they really are, CRUDE. The defects in our “liberal” theology have now been exposed, found wanting in the extreme and indeed being commented upon in the vulgar press and media, why, I read one such report of yesterday actually accusing us of confining ourselves to the suggestion of minor , vapid reasons why the faithful should still attend church in the “traditional” fashion, of course they should, how else can we collect our dosh. Have these journalists no sense of direction.?

    While in rome we instructed our holy father to make mention of the barbaric elements within and without Ireland who currently unleash an undeserved tirade of negativity towards us, wholly intent on undermining christian beliefs and traditions so valiantly upheld by our most responsible bishops. This would not have happened in John Charles Mc Quaids day, and we must seek a return to those dearly held values, keeping the press in check, more influence in Leinster House, higher walls around the Institutions, bigger wafers in their gobs to shut them up, start throwing a few papal “honours” about, and there should be more widespread use of “mental reservation”, by the way, how is Desmond. The holy father took our suggestions to heart and no doubt the upcoming letter, provided Diarmuid Martin is still muzzled, all our expectations will be met.

    As the holy father indicated, we have to emphasize the importance that, amid many divergencies of intepretation , we as leaders of religious thought must concentrate upon the “christian” tradition and more particularly upon our historic role concerning good deeds, our role in the famine,(always a good one that), helping out during the “troubles”, education, the saving of souls, our “mission” to bring healing to these unfortunate children (Lolita`s, every last one of `em) but keep that among ourselves, we must at ALL times show that the proclivities of these sexually aware tempters and temptress`s within the Institutions and elsewhere are solely responsible for a “weakening of faith” which brought these rapes down upon themselves, wrecking many a good priests career. As the holy father warned us, we must be aware of the more conservative schools of thought now emerging in Ireland and giving “advice” on how the church should react to these CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. Such advice is of course unnecessary and indeed impertinent, and may give rise to a more radical school of thought, enabling our faithful to cut entirely free from the past regimen of restrictive practices it has taken us two hundred years to impose on them, I mean, just look at this new threat gaining ground on us , the COUNT-ME-OUT website, and worse, only yesterday somebody on here was looking for a meaning of the “MISSIONARY POSITION”, its a far more delicate manner of expressing conugal expertise as opposed to saying “FEEDING THE HEDGEHOG”, have these people no understanding of life.?

    As the holy father pointed out, it is the primary business of religion to concentrate upon emotion and belief, failure to achive these aims may see us termed as carpetbaggers selling snake oil, and its the task of theology, we bishops, to show how the world is founded on something beyond mere transient fact based on the hullabaloo surrounding the abuse of a few children and even less by a few “bad” priests. Our “legendary” antecedents will see us through this unfortunate blip, we must concentrate on an interplay of idea`s belonging to different levels of insight, and a good example of this is how twenty three of us came out in favour of bishop Drennan to retain his post, despite the best efforts of Diarmuid Martin to oust him. I mean, twenty three of us CANNOT BE WRONG, can we?, that leaves Diarmuid out on a limb. Its by sticking together and showing unity, which will eventually lend credence by reason of its expression of perfections proper to our finite cause, out temporal world depends on a heathy bank balance remaining secure from the grubby hands of these troublesome past delinquents who are still unhappy with their lot, despite our best efforts to educate them in the ways of the church.

    As bishop we are now tasked with implementation of our holy fathers wish to fuse together the souls and bodies of these allegedly abused children, and dwell less on seeing more body than soul, such as these paedophiles priests fell prey to.

    We must inform the congreational faithful that the holy fathers letter will be the beginning of “healing” for these reprobates, sorry, allegedly abused children, and it is through the holy fathers intercession, laced with piety, humilitation and a few hail marys, but no mention of dosh is to be made, its all about healing, reconcilation, the holy fathers attention to the doctrine we must apply without mentioning dosh, has to be based on an account of each abused individual undergoing a process of self-completion and to be understood in terms of the account he gives of him, or herself to what form of “healing” suits them best, any reference to GLOCH 9 millimetres, or Kalaznakovs, or even Uzi`s as a means of “healing” has to be avoided.

    We must also have a private word with our Serious Organised Crime Agency, known to you all as Irish SOCA, who appear to be amassing more bling than unrepentant members, such a crass display of wealth does our cause no good. The holy fathers instruction to refrain from crass and vulgar displays of wealth linked to omnipotence must for the present, be avoided, more so when meetings are being conducted at Maynooth. The holy fathers present worries concern us all, not least the rumblings of discontent presently emerging as a direct result of our holy and revered papal noncio Monskewer Leanza giving the aul two fingered salute to the Dail, not a good move that, and now we hear that there may be a nationwide Yvonne Murphy type investigation into every diocese, with the possibility of ANOTHER Redress Board being enacted , but this time AGAINST US, so I would warn all bishops that such a move has to be avoided, and the rumblings from Leinster House is that THIS time the Irish Taxpayer will not be footing the bill. The holy father is not “happy” with these rumours, more so if International pressure is brought to bear for the opening of HIS coffers to foot the bill for the crimes of his church.

    My dear bishops, we must dispense now, return to our diocese`s, and await our papal bull from rome, no doubt it will do the trick for us, the whole Nation waits with palpable tension as our NEW DAWN approaches, we will succeed in bringing “healing” as long as its not accompanied by any depletion of our coffers by the unnecessary doling out of our dosh to these f**, sorry, these troubled children , whom it is our god given duty to “repair” and get their arse`s back on our pews.

  7. “When it rain, it rains pennies from Heaven” Perhaps the Bishops, so stuck for money might consider leaving the buckets out and see how much they can accumulate. If nothing happen that way then I’m sure visitors to this website will have no problem digging deep into their pockets, wallets and handbags. After all, we wouldn’t want to see the poor devils stuck and broke – a woeful combination – would we?

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