The following message by Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire was read aloud during all Masses from Lodi to Turlock on Saturday and Sunday, May 8 and 9.
By now, most of you will have seen (last) week’s newspaper and television news stories about our diocese and the difficult financial situation we face. I want, however, to address this topic with you directly and bring you up to date on where things stand and what lies ahead.
(Last) week, our diocese reached a negotiated settlement that brings an end to a lawsuit arising from sexual abuse by Oliver O’Grady in the 1980s. The man who brought the suit was a boy of 10 or 11 when this abuse occurred, and he suffered greatly as a result of it. It is my hope that this settlement helps him continue to heal. He, and all victims of sexual abuse, must be in our prayers always.
This most recent agreement brings the total our diocese has paid in judgments, settlements and legal costs to more than $15 million over the past 20 years. Of this amount, more than $6 million has been paid in the last three years alone.
Since my arrival as your bishop 14 years ago, I have tried to settle these cases when possible and to heal the deep wounds caused to our church and our diocese by the evil of sexual abuse. I hope that we will be seen to have treated victims fairly.
But today, the cash reserves from which these payments are made are all but gone. The money that remains for handling these cases is a small fraction of what is needed to face pending lawsuits as well as any new claims. This is a very serious situation.
There is widespread speculation that our diocese eventually will have to seek protection in a bankruptcy court in order to continue the work that it does. At this point, no decision has been made about how we will go forward and how we will meet our obligations.
It is natural that you would have questions at a time like this. Perhaps the first question you may have is what this means for your parish. The parishes of our diocese are separate corporations — whatever decisions are made by the diocese, they will not impact the solvency or operations of the parishes. To me, this is right and fair. The hard work you have done to build and run your parish should not be jeopardized by the actions or inactions of the diocese in decades past.
While it is too early to tell exactly what decisions will be made, I can tell you this: the situation we face requires that we examine every one of the options available to us and understand all our alternatives. This is a very serious situation, and I want to be sure that we have every idea on the table and leave nothing unexamined.
What’s more, I commit to you that decisions will be made only after wide consultation with the many parties involved.
Our diocese is a community of believers. We are a family of people and parishes. In times of difficulty, such as those we face now, families come together and talk things through. This is what I intend to do in the weeks and months ahead.
We will keep you informed of what we are doing and where this process leads us. We will communicate with you on a regular basis.
Thank you for your support and your prayers. They are especially important at this critical time. Please know that you are always in my prayers.
Sincerely yours in Christ, Bishop Stephen Blaire
To read the account in the local papers, click here.
Miraculously, I just thought of the solution. Get rid of gay clergy.
The blame mostly is in the hands of you bishops who did not protect His Church as He trusted you to do. Why don’t you get the money from your beloved Demoncrat Party? You know the Party you sold out to long long ago. The last I checked, you were still a member of that Party of Death!
May God have mercy on your soul,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Sell everything if you must and pay the victims. These crimes are despicable. The most important thing is that the criminals that allowed these crimes to go unpunished be brought to Justice.
I am looking at the previous Bishops that covered this up. Punish them too.
Do you believe these unfortunate victims are entitled to Millions from the hands of the faithful in the pews? I believe these enormous settlements are just one more reason why we need Tort reform. Are they entitled to something definitely, but instant Millionaireship, NO!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Mr. Fisher, I believe that the guilty Cardinals/Bishops/ and Priests should pay for their own sins, rather than making the innocent faithful in the pews pay for them. This type of stealing on their part is one more sin they will have to answer to.
I also0 believe that all guilty parties should be put in jail, including those in authority.
” Canon 1267 §3. Offerings given by the faithful for a certain purpose can be applied only for that same purpose. ”
However, civil authorities view the legal set up of a Church similar to a Corporation which must take responsibility for its actions.
By hitting these Bishops in the pocketbook is the only way some of them will understand. Prior to the financial awards none of them ever admitted guilt for their roles or that children suffered greatly.
The money won’t heal anyone. It will only make lawyers rich. Everyone else is sick to their stomachs and so sad that Jesus has to endure the filth that has taken place in his Church.
The money is small compensation for robbing someone of his or her virginity and robbing him or her of their FAITH in Christ’s Church.
CCC: ” 2411 Contracts are subject to commutative justice which regulates exchanges between persons and between institutions in accordance with a strict respect for their rights.
Commutative justice obliges strictly;
it requires safeguarding property rights, PAYING DEBTS, and fulfilling OBLIGATIONS freely contracted.
Without commutative justice, no other form of justice is possible.
One distinguishes commutative justice from legal justice which concerns what the citizen owes in fairness to the community, and from distributive justice which regulates what the community owes its citizens in proportion to their contributions and needs. ”
Perhaps the Bishop should stop putting forth his own political viewpoints, stay home, work on Saving Souls in his own Diocese, and manage his Diocese better.
He could start by cutting out all Diocese employees who refuse to sign a contractual agreement that they will abide by the teachings of the Church in the CCC, and cutting all unnecessary expenditures, and selling all Diocese property that is not needed or extravagant, PRIOR to cheating people out of the money he owes them by going to bankruptcy court.
And it would be helpful to stop scandal if he would write to the Vatican to get Mahony defrocked. (Roger Mahony was a previous Stockton Diocese Bishop).
Jesus paid the whole debt, enabling us to commute from here to Heaven.
Oh yeah, He gave it to us to build the commuter vehicles.
Far too many CA Diocese Bishops do not understand that you must not spend what you do not have.
14 Years is plenty of time to get your own Diocese in order.
The $15 million dollars was paid out over the last 20 years, and less than $6 million in the last 3 years.
These same Bishops keep telling the Federal, State and Local governments to spend money that they do not have.
What happened to the last 14 years of evangelization in Stockton ?
If you evangelize and bring more people to the Catholic Faith, you will have more offerings.
If you evangelize you may bring some former Catholics back to the Faith, and you will have more offerings.
When you spend your time politicking at the USCCB, etc., you deserve and get nothing. Politics is the job of the Laity, not Bishops.
Bishops should prepare the laity for politicking … by teaching them the Gospel. This way the laity can disciple the nations: The Great Commission. The catch is though that the bishops cannot prepare anybody for anything unless they are holy … and if they were holy, then the Popes would not be telling them to become holy. When did this bishop realize that he was not solving the problems? Why did he then not begin to prevail upon the Pope to send a qualified bishop to take over? Is he more self centered than centered on serving the laity?
Absolutely Skai, its Bishops first task to teach the Faith according to the Gospel (as stated in the CCC).
This helps the Laity form a RIGHT conscience for their personal lives and for their public lives.
Bishops are not supposed to be doing the job of the Laity in politics. And since Bishops involved in public politics are usually the Bishops who are not holy, they make a mess of things.
Good Bishops are busy tending their Flocks in their own Diocese and bringing as many Souls to God as possible for eternity.
Some Bishops have their priorities strangely mixed up.
something happened with this web site. my statement was supposed to be under the new Pelosi article and it flipped to this article.
sorry about that.
Settling lawsuits do nothing for the church. Clearing out “progressive” clergy will cure the problem as it is they who got us into this mess. The same Bishops who got a free pass for the sex abuse coverup are the same who continue stonewalling Sommorum Pontificum. I personally know of too many persons whose lives were ruined, some still in institutions, and more that swore never set foot into a Catholic church as long as they live because of trauma created thirty years ago by faux priests and subsequent complicity by their Bishops. The progressives achieved their agenda by driving churchgoers from the pews and bankrupting parishes across the land. Yet, the “compromise catholics” leave them in place to continue their demolition of the Church.
Why doesn’t he say “Catholic” instead of a ‘community of believers’ . Why does he not call out homosexual priests and the burden that sin has brought on the Church.
Skai has hit the nail on the head,, REMOVE THE GAYS FROM THE CLERGY…PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because why, Canisius? Because you were raised by horrible women who happened to be lesbians? What is the doctrinal basis in the Creeds or the Catechism that leads you to think that we all ought to go around screaming that we should remove the gays from the clergy period exclamation point after exclamation point?
YFC, yes and plus the fact that the gay mafia has left a wake of devastation and who knows how many souls have been lost due to their corruption. You think its game YFC, like most gay men I know you are childish and immature and respond like some girl in a school yard. My wish is for the Faithful laity to form legions and just physically remove this filth from every local parish and chancery office. Rip down every rainbow flag hanging in every parish, basically MAKE the Vatican hear us, that if they will do nothing, then we will take direct action….Burn the Rainbow Flag…isn’t gay shame month????
Now, now, your Fellow Catholic, no need to impugn Canisius’s lineage. The doctrinal basis supporting a clergy free of homosexuals is strong. It begins with paragraph 2357 of CCC, which states that homosexual acts are gravely disordered. Futhermore, in 2005, then Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed what previous popes (John XXIII) have said, that homosexuals must not be admitted to seminaries, because their disordered condition would detract from their ministries (Source: Catholic Culture.org/Pope approves barring gay seminarians). This doctrinally grounded instruction from the Holy Father is based upon charity for all, not the least of which is for the man carrying the cross of same sex attraction. He will be living in close proximity to other males for the rest of his life and undergo a relentless temptation. Why permit such a man to enter so many occasions of grave sin? The John Jay report proves that 85% of abuse cases were the result of priests preying on adolescent males (ephebophelia) a form of homosexuality. As for Canisius’s exasperation, it is understandable. No one is taking the drastic action necessary to rectify this astonishingly simple problem, and no one it seems, save our Blessed Lord Himself, is listening to the laity’s near 50 year lamentation over his Bride.
Gladstone, according to the John Jay report, 53% of the victims of clerical sexual abuse were adolescents (13-17 years of age). This 53% includes both males and females. Some 22.6% of the victims were under the age of 11 so 85% of the cases were not adolescent males. I realize that a significant percentage of priests have a homosexual orientation but people need to realize that most heterosexual men are interested in relationships with women and not interested in a celibate life.
PA you deliberately spread lies to cover your gay agenda… MOST OF the VICTIMS WERE TEENAGE BOYS.. DEAL WITH IT……Gays need to be ripped out of the clergy once and for all and if the Vatican wont do it then the Faithful laity will be driven to do it… by any means necessary
Do you deny that the clerical abuse scandal was overwhelmingly a matter of homosexual predation?
Gladstone, thank you for prayers, and yes PA denies that the sex scandals had anything today with homosexuality. He is homosexualist first and then a catholic…so called…..
Canisius, I agree that most of the victims in the John Jay study were teenagers, 53% is most. However, 53% is far from the 85% that Gladstone quoted. To get that figure you have to add in all the teenage girls plus all the boys under the age of 13. A significant number of the victims were under the age of 13 so there were a lot of men involved that would be considered pedophiles. And yes, Canisius, some of the priests involved were homosexuals. Those that had intercourse with 13 to 17 years old males, exclusively were. The problem here is that many of the abusers were repeat offenders and they should have been quickly defrocked and removed from the Church.
Mark from PA, when read in entirety, the John Jay Report STATES in writing that 81% of the sexual abuse was perpetraited on boys aged 11-17.
19% were girls and boys under 11.
Please read the John Jay report in entirety, and admit that this was a homosexual activity.
Don’t lie to yourself.
Don’t lie to others.
PA, most of the priests involved were homosexuals no matter what the age of the male victim was, I know you and rest like make a difference between teenage and pre teens but it was still male on male abuse… ie homosexual and don’t try and school on anything that I state here I have nothing to learn from your lies
I am beyond exasperation I am coming to point where I may have to leave for the SSPX or the Eastern Church….
We are stronger with you than without you. Your pain will acquit you on your day of judgment. I’ll remember you tomorrow when praying the Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
Gladstone, thank you but I am at the breaking point…..
Additional ways to save money are to stop paying Diocese money for USCCB Assessments, and BCCC (Bishops California Catholic Conference) assessments, and giving money to CCHD, etc.
Pay DIOCESE contractual and legal DEBTS FIRST, and then see what you have left. – This is JUSTICE, rather than robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Unfortunately some Bishops have no idea what it is like to have to sweat for a dollar.
“Lawsuits have cost diocese $15 million” and yet Bishop Blair continues to spend his energies on matters of purdential judgment rather than on combating the intrinsic evils of Abortion, Homosexual Unions, etc. The answer seems obvious.
All these crazy lawsuits are taking money from the people of God (e.g., for schools, parishes, etc.), and putting it into the pockets of lawyers — and a little bit for the victims of child abuse.
However, money can never make up for the damage caused, so the damage is simply shifted now to the real parishioners whose schools and churches are suffering because of what these former priests — and current bishops — did.
The real problem facing this diocese is its bankruptcy of values and faithlessness to Church teaching. The payout of money for such crimes is utterly unacceptable and merely reflects what Jesus said that where one’s treasure is, so the heart is,also. The scandals, the cover-ups, the lies and deceit, the utter disregard for self-discipline in daily life and religious principles serve as visuals of a deeper problem at the very root of the Church throughout this country…a total lack of awe or fear of the Lord, a cynical attitude about faith in general and genuine adherents to tradition in particular. These worldly bishops and priests who live like they were hot-shot executives for a religious corporation are utterly repugnant to me. Then, after they’ve made a complete disaster of their diocese, they put on a pruny-faced, “oh, poor us, we’re facing utter ruin” as they pass out collection plates to people already stressed out by the loss of jobs, social chaos, amoral schools, pressures from every side and the ONE thing they should be able to count on…THE CHURCH…has stabbed them in the back, stolen their money to spend on corruption and deliberately lied to cover their tracks. Wickedness! As my dad used to say, ‘To Hell with ’em”.
I meant to write two corrections to my rant…first, I didn’t mean the Church, literally but those in authority and secondly, I most assuredly didn’t mean that I wished our bishops in hell, literally. It’s just an expression like ‘go fly a kite’ but I really should never use expressions like that and I apologize. Otherwise, I stand by my comments and wonder how many bishops are where they are by the hand of God or by the hand of man? Does anyone have any insights into this?
I hope that all the bad Diocese almost go broke to pay for the sins of the Bishops and Priests. Sometimes money is the only way to wake up sinners.
This diocese was Mahoney’s old stomping ground. He started the cover up in Stockton and took it lock, stock and barrel down to LA. You reap what you sow.