A federal judge ruled recently in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese bankruptcy case that the $57 million that the church had hidden in the cemetery care fund could not be touched by victims of priestly sexual abuse. This shocked a lot of people, myself included, because we have internal church communications between Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan, former archbishop of the archdiocese, and the Vatican, stating that the money was being moved specifically to shield it from seizure in the upcoming civil trial. The Vatican, no surprise, approved the move. According to Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph T. Randa, Catholic “canon law” requiring it to provide for the long-term care of cemeteries for the eventual “resurrection of the body” are a sufficient basis to shield religious organizations from US civil law.
There are 575 creditors, mostly those who have been molested by priests within the Milwaukee Archdiocese who are understandably pissed off at this decision. In July, over 6000 pages of documents were released, detailing decades of sexual abuse by priests that were knowingly covered up by the Archdiocese. Clearly, the church has tried to shield it’s funds from creditors, perhaps through the manipulation of a federal judge and that’s what people have demanded to find out. Now, another judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley, has ruled that all documents related to the cemeteries in question, must be released to the public so it can be determined if Randa has any interest in the Catholic cemeteries or any potential conflict of interest in the case which should have caused him to recuse himself from the case.
“This should not in any way, shape or form be construed as a ruling on the appropriateness of Judge Randa’s recusal or nonrecusal, or whether he has a financial interest or not” in the archdiocese’s cemetery litigation, Kelley said. Depending on what they find in those documents, Randa may be asked to vacate the case or recuse himself from the issue if it’s found that he has a vested financial or ethical conflict of interest.
Regardless of the particulars of this case though, it’s clear that the Catholic Church, which claims to abhor the pedophilic tendencies of many of it’s priests, is really in it for the money. They have made every move possible, in every case possible, to hide information, protect assets and mislead the public and keep from paying the civil fines assigned to them by the courts. The Church has harmed a huge number of people, they continue to do so and they continue to hide this simple fact from the public, yet they do not want to be held accountable by society for the damage they do. As I’ve said before, this is really no surprise once you realize that the RCC isn’t really a church. It’s a criminal organization.
Maybe it’s time the court systems recognized them for what they are.