One can imagine some praying gets done somewhere in all this, but that may be just wishful thinking. I wouldn't want to be in any bishop's shoes these days because in a country as wealthy as the United States it is a given in most dioceses that a lot of money will flow through the doors and it all has to be managed on a scale that would shock most of us who rarely ever give it a thought. The truth is the diocese is a parasite. It lives off the sweat and tears of the people in local parishes who are emotionally and spiritually invested in generosity and charity, as they should be. But that said, the bishops take tremendous advantage of this selflessness as they tax more and beg more and assess more and more money to meet the expanding "needs" of the bureaucracy they have created.
It is very easy to do this when you are spending other people's money. If you don't have enough, you just ask for more and if it isn't given freely, you demand it. The article says the budget needed improving to meet anticipated abuse claims. A little like knowing you are going to have to replace your roof or buy new tires in the near future. I don't think most people understand that the money THEY put in the collection plate is being "put away" to pay out claims by other Catholics who are pressing the Church for money because they know they can probably get it and lots of it.
I've never understood how any Catholic, active or not, can blackmail the diocese for moolah, taking it from the good works of the Church and the dire needs of most parishes when the pay out they receive will never undo what was done to them. I understand the harm done, but that's what the civil justice system is for. If a criminal act was done to you and it is within the statute of limitations, then go to the police and file charges. I wonder sometimes if the people strong arming the bishops for this money are the same kind of people who are forever wanting to be in a good car crash so they can land themselves a settlement to live off of for a while.
And why are the bishops giving out these settlements? Because we keep giving them the money! The money that might be going to pay off parish mortgages, or lower Catholic school tuition, or increase the number of scholarships, or build new churches or renovate the ones that are crumbling. Instead, it is in that budget column designated for "future claims" by people who want revenge and don't care who they harm in the process. While they think they are getting pay back from the one who harmed them, they are in fact harming you and me.
New Orleans anticipates more than $11 million in claims. Multiply that across the whole country and we are talking about a LOT OF YOUR MONEY that will go to individuals that will have made their point, but who won't be any better off emotionally. If paying these claims was a deterrent it might be different, but because the diocese doesn't actually suffer the consequences---the suffering gets passed on to you and me, they just don't seem to care. As long as they keep that reserve fund handy it's business as usual.
Remember this the next time your bishop tells you how needy his programs for the poor are and how much he depends on people like you to keep his office running.