Germany, Brooklyn, and Beyond

In Germany, news was recently released that some 3,700 minors were abused by 1,670 priests in the post-war period (NCRRegister). Most of the victims were boys under 13. The report was released by whistle-blowers, who noted: “the church pursued only one-third of alleged abusers, who received minimal sanctions or none, while other accused priests often were relocated to other parishes without any information about the allegations being made public.” Der Spiegel, a leading German newspaper, reported that “in many cases, evidence was found by researchers to have been ‘destroyed or manipulated.’” This is essentially the same story we have heard in country after country.

The study was commissioned by a council of German bishops, who complained that the unauthorized release of the 350 page report was “irresponsible.” While they claimed they were about to discuss it in a (private) meeting on September 25, they gave no scheduled release date for the report.

Major media in the United States have been virtually silent about this, despite the recent uproar about child abuse in the Catholic Church following the grand jury report from Pennsylvania. I have seen no further details from the German study.


NCR announced: “The Diocese of Brooklyn and an after-school program in New York have settled a case out of court for $27.5 million with four men who say they were sexually abused as boys.” This is nearly $7 million per victim. The Catholic Church is paying “some” of the money, with an anonymous donor picking up the rest. It should be noted that for decades, insurance companies have refused to insure churches for such sexual liabilities. Payments are apparently coming from cash reserves. The Vatican never contributes. For legal purposes, it claims to be independent of local branches of the Church, and therefore not liable for any legal penalties. Surprisingly, there has been little effort to reconcile this claim with the close control exercised by the Vatican over such branches.

One point of note: “Lawyers for the unnamed plaintiffs said the abuse took place from 2003 until one of the boys told his mother about the abuse, leading to Serrano's arrest in 2009.” In response to the grand jury report from Pennsylvania, advocates of the Church claimed that nearly all the cases were old, “proving” that the Dallas Charter of 2002 has effectively solved the Church’s problem of child abuse in the U.S. Obviously not. As I noted previously, reports of abuse, if made at all, are usually delayed for long periods of time. In Australia, the average delay was 30 years. There is no reason to believe the Church has a handle on the problem, which has been festering for decades.

Australia versus Brooklyn

In Australia, the average compensation per victim was $49,000. In Brooklyn, it was nearly $7 million. Does the universal Catholic Church really believe that Brooklynites are worth so much more than Australians? Is this Christian justice?

As I’ve noted (Catholic Church Hides Assets and Screws Victims), the Catholic Church was not satisfied with the bargain they got in Australia. They fraudulently underestimated Church assets there to limit even those bargain payments. My guess is that when atrocities are disclosed in Africa, we will find that the Church values black boys even less than Australians, and a small fraction of the boys from Bensonhurst in Brooklyn.


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