Milwaukee Survivors and Clergy Alliance reach out to Vatican for help
Officers of the Milwaukee based SCLA, (“The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance”), a newly formalized organization of priests and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, will:
–Release a letter of appeal sent to the Vatican late last week by the group requesting that the Congregation for the Clergy formally and legally rescind a 2007 approval (or “nihil obstat”) to Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s request to move $57 million dollars of archdiocesan money into a newly created “Cemetery Trust.” The SCLA is requesting that money be returned to the archdiocese as an asset based upon the tenants of canon law and justice for survivors.
–Discuss the upcoming settlement offer by the Milwaukee Archdiocese and their major insurance carrier to the 570 victims of clergy sexual abuse who filed cases in Milwaukee Federal court.
Tuesday, November 26, 1:00 p.m.
The Healing Center, 130 W. Bruce Street, Fourth Floor, Milwaukee
Officers of SCLA, “The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance” a newly formalized Milwaukee based organization. The only initiative of its kind, SCLA members began meeting privately nearly three years ago to promote dialogue and change in the church and society through a unique and supportive coalition of survivors and priests.
A unique collaboration of survivors and clergy based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (The Survivors and Clergy Leadership Alliance or SCLA) has sent a formal appeal to the Vatican asking to reverse a 2007 decision by the Congregation of the Clergy and return $57 million dollars to the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
The money was transferred in 2007 by then Archbishop Timothy Dolan into a so-called “Cemetery Trust” but was actually designed, according to documents that surfaced in Milwaukee Federal Court this summer, to prevent compensating childhood victims of rape, sexual assault and abuse by priests.
To create the Trust, under Catholic Canon Law, Dolan required formal approval (or “nihil obstat”) by the Congregation for the Clergy, headed at the time by Cardinal Claudio Hummes. Hummes was appointed to the post by former Pope Benedict XVI.
After filing for bankruptcy in 2010, the Archdiocese claimed that the funds were not part of their assets but were part of a protected cemetery trust.
It wasn’t disclosed until a few months ago that the $57 million cemetery trust was for the maintenance of only eight catholic cemeteries within the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
The SCLA letter was sent Friday to Archbishop Beniamino Stella, who has replaced Cardinal Claudio Hummes at the direction of Pope Francis, asking him to rescind the prior decision allowing the transfer of the nearly $57 million into the cemetery trust. The letter cites reasoning based in both canon law and justice.
It is anticipated that very soon the Archdiocese will file its reorganization plan, which will include proposed “settlements” for survivors. Those “settlements” will be based upon an agreement the Archdiocese made with its major insurance carrier. Victims were not allowed to participate in the agreement negotiations.
In anticipation of the settlement figure, SCLA will also discuss and compare a likely archdiocesan settlement figure per victim to other bankruptcy settlements around the United States, as well as projected priest offender costs.
Monica Barrett, 414.704.6074
Michael Sneesby, 414.915.4374
Peter Isely, 414.429.7259
Fr. James Connell, 414.940.8054
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