One N.J. Catholic diocese has filed for bankruptcy. Will the other 4 follow?

Star-Ledger /

October 20, 2020

By Kelly Heyboer

The debt began overwhelming the Diocese of Camden late last year.

Faced with a flood of priest abuse victims applying to the New Jersey Independent Victims Compensation Program, the Catholic diocese had to borrow $8 million to pay out-of-court settlements.

Then, the diocese was slammed with another 55 lawsuits from other alleged abuse victims in state court after New Jersey changed its state law Dec. 1 to allow victims to sue the Catholic Church.

But the final blow came when the coronavirus pandemic hit last March and the Diocese of Camden’s 62 parishes were forced to shut their doors for months. Without regular Masses for the diocese’s 486,000 Catholics in South Jersey, weekly collections nearly disappeared and other donations dwindled even as churches slowly reopened.

On Oct. 1, the Diocese of Camden announced the inevitable: It had filed for bankruptcy.

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