National Media Watch

Diocese of Spokane Selling Its Chancery

THE OREGONIAN, May 25 — In an effort to raise money to pay sexual abuse claims, the Diocese of Spokane is selling its bishop’s office and other property, said The Oregonian.    

The diocese hopes to net at least $3.75 million in liquidating its historic downtown Catholic Pastoral Center and two vacant parcels of land. The Pastoral Center is a three-story building with 29,000 square feet of space. The other properties are a 92-acre parcel of land about seven miles from downtown and a 3-acre parcel in a residential area adjacent to the Painted Hills Golf Course.

None of the parcels involves parish buildings or property. The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2004 as a result of more than $81 million in claims against it. The diocese has announced settlements totaling approximately $10 million with insurance carriers and is negotiating other possible settlements. The bankruptcy court ruled that parish real estate also belongs to the diocese and can be sold to meet child sex abuse claims. The diocese has appealed the ruling.

N.J. Catholics Promote Adult Stem-Cell Research

THE PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY, May 24 — Leading Catholics in New Jersey have banded together with a legislative opponent to promote adult stem-cell research at the state’s 15 Catholic hospitals, reported the Press.

The New Jersey Catholic Conference joined with Assemblyman Neil Cohen, D-Union, who supports embryonic stem-cell research, to announce plans to encourage mothers who have children at Catholic hospitals to donate umbilical-cord and placenta blood.

While the Church opposes embryonic stem-cell research, it supports adult stem-cell research, which does not result in the killing of embryos.

Under the plan, diocesan newspapers and parish bulletins will promote adult stem-cell research and cord-blood donations.

“Our goal is to take our commonality and translate this into something nationwide,” said Cohen. “What we’re doing today can be a national model.”

Denver Archbishop Favors Mediation

SUMMIT DAILY NEWS, May 25 — Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput has offered mediation to 30 individuals who have alleged sexual abuse by diocesan priests, said the News.

Archbishop Chaput first offered mediation last August, which would be led by former Boulder District Judge Richard Dana, but lawyers representing the victims expressed no interest.

Adam Horowitz, who has filed 19 cases against the archdiocese, said that any resolution must involve the archdiocese revealing what they knew — and when — about the two priests named in the lawsuits.

Archbishop Chaput doubted that such files would be released publicly as part of any settlement. The archdiocese has set aside money for settlements.

Said the archbishop: “We want to speak to them [the accusers] ourselves, directly, and this is the best way to do that.”

The Earth is Not Our Mother

“The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”—G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy