Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter 11 Plan For Wilmington Diocese Confirmed By Delaware Bankruptcy Court

On July 28, the federal bankruptcy court for the District of Delaware issued an order confirming the Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. The full text of the Plan of Reorganization, Disclosure Statement, the court's finding and confirmation order, and related documents are available online on the Case Administration Website.  Delmarva Now reports that:
Claims related to the religious orders are not part of the diocese plan, but the diocese and all of the parishes named as defendants in the suits will be free of any further litigation when the negotiated releases are signed and payments to survivors made....
Among the nonmonetary terms of the plan are requirements that the diocese release church files on abuser priests and agree to adopt policies and procedures to prevent abuse in the future.... Under the terms of the plan, the diocese will draw on funds from insurance policies, the Catholic Foundation and other non-diocesan Catholic entities to cover the claims. It also has agreed to pump millions of dollars into its underfunded pension plan for lay employees, a situation revealed when the diocese was forced to open its books to the court.
Nine priests and former priests will be excluded from pension and benefit provisions they might have received from the diocese.
The diocese's Bishop W. Francis Malooly issued a statement on Thursday welcoming the court's move. He said in part:
It is my hope and prayer that this plan will give survivors of clergy sexual abuse another means toward the healing that they so need and deserve, and enable us to live up to our commitments to our lay employees and creditors.