Thursday, February 20, 2020

Harrisburg Catholic Diocese Files For Bankruptcy Reorganization

Yesterday, the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (PA) filed for bankruptcy reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. In announcing the move, Bishop Robert Gainer said in part:
Over the past few years, our Diocese has been forced to confront our horrific past regarding clergy sexual abuse. Today, we are facing some difficult financial realities. Despite making every attempt to scale back operations and reduce overhead, we are currently unable to meet our financial obligations.
... Our current financial situation, coupled with changes in the law both here and in New Jersey, where we are already named in one lawsuit and where we anticipate more to follow, left us with no other path forward to ensure the future of our Diocese. Despite the success of the Survivor Compensation Program, which helped 111 survivors of clergy child sexual abuse, or 96% of those who participated in the Program, we already are in receipt of half a dozen new lawsuits, any one of which could severely cripple the Diocese.
As Bishop, I must ensure the Diocese’s core mission is upheld, which is to remain focused on Christ’s mandate to preach, teach, sanctify, and to serve those in need. We must work to bring the Chapter 11 process to a conclusion, as soon as is reasonably possible and in a way that allows us to be present to the community, as we have been for the past 152 years.
Links to all the pleadings and other documents in the case are available here.  Reporting on the filling, AP says that the diocese joins at least 20 others across the country that have filed for bankruptcy. The diocese says it has assets of less than $10 million with liabilities between $50 and $100 million.