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my brother's keeper?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 17, 2005

Dash-2 Bishop Lawrence Soens has been named in yet another abuse lawsuit:

A long-time Catholic priest who served for more than 15 years in the Quad-City area before being named bishop of the Sioux City Diocese is being sued for the second time in three months under sexual abuse allegations.

The Catholic Diocese of Davenport and a Catholic high school in Iowa City also are named in a seven-count lawsuit filed this week in the Iowa District Court for Scott County by Dennis Allen, identified only as a resident of Iowa.

In the lawsuit, Allen claims he was the victim of the Rev. Lawrence D. Soens, who used his principal's office at Iowa City Regina High School to sexually abuse male students.

Maybe. Maybe not.

The Diocese of Davenport already settled a sex charge against Soens for $20,000. It stands to reason that both genuine victims and scam artists would be emboldened by the settlement to come forward with new accusations and new demands. Soens's lawyer took the first pitch for a called strike, proffering the "my client hasn't been served the papers and is not in a position to respond" line. Not a move calculated to rally grassroots support for his innocence.

Soens served the Church as a high school principal, vice-rector of a seminary, rector of a seminary, and ultimately as a bishop. Yet he's just one man. Not only will the legal maneuvering and attendant media coverage provide yet another death-of-a-thousand-cuts humiliation for the Church -- irrespective of the truth or falsity that applies to this particular allegation -- but nationwide there may well be many hundreds of these deaths-of-a-thousand-cuts before it's finally over. The Dioceses of Davenport and Sioux City appear to have taken a hands-off approach to Soens's latest problem, content to let the civil justice procedures follow their own course. Should the dioceses succeed in averting financial bankruptcy, will there be any moral capital left to spend?

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 17, 2005 1:02 PM ET USA

    Excellent points, Diogenes. May a few bishops read this blog & be inspired to make copies of it & some your other blogs, & photocopy them for the Fall USCCB meeting. For, indeed, moral capital is what the bishops are supposed to have, with the "Fullness of the Governing Spirit." Prayer: Recognizing the damage caused by the Soens shennanigans & the possible "deaths-of-a-thousand-cuts" nationwide, may the bishops lead us with holy boldness & call brother bishops to orthodoxy & obedience. Amen.

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