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Milwaukee archdiocese to seek bankruptcy protection

January 04, 2011

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has announced plans to file for bankruptcy protection.

In a public announcement released January 4, the archdiocese said that the bankruptcy filing is the result of sex-abuse claims. The archdiocese faces more than a dozen lawsuits brought by abuse victims. The statement explained:

Financial claims pending against the archdiocese's means, recent failure to reach a mediated resolution with victims/survivors involved in lawsuits against the archdiocese, along with the November court decision that insurance companies are not bound to contribute to any financial settlement, made it clear that reorganization is the best way to fairly and equitably fulfill obligations.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, in a separate announcement to the Catholics of the Milwaukee archdiocese, explained simply that “there are financial claims pending against the archdiocese that exceed our means." The archbishop reminded the faithful that when he was installed as archbishop last year, “I spoke of the devastation of sin and its effect on us personally and as a community.” He continued: “We see the result of that sin today.”

By filing for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy law, the archdiocese can reorganize its finances and consolidate all legal claims. The archdiocesan statement pointed out that because the bankruptcy filing would serve as “a final call for legal claims against the archdiocese, the proceeding will allow the Church to move forward on stable financial ground.”

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee will be the 8th Catholic diocese in the US to seek bankruptcy protection as a consequence of the sex-abuse scandal. The others are the Archdiocese of Portland (Oregon) and the dioceses of Davenport (Iowa), Fairbanks (Alaska), San Diego, Spokane, Tucson, and Wilmington, Delaware.


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  • Posted by: opraem - Jan. 05, 2011 1:31 AM ET USA

    tim dolan caught the last stage out of town, lucky him. will rembert be disciplined for his actions/inactions? silly me, of course not. the vatican only transfers or promotes screw-up bishops.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Jan. 04, 2011 7:24 PM ET USA

    The wreckage left from Rembert Weakland's reign.