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By Diogenes (articles ) | Aug 03, 2005

The Archdiocese of Portland is reaping the whirlwind after its "unprotected intercourse" defense became public.

Levada was on vacation and unavailable to comment on the controversial legal stance, but the attorney who came up with it, Richard J. Kuhn, said he wrote Levada's answer to the complaint strictly from a "common sense" legal perspective, without regard to Catholic teachings.

However, Kuhn, an outside attorney who was hired by the archdiocese to handle the case, questions whether Levada ever saw the document. "I doubt that the archbishop would have gotten a copy of the pleading," he said.

He said his best recollection about the proceeding was that he worked exclusively with the risk management department for the Archdiocese of Portland.

The risk management department?

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Aug. 05, 2005 3:04 PM ET USA

    We can debate the title "risk management department," which seems an odd title at best for any Roman Catholic diocese's office. More disconcerting is the fact that anyone writing "Levada's answer" would do so "without regard to Catholic teachings." Even though such bishops as Mahony, Pilarczyk, Trautman, Weakland, Lynch & others have been ignoring Church Teaching for years, we still gotta try to promote & defend Jesus' Church & His Teachings... Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

  • Posted by: cincinnatus - Aug. 04, 2005 10:16 PM ET USA

    Risk management is normal and necessary organizational function. On a practical basis it answers the question: How do I stay out of a lawsuit, or deal with one if it happens? Generally the answer is insurance. But on a practical basis having insurance means that the insurance company, not the insured, gets to decide how a lawsuit is argued, even in a Church context. This is a lession bishops have only recently begun to learn, often to their chagrin and embarassment--like here.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 11:29 PM ET USA

    When I think of the words "risk management" in association with the Catholic Church, what comes to my mind is the sacrament of Confession.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 7:54 PM ET USA

    I think that the point is that there seems to be an office within the Archdiocesan structure that has no care or concern for the teachings of the Church. Having a "risk-management" office may be prudent; having one which seems to be 'divorced' from the offices that would include actual CATHOLIC teaching is deeply problematic.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 4:31 PM ET USA

    Somehow when I hear of a diocese having a 'Risk Management Department' I get the distinct image of a lead teamster in earlier times charged with the responsibility of circling the wagons in the event of an attack...

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 3:20 PM ET USA

    Yes, the risk management dept. And if you don't have one, you'd better get one! The laws and insurance regs are so complex and constantly changing these days, no bishop or pastor has time or training to manage it all himself--not if he's going to preach, teach and sanctify as he was ordained to do. So he turns it over to lay experts to handle for him, and then he gets blindsided like Levada. These days, no matter what he does, it's wrong.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 2:31 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, Does the risk management department deal with the risk of those who persist willfully in sexual license unto death going to hell? Or was that subcontracted out to a protestant denomination along with the architectural plans? I sense a certain similarity between Archbishop Levada's vacations and his time spent at the office. St. Thomas More pray for us.

  • Posted by: - Aug. 03, 2005 1:33 PM ET USA

    Before retiring, my father in law was the risk manager for a city. That meant that he went around making sure that things in the city (playgrounds, parks, roads, sidewalks, etc) were safe and that the city wasn't doing anything stupid that could expose them to liability. He was also involved in negotiations for the city in the event of lawsuits, and in making sure that they had adequate liability insurance. So having a risk management department has broader application than the abuse crisis.