The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, in a sign that the sad consequences of the priest sex abuse crisis continue to erode the stature of the Catholic Church in the United States, announced it would seek bankruptcy protection today.
The announcement was made by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.
The tensions of the debate over how the crisis should be handled are caught in quotes from a story on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website:
"For those of you who may feel anger and resentment that we have come to this moment, STOP," Listecki said in a letter to church members on Tuesday. "We are here because of one reason: Priests sexually abused minors."
Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota lawyer who represents victims in the Milwaukee cases, called the action sad and alarming, characterizing it as a ploy to delay the lawsuits and the disclosure of damning information in depositions of retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Richard Sklba. Sklba's deposition was initially scheduled for January and recently rescheduled for February.
"The bankruptcy essentially stops the cases from moving forward," Anderson said. "In other cities it's often been done on the eve of trial. In this case it's on the eve of the deposition."
Read the full story from the Journal-Sentinel here. Follow NCR for more on this story tomorrow.