MARCH 2002

 As we disclosed in an earlier in-depth report, homosexuals are taking over the Roman Catholic priesthood (Catholic Priests and Homosexuality Part 1-2 [WM-1032-1033]). Young gays know that, if they become priests, they will have abundant opportunities for contacts with fellow priests and altar boys. And it is now costing the church a lot of money. Here is a brief report on the latest news:

"A scandal that has already cost the Roman Catholic Church dearly in moral authority is beginning to take a serious economic toll.

"In a landmark agreement in Ireland last week, the church offered $110 million to compensate thousands of victims of sexual and physical abuse that occurred over several decades in church-run schools there. Meanwhile, a Tucson, Arizona, diocese settled for an undisclosed sum with former altar boys who said they were molested by their priest, a quiet deal that typifies how these cases are handled in the US.

"Less common is the very public court battle for John Geoghan, a priest who has so far cost the Archdiocese of Boston more than $10 million to settle just some of pedophilia suits he faces.

"A Boston Globe investigation revealed last week that as many as 70 priests in Boston came to the attention of church officials there in sex-abuse allegations--a potentially massive pool of victims who could bring suits.

" 'The financial impact of these cases is severe,' says Mark Chopko, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Chopko points to fragile relationships with skittish insurers and to a Santa Fe, New Mexico, diocese that was nearly bankrupted in the early 1990s by sex-abuse suits there.

"Not everyone is buying the pleas of poverty, however. 'The way you browbeat people into taking less money is to convince item there isn't any,' says Fred Halstrom, a Boston lawyer representing a plaintiff in a sex-abuse suit there, 'But the Catholic Church worldwide has immense assets.'

"The Vatican itself doesn't cut checks or direct legal strategies to its diocese around the world. But it is hammering out new procedures for handling future abuse allegations in a 'desire to coordinate actions in these delicate matters,' says Monsignor O Tarcisio Bertone, a Vatican official.

"The Vaticans new involvement has a potential danger: It could actually make its deep pockets more vulnerable to those seeking damages down the road."-Time, February 11, 2002.