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Wilmington Diocese to cut jobs, close newspaper to pay abuse costs
By Jim Grant
Catholic News Service
WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Wilmington will eliminate 19 full-time and three part-time positions as it cuts operating expenses and prepares to pay more than $77.4 million to survivors of sexual abuse by priests.
The diocese announced the cuts in a letter from Bishop W. Francis Malooly accompanied by a list of positions that will be eliminated. Among the services that will be discontinued because of the layoffs are two run by Catholic Charities -- parish social ministry and the adoption program. The diocese will also stop publishing its newspaper, The Dialog, after 46 years and will let go the paper's staff of seven full-time employees and one contract staff member.
Other staff reductions will come in the offices of the chancery, Hispanic ministry, human resources, religious education and marriage tribunal. A vacant position in Catholic youth ministry will not be filled.
Most of the layoffs will be effective July 1. The Dialog "will be phased out sometime this fall," the diocese said. "Alternative modes of communication between the diocese, parishes and the faithful are being studied."
In his letter to parishioners, Bishop Malooly expressed "my sincerest regret to those whose positions will be eliminated" and said he was "pained by the loss of jobs by our dedicated, hard-working members of the diocesan family. They and all of our employees have been and are faithful friends and partners in ministry who loyally serve the mission of the church."
The bishop said the diocese is extending health insurance benefits "for an additional time period" for employees whose jobs have been cut. He did not specify how long. (Employees whose jobs are being cut are not eligible for unemployment benefits since the diocese has traditionally opted not to pay unemployment compensation taxes, as allowed by Delaware law for church organizations.)
One of those whose jobs will be cut is Sister Sally Russell, who for 10 years has been the assistant director of religious education.
"The sadness that I carry is beyond human words at this time," she told The Dialog. "There seems to be no limit to the painful reality of the abuse scandal. My deepest sorrow is for the mission of Jesus served by the ministry of catechesis."
Noting that the church is observing the penitential season of Lent, Sister Sally said, "I am compelled to live more deeply rooted in the suffering Christ and in the power of the Spirit. I know, in time, gratitude for those whom I have met and all that I have experienced will replace the sadness of the present moment."
On Feb. 2 the diocese reached an agreement to pay survivors of sexual abuse by priests more than $77.4 million to settle nearly 150 claims of abuse. The agreement will end pending lawsuits against the diocese and several parishes and commits the diocese to give to survivors its files on sexual abusers.
The agreement, pending approval of all creditors and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, is expected to bring to an end sometime this summer the Chapter 11 process the diocese began in October 2009. The diocese declared bankruptcy to settle the cases filed by the survivors in a "fair and equitable way" while continuing the ministries of the church.
In his letter Bishop Malooly reiterated what he said in an April 4 memo to employees that announced the cuts to come. The diocese had two major goals in filing bankruptcy, he said, "to fairly compensate all survivors of clergy sexual abuse and honor our obligations to other creditors and pensioners, and to the best of our ability continue the charitable, educational, pastoral, and spiritual work" of the church.
In meeting the second obligation, he said, "we have, through the settlement, protected our parishes and now we are taking those necessary steps to continue the mission and ministries of diocesan services, albeit in reduced fashion."
The diocese plans to continue to publish The Dialog on its normal publication schedule -- weekly through May 26 then every other week in summer -- while it prepares its new communications approach.
The first issue of The Dialog was published Sept. 3, 1965, when it was called the Delmarva Dialog to reflect the geography of the diocese then. From the beginning, the paper has been sent to all registered households who request it; current circulation is about 55,000.
A letter from Bishop Malooly to the Faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington
My Dear People:
In my homily given on September 8, 2008 when I was installed as the ninth Bishop of Wilmington, I apologized to survivors of clergy sexual abuse for the crimes that were committed against them and the innocence that was stolen from them by the despicable and sinful acts of some Catholic priests and others representing our Church. I vowed to continue the good work begun by Bishop Michael Saltarelli to bring healing to survivors and their families. It was with this goal in mind - along with the desire to continue the pastoral, educational and charitable work of our parishes - that I made the decision to re-organize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in October of 2009.
We are happy to announce that we have reached a settlement with the survivors of clergy sexual abuse which not only resolves their claims, but also enables us to resolve the claims of our other creditors and fulfill our obligations to our faithful lay employees. It is our hope and prayer that the settlement’s monetary and non-monetary terms will begin the healing process for clergy sexual abuse survivors. The settlement will bring to an end all the pending state court lawsuits against the Diocese of Wilmington and, most importantly, end all suits against our parishes. Additionally, the $3 million judgment against St. Elizabeth Parish that was awarded last December will be paid out of this settlement sparing the people of St. Elizabeth’s this tremendous financial burden.
You have my personal pledge that our efforts to protect our precious children will continue in the Diocese of Wilmington. There is no greater priority, no greater responsibility than the safety of those entrusted to our care.
There are many people that I wish to thank for helping make this settlement possible including our legal team and diocesan staff. Most importantly, I thank God for giving us this opportunity to reach this settlement.
I ask you to join me in prayer for the continued healing of survivors of sexual abuse and their families here in our Diocese and around the world, and pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us in the months and years ahead so that we, as Church, will emerge purified and renewed.
God bless you,
+Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly
Bishop of Wilmington
February 3, 2011
Diocese of Wilmington reaches bankruptcy settlement
February 3, 2011 --- (Wilmington, DE) --- The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Inc. has reached a settlement of $77.4 million through mediation of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it was announced last night. The settlement agreement was reached between the Diocese and its insurance carriers, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, clerical sex abuse claimants, and other claimants. This settlement ends all sexual abuse claims against the diocese and parishes pending in State court, and must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the State of Delaware.
“Since the beginning of the bankruptcy, our goals have been to fairly compensate all survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to honor our obligations to our creditors and lay employees to the best of our ability and to continue the charitable, educational and spiritual works of the Catholic community in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” the Most. Rev. W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington said. “We feel that these goals have been reached by this settlement. While this settlement will have a great impact on the diocesan organization; it protects our parishes where the majority of our educational, charitable and spiritual ministry is done.”
According to the settlement, funds from the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Inc., and contributions from non-debtor Catholic entities including the Catholic Diocese Foundation, Catholic Cemeteries, Siena Hall, Seton Villa, Children’s Home, insurance carriers and the parishes themselves, will be placed in a trust to pay survivors of clergy sexual abuse and other creditors.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the Diocese has also agreed to a number of non-monetary terms of settlement including:
The Bishop will continue to meet with any sexual abuse survivor who wishes to meet with him. He will also send a letter of apology to survivors and their families.
The Diocese will provide to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors for public disclosure all non-privileged documents in its files related to sexual abuse by, and/or supervision of, abusive clergy, religious, or lay employees.
The Diocese will continue to review and enforce policies related to its For the Sake of God’s Children program that provides a safe environment in its schools and religious education program and screening of volunteers and employees.
The Diocese will continue its zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse.
The Diocese will display a plaque in each of its institutions that states that sexual abuse of any kind will not be tolerated.
The Diocese will continue the current policy of terminating confidentiality agreements that survivors may have signed as part of past legal settlements.
The Diocese will continue to annually post on its web site the results of the annual audit by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Diocese’s compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Click here to read a letter from Bishop Malooly to the people of the Diocese of Wilmington.
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Hundreds of labor supporters surrounded the rally, trying to drown Palin out with chants of "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Scott Walker has got to go!" and "Recall Walker!" "Hey, folks! He's trying to save your jobs and your pensions!" Palin yelled into the microphone. "Your governor did the right thing and you won! Your beautiful state won! And people still have their jobs!"
Capitol Police estimated about 6,500 people converged on the building Saturday, but said it was impossible to tell how many were tea partyers and how many were labor supporters. The Capitol Police is a division of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, a Walker cabinet agency.
She said she was proud Wisconsin conservatives prevailed against union "hatred and violence" — even though none of the protests in Madison ever became physically violent and only one person was arrested Saturday, for disorderly conduct, police said.
Click on the following for more details: Palin: Wisconsin governor doing right thing with unions - The Denver Post
This is from the Governor’s website: http://walker.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=1714&locid=177
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Anderson and another woman – Brandy McFulson, 18, of Chicago – reportedly entered a classroom around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday and began punching a 19-year-old woman in the face. The victim was seated in her English class when the suspects entered the room, according to court documents.
attack was fueled by comments made over social media sites earlier in the week between the victim and the offenders.
Click on the following for more details: Bond set for woman involved in alleged Kish College classroom attack | Daily Chronicle
“Are job training programs a good thing? Yes. Is it God’s gift to workers? No,” said Gordon Lafer, a Democrat who is a professor at the University of Oregon and author of a book, “The Job Training Charade.” “Much more important than training is creating jobs.”
difficult to measure their[government paid job training programs] effectiveness because it requires tracking over long periods of time and sophisticated analysis to determine what role the job training had in students getting jobs and what role other factors, such as innate intelligence, have.