Milwaukee Archdiocese Files for Bankruptcy Protection

A year to the day after his installation as the 11th archbishop of Milwaukee, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki announced Jan. 4 that he had directed archdiocesan attorneys "to file a petition for a Chapter 11 reorganization of its financial affairs under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code." Milwaukee is the largest archdiocese to file for Chapter 11. The Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., with approximately 410,000 Catholics, according to the 2010 Official Catholic Directory, filed for bankruptcy in July 2004. In February 2007, the Diocese of San Diego, with more than 980,000 Catholics, filed for Chapter 11 protection. The archbishop said in a letter to the Catholic community and at a news conference at archdiocesan headquarters in St. Francis that Chapter 11 reorganization is the best way to achieve two goals. "First, we want to do as much as we can, as fairly as we can, to compensate victims/survivors (of clergy sex abuse) with unresolved claims -- both those with claims pending and those who will come forward because of this proceeding," he said. "Second, we want to carry on the essential ministries of the archdiocese so we can continue to meet the needs of our parishes, parishioners and others who rely upon the church for assistance." The reorganization makes it possible for the archdiocese to use its available funds to compensate victims/survivors with unresolved claims "in a single process overseen by a court, ensuring that all are treated equitably," according to the archbishop.

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