The Sunday masses that took place two days after the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy, many Catholics are now wondering what happens next.
Among the Catholics worshipping that Sunday was a lifelong Catholic who said the bankruptcy is not going to change how she gives to the church or whether or not she attends mass. She hopes that none of the churches will close and that the Catholic Church will get through it and keep moving forward.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis had to file for bankruptcy protection due to the cost of current and future lawsuits against the church for clergy abuse.
What the bankruptcy filing does is give the archdiocese the time needed to reorganize finances. The church does have debts, so it may have to sell off some of its assets to pay them. However, the archdiocese said that the nearly 200 parishes in the Twin Cities, as well as charities, community foundations, and Catholic organizations would be protected throughout the bankruptcy process.
One man was asked what he thought and he stated that the situation is due to a failure in leadership to address the abuse claims as soon as they came about. He also states that some of the victims would have been spared from the abuse. He says that the issue would not be such a big issue and the church would not have to turn to bankruptcy to protect itself against the many lawsuits it is facing and will face. The man is afraid that the parishes could be targeted throughout the process, contradictory to what the church said. He is also concerned that the money he gives to the church won’t go toward the good things the church does. He doesn’t want his money paying settlements and legal fees.
At another mass in St. Paul, hundreds of people packed inside of one church. One parishioner said she thinks the bankruptcy is the best move for the archdiocese. She feels it is the best way to take care of the abuse victims, but she is not worried about her church. She said the connected school and parish should be okay. She feels as long as the church and school are taken care of, Catholics should have nothing to fear. She said her church has been financial stable for a while and that the people of the church and parents of school children rally together when there is a problem so they can take care of it.
One couple from Hastings said that they trust the leadership and believe that the best path is being taken.
Overall, there is a mix of doubt and confidence that the church will recover from the bankruptcy. Regardless of any doubt that exists, it is not affecting the attendance of some at the churches throughout the Twin Cities.
Late in January, a judge ruled that mediation would be the best route to move through the bankruptcy proceedings.