After 46 years, another Catholic voice is silenced

It’s a story no newspaper ever wants to report, but it happened this week in Wilmington.

The Dialog, the newspaper for the Diocese of Wilmington is closing — and all staff members being laid off.  And that’s just the beginning.  More diocesan offices are also being shuttered, including some affiliated with Catholic Charities.

Details:

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.

Among the services that will be discontinued because of the lay-offs are two run by Catholic Charities — parish social ministry and the adoption program. The diocese will also stop publishing 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 (central administra- tion), Hispanic ministry, human resources, religious education, and marriage tribunal. A vacant position in Catholic Y outh Min- istry 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.”

Read more.

Comments

  1. “Do Not Be Afraid.” The Roman Catholic Church is paying for it’s sins in the recent scandals. However, the Truth of Jesus Christ will prevail. The Church will be rebuilt and become more faithful and stronger than ever, if we remain faithful to the Gospel.

    So don’t be afraid when the Church is attacked, belittled, and ridiculed. Jesus has already won the battle with evil: we must only accept the Victory He has already won.

    Be of good cheer and rejoice when we are persecuted for the sake of Christ.

  2. The sadness, for me, is none of these 19 are at all responsible for the sex abuse or how the abuse was handled by people in positions to do something about it.

  3. Ryan Ellis says:

    Boo-hoo. Catholic Charities employees being laid off? How will we ever work with liberal Democrats again? Good riddance to 1980s rubbish.

    As for the newspaper (in general, not this one), it deserves to die. The point is to evangelize and save souls. People are on the internet. You save souls there. If you’re not there, you need to die and have your resources allocated where they can do some good. Think of it like the mustard seed.

  4. Too bad. I hate to see Catholic Charities offices close -they do so much good. Ditto the diocesan newspaper – contrary to the above comment, diocesan newspapers offer a tremendous service, both in evangelization and in providing information to many who don’t avail themselves of other means of information.

    My hope is that this decision on the part of the Diocese of Wilmington does not result in victims of clergy sexual abuse being blamed for the decision. It is an unfortunate trend….

  5. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Ryan…

    The Dialog is delivered regularly to every home in the Diocese of Wilmington — those with internet access, and those without; the young and the old; the homebound and the students; the casual Catholic and the daily communicant. As I learned from my experience in Brooklyn, not everyone is on the internet. Not everyone actively checks the web for Catholic news of their community; indeed, many of the most interested Catholics are the elderly, who rely on newspapers for their information and insight. To that end, the Dialog maintains a faithful presence in tens of thousands of homes, and now that presence will disappear. Disappearing with it: a regular platform for the bishop to teach, inspire, inform, challenge and lead. Something important and vital to the faithful of Wilmington is about to be lost.

    Dcn. G.

  6. Pretty sad. But there is no doubt that certain vested interests are using this hammer to destroy the Catholic Church. Yes, those truely guilty should be punished as the law provides but where is justice in punishing the people in the pews. The investment they have made in Church structures, schools, ministries are being destroyed. Doesn’t this amout to discrimination? No institution outside the Church is being sued that I know of. If the courts are going to be used they should be used in all cases, not just the ones involving Catholics.

  7. diakonos09 says:

    The sins of the Fathers are visited upon the (spiritual) children. Has any bishop ever thought to refuse to hand over chuch money that was collected for charitable works and insetad to say, “Take me to jail until the last penney is paid.”? St. Lawrence would understand.

    This also raises in my mind yet again the BIGGER question: WHY are many of the bishops who shuffled abusers around still in office? WHY when a priest is simply accused is he put on leave while a bishop accused of knowing-but-not-doing stays on in leadership? I wonder if the Bishop of Wilmington is going to show solidarity with his laid off faithful and refuse to take a salary?

  8. This seems like a wise decision by the Bishop. Of The Catholic Charities offices mentioned the one on adoption might have to close in any case due to our new “heath system” and other laws which would require CC adoption services to permit homosexuals and others than married heterosexuals to adopt. Something other CC adoption agencies have avoided by closing their doors around the world. Perhaps the other CC services mentioned will be allocated to parishes where they might be more closely monitored. Other dioceses are choosing both these options.

    W/re to the layoffs, it is difficult indeed for those severed, but in reality the Catholic Church in the US has become bloated just as the US Government. Perhaps this is a way to bring it back to reason. When I was young, few persons were on the payrolls of the Church. Most who “worked” for the Church volunteered their time and talents not seeking monetary rewards but reward in heaven. After Vatican II it seems that this phenomena of Catholics earning a living by “working” for the Church grew like Topsy.

    And lastly w/re to the Newspaper, I concur that it will be a loss for some, especially the elderly and those w/o internet accessibility. (Their needs may be met in other ways such as w/Marian Visitors from the Parish, etc.) Yet the reality is that even National and Local newspapers are struggling to keep afloat.

    The Church is a Body which means that it is always changing and growing various ways. A body is not static – neither is the Church (Body) of Christ.

  9. It is unfortunate that those who committed these grave sins are not held financially responsible (i.e the priests). The financial toll is extracted from the parishioners and children of the diocese.

    Priests who raped children have effectively bankrupted the Diocese of Wilmington.

    “St. Paul School on North Van Buren Street is losing the financial support it relies on from the Catholic Diocese Foundation, which is being liquidated to help pay the settlement reached last week.”

    http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/Wilmington_Priest_Abuse_Settlement_Bankruptcy_020811

  10. The Diocese of Wilmington filed for Chapter 11 protection in October 2009, less than 12 hours before the scheduled start of a series of trials involving Francis DeLuca, a defrocked priest. Abuse survivors say the Catholic Church knew he was victimizing children as far back as the early 1960s, yet protected him.

    The Diocese has said the bankruptcy filing is intended to address the abuse allegations in a responsible fashion.

  11. Mark P. Shea says:

    “People are on the internet. You save souls there. If you’re not there, you need to die”

    Because on the internet you will learn such compassion and true Catholic mercy and charity for people who have lost their jobs and can’t feed their families. I can feel my soul being saved right now by Ryan’s witness to the gospel of euthanasia and Social Darwinism.

  12. pagansister says:

    The unfortunate consequences of the priests who couldn’t control themselves and their “bosses’ who just continued to pass them on to continue their abuse. Now the victims are not just those that were molested, but those who had nothing to do with the events of the past.

  13. It reminds me so much of the actions taken by local school boards when they run out of money. They always cut services FIRST. Especially those that pinch the parents, like bus service. It is a way to constantly remind taxpayers than they need to pony up more money. The ones who are responsible for poor management and top heavy administration are rarely affected.

    Similarly, cutting money from areas in archdioceses that impact those most responsible for the abuse problems are rarely targeted. The services and salaries that should be impacted first are the ones that support the bishops and chancery employees who participated in coverups and shuffling, e.g, support staff, facilities, travel expenses, and residences should be eliminated and sold to cover the continuation of services to parishioners who are the ones that are completely innocent yet they get penalized.

    Bishops, who are the servants, should not be living in better housing than the rest of the clergy. They also need to limit more of their travel to Rome and to conferences around the country. My archbishop is out of town a good part of the year and all that travel and lodging expense is enormous.

  14. GBullough says:

    The story misses one thing: Because the Diocese chose to assert its right under Delaware law not to pay into the unemployment insurance system, none of the these fired employees will receive unemployment compensation!

    Just another example of how the Church often treats its lay employees like commodities, not people.

  15. Our “Holy Shepherds” have done this to the “People of God!” However, they are still living very well, while the poor suffer.

    What does it take for the average Catholic to become outraged? Most of these bishops should be despised and disrespected, but how many Catholics still willingly kiss their rings?

    What are the bishops doing to cut back on their lifestyles?

  16. Lorenzo-NY says:

    You failed to mention their cutting of adoption services” – so much for pro life. Cutting Hispanic ministry – so much for the future.
    The bishops are to blame. The buck stops on their miters. They failed to act in 1984 when all of this could have been solved. They failed again when the scandal erupted again in 2002 and it has not stopped gushing since. When will we start to see bishops indicted, removed and sanctioned for their crimes and misdemeanors.
    Who cares about the newspaper. Most diocesan newspapers have been nothing but in house propaganda.

  17. Henny Penny says:

    Let’s see if I have this right? Less people attending, less cash in the basket, and less production of product equals business downsizing. Do I have that right?

  18. diakonos09′
    i think you have to be more concrete when you say why are so many of the bishops sill in office (which is a statement repeated often by many).

    there is another post on this blog that states half of all bishops have been appointed since PB16 has taken over. If we count the ones appointed in the last years of PJP2 i am sure it will be closer to 70%.

    So that means that most of the bishops serving now where not even bishops when most of the crimes were committed, and have inherited a very difficult situation, often having to enter the start of their ministry in the middle of very difficult problems that were going on for years before they came to the diocese.

    of course there are some notable excpetions (and big ones at that) but a lot has changed in the last 10 to 15 years and a lot of people are trying hard to get the church back on course and at times it seems no one ever gives anyone credit for their struggles and hard work.

  19. 18 anthony – In the 21st century, getting the church back on course means getting the the Church on a new course. This would require the laity to have a right to vote. The Church is the world’s oldest monarchy; the bishops love the power, so a lay vote is not going to happen. No, I’m afraid it will be business as usual for a long, long time.

    They have inherited a very difficult situation, and the bishops (Frat Boys) will deal with it in their way, and in their time. I’m too old to be waiting around for that. Laypeople, or their suggestions are are not welcome in this clubhouse!

  20. Deacon John Yaeger says:

    Thanks for posting this article. I’m in Delaware, so this is very near and dear to my heart. The Dialog is a great paper. I can only hope it will be back some day.
    As for adoption, there are other Christian ministries in the state to handle that, so the impact won’t be too bad. Hispanic ministry will still go on; just less “central” staff. But honestly, most Hispanic ministry happens in the parishes. Again, I think there will be minimal impact.
    Pray for our Bishop Malooly. He has had to deal with quite a mess, not of his or even his predecessors doing.

    Want some good news? Check this out:
    http://www.cdow.org/
    The Diocese of Wilmington Youth Pilgrimage is a chance for young people, specifically those in grades 6-12, their families, and young adults in the diocese to commemorate Jesus‘ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and his own pilgrimage to Calvary on Good Friday. During the pilgrimage, young people from parishes and schools take turns carrying the cross alongside Bishop Malooly. Last year, more than 400 youth and adult leaders carried the cross through the city streets of Wilmington in our diocese’s first Youth Pilgrimage. This year’s pilgrimage will be held on Saturday, April 16th

  21. JeannieGuzman says:

    It’s so sad that the Archdiocese needs to cut services, particularly to Catholic Charities, but it even more of a shame that it was necessary for victims of Pedophile Priests to need to resort to finding an attorney to represent them, because their stories of abuse were either ignored or not believed, when they came to their bishops. After numerous stories identified the same abusers, instead of the bishops making sure the abusers couldn’t molest, rape or sodomize another child, how many of them were ever stopped (question mark broken). Yes, it’s a sad story, but the reason for a 17 million dollar settlement never should have happened in the first place!

  22. Norma Villarreal says:

    The Diocese of Wilmington is cutting services to pay $77 million to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Will the Bishop and heirarchy cut down in their living arrangements and expenses as well?

  23. As was pointed out many of the current bishops were not in place when the problems occurred yet they are still blamed. Many of them now have to clean up the mess.
    As for the suggestion that the laity “have a vote” I wasn’t aware that they ever did.
    The end result of service cut backs and bankruptcies is exactly what the media and those who falsely accused priests wanted.

  24. “So that means that most of the bishops serving now where not even bishops when most of the crimes were committed”

    Where do you think our current crop of US Cardinals come from? They were Bishops and Priests during the abuse cycle.

    Another scandal is that many of these priests receive a pension and live in ‘retreats’ while parishes and schools close.

  25. 23.) RomCath – “As for the suggestion that the laity ‘have a vote’ I wasn’t aware that they ever did.”

    You’re right the laity never had a vote; that was my point. Getting the church back on course means getting the Church on a “new course” for the 21st century, including giving the laity a vote.

    This of course is not going to happen, so as laypeople we will, as always, end up with the scraps that fall from the bishop’s tables.

    As of now, the only action we can take when the bishops continue their policies of covering up crimes is to go to law enforcement for help, and they have not always been eager to become involved. In what other situation does the criminal get to investigate their own crime? In what other circumstance is the criminal allowed to present only the evidence they choose to give to the police?

    I hope that the events now unfolding in Philadelphia are the “winds of change” that will blow through the Church worldwide.

    The bishops have not earned our respect. In many cases they have been deceptive, and in many other cases they have out right lied. Review the recent contradictory statements by Cardinal Justin Rigali; on one day there were no credibility accused priests in active ministry, a week later there are two dozen.

  26. re: Cardinal Rigali and the mess in Philadelphia. He was well aware when he took over Philadelphia about the scandals. Why did he go into the Grand Jury so uninformed about the number of priests with credible accusations against them? The Grand Jury by and large had the same information the archdiocese did.

    How does something like that happen?

  27. naturgesetz says:

    drwho13 — The bishops do not have a policy of covering up crimes. So there is nothing of that sort for them to stop. Whatever covering up there was became officially contrary to policy with the Dallas Guidelines. Now the bishops go to law enforcement when they are aware of credible new accusations.

  28. “You’re right the laity never had a vote; that was my point. Getting the church back on course means getting the Church on a “new course” for the 21st century, including giving the laity a vote.”

    If the laity want a vote, they can join a Protestant sect. They can pick their pastors and their bishops. Never going to happen in the RC Church nor should it. I don’t recall Jesus asking his apostles or disciples to vote on anything.

  29. DickCLand says:

    Although I’m not familiar with the Wilmington paper, most Catholic diocesan newspapers these days aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

  30. 27) naturgesetz – You stated, “The bishops do not have a policy of covering up crimes.” “Whatever covering up there was became officially contrary to policy with the Dallas Guidelines.”

    That’s interesting but not believable; as (26) momor clearly pointed out, “re: Cardinal Rigali and the mess in Philadelphia. He was well aware when he took over Philadelphia about the scandals. Why did he go into the Grand Jury so uninformed about the number of priests with credible accusations against them? The Grand Jury by and large had the same information the archdiocese did.

    How does something like that happen?”

    In addition, there are dioceses that have not complied with the Dallas Guidelines, for example Lincoln. Furthermore, the guidelines, are exactly that “guidelines,” thus not enforceable.

    28) RomCath – “If the laity want a vote, they can join a Protestant sect. They can pick their pastors and their bishops.”

    It’s clear that Catholics are leaving the Church in unprecedented numbers. That’s what is great about living in the USA. At least we don’t have to worry about some Mullah trying to kill us if we choose to convert.

  31. mike ference says:

    Here are a few suggestions that will keep worthwhile agencies open:

    Bernie Law doesn’t need or deserve a pension or any type of compensation for the damage he allowed to innocent children. Put him in jail, if a country can be found to accept him. Use this money for a good cause.

    No more pensions or stipends for convicted pedophile priests. This is money that is designed to keep these pedophiles quiet. On one side it’s a bribe, on the other side it’s a form a blackmail. Use this money for a good cause.

    Sell off the gaudy costumes that bishops and cardinals prance around in to the next band of gypsies who might actually have some use for these outfits. Use the money for a good cause.

    Sell off the gaudy jewelry and rings the bishops and cardinals seem to think people can;t wait to kiss. Use the money or a good cause.

    You get the idea by now. Catholic church hierarchy expect others to make sacrifices, let them finally lead by example.

    Mike Ference

  32. “Sell off the gaudy costumes that bishops and cardinals prance around in to the next band of gypsies who might actually have some use for these outfits. Use the money for a good cause.

    Sell off the gaudy jewelry and rings the bishops and cardinals seem to think people can;t wait to kiss. Use the money or a good cause.”

    Any other ridiculous suggestions or is that it?

    Also cutting off pensions etc for alleged pedophiles doesn’t seem quite Christian to me. You want them to live on the street or collect welfare so your taxes can pay their support?

  33. “It’s clear that Catholics are leaving the Church in unprecedented numbers. That’s what is great about living in the USA. At least we don’t have to worry about some Mullah trying to kill us if we choose to convert.”

    And your point is? If they walk away from the Church they never believed in it in the first place much less the presence of Chrsit in the Eucharist.

    But then people walked away from Jesus too.

  34. 33) RomCath- You stated, “If they walk away from the Church they never believed in it in the first place much less the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.”

    That not completely true. I believe in the “Real Presence,” and I’m currently looking into the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the Greek, and Russian Orthodox Churches. The RCC has never questioned the validity of any of their Sacraments.

    In addition, the pedophile scandal is not a major issue with them. The ability of the RCC to deal with pedophiles, and their cover-up, is not up to my moral standards. I simply do not believe the “company line” that the RCC is putting out. I view it as subterfuge, used to protect an image that was never genuine in the first place.

  35. Yes, the Orthodox have valid Sacraments but they don’t have Peter.

    Ubi Petrus, Ibi ecclesia.

  36. True, but the Orthodox don’t have pedophiles (not as many anyway). I just can’t seem to adjust to pedophiles; they’re too creepy!

  37. “True, but the Orthodox don’t have pedophiles (not as many anyway). ”

    And you know that how?

    I couldn’t adjust to being part of a schism.

  38. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Drwho:

    Google “Russian Orthodox Sex Abuse.” You might be surprised.

    Dcn. G.

  39. Sounds like the bishop threw in the towel. That is sad that he feels nothing in his diocese is worth fighting for anymore.

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