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Theodore McCarrick to undergo competency exam for Wisconsin criminal case

Theodore McCarrick arrives at Dedham District Court in Massachusetts on Sept. 3, 2021, for his 9 a.m. arraignment. / Credit: Joe Bukuras/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 29, 2023 / 18:25 pm (CNA).

Less than a month after former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was ruled incompetent to stand trial on child sexual abuse charges in Massachusetts, he has again been ordered to undergo a mental health exam to determine whether he is competent to stand trial on similar charges in Wisconsin. 

The misdemeanor fourth-degree sexual assault charges in Wisconsin relate to an incident that allegedly occurred in April 1977, in which McCarrick is accused of “fondling of the victim’s genitals” at a “Geneva Lake residence,” an April press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice said. 

Geneva Lake, which is located in Walworth County, is in southern Wisconsin, about an hour-and-20-minute drive south of Madison.

James Grein, 65, told CNA on Thursday that he brought the allegations in the Wisconsin case, saying that the abuse occurred when he was 18 years old. Grein, of Sterling, Virginia, was also the victim named in the Massachusetts complaint.

In the Massachusetts case, McCarrick underwent two separate psychological evaluations, one done in December 2022 for McCarrick’s defense team and the other in June by an expert hired by prosecutors. Both assessments concluded that the disgraced former archbishop of Washington, D.C., is too cognitively impaired to actively participate in his defense.

In a statement filed with the Massachusetts court before the dismissal of charges, Grein accused McCarrick’s legal team of “coaching” the former prelate for the psychiatrist’s interviews.

“Only they and Mr. McCarrick know the extent of the coaching to prepare him for his two interviews. If McCarrick is found incompetent, they will have won and justice will have lost,” he wrote.

Grein first went public with allegations against McCarrick in 2018 in an interview with the New York Times, which referred to him only by his first name. He told the newspaper that McCarrick had serially sexually abused him beginning when he was 11.

“He had chosen me to be his special boy,” Grein told the paper at the time. “If I go back to my family, they tell me that it’s good for you to be with him. And if you go to try to tell somebody, they say ‘I think you are mistaken.’ So what you do is you clam up, and you stay inside your own little shoe box, and you don’t come out for 40 years.”

Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld told CNA on Thursday that McCarrick’s defense team raised the issue of competency in court proceedings, citing the two psychological evaluations from the Massachusetts case. 

The psychologist obtained by the Wisconsin court to examine McCarrick is Kerry Nelligan, the same psychologist whom the Massachusetts court appointed to evaluate the former prelate at his residence in Missouri, the Vianney Renewal Center, in June. 

In that report, she found that McCarrick “is suffering from an organic process of cognitive decline” that will not improve.

McCarrick’s defense asked the court to appoint Nelligan as the examiner because they said it would be “more efficient,” Wiedenfeld said. 

The state objected to Nelligan’s appointment because “the more normal practice” would be to allow Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services to choose the evaluator, he added.

The court can choose its own examiner and that sometimes happens in cases where a psychologist “has a history in evaluating a person,” he said.

“So it definitely happens. But it’s not the normal procedure,” he added.

Asked if he had concerns about the choice of Nelligan, Wiedenfeld declined comment. He said that after the first evaluation is finished, the prosecution can request its own evaluation, but it’s up to the court to approve the request.

The report is due to be filed in court by Nov. 22, he said.

New study shows that now almost two-thirds of US Catholics believe in Real Presence 

The Eucharistic procession ended in the Vatican’s Lourdes Grotto. / Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 29, 2023 / 18:05 pm (CNA).

A new study shows that almost two-thirds of adult Catholics in the United States believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, a significantly different result from the often-cited 2019 Pew Research study that suggested only one-third of adult Catholics in the U.S. believe in the Church’s teaching on the Blessed Sacrament.

The CARA study, which also points to a high correlation between weekly and monthly Mass attendance and belief in the Real Presence, comes amid the second year of the U.S. bishops’ Eucharistic revival, which was launched in part because of the Pew Research poll. 

The new report — published by Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and commissioned by the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life — challenges the methodology and results of the Pew survey but still demonstrates that a large number of Catholics don’t believe in the Real Presence, which the Catechism calls the “source and summit” of the faith.

Zachary Keith, assistant director on the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, told CNA Thursday that it is important to look at how questions relating to belief in the Eucharist are phrased, citing the difference in wording of both studies as a “large part of the reason for the discrepancy.”

Additionally, Keith said that the CARA study shows that those who believe in the Real Presence “do not know how to articulate it as well as I think the Pew study might have implied.” 

The revival culminates at its National Eucharistic Congress, which will be held next July and is expected to draw 80,000 Catholics to worship the Blessed Sacrament at Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the Indianapolis Colts.

Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress, told CNA Thursday: “What the recent study shows is the deep need for a true Eucharistic revival, one that pushes past mere notional assent and awareness of the Church’s teaching but is about providing an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, leading to a lived relationship of discipleship.”

‘A different approach’

CARA’s report takes issue with the phraseology of the questioning in the Pew Research study, calling it problematic. The methodology in CARA’s study “used a different approach to try to be as clear as possible,” the report said. 

In order to determine the percentage of U.S. adult Catholics who believe in the Real Presence, respondents in CARA’s study were asked a variety of different questions.

The report stated that after an examination of “each respondent’s answers collectively,” 64% of those surveyed “provided responses that indicate they believe in the Real Presence.”

The question answered by respondents in CARA’s study “more accurately reflects the Church’s teachings on the Eucharist” as opposed to the question answered in the Pew Research survey, the report said.

The report said there was a “problem” with the question used in the Pew survey, which asked: 

“Regardless of the official teaching of the Catholic Church, what do you personally believe about the bread and wine used for Communion?”

A few options shown below were given for answers.

“During Catholic Mass, the bread and wine... 

1. Actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ 

2. Are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ 

3. No answer”

The problem with the question, the report said, is that respondents could choose both 1 and 2 and still be correct, citing the U.S. bishops conference, which said: “The transformed bread and wine are truly the Body and Blood of Christ and are not merely symbols.”

The Eucharist is “substance and symbol,” the CARA report said. 

Mass attendance and education

Respondents in the CARA study were also surveyed on a host of other questions, including Mass attendance and where they learned about the Eucharist. 

The study said that 95% of weekly Mass attendees and 80% who attend at least once a month believe in the Real Presence.

Seventeen percent of adult Catholics attend Mass at least once a week, the report said. Before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, 24% of Catholics attended Mass weekly, it said. 

Almost 20% of adult Catholics attend Mass at least once a month and 26% attend a few times a year, the report said. Thirty-five percent rarely or never attend. 

Those who entered the Church as adults or served in parish ministry polled at higher levels for belief in the Real Presence. Those who attended Catholic schools at any level were more likely than those who never attended to believe in the Real Presence.

The survey also asked respondents where they learned about the Eucharist, leading to their belief or unbelief in the Real Presence.

Fifty-three percent said they learned from their parents, while 44% said they learned through sacramental preparation or religious education. Just over 40% said they learned at Mass, and 37% said they learned at Catholic school. 

For those who said they learned from their parents, 67% believe in the Real Presence. Seventy-three percent of those who learned from parish programs believe, while 75% who learned their information in Catholic schools believe. 

Sixty percent of those who learned information about the Eucharist from the internet believe in the Real Presence.

“With these methods we hope that we have come to a better understanding of what Catholics believe the Church teaches and what they personally believe about the Eucharist themselves,” the report said.

Spanish Opus Dei priest announced as new Helsinki bishop

Bishop-elect Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda of Helsinki, left, and Archbishop Julio Murat, apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries. / Credit: Catholic Information Centre, Diocese of Helsinki

CNA Staff, Sep 29, 2023 / 17:45 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis on Friday appointed Father Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda, a priest of the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, as the new bishop of Helsinki, Finland.

The apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat, announced Goyarrola Belda’s appointment at the end of a Sept. 29 Mass he celebrated at St. Henry’s Cathedral in Helsinki.

Finland is home to a small Catholic community, with an estimated 17,000 members as of early 2023, many of whom are immigrants. The vast majority of Finns belong nominally to the Lutheran church, though many Finns are irreligious in practice.

The country of 5.5 million people has only one diocese, just eight Catholic churches, and about 30 priests, according to the diocesan website.

St. Henry's Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Jonah McKeown
St. Henry's Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Jonah McKeown

The Helsinki Diocese had been without a bishop since May 20, 2019, when the pope accepted the early resignation of Bishop Teemu Sippo, who had led the diocese since 2009 and resigned early for health reasons. Sippo was the first Finnish-born Catholic bishop to be appointed since the 16th century. Father Marco Pasinato had been serving as administrator of the diocese.

Goyarrola Belda, 54, most recently served as vicar general for the Helsinki Diocese and has served in Finland since 2006. Catholics in Finland are “very happy” to now have a bishop who is fluent in Finnish, EWTN Norge reported.

Left to right: Bishop emeritus of Helsinki, Teemu Sippo SCI; apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat; and bishop-elect Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda of Helsinki; following a Mass at St. Henry's Cathedral on Sept. 29, 2023. Catholic Information Centre, Diocese of Helsinki
Left to right: Bishop emeritus of Helsinki, Teemu Sippo SCI; apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat; and bishop-elect Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda of Helsinki; following a Mass at St. Henry's Cathedral on Sept. 29, 2023. Catholic Information Centre, Diocese of Helsinki

The bishop-elect was born on July 20, 1969, in Bilbao, Spain. In 1987 he entered the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei, the Vatican announcement stated. 

He studied medicine and surgery at the Universidad de Navarra and subsequently carried out his philosophical-theological studies at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, obtaining a doctorate in dogmatic theology.

He was ordained a priest of Opus Dei in September 2002. The date of his episcopal ordination has not yet been announced.

Left to right: Bishop-elect Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda of Helsinki; apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat; and Father Marco Pasinato, who served as administrator of the diocese since 2019. Credit: Catholic Information Centre, Diocese of Helsinki
Left to right: Bishop-elect Raimo Ramón Goyarrola Belda of Helsinki; apostolic nuncio to the Nordic countries, Archbishop Julio Murat; and Father Marco Pasinato, who served as administrator of the diocese since 2019. Credit: Catholic Information Centre, Diocese of Helsinki

What is a consistory? Your questions answered

The extraordinary consistory of cardinals meets at the Vatican's Synod Hall, Aug. 29, 2022. / Credit: Vatican Media

CNA Staff, Sep 29, 2023 / 17:25 pm (CNA).

On Saturday, Sept. 30, Pope Francis will create 21 new cardinals at a consistory in Rome. 

Here’s everything you need to know:

What’s a consistory?

Cardinals are the pope’s closest assistants and advisers, from all around the world. A consistory is a formal meeting of the College of Cardinals. The pope can convene them for a number of reasons.

One of the most common reasons for a consistory, as is the case here, is to create new cardinals. The ceremony in which the pope makes cardinals is known as an ordinary public consistory. 

Another consistory the pope may convene is an ordinary consistory to vote on the causes of new saints, the last step before a formal canonization can take place.

There are also extraordinary consistories, in which every cardinal is expected to take part, barring a serious reason.

The last ordinary public consistory took place on Aug. 27, 2022. The new cardinals created then included Cardinal Robert McElroy of San Diego and Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Soon after, Pope Francis convened an extraordinary consistory, which took place Aug. 29–30, 2022, during which the world’s cardinals came to Rome to discuss the new constitution of the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium.

Who is being made cardinal this weekend?

Twenty-one men from around the world will “receive the red hat” and become cardinals at the September consistory. 

Among them is Stephen Chow Sau-yan, SJ, bishop of Hong Kong; Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States; Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem; and Víctor Manuel Fernández, the new prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

A list along with an analysis of each cardinal-elect’s spiritual motto can be found here. 

What will actually happen at this consistory?

In addition to giving each new cardinal their hat, or biretta, Pope Francis at the Sept. 30 liturgy at St. Peter’s Basilica will place a ring on the hand of each new cardinal while saying: “Receive this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened.” They will also each receive the formal decree (or papal bull) announcing their creation as a cardinal.

The scarlet biretta is, as the pope will recite, a “sign of the dignity of the cardinalate, signifying your readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and tranquility of the people of God and for the freedom and growth of the Holy Roman Church.”

Immediately before, the new cardinals will make a profession of faith by reciting the Creed. They then pronounce an oath of fidelity and obedience to the pope and his successors.

The pope will also assign each new cardinal a church in the Diocese of Rome, called a “titular church.” This further links the cardinal to Rome and to the pope, who is the bishop of Rome.

The other members of the College of Cardinals, clergy, Catholics, and members of the public may all attend a consistory to create cardinals.

So, how many cardinals will there be, and why does it matter?

St. Paul VI established in 1970 that cardinals aged 80 and over cannot participate in the process of electing a pope — thus, cardinals who are younger than 80 are known as “electors.” Paul VI also established a numerical limit for the number of electors, capping it at 120, but the number occasionally has risen above that number.   

The number of cardinal electors — and indeed the number of cardinals in general — in the college is always changing, since at any time cardinals may be celebrating their 80th birthday or may have died. 

According to the Vatican, as of Sept. 29, there were 119 cardinal electors ahead of the consistory and 102 non-electors. After the consistory, the number will rise to 105 non-electors and 136 electors. 

Francis has shaped the college greatly during his 10 years as pope, appointing 98, or 72%, of the current electors after the conclave on Sept. 30. The rest were appointed by St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. In all, he has named cardinals from 66 countries, including several first-time nations, such as South Sudan, Singapore, and Mongolia.

That percentage becomes important given the current requirement that a candidate needs a two-thirds majority of the cardinals’ votes to be elected pope. This, however, is a provision that Pope Francis could change at any time. 

Baltimore Archdiocese files for bankruptcy before law on abuse lawsuits takes effect

The Archdiocese of Baltimore on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization days before a new state law goes into effect removing the statute of limitations on child sex abuse claims and allowing victims to sue their abusers decades after the fact.

Pope Francis denounces ‘body-shaming,’ admits to bullying overweight friend as a child

Pope Francis speaks during a press conference aboard the papal plane from Marseille, France, to Rome on Sept. 23, 2023, at the conclusion of a two-day visit to the southern French port city to take part in the Mediterranean Encounter, a meeting of young people and bishops. / Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 29, 2023 / 17:05 pm (CNA).

In a Tuesday video call with university students from South Asia, Pope Francis highlighted the dignity and value of all human persons, denouncing “body-shaming,” and admitting to bullying an overweight boy as a child.

The pope’s comments were given during a livestreamed dialogue with students titled “Building Bridges Across South Asia,” which was hosted by Chicago’s Loyola University and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

The full recorded conversation can be accessed here

Responding to a question raised by Merlin Rosemary, a student at St. Joseph’s University in Bengaluru, India, Francis said that body-shaming is “something artificial” that disrupts the ability to live “in harmony with your hearts.”

“It’s not only a question of measurements or sizes, it’s a harmonic beauty that every woman, every man, has, and we have to cherish that,” Francis said.

“I recall a friend of mine, who was a bit fat, and we would actually mock him, I daresay, bullying him,” the pope confessed to the students.

One day, Francis said that he and his friends “once hit him and he fell down.”

Upon learning of the incident, Francis said his father made him go to the bullied child’s home to apologize.

Years later, the pope said, he reconnected with the friend who had since become an evangelical pastor.

“It was beautiful,” Francis said, “he had overcome all his trauma, all his bullying, all his shame, all his body shame.”

Still responding to the student’s question, the pope also said that plastic surgery “serves no purpose,” because, he said, “this beauty is going to fade eventually.”

“There was a famous actress, Anna Magnani, and when talking about her wrinkles she said: ‘No, I won’t get rid of them. It costs me to get these wrinkles, they are my beauty,’” the pope said. “So, we all have our beauty, and we have to accept it and we have to live in harmony with it.”

“There’s the beauty of the harmony of the individual, regardless of you being fat, thin, short, tall, the important thing is to live in harmony, in harmony in your hearts,” Francis said. “So, beauty makes us grow, in terms of our mental health, every man, every woman have their own beauty. We only have to learn how to see it, how to recognize it.”

Social media and suicide

During the call with students, Francis also addressed high suicide rates among young people, anxiety, and what he called “digital manipulation” on social media.

“While this is a tragic reality, young people commit suicide because they are faced with closed doors, they were looking for something and they couldn’t find it,” the pope said. “There are countries where the suicide rate is incredibly high among young people because they can’t manage failure, especially when they can’t find a job, so they lose all hope.”

Francis said that failure “is actually a call, it’s an appeal.”

“We’re not angels because angels have fallen only once whereas we fell many times due to our limits. But God always gives us the reliance to stand up again, so he takes us by our hands and helps us stand up,” he went on. “The important thing is not to not fall, but not to stay, or lay, on the ground. That’s wisdom, I fall down but then I stand up again.” 

According to Francis, “digital manipulation” on social media is “altering our understanding of social and political reality.”

By this phrase, the pope explained that messaging young people are exposed to through social media, the media, and entertainment distracts from true beauty and harmony.

“So, what’s really pressing is being educated to a new form of communication to avoid this anxiety of digital manipulation,” Francis said. “So as professionals, as students, I’m asking you to take a critical stance towards the positions expressed by the media, by TV programs, you are university students, you must have some critical thinking.

The pope concluded this portion of his talk with young people by imploring them to “look for the true beauty and the true harmony of an individual.”

“A person that lives in harmony regardless of being fat, thin, skinny, is the most important thing,” Francis said, adding: “Don’t be afraid, don’t lose your sense of humor, because humor means mental health.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, remembered for 'extraordinary' legacy,' dies at 90

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 in the "Year of the Woman" and broke gender barriers throughout her long career in local and national politics, died Sept. 28 at age 90. 

Canadian bishops reject euthanasia, discuss Indigenous fund, synod at end of meeting

The 2023 Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) being held Sept. 25-28, 2023, outside of Toronto, Ontario. / Credit: CCCB/CECC

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 29, 2023 / 16:43 pm (CNA).

As the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) annual meeting came to a close this week, the bishops firmly rejected the country’s expansion of euthanasia and discussed the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome as well as funding efforts for Indigenous reconciliation.

During a Thursday news conference, incoming CCCB President Bishop William McGrattan said the Church remains focused on “helping [people] in their suffering,” helping families, and respecting human dignity as Canada expands eligibility for euthanasia.

More than 30,000 Canadians died from euthanasia between 2016 and 2021, which has seen steady growth since the practice was legalized. In March 2024, Canada will expand its legal euthanasia program, known as Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), to include those suffering from mental illnesses, which will open up the process to significantly more people.

McGrattan said Church-affiliated organizations will focus on palliative care and will not support euthanasia.

“Catholic-sponsored health associations and organizations do not permit MAiD,” the bishop said.

Indigenous reconciliation 

The bishops intend to reach $14 million in the Indigenous Reconciliation Fund by the end of the year with an ultimate goal of reaching $30 million. The fund provides money for more than 60 programs or initiatives to assist Indigenous communities.

McGrattan said the funds are collected in various ways and the bishops submitted a schedule of commitment “on behalf of all of the bishops in Canada.” He said the goal should be reached because “my brother bishops have made that commitment.”

Synod in Rome

The bishops continued a discussion they began on Monday about the upcoming Synod on Synodality. McGrattan, who is one of four Canadian bishops who will take part in the synod, said it will be a prolonged opportunity “where we encounter Christ.” He said synod attendees, like himself, will focus on listening “to the Holy Spirit as to where the [it is guiding] the Church.”

The synod, which begins Oct. 4, will address questions such as how the Church can be an instrument of union between God and humanity; how to share gifts and tasks in the service of the Gospel; and on the processes, structures, and institutions in a missionary synodal Church.

Bishops from around the world will take part in the synod, which will have two assemblies: the one that begins next week and a second one in October 2024.

“I hope to be impacted in a way to influence my ministry [as] a bishop going forward,” McGrattan said. 

Incoming CCCB Vice President Bishop Pierre Goudreault will not attend the synod but expects it will have an impact on Canadian dioceses in helping them make decisions and be more synodal.

“I think we still remain a learning Church about synodality,” the bishop said.

Goudreault added that participants “will be really able to hear each other” and with the contribution of Pope Francis “discern about the needs of the mission today.”

Protection of minors and vulnerable persons, work in Honduras

Earlier in the week, the bishops took time to address the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. One of the focuses was to ensure that dioceses do not neglect protections for vulnerable adults within their codes of conduct. These protections are meant to prevent individuals in positions of authority from imposing themselves on someone under their care.

On the first day of their meeting, in addition to preparing for the upcoming synod, the bishops discussed humanitarian efforts in Honduras, specifically efforts to protect a river in Guapinol, which has been severely polluted, negatively impacting the village’s 45,000 inhabitants.

The 2023 Plenary Assembly of the CCCB began Monday, Sept. 25, and ended Thursday, Sept. 28. It took place in King City, Ontario, which is just outside of Toronto. The Canadian bishops gather every year to discuss issues facing the Church in Canada.

NCR's guide to US participants at the synod on synodality

NCR has compiled a reference guide to the 24 Americans (or people with U.S. connections) who will be participating in the synod, either as voting members or experts/facilitators. 

Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy amid clergy sex abuse claims

Credit: Minerva Studio/Shutterstock

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 29, 2023 / 15:49 pm (CNA).

The Archdiocese of Baltimore declared bankruptcy on Friday several weeks after warning it might do so in response to a looming wave of sex-abuse-related lawsuits.

Archbishop William Lori said in a statement on Friday that ”after consulting with numerous lay leaders and the clergy of the archdiocese,” he had made the decision for the archdiocese to file “for Chapter 11 reorganization.”

“With an approved plan under Chapter 11, the archdiocese will be reorganized, victim-survivors will be equitably compensated, and the Church will continue its mission and ministries,” the archbishop said.

The process will “involve several steps over the next two to three years,” Lori said, including “accept[ing] claims from victim-survivors for a specified period of time” and then “enter[ing] negotiations” with those individuals.

The filing, Lori said, is “the best path forward to compensate equitably all victim-survivors, given the archdiocese’s limited financial resources, which would have otherwise been exhausted on litigation.” 

“Staggering legal fees and large settlements or jury awards for a few victim-survivors would have depleted our financial resources, leaving the vast majority of victim-survivors without compensation while ending ministries that families across Maryland rely on for material and spiritual support,” he said.

The prelate also made the announcement via a prerecorded video uploaded to YouTube on Friday afternoon.

Responding to a user question on its Facebook account, the archdiocese on Friday told members of the diocese that “the money you place in the collection basket or give to your parish online will continue to be used to fund your individual parish.”

“Archdiocesan parishes and schools are separate legal entities, distinct from the archdiocese,” the post said. “Charitable entities such as Catholic Charities are similarly separate legal entities. The ministries and operations of parishes, schools, and other entities, such as our Catholic Charities agencies, should not be directly affected by the archdiocese’s Chapter 11 proceeding.”

Lori had said earlier this month that the archdiocese was considering bankruptcy as one possible maneuver to deal with a potential wave of sex abuse lawsuits against Baltimore. A new law going into effect Oct. 1 will end the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for negligence in relation to child sexual abuse, opening the local Church up to lawsuits over abuse from years past.  

The archdiocese will join more than two dozen other U.S. dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy in recent years. Behind Baltimore, the Archdiocese of San Francisco is the most recent, having filed in late August in response to numerous abuse lawsuits. 

In his public statement earlier this month, Lori said a bankruptcy filing would help establish “a reasonable and equitable method for compensation of victim-survivors while also preserving the many vital ministries of the archdiocese.”

“In this type of reorganization, the archdiocese would be required to provide resources which would be used to compensate victim-survivors while at the same time ensuring our mission can continue,” Lori said. 

If the archdiocese attempted to litigate each individual lawsuit, Lori said, it would “potentially lead to some very high damage awards for a very small number of victim-survivors while leaving almost nothing for the vast majority of them.” 

“The archdiocese simply does not have unlimited resources to satisfy such claims; its assets are indeed finite,” the prelate said at the time. 

The Maryland attorney general earlier in the week had released an unredacted report on child sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, one that named most of the individuals accused there. A redacted version of the report had been released in April.

The report alleged more than 600 children were abused by 156 people in the diocese over a period beginning in the 1940s through 2002.