Wednesday, May 23, 2007
THE GOOD SAMARITAN GUILT TRIP
I've been thinking more about Bishop Skylstad's little funding request in the light of the discussion that has taken place in Dom's blog. Some questions seem to need answers.
1. The lawsuits have redefined "separation of Church and state", yet I'm not sure they have defined who "Church" is for legal purposes. So...Is "Church", according to the courts, the hierarchy and the material assets of the particular diocese being sued; or do the courts see "Church" as extending to the laity?
2. Will material contribution to the Good Samaritan Guilt Trip (GSGT) open up the possibility of a future court considering the personal assets of the laity to be available for raiding by a future victim with dollar signs in his eyes?
3. Or is the GSGT legally a charitable fund?
It was proposed at one point to consider the laity's personal assets to be available for raiding. That notion was rejected by the court. Could contributions to the GSGT redefine the laity's personal assets for purposes of sexual abuse lawsuits? In other words, now that separation of Church and state has been bridged, is the "Church" a corporation or a partnership under the law? If the latter, where does one sign the non-participation document for legal purposes?
If the GSGT is a charitable fund, moral rules about contributions to charity would apply. Thus, for instance, just as we would not contribute to Planned Parenthood because of the uses to which our dollars would be put, we cannot contribute to the GSGT because we do not know anything about the "victims" who would be "helped" by this fund. We cannot contribute to moral degeneration with our charitable dollars.
The practice of the courts of allowing the "victims" to remain anonymous and their lifestyle to remain hidden has perpetuated an unfair advantage to the "victims". We have been given a picture of a child or adolescent "victim" in every case. Yet today the "victim" is not a child or an adolescent, and may in fact be an adult aggressor who is using the courts to exact revenge.
We hear rumors that the victims' lives are a shambles. Is it reasonable to assume that a person who is hooked on drugs or practicing a homosexual lifestyle, for instance, and who may be extremely angry at the Church, would not take legal advantage of the goodwill of Catholics who pony up?
On the other hand, if the laity is going to assume the legal liability of the judgment against the Church by contributing to this fund, aren't they in essence saying "Sure, come attach my family's house and my family's bank account, since "we are Church"?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!