Local Church Operations to Continue Normally

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), July 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

Local Church Operations to Continue Normally


Byline: Jeff Wright The Register-Guard

The decision by the Archdiocese of Portland to declare bankruptcy isn't expected to affect day-to-day operations at its 124 parishes across Western Oregon, including about a dozen in Lane County.

Daily and weekend Masses will still be celebrated as scheduled, and local parishes aren't at risk of having property or funds confiscated, archdiocese spokesman Bud Bunce said.

Various services provided by the archdiocese to member parishes - such as training for youth ministers and religion education volunteers - are expected to continue, at least for the time being, he said.

Archbishop John Vlazny made the decision late Monday after meeting with senior priests, administrators and the finance board, Bunce said. The archdiocese has paid $53 million to settle more than 130 claims of clergy sex abuse, but now found itself facing two claims totaling $155 million, with 60 other claims still pending.

"What the archbishop is basically saying is, `I can't provide for the other 60 and pay off that kind of money for two individuals,' ' Bunce said. "We couldn't take the risk of those judgments against us."

In Lane County, several parish priests were either unavailable or declined to comment, saying they were asked to forward media inquiries to the archdiocese.

In Springfield, the Rev. Richard Janowicz has served the Nativity Ukrainian Catholic Church for nearly 22 years. The church, not part of the Archdiocese of Portland, instead answers to a Chicago bishop who oversees Ukrainian churches in the West and Midwest.

Janowicz said the crisis presents a moral conundrum.

"How do you put a dollar value on someone who's suffered from abuse? …

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