Monday, June 27, 2016

A New Religious Persecution?

From TFP:
America has never experienced the butchery of bishops and priests that characterized the persecution of the Church by atheistic Communism during the twentieth century or the Jacobins during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). However, our nation may soon witness the same wholesale confiscation of Church property that accompanied these bloody persecutions.

Aided by a secularist media, an orchestrated effort is under way by Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests and Other Clergy (SNAP), Voice of the Faithful, and other liberal Catholic advocacy groups, to lift or extend retroactively civil statutes of limitations nationwide.

California was the first state to do so. In 2003, the Golden State approved a one-year “window of opportunity,” a “look-back” period that suspended the civil statute of limitations and allowed lawsuits to be filed regardless of when the abuse is alleged to have taken place. Media reports say 1,000 lawsuits were filed.

State legislatures across the nation are now being asked to amend their civil statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse crimes in similar ways, or to abolish them altogether. If such changes become a national trend, we can expect to see the Church paying out billions of dollars to defend itself and to fund the resulting awards and settlements. As Prof. Patrick J. Schiltz, Saint Thomas More Chair in Law at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, observed:

It’s like warfare… Phase One was for plaintiff lawyers to maximize bad publicity and destroy the credibility of the Church. Phase Two is to use that publicity to push for legislative changes. Phase Three will be to collect.[1]
Estimated awards and settlements for the Church sexual abuse scandal already exceed two billion dollars. But with legislative changes, the total cost may be many billions more before the storm blows over.

Once insurance limits are exhausted, these billions will come from Church bank accounts and then from the sale of Church assets on the auction block. This means real property such as churches, schools, and hospitals and personal property like vehicles, vestments, and chalices. (Read more.)

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