The Catholic Diocese of San Diego is appealing to parishioners and priests to help pay for a recent $198.1 million dollar sexual abuse settlement, the Associated Press reports.
Bishop Robert Brom also issued a memo asking the diocese’s priests to contribute one month's salary, about $1,535 to a fund for abuse victims. "We cannot ask of others what we are unwilling to do ourselves," he wrote.
The donation requests will help "cover the expense involved in compassionate outreach to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of the church," the memo said.
The idea came from current priests who saw it as a gesture toward the 144 people who allege they were abused by clergy members and church workers when they were minors.
"It's a way of kind of righting some of the injustices done to them and also start the healing process," said the Rev. Ned Brockhaus of St. John of the Cross in Lemon Grove.
Judy Bethel, a Catholic San Diego resident, said that if Archbishop Brom hadn't sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the diocese in February, he could have settled the suits for less money. "I think he's asking us to bear the cost of his mistakes," Bethel said. "I, for one, am not willing to do this."
The San Diego diocese is to pay $107 million for the settlement. The rest will come from insurance and the Diocese of San Bernardino, which was once a part of the Diocese of San Diego.