"While sources for funding needed to establish the program are still being settled upon, the program will ensure transparency and the disclosure of all allegations to law enforcement," the Pittsburgh diocese said.
Zubik will hold listening sessions around the diocese to share details of the program and details about "other actions that will support the healing of survivors and the protection of children in the Church."
The Pittsburgh diocese is undergoing a "comprehensive review" of practices related to children and young people by Shay Bilchik, an expert on child sex abuse prevention and prosecution.
Bilchik is a former Florida state prosecutor, and administered the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice.
"The Survivors Compensation Fund will address the needs of victims regardless of the time frames currently in place for the statute of limitations for civil law suits. This expedited process will enable eligible victims of minor sexual abuse to be heard and compensated," the Greensburg diocese said in its Nov. 8 announcement.
Diocesan, not parish assets, will finance the fund. Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros of the Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg, PC, will be the independent fund administrators.
Feinberg and Camille Biros will administer the Philadelphia archdiocese's compensation fund as well.
Chaput said that the total number of claims and funding required cannot yet be known, but he said the financial commitment will be "significant." Existing archdiocesan assets will provide initial funding, but additional funding will need to come from borrowing and the sale of archdiocesan properties. It is not yet determined which properties will be sold.
In the last three years, Philadelphia archdiocese finances have returned to the break-even point, after a period of severe deficit spending and underfunding financial obligations.
Archbishop Chaput emphasized that the fund is "entirely independent of the archdiocese" and "confidential."
"The program is designed to help survivors come forward in an atmosphere where they are secure and respected, without the uncertainty, conflict, and stress of litigation," Chaput said.
(Story continues below)
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The independent oversight committee for the Philadelphia archdiocese's reparations fund includes former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who will chair the committee. He will be joined by Kelley Hodge, former interim District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia, and Lawrence F. Stengel, a retired federal district court judge.
While Catholic leaders stressed the independence of how the reparations would be determined, it still drew criticism from abuse victims and their advocates.
"If I do something wrong, I don't make my own punishment up," Martha McHale, a clergy sex-abuse victim from Reading, Pa. told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Neither should they."
Victims who accept payments from the funds must give up their right to sue if the state legislature temporarily lifts the statute of limitations on sex abuse lawsuits. In the last legislative session, a bill that would open a two-year window allowing abuse victims to file lawsuits concerning decades-old claims passed the House of Representatives but the Senate did not hold a final vote.
"It's a brilliant political move by the bishops," said Benjamin Andreozzi, a lawyer for several clergy sex abuse victims in Pennsylvania.
"This is exactly what happened in New York. The dioceses there probably resolved 90 percent of their outstanding civil claims for pennies on the dollar," Andreozzi told the Inquirer, comparing the fund to those established in the New York archdiocese.