Bankruptcy and the Catholic Church

Listen / Download

Annus horribilis. If the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston ever had a singularly horrible year, it’s this one. The year that began with stories of child sexual abuse by priests is ending with the possibility that the archdiocese, now facing 450 lawsuits and at least $100 million in damages, may file for bankruptcy.

This comes on top of new revelations this week that Cardinal Law has allowed more known abusers to continue to serve parishes, and wrote letters of commendation for them. This is the season of Advent on the church calendar, usually a time of hopeful expectation.

Christmas usually means packed pews. In Boston this year, attendance is down, contributions are down, anger is up. The Catholic Church. Getting versed in Chapter 11.


Alan Wolfe, director, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College

Jay Lawrence Westbrook, bankruptcy expert, University of Texas Law School

Stephen Kurkjian, reporter, Boston Globe.