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Victims' groups file charges against Vatican for 'crimes against humanity'

... and the lawyers get richer, and richer, and....

The article makes clear that the Court will not take up the case (Holy See not a member; failure to meet rule of evidence, etc.) and yet the case is prepared and submitted. No hope for a judgment... no hope for compensation for the victims... no hope for closure for the victims...

... and the lawyers get richer, and richer, and...

Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Victims' groups file charges against Vatican for 'crimes against humanity'


  1. Tim do you object to lawyers being paid for the work they do?
    There is hope for a judgment from a victims perspective if you really think seriously about it.
    There may be no hope for monetary compensation but contrary to popular within the church , this is a clear indication that monetary compensation is not the driving force behind victims moving forward with the truth. If the true face of the church is revealed , that is another form of compensation for the victims.
    What is it that would bring "closure" to victims?

  2. Larry: I have a victim in my parish who is involved in a law suit against a neighboring diocese. I have listened to him tell me that he changed his mind at one point and decided that all he wanted was an acknowledgment of what happened to him and a personal apology. When he gave this instruction to his lawyer (same firm that's representing most of the victims in Ontario) he was told that if he proceeded in that manner, he would be sued by the firm.

    So, no I have no objections to lawyers being paid. But I do object to lawyers victimizing the victims a second time.

    Think of it like this: so far, there has been in excess of a billion dollars paid out in damages in the USA alone to date. Over 90% of those cases were handled by one firm, who received 30% of all settlements. That's in excess of $330 million dollars so far. It kind of puts things in perspective when you consider that this one firm is the principle funder of SNAP in the States (just as the London firm is for Canada). It has become a rich field from which they recruit new clients. They are more concerned with their fees than they are with obtaining 'justice' for the victims.

    NO ONE in this entire mess has clean hands... EXCEPT the actual victims themselves... and they are evidently the most powerless parties in this entire sordid affair.

    That is the only point that I am trying to make with this post. These new legal actions are designed to expand the liability to as many corners of the Church as possible to increase the size of the settlements. That's the only reason that the lawyers are proceeding this way. Why else spent $$$$ to launch an action that by consensus opinion cannot succeed? It's to put the church in as bad a light as possible so that American juries will grant larger settlements, pure and simple. There were many other ways that victims could obtain 'justice' from the Vatican. Why spend money for something that you know at the start will not work to produce the result you're allegedly aiming for?

    As to what will bring closure? I have no idea. But it isn't going to come from money, if the multiple suicides and addictions that have befallen so many of the victims post-settlement is any indication.

    Fr. Tim

    P.S. Do you know when the Borne trial starts? I thought it was this month in Pembroke.

  3. Hi Tim,

    You write: "When he gave this instruction to his lawyer (same firm that's representing most of the victims in Ontario) he was told that if he proceeded in that manner, he would be sued by the firm."

    I have a very hard time believing that the law firm threatened to sue its own client just because the client decided to settle for a non-monetary award. I think your retelling of this stroy is leaving out some vital bits of information.

    Presumably, the law firm is working on a contingency basis - meaning the law firm only gets paid a % of the monetary settlement if, as, and when it gets paid. If no favourable ruling - then no compensation. This is a big risk for the law firm because they are not charging the victim directly for any legal work. Presumably a great deal of work has already been done, and law firms do not enter into such contingency arrangements unless there is a good chance of winning.

    I am guessing that the agreement between the firm and its client is that if the client backs out part way through the process, then the client must pay normal legal fees. If the client does not pay the firm, then of course the firm is entitled to sue its client for non-payment of fees. This is normal commercial practice and would have been explained to the client in detail at the time that the agreement was signed. Professional ethics of lawyers demand this.

    Your version makes the law firm sound very sinister. Let's not forget why people are seeking redress via the courts: it is because the Church:

    a) is liable for the actions of its priests and has the duty to properly supervise them
    b) has a duty to protect the children and the young people in its care
    c) failed miserably, and repeatedly all over the world, for decades (perhaps centuries), in protecting the children under its care and properly supervising its priests.

    I do not have enough information to say that BXVI has committed crimes against humanity - but it certainly seems that he and JP2 either took no action to stop some of the abuse, or they were exceedingly slow to act. I always marvel at the alacrity of the hierarchy in punishing the smallest of doctrinal deviations, but are exceedingly slow to address real scandals such as this one.


  4. Martin: You could be correct. But, I have written it exactly as he told me. He said that he 'would be sued' by the firm if he withdrew the demand for financial compensation.

    Now, the second reason for my initial post is because these same firms advertise themselves as being 'advocates' to help victims obtain 'justice.' I sincerely believe that their principle reason has to do with money. I say this because they do not offer 'pro-bono' services but will only work on a contingency or fee for service basis. No problem with that... but let them at least be honest about it and quit hiding behind a cloak of 'advocacy'.


  5. Hi Tim,

    I don't dispute what your parishoner told you...I simply point out that it is misleading for your parishoner to say that he will be sued for withdrawing his case, when in fact, he was cautioned that he would be sued if he did not pay his legal bills, which would become due and payable immediately if he withdrew his case. There is a big difference.

    You have amplified his misrepresentation by repeating it without clarification.

    As for law firms being advocates for justice whilst simultaneously seeking to make a profit - I see no inherent contradiction at all. One will not be an advocate of anything for long if the bills are not paid.

    Even your Church operates from similar mixed motives: your Church claims to be an advocate for justice whilst simultaneously seeking to maximize its revenues and reduce its expenses. Afterall, that is the reason why the RCC lobbies governments to limit the Statute of Limitations for sexual abuse cases, and offers low dollar settlements to its victims. You and Archbishop Chaput would be the first to claim that the RCC can, and should, do both.

    Sauce that is good for the gander, is sauce good enough for the goose.


  6. What is the name of the accused priest in that case Tim?

  7. For Monsignor Robert Borne's court appearances why don't you check Fr. Tim, the "Sylvia's website" for the legal calendar for September 26 to 30th.

    Robert Borne: Location: Pembroke court house

    booked for week of pre-trial motions

    Link out

  8. Larry: I don't know,but since this is a 'crimes against humanity' case, I think it involves more than a few priests worldwide.

    Fr. Tim

  9. No no Tim, I mean what is the name of the accused of sexual abuse against the parishioner who spoke to you?

  10. Larry: He is one of the Redemptorists who ran Scollard Hall Secondary School for boys in North Bay. I'm not actually sure of his name. If it's important to you, I can ask him. If you want to speak to him personally, I can arrange that. He hasn't been shy about speaking about it. He stood up in the Church on Sunday to announce that 'yes', he indeed was the same man folks saw on the local news. That he was indeed suing the Diocese of Sault-Ste. Marie and the Redemptorists, but that it had nothing to do with me!

    I was surprised like everyone else when he did that, but he said that after the North Bay Nugget - in the wake of Borne being charged - ran the headline 'Mattawa Priest Charged with Child Sex Offenses', (next day they ran a correction notice on the bottom of page 2 that added the adjective 'Former' to the headline) he didn't want anyone thinking again that I was in 'trouble'.

    It's been fun here in Mattawa, thanks to the sinfulness of others. Some day we'll have sit down and have a chat about it. It has been the most bizarre 6+ years of my time in the Diocese - and you know how strange my years at the Cathedral were!

    Fr. Tim


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