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"We have made the difficult decision to pursue Chapter 11 reorganization."
Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans has announced the archdiocese is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A flood of clergy sex abuse cases has drained the archdiocese's financial resources, with more cases on the horizon. The final straw was the loss of revenue related to lockdown measures, which include the suppression of public Mass.
Aymond: "Additionally, the unforeseen circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have added more financial hardships to an already difficult situation."
A survivor of the Wuhan virus, Abp. Aymond says the reorganization will not affect parishes, schools or ministries, but only the archdiocesan administrative offices.
Aymond is assuring the faithful that no clerical sex abuse claims will be resolved using money from parish collections, and alleges bankruptcy will help resolve predator clergy cases.
Aymond: "My sisters and brothers, this path will allow us to address all the remaining clergy abuse cases in a way that will allow funds to go directly to victims instead of funding costly litigation for just a few cases."
While the archdiocesan website has information on the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program for pandemic-related funding, it is unclear if Aymond has applied for federal assistance.
Other dioceses that have applied for SBA assistance after pursuing bankruptcy have been denied. The dioceses of Rochester, Buffalo and Santa Fe are suing the federal government for having been rejected.