Temporal Goods: A Compensation Fund?


The scope of the sexual abuse of minors’ crises within the Catholic Church examined in conjunction with the purpose of temporal goods, the responsibility of the episcopate, the meaning of good stewardship, the faithful’s obligation to financially support the church, and compensation to alleged victims and their attorneys presents a realistic quandary for the Christifideles. Should the Church replete with its perceived “deep pockets” be “selling off” temporal goods to remunerate lawsuits, which in some situations far exceed those of other “institutions?” Should there be limits? Moreover, one ought to also contemplate whether there is a difference in the “handling” or disposition of sexual abuse cases involving minors when the competent authority has knowingly increased the risk of financial liability to the faithful. What should happen? This brief analysis seeks to examine the above questions as they apply to dioceses in the U.S. and its territories. Inquiry concerning canon 1254, inter alia in the 1983 Code of Canon Law may allow insight vis-à-vis the connotation of “temporal goods,” their application, and relevancy to restitution regarding the sexual abuse of minors.


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