Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Amid the specter of high settlement costs, the nation's lone remaining mission diocese -- Fairbanks, Alaska -- has become the sixth US see to go Chapter 11:
[Fairbanks Bishop Donald] Kettler publicly announced his intentions to file for reorganization under federal bankruptcy laws three weeks ago, citing the diocese’s failure to settle with more than 140 people who made claims of sexual abuse in state courts, mounting legal costs and a settlement impasse with an insurance company.

A press release issued Monday by the diocese stated, “It is through the Reorganization Case that the Diocese seeks to finally and comprehensively address the issues resulting from the abuse crisis that has caused great harm to the victims, has plunged CBNA into an even more dire financial condition, and has interfered with the Catholic Church’s traditional ministries in the communities within the Diocese.”

The majority of the alleged abuse occurred from the 1950s to the 1980s in rural Alaska.

The mission diocese administers 46 parishes throughout the northern half of the state. Only eight are financially independent.