Severity of the claims against the Diocese of Harrisburg led Archbishop Joseph Bambera to make the decision to file for bankruptcy this week, according to The New York Times.

The filing also comes as the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office investigates decades of abuse claims by priests. Three other Pennsylvania dioceses — the Diocese of Allentown, the Diocese of Greensburg, and the Diocese of Pittsburgh — have also announced plans to file for bankruptcy.

The filing is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court; for the bishops and the diocese to obtain that approval, they must reach a mutually acceptable settlement with a large number of lawsuits that are currently pending, many of which are related to the actions of Cardinal Justin Rigali, who retired from his post in Harrisburg last year. Some of those lawsuits related to the victims’ claims that the diocese failed to respond to their allegations of abuse and failed to protect them from future abuse.

The bishops have said that they intend to use the Chapter 11 procedure to “safeguard the safety of the community by securing future revenue for the Church and protecting church assets from frivolous litigation”.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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