Moral Bankruptcy leads to Financial Bankruptcy

Moral Bankruptcy leads to Financial Bankruptcy

Two sacred organizations have declared bankruptcy, brought about by years of both immoral behavior and secretive, self-serving coverup.

Earlier this week, the Catholic Archdiocese of Harrisburg declared bankruptcy, becoming the first Pennsylvania diocese to do so, and the 20th such diocese throughout the United States.

In Mass each week, we Catholics recite such prayerful lines as “I have sinned through my own fault” and “forgive us trespasses” while also hearing such beautiful Gospel readings like “blessed are they who thirst for righteousness” and “blessed are the clean of heart.”

Yet, even as we openly declare our own faults and seek forgiveness, we have witnessed our Church leaders sweep the unclean and unrighteous acts of priests under the rug, showing no regard for those victims whose lives were forever scarred. An inquiry in 2018 found that more than 300 priests molested more than 1100 children throughout the state of Pennsylvania, but what is worse than those numbers is how the Church hierarchy itself covered up these crimes and, now when forced to confront them, they hide behind the shrouded veil of bankruptcy.

Thankfully, the Harrisburg diocese is at least making attempts to make amends for these horrible sins. For example, the diocese has  wiped away the names of all Bishops since 1947 from all buildings in the region. But erasing names from buildings does not restore the damage that has been done not only to the victims, but also to the credibility of the priesthood.

Similarly, the Boy Scouts of America earlier this year filed for Bankruptcy amidst over 1700 hundred allegations of sexual abuse.

The Boy Scout Oath and creed have proudly proclaimed the ideals of “honor,” “duty,” and keeping oneself “morally straight.”

It is now abundantly obvious that many Scout leaders were not holding themselves to the values of fulfilling one’s duties honorably. But, like the Catholic Church, the secretive, selfish way the Scouts failed to truly confront this issue is the very antithesis of being “morally straight.”

By declaring bankruptcy, both of these organizations are able to evaluate their assets and use them to try to pay off its liabilities in the best interests of its creditors while attempting to stay afloat. In that respect, bankruptcy is designed to give organizations like the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts a chance to start over.

However, are victims of these two organizations ever able to truly start over?

Bankruptcy, in both cases, may be the only way for the organizations to survive, but it also provides a way for the debtor to escape paying its full debts.

Does failing to fully pay debts seem “righteous” or “honorable”?

In the end, for both organizations, years of moral bankruptcy have led to financial bankruptcy.