Court upholds Cardinal Dolan’s segregation of $55M Milwaukee Archdiocese cemetery fund.

In issuing the ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa said including the funds would violate free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and a 1993 law aimed at protecting religious freedom. Randa cited the Catholic belief in the resurrection, which teaches that the body ultimately reunites with the soul, and the role of Catholic cemeteries in the exercise of that belief under canon law.

“The sacred nature of Catholic cemeteries – and compliance with the church’s historical and religious traditions and mandates requiring their perpetual care – are understood as a fundamental exercise of this core belief,” said Randa in overturning an earlier decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley.

The decision was a major victory for the archdiocese, and appears to eliminate one of the last large assets available to sex abuse victims who have filed claims in the bankruptcy.

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True story: How a corrupt bishop bankrupted his diocese – and got away with it.

During the years when reports of clerical sexual abuse were crossing the desk of the former archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, OSB – who resigned his post after revelations of his own homosexual predations and a payoff were publicly exposed in May 2002 – was pushing explicit sex education and pro-homosexual programs in his archdiocese.

One of the striking revelations in the 6,000 pages of documentation released July 1 by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki is that the majority of complaints against offending priests – both current and those of a historical nature dating back decades – landed on Archbishop Weakland’s desk between 1979 and 1990.

Indeed, 29 of the 42 complaints of sexual abuse by archdiocesan priests that led to the archdiocese filing for bankruptcy in federal court were reported to Weakland in that period.

The first such report to reach Weakland, in April 1979, concerned Fr. William Effinger, from the father of a minor male who accused Effinger of molesting his son.

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Archdiocese of Milwaukee publishes formerly secret information on clergy offenders

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