Sudden Parish Closing: A Curious Case or a Clever Strategy?

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Catholic Church

Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori Horowitz Law

Call it gut instinct or a dash of healthy cynicism, but we can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the recent surprise move by Baltimore’s Catholic Archbishop, William Lori. Nope, we’re not referring to his quicksilver push for a ludicrously narrow deadline for the survivors of child sex abuse to step forward and seek compensation through the bankruptcy process. That maneuver is a conversation unto itself; frankly, it leaves a pretty sour taste in our mouths. But, let’s park that topic for the time being and delve into this astonishing other decision that has us scratching our heads: the abrupt closure of a parish following a sex scandal.

Closing Down the Parish, Really?

Okay, let’s set the scene. Almost a month after a priest was caught in a sticky web of sexual and financial allegations, out of the blue, the parish doors are slammed shut. Predictably, this raised a few eyebrows and dropped a lot of jaws. Some might think, “What’s the hullabaloo all about?” After all, that’s within the archbishop’s rights. He can flip the open or closed sign on any parish or church facility.

And you know what? They would be correct. Archbishop Lori does have that power. But, and here’s where we pause for dramatic effect, when has a US official last been seen to close a parish – an act not to be taken lightly – mere weeks after its pastor is implicated in some serious mess?

An Unusual Case Indeed

Trust me, we at Horowitz Law are tuned in to these scenarios as if we have antennas on our heads. We squeeze every drop of legal insight and current affairs into our waking hours, yet we cannot recall a single instance mirroring this. It’s got us bamboozled. Archbishop Lori’s explanation? A classic church one-liner – shortage of priests. But here comes the plot twist: could there be an ulterior motive humming below the surface?

Recently, the archdiocese has been in the spotlight for reasons they’d rather not be. Think of a deer caught in the headlights – not a pretty sight. Let’s take a snapshot of what’s been going on:

  • An Attorney General report that shook the church to its core
  • A significant reform in the statute of limitations
  • New revelations that transpired

Puppets and Puppet Masters

During this crisis, Archbishop Lori’s public relations crew must reach the end of their tether. My hunch is that they might be trying to manipulate the situation to titivate their tarnished image. It’s like trying to sweep the dirt under the rug when everyone’s watching. A dash of diversion, a sprinkling of sympathy, and voila – presenting the victim-turned-hero, Archbishop Lori.

What’s their masterstroke plan, you ask? Well, in the middle of the firestorm, they announce the closure of a parish. Not exactly a crowd pleaser, but one that will monopolize headlines and maybe even swing the narrative in their favor. The endgame? Painting a picture of Lori and his archdiocese as the ones bearing the cross, not the countless individuals who suffered at the hands of Maryland church staffers. Quite a clever plot, don’t you think?

A Controversial Deadline

Now, let’s circle back to the deadline for the victims to step forward and reveal their horrendous experiences within the Maryland church. Archbishop Lori wants this deadline to be this February, leaving a space of less than three months for the victims to muster up the courage and step into the intimidating open.

The sudden parish closure and tight compensation deadline – all of these moves seem calibrated for public sentiment manipulation rather than addressing the core issues. But then, that’s just my two cents. As I often say, sometimes the most obvious explanation is the most elusive one. Let’s wait and see how this all unravels. So grab your popcorn because this saga has only just begun.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.