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Catholic archdiocese to go bankrupt

MILWAUKEE | The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has directed its attorneys to file for bankruptcy protection, saying pending sexual-abuse lawsuits have left it with debts it can’t pay.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki said Tuesday the archdiocese was undergoing Chapter 11 reorganization so that it would be able to continue its mission as a church while compensating victims of sexual abuse.

“In my installation homily on January 4, 2010, I spoke of the devastation of sin and its effect on us personally and as a community,” Archbishop Listecki said in a statement. “We see the result of that sin today. This action is occurring because priest-perpetrators sexually abused minors, going against everything the church and the priesthood represent.”

Seven other U.S. Catholic dioceses have sought bankruptcy protection from sex-abuse claims since the clergy abuse scandal erupted in 2002 in Boston. Those dioceses are in Davenport, Iowa; Fairbanks, Alaska; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; Spokane, Wash.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Wilmington, Del.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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