The Archdiocese of Baltimore recently announced its decision to file for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. bankruptcy code. The filing is in response to numerous anticipated lawsuits stemming from historic and previously time-barred cases of child sexual abuse. The lawsuits can go forward under a recent change in Maryland law.

Much has been written and said about this decision, and my views about it are informed by my role as a volunteer member of the board of advisors that oversees the church’s handling of its financial resources and as a retired, longtime financial executive in the banking and professional sports fields.

Clearly, there was no other choice that would allow the Archdiocese to both provide equitable financial compensation to survivors of abuse who bravely have come forward to report the evil they suffered and for the Church to continue its mission. It’s a mission that does a tremendous amount of good in the community, as I’ve seen firsthand.

Some critics of the decision to opt for bankruptcy reorganization have speculated the church is merely protecting its assets or that the Archdiocese can seek financial help from the Vatican. Others have suggested the church is hiding assets or that it is flush with cash. Still others believe the Archdiocese is using bankruptcy to avoid its moral obligation to aid survivors. None of this is true. In fact, the Archdiocese’s annual income versus liabilities allows it to operate on a relatively thin margin, with surplus funds used to operate the many Church ministries that support those most in need.

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Further, in my advisory role, I’ve come to learn of the decadeslong, extensive financial support the Archdiocese has provided survivors, including payment for unlimited counseling for them and those closest to them impacted by their abuse, as well as direct financial settlements with more than 100 survivors.

Finally, I have had the opportunity to witness the direct and sincere commitment of Archbishop Lori, his brother bishops and their staff. It has long been clear to me that every effort is being made to prevent such abuse from happening again to anyone in the care of the church. The church is doing what it can to assist survivors in their long and painful path toward healing.

I know of no other institution, public or private, that has done as much. This includes significant financial investment in initiatives that seek to keep young people and other vulnerable individuals safe, as well as the many ways in which the church seeks to help those harmed in the past.

It is my hope that in sharing my experiences and firsthand knowledge of the church’s financial situation, as well as its investment in responding to its past, Catholics and others will better understand the church’s decision. It’s the only clear path that allows the church to both compensate those harmed and to continue serving the many Catholics and others who rely on the Archdiocese for spiritual and critical material support.

Joe Foss is a member of the archdiocese’s Board of Financial Administration and former vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Baltimore Orioles, as well as a former executive for several companies.

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