The millions they earned in settlements from the Catholic Church not being enough, plaintiffs’ lawyers want big pats on the back for their role in exposing the Scandal. While the actions of both the Boston Globe and the lawyers in exposing the corruption at the heart of the Church in the coverup of clergy sex-abuse was necessary, I don’t applaud them for their motives or the worst of their actions, any more than I applaud the heart attack that causes the doctor to find a heretofore unknown tumor, or more to the point, any more than I applaud the terror attacks the expose the holes in our national security.
The Globe‘s motives are bound up in its editors’ and publishers’ agenda to undermine the Church’s authority and influence, and the failures of our ecclesial leadership gave them just the opening they needed. Likewise, the lawyers smelled lots of money just waiting to be smoked out of the Church’s coffers and incredibly bungled actions by certain bishops gave them the opportunity to take their standard one-third retainers out of the millions upon millions just waiting to be plucked.
In an essay in the Globe, a law professor and—oh wait—author of a new book on the topic, how convenient, Timothy Lytton, lauds the ability to legislate and re-engineer society at the business end of a lawsuit:
The remarkable success of clergy sexual abuse litigation stands out among the many recent attempts to use civil lawsuits to address social problems, most prominently against tobacco companies (aimed at reducing smoking) and against gun-makers (designed to produce stricter gun control). Tobacco and gun litigation have played significant but relatively small roles in larger antismoking and gun-control movements that predated them by decades. And while lawsuits have focused attention on the role of the tobacco and gun industries in contributing to smoking addiction and gun violence, the results in terms of industry reform and government regulation have been modest.
Social re-engineering and getting paid too