The story of Paul Edwards is one of the most disquieting of the whole Scandal. Here is a guy who accused two priests, one dead and one the top canonist in Boston, of abusing him. But after he went public, the Boston Globe publicized a campaign of people who accused him of being a pathological liar. In an unusual act, the Boston Herald then ran a series of counter-articles claiming that the claims against Edwards were trumped up. Then, Edwards’ lawyer quit his case and the judge threw it out of court with extreme prejudice (or however they phrase it), meaning he could never re-file it. The living priest, Msgr. Michael Foster, was declared cleared by the archdiocese, then the investigation was re-opened, then he was declared cleared again. What are we to believe?
Now, we seem to have a resolution to the case, but it’s still strange. The archdiocese has agreed to settle with Edwards under terms similar to the separate $85 million settlement. The archdiocese says that the claim settles the case of Fr. Paul Cummings, who died of AIDS, but that it doesn’t admit anything against Foster. How can that be? How can the Church agree to settle a claim against a dead priest who can no longer defend himself, but refuses to believe the same defendant’s charges against another priest who is still living? What makes Edwards’ charges against Cummings more believable than those against Foster?