While I was having fun yesterday, there was some new developments in the Scandal in Boston. The Archdiocese offered a $55 million settlement for 542 alleged victims. Because the lawyers get at least one-third… oops, I mean because there are so many plaintiffs, they are considering that as a starting point. That’s an average of $101,000 per claim, or $70,000 after the lawyers get their cut.
Still, it’s a good sign that there is movement in the settlement talks after so much stagnation. Almost nothing had happened in the seven months after Cardinal Law resigned (or in the previous six for that matter), but with Archbishop O’Malley came a change in legal team and the obstructionist (and apparently incompetent) Rogers Law Firm was replaced. And now we can see the end of the tunnel.
The agreement—which needs the approval of 95 percent of the plaintiffs, although if their lawyers like it, they will convince their clients—would have the archdiocese give up all its legal defenses, including those questionable tactics, pushed by the Rogers firm, that perhaps made sense in a hardball, in-your-face way, but not in a Christian ethics-and-virtue way.
Most of the money is expected to come from insurance companies, and if they balk he will probably sue them like he did in 1992 when settling cases in Fall River. The insurance companies may not like the idea of dropping all legal defenses and may try to weasel out of their policies. That can’t be allowed.
It can’t be emphasized enough that the archdiocese’s new direction does more than ust help the alleged victims. It also helps other Catholics who have been disillusioned by the actions of the Church in the past by refusing to continue those hardball tactics and showing Christian love, mercy, and humility.
The other news yesterday wasn’t all that surprising. Archbishop O’Malley has announced that he won’t live in the residence in Brighton, but will instead live in the rectory at the cathedral, which he says is more in line with his Capuchin vows. It would have been more surprising if he had indeed moved into the residence after all the hype and talk about his Franciscan ideal of poverty.