The butcher’s bill in 730 easy payments of $2

The butcher’s bill in 730 easy payments of $2

In their quest for ever larger settlements (and thus ever larger retainers, since they usually get one-third), lawyers for alleged sex-abuse victims in the Diocese of Spokane, Washington, want to make parishioners pay half of the settlement.

An attorney representing people who allege they were sexually abused by priests says Catholics in Eastern Washington can settle their church’s sex-abuse crisis and bankruptcy for $60 million—half of which he suggests could come from parishioners.

Bishop William Skylstad already has $30 million at his disposal from asset sales, insurance settlements and pledges from Catholic Charities and related organizations.

The remaining $30 million could be raised through what those involved in negotiations are calling the “latte-a-day” plan.

Or we could call it the “buy the lawyer a new BMW” plan, because this is about enriching the lawyers. I guess the lawyers are taking the doctrine of the “corporate” nature of the Body of Christ seriously.

Here’s the plan:

Numbers under the proposed plan might look like this: If just 20,000 of Eastern Washington’s 93,000 Catholics pitched in, the payment would be $2.05 per person per day for two years—less than the cost of a latte. If all 93,000 parishioners pay, the sum would be far less.

The calculation is intended to undercut suggestions that victims are calling for the sale of churches and schools. A small daily sacrifice by fewer than one in four Catholics could end the bankruptcy and resolve this dark chapter in the church’s history, said Michael Pfau, another attorney representing victims.

That’s what this really is: extortion. Either pay up or we’ll take your parishes and schools from you. And while $2 may be chicken feed for fancy-pants lawyers, $60 per month is a hefty chunk of change for most of us, especially the elderly on fixed incomes who make
up a large part of many parishes’ populations.

And this is what it’s come to: Some priests abuse kids, their bishops abet the abuse, and grandma has to choose between keeping her parish and paying for her prescriptions. Nice.

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