According to the Boston Globe, the Archdiocese of Boston will mortgage property to raise the funds for the $85 million settlement. Specifically, the most likely choices will be churches and rectories and schools in the 15 to 20 parishes that have been or soon will be closed or consolidated. The thing is, by mortgaging this property, all it does is put the cost of settlement into the future and increase. As we all know the wonders of compound interest, that $85 million will balloon in the future to several times its size by the time the mortgages are paid off.
And when the archdiocese has to make payments, how will it affect the continuing ministries of the diocese? How will it fit in with the decline in giving? More budget cuts for ministries?
I’m concerned that none of the settlement money is apparently coming from the insurance companies, for which they were contracted in the first place. The insurers have publicly balked at paying out for settlements, hinting that if there was criminal wrongdoing by Church officials, then the policies are nullified. With the federal attorney not ruling out criminal prosecutions against archdiocesan officials it gives credence to that position.
I hope that Archbishop O’Malley goes after the insurers to fulfill their end of the bargain. Otherwise, those who will continue to suffer from the abuse are the laypeople of the Archdiocese: both by the loss of important ministries and the increasing pressure on their wallets to pay for these settlements.
After all, where does everybody think all the archdiocese’s money comes from?