Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

"Energized" -- the Cardinal wins the Lottery!

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Dec 02, 2006

Vision Book Cover Prints

At the beginning of the year, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles came up with a plan to split its sex abuse liabilities into two categories. One group of cases would be litigated (i.e., contested in court) with the "hope" that the Archdiocese's insurers would step forward to pay for the losers. The second group would not go to court but would be settled for a cash payment. By what criterion did the Archdiocese decide which case belongs to which category? Well, the crimes that occurred before 1985 went into the first group, those after 1985 into the second. By a truly extraordinary coincidence, 1985 is the year Cardinal Mahony took the job of archbishop, which, as OTR noted at the time, seemed to point to the following archepiscopal twofer:

1) The abuse that occurred on Mahony's watch (post-1985) will be settled, for cash, out of court. That means no trial, hence no senior ecclesiastics in the witness box, hence no consequent arraignment for complicity or perjury, hence no jail time for You Know Who.

2) The abuse that occurred before Mahony's time (pre-1985) will go to trial -- by an arrangement in which nine of the 44 select cases are agreed upon -- and whatever hit the Archdiocese takes will be financial. That means no senior ecclesiastics in the witness box (the relevant ones are dead), hence no consequent arraignment for complicity or perjury, hence no jail time for You Know Who.

It looks as if the first shoe has dropped. Yesterday Cardinal Mahony announced an agreement with the attorney for the plaintiffs in the pay-off category, viz., those that occurred on his watch after 1986, as well as those that occurred prior to 1954 (when it is claimed the Archdiocese was uninsured). The Cardinal's handshake was worth $60 million for 45 victims, or a million three for every celebration of diversity. Below is the LA Times' graphic giving the box score for the major leagues. LA's Buggery Bill Batting Average puts them just behind Milwaukee and just ahead of the Padres:

Keep in mind that LA's potential liability extends to 570 cases. We're still nowhere near the All Star break. You'll be pleased to know that none of the $60 million comes from parish accounts; rather, the better part was found by a careful search beneath the chancery sofa cushions and was -- you've gotta love this -- "set aside":

Mahony said the planned payout would not adversely affect parish functions or ministries. "We set aside last year $40 million for this settlement. While it is painful, no parishes are affected," he said. The remaining $20 million would come from limited insurance payouts, as well as $8 million from five religious orders that had members involved in the cases, said attorney J. Michael Hennigan, who negotiated on behalf of the archdiocese.

Mahony said the settlement was "very important to us."

"Very important to us." Must be tough to keep that grin off his face. "Us," in this connection, means "Me."

So it looks as if the twofer is working as it was designed to. The risky part for Mahony concerned the category just settled. With a one-third cut of $60 million dangling in front of them, the plaintiffs' attorneys will lose interest in the personnel files, as planned, and healing will take place in no time. In fact, healing has already begun! Whereas Cardinal Law seemed crushed by his mega-million payout, Mahony's $60 mil has "energized" him:

Both church officials and attorneys representing those suing said Friday that much of their focus would now turn toward the more than 500 cases from the time period when the church had insurance coverage.

"The task will be for the insurance companies to step forward," Mahony said Friday. "I feel much more energized for the other 500 cases now. We anticipate there will be further pain down the road for us."

"Further pain down the road for us." Must be tough to keep that grin off his face. "Us," in this connection, means "You."

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