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A new site from the Boston Globe includes news updates on clergy abuse and other Catholic issues.
 Latest coverage

April 23
Editorial: Room for BC

March 6
Op-Ed: Give laity role in church
Op-Ed: ...but they have one

February 28, 2004
Editorial: Toll of church abuse

January 9, 2004
Editorial: Keeping faith

December 29
Editorial: When churches close

December 14
Essay: A new passing

December 6
Editorial: A humbler church

November 4
Vennochi: The blame game

September 27
Op-Ed: O'Malley needs support

September 22
Walker: Children must be first

September 10
Editorial: Serious settlement

September 7
McNamara: A back-page death

September 5
McGrory: Gov. can do better

August 29
Op-Ed: Geoghan's 'innocence'

August 25
Editorial: One more victim

August 12
Editorial: O'Malley's gesture

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

  A Boston Globe Editorial  

Serious settlement


THE SETTLEMENT reached between the Archdiocese of Boston and sexual abuse victims yesterday represents a recognition by Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of the seriousness of the scandal and offers some compensation for the damage of sexual abuse. While imperfect, like all such settlements, it is a powerful indicator that the archdiocese is committed to helping abuse victims recover and preventing children from being victimized in the future.

Beyond the $85 million monetary offer, the archdiocese is acknowledging the harm done to the victims by men acting with the authority of the priesthood. Counseling will also be offered to show that the archdiocese is committed to help the victims after the money is distributed.

Much of the settlement will go to compensate lawyers for their work on the case. Without suits initiated by the lawyers, however, the full extent of abuse would not have come to light. And the great number of plaintiffs -- more than 500 -- provides graphic evidence of the extent of the scandal. Had the archdiocese acted decades ago to acknowledge the abuse and remove abusers from ministry, the settlement would have been far less expensive.

O'Malley, installed as archbishop six weeks ago, has acted with extraordinary speed to settle the lawsuits. His single-mindedness suggests that he will be equally diligent in maintaining policies to protect children from abuse.

Some of the $85 million could have been spent on the traditional charitable activities of the Catholic Church. The archdiocese of Boston has been accumulating real estate and other assets for 150 years or more. It can, if necessary, sell or mortgage some of this property to pay for the settlements. O'Malley clearly understands that, more than land or buildings, it is the spiritual foundation and moral credibility of the Catholic Church in Boston that must be rebuilt.

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