« New Fish on the Block | Main | Lead Balloon »

November 13, 2002

Splitting Hairs

I'm not a religious person, so maybe I can be accused of being dense here. Perhaps some of my religious acquaintances can tell me if I'm missing something. On the way in to work today I heard on the news that Catholic officials are putting the final touches on how they plan to handle sexual abuse charges against their priests:

"Our position has been that we will remove from active ministry all priests who have ever offended against a child sexually," said Daniel E. Pilarczyk, archbishop of Cincinnati. "In doing that we also need to be aware of the demands of our own canon law" that provide justice to the accused, he told United Press International.

But isn't sexual abuse a crime? Do not the secular courts exist to try and decide justice? The only reason the church seems to be worried about unjustly dismissing priests is that it doesn't seem to occur to them to actually report alledged abuse as a crime:

Civil law supersedes canon law in every jurisdiction in the United States. Let the laity work to ''keep the faith and change the church.'' Let the lawmakers of this country work to change the laws and keep the churchmen accountable.

Eileen McNamara, Globe Columnist, 11/13/2002

Posted by dpwakefield at November 13, 2002 10:17 AM