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Catholic church can be held responsible for wrongdoing by priests
The Guardian UK ^ | November 8, 2011 | Riazat Butt

Posted on 11/08/2011 5:55:45 AM PST by Alex Murphy

Victims of clerical sexual abuse will find it easier to bring compensation claims against the Catholic church after a judge ruled it can be held responsible for the wrongdoings of its priests.

[SNIP]

The judge said although there had been no formal contract between the church and the priest, the late Father Baldwin, there were "crucial features" that should be recognised.

He said: "He [Baldwin] was provided with the premises, the pulpit and the clerical robes. He was directed into the community with that full authority and was given free rein to act as a representative of the church. He had been trained and ordained for the purpose. He had immense power handed to him by the defendants [the trustees of the Roman Catholic diocesan trust]. It was they who appointed him to the position of trust, which (if the allegations be proved) he so abused."

It is the first time a court has ruled that the relationship between a Catholic priest and his bishop is akin to an employment relationship. It sets a precedent for similar cases, by providing further guidance for such trials in the future, while also putting the church in uncharted territory. The church has been granted extended leave to appeal the decision.

Lord Faulks QC, on behalf of the defendants, said the church was not seeking to evade responsibility for paedophile priests. "My clients take sexual abuse extremely seriously and are very concerned to eradicate and investigate it," he said. "This case has been brought as a point of law that has never been decided."

(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: catholic; childmolestation; homosexuality; homosexualpriests; pederastpriests; pederasty; pedophiles; pedophilia; romancatholic
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Victims of clerical sexual abuse will find it easier to bring compensation claims against the Catholic church after a judge ruled it can be held responsible for the wrongdoings of its priests....

...."He [Father Baldwin] was provided with the premises, the pulpit and the clerical robes. He was directed into the community with that full authority and was given free rein to act as a representative of the church. He had been trained and ordained for the purpose. He had immense power handed to him by the defendants [the trustees of the Roman Catholic diocesan trust]. It was they who appointed him to the position of trust, which (if the allegations be proved) he so abused."

1 posted on 11/08/2011 5:55:50 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Does this mean that the entire Penn State school be responsible for the homosexual attacks by a coach on less than twenty young boys?


2 posted on 11/08/2011 6:01:37 AM PST by IbJensen (What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.)
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To: IbJensen
"Does this mean that the entire Penn State school be responsible for the homosexual attacks by a coach on less than twenty young boys?"

That's a much easier call. Penn State would most likely be liable under the doctrine respondiat superior.

3 posted on 11/08/2011 6:09:39 AM PST by circlecity
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To: Alex Murphy

This is a natural consequence of Protestantism affecting the law.


4 posted on 11/08/2011 6:12:34 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998
This is a natural consequence of Protestantism affecting the law.

Lex rex baby! Lex rex!

A Protestant's identification with/membership in his church is granted by subjection and adherence to a predefined formal confession or creed (i.e. the Bible, the Westminster Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, etc). The Catholic version has all members being ultimately subject to a person or office (i.e. the Pope, Archbishop, etc). Reformed Protestants are ruled by God's Word (sometimes encapsulated in a Creed or Confession for ease of dissemination). Catholics are ruled by God's Vicar.

To use a more familiar example, the United States of America was formed as a government ruled over by a ‘confessional standard’. Even the President is supposed to be subject to a "Protestant" standard, i.e. Witherspoon's axiom "Lex Rex" (the Law is King). This is why oaths are sworn to obey and protect the 'standard' (i.e. defend the Constitution), and not to obey and protect the President. The President's authority comes from the Constitution; it is not independently possessed. The President therefore does not have the authority to re-write the Constitution.

5 posted on 11/08/2011 6:21:16 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: IbJensen
My thoughts also. Very similar situation where the authorities decided to protect the institution and not the victims.
6 posted on 11/08/2011 6:24:26 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: vladimir998

“This is a natural consequence of Protestantism affecting the law.”

Please explain why the Catholic church shouldn’t be responsible for the actions of it’s priests...


7 posted on 11/08/2011 6:31:46 AM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Alex Murphy

I wonder which excuse they will trot out this time.

I think it’s 235, “The Roman Catholic* Church really doesn’t maintain the oversight that everyone thinks.”

*Big C


8 posted on 11/08/2011 6:50:52 AM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: IbJensen
Does this mean that the entire Penn State school be responsible for the homosexual attacks by a coach on less than twenty young boys?

To the extent that the Superiors knew what was going on, yes. Just like Rome.

9 posted on 11/08/2011 6:52:01 AM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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To: IbJensen

At Penn State any supervisor who knew the pervert was banging little boys and who made decisions to keep him in that position with access to boys, should be examined for criminal charges, up for civil law suit damages by the victims and fired by the University.

Penn State employed and hosted the child sex operation players so the organization is responsible to pay the victims damages. Institutions and businesses need to know that the cost is very high for sexually abusing children and young people in their charge -boys, included.

This is the only way porking young people will become taboo for modern elitists whose only value is materialism and immediate self gratification. The cost of covering up and hosting child abuse has to be bigger than the cost of child abuse. These sex abuse elitists put themselves and their own comfort above the value of a child’s suffering. Some of them see nothing wrong with sexually abusing boys. They see a boy as a safe sexual object. Some on FR see nothing wrong with it, too. They cheer on the rape of boys and men.


10 posted on 11/08/2011 7:02:51 AM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: Alex Murphy

Since the decision is being appealed I would think it will be overturned or at least modified in some way.
As a precedent it would apply to other religious bodies with ordained ministers or priests and as the article stated it will make it much easier to bring cases to court, not something most courts would want.

Then of course simply bringing a case to court is not winning the case.


11 posted on 11/08/2011 7:03:00 AM PST by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Alex Murphy

This harkens back to a formative case in civil law in the US, that determined, for the first time, that a corporation could be held accountable (liable) for the activities of its employees. A case well remembered because of its scatological underpinnings.

Back in the good old days, railroad passenger trains had toilets that dumped directly on to the tracks. Because of this, passenger toilets were normally kept locked until the train had left the station. However, in this case, a door was left unlocked, and the toilet was being used by a passenger while still in the station.

Likewise, railroad stations had an employee of the railroad, who carried both a hammer and a fiery torch. He used the hammer to bang on wheels, a sour tone indicating a wheel was cracked, and he used the torch to look in the dark, hidden spots of the train favored by hobos attempting to hitch a free ride.

Well, one such employee was banging on wheels, and chose to look up into a dark area at the very moment the passenger decided to flush the toilet. Angered by a face full of feces, the employee used his fiery torch to attack the nether regions of the unsuspecting passenger, to his detriment.

Thus a lawsuit against the railroad, for the injurious misbehavior of its employee, was filed by the otherwise injured and indignant former passenger.

For the first time, finding for the passenger, the court established the founding case of consumer liability in the United States, from which endless litigation has evolved, and the event entered the law textbooks forever.


12 posted on 11/08/2011 7:04:14 AM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Alex Murphy

In the UK a Protestant (an Anglican) is a member of an officially state sanctioned, tax supported sect that has little or no relationship to the Church established by Christ. Since the sect was state established and is COMPLETELY governed by the state it is assumed that all religious bodies can be governed COMPLETELY by the state. There is no assumed right to true freedom of religion in the UK. Hence, Protestantism has affected the law and vice versa.


13 posted on 11/08/2011 7:06:45 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: PetroniusMaximus

I think priests should be responsible for their own behavior.


14 posted on 11/08/2011 7:07:38 AM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998; PetroniusMaximus
....it is assumed that all religious bodies can be governed COMPLETELY by the state. There is no assumed right to true freedom of religion in the UK.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
-- Romans 13:1
Was the Catholic priest considered a citizen of the country in which he resided in? Did his Bishop require him to give up citizenship upon entering the priesthood, thereby making the priest exempt from prosecution for crimes violating UK law against UK citizens committed on UK soil?

Do (and should) Catholic churches on foreign soil be considered embassies of a foreign nation?

What is the legal/moral difference between:


15 posted on 11/08/2011 7:22:02 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: circlecity

(1) Could you, or somebody who knows the law, give a discourse on the kinds of relationship between superior and inferior and the kinds of liability that these relationships involve?

(2) Another question is how much, to what extent, following professional advice excuses someone from liability if the advice stinks. It is said that 20-30 years ago the thinking was that the tendency to child sexual predation was a curable disorder. No one would reasonably expect a bishop to know psychiatry, it is argued, so if he follows the advice of a shrink or a team of pshrinks, to what extent, if any, does that excuse him?

(3) My third question is what if the problem simply cannot be prevented? (This is unrelated to the question of what happens AFTER the bishop has “reason to believe” or sees, or SHOULD see probable cause to suspect child sexual predation.

What informs this question is my suspicion (no facts or knowledge to back it up) that the psychological screens available or commonly used just don’t do the trick in filtering out psychopaths.

I’m Catholic, but I don’t have a dog in this fight, except to say that I’m sure glad I’m not a bishop.


16 posted on 11/08/2011 7:28:52 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: Alex Murphy

I think the question can be taken to fantastic extremes, and I’m not sure how useful that is.

But IIRC in Maryland in the ‘70’s clergy could not sit on juries. There may have been other mild civil disabilities which I was happy to shoulder in exchange for the right to keep confidences.


17 posted on 11/08/2011 7:32:38 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: Alex Murphy
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. -- Romans 13:1

And when the governing authorities say, "Non licet esse Christianus" what does "being subject" involve?

Serious question. I'm too tired to play gotcha

18 posted on 11/08/2011 7:41:42 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: Mad Dawg; circlecity; vladimir998
(1) Could you, or somebody who knows the law, give a discourse on the kinds of relationship between superior and inferior and the kinds of liability that these relationships involve? I think the recent US cases can bring some light to bear on the UK prosecution's argument:
The Sixth Circuit ruling came in a Kentucky case filed by three men who claim they were abused as children by priests. The Vatican claimed the suit was barred under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

The circuit court concluded that the Vatican was a foreign state, eligible for immunity. But, the court held, the plaintiffs could still sue the Vatican under an exception to the Sovereign Immunities Act, which allows suits that assert damages caused by the “tortious act” of a foreign state or any of its officials or employees.
-- from the thread Sixth Circuit: Vatican Can Be Sued for Sexual Abuse

In a different case, a similar decision was reached by the Ninth Circuit. The Vatican fought (I wouldn't say won - see also here) - by arguing that the chain of authority between priest and bishop does not extend to the pope, at least not in ecclesial matters (whereas it does in doctrinal matters). The Vatican's argument is (I believe) that a bishop, once conferred, hold an absolute as opposed to delegated authority over his charges. That is why the Vatican cannot force a bishop to resign. Virtually all bishops keep their office until tradition has them voluntarily resign on such-and-such birthday. Priests are employed by the bishop, but bishops are not employed by the Vatican. They are handed the keys to the kingdom (so to speak) and all diocesan assets are placed in their name (and their name alone). That's how I understand it, anyway.

The UK prosecution's argument is this:

...."He was provided with the premises, the pulpit and the clerical robes. He was directed into the community with that full authority and was given free rein to act as a representative of the church. He had been trained and ordained for the purpose. He had immense power handed to him by the defendants [the trustees of the Roman Catholic diocesan trust]. It was they who appointed him to the position of trust, which (if the allegations be proved) he so abused."
The UK courts will have to prove that "employer/employee" relationship between the diocese and the pope. I don't know what the financial/legal arrangements are in the UK, but the "corporation in sole" status enjoyed by many bishops in the US creates a wide chasm of authority between bishop and pope. I'm sure glad I'm not the judge.

(2) Another question is how much, to what extent, following professional advice excuses someone from liability if the advice stinks. It is said that 20-30 years ago the thinking was that the tendency to child sexual predation was a curable disorder. No one would reasonably expect a bishop to know psychiatry, it is argued, so if he follows the advice of a shrink or a team of pshrinks, to what extent, if any, does that excuse him?

Legally, IMO the bishops have no excuse (on a case-by-case basis) once "recidivism" can be shown for the retained priest. After the second or third case, the list of continued crimes stands as evidence the patient wasn't cured, but was allowed to molest.

But morally, I don't think the bishops have any excuse. I expect any religious order to recognize that raping a child is fundamentally a sinful behavior, before they would believe it to be aberrational behavior. It should be a warning sign to a congregation that, if a religious order looks to "the psychs" for expert advice on dealing with known sinful behavior, instead of looking to God's revealed Word for solutions, said order proves themselves to be scripturally deficient if not illiterate. It is beyond foolish to expect "psychological treatment" to end sinful behavior. That's what many US bishops have believed, however - possibly as many as two-thirds of them.

(3) My third question is what if the problem simply cannot be prevented? (This is unrelated to the question of what happens AFTER the bishop has “reason to believe” or sees, or SHOULD see probable cause to suspect child sexual predation. What informs this question is my suspicion (no facts or knowledge to back it up) that the psychological screens available or commonly used just don’t do the trick in filtering out psychopaths.

IMO there will always be candidates for priesthood (or pastorship) who will be confirmed and only later be found out. That's where church discipline is supposed to kick in. But, it didn't in most cases:

Lawler points out that while less than five percent of American priests have been accused of sexual abuse, some two-thirds of our bishops were apparently complicit in cover-ups. The real scandal isn't the sick excesses of a few dozen pedophiles, or even the hundreds of priests who had affairs with teenage boys -- the bulk of abuse cases. No, according to Lawler, it is the malfeasance of wealthy, powerful, and evidently worldly men who fill the thrones -- but not the shoes -- of the apostles. In case after case, we read in their correspondence, in the records of their soulless, bureaucratic responses to victims of psychic torture and spiritual betrayal, these bishops' prime concern was to save the infrastructure, the bricks and mortar and mortgages. Ironically, their lack of a supernatural concern for souls is precisely what cost them so much money in the end.

Two-thirds. It takes my breath away. It makes me want to retch.
-- from the thread Kneeling Before the World [Catholic Caucus]

I’m Catholic, but I don’t have a dog in this fight, except to say that I’m sure glad I’m not a bishop.

I don't envy them, either. But I do believe they're fully accountable.

19 posted on 11/08/2011 8:16:43 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy

Disagree. Deportation, sure, but I can’t see how the UK can claim civil authority over the priest, unless the priest is a citizen of the UK.

I don’t think the church, or any church should be responsible for the conduct of the individual, conduct for which they may have been entirely unaware.


20 posted on 11/08/2011 9:23:13 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
Disagree. Deportation, sure, but I can’t see how the UK can claim civil authority over the priest, unless the priest is a citizen of the UK.

Take a look at post #15 for that discussion.

I don’t think the church, or any church should be responsible for the conduct of the individual, conduct for which they may have been entirely unaware.

In your opinion, is the church still absolved of responsibility if they were aware of it?

21 posted on 11/08/2011 9:43:14 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy

If it can be proven that:

1, the incident reported actually occurred.
2, that the incident was reported before statutes of limitations.
3, that the Church had knowledge of the incident prior to it being reported.

Otherwise, no.


22 posted on 11/08/2011 9:47:26 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
[The church is responsible] If it can be proven that:

1, the incident reported actually occurred.
2, that the incident was reported before statutes of limitations.
3, that the Church had knowledge of the incident prior to it being reported.

Otherwise, no.

For the most part, this works for me. I'd change point #3 to add "...or the Church had knowledge of previous incidents committed by the same individual". Does that change work for you?

23 posted on 11/08/2011 9:51:17 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy

“a “foreign national” seeking asylum within embassy walls, in an effort to avoid prosecution by the host country, and
an officer/agent of said foreign nation seeking “diplomatic immunity” from prosecution after committing felonies against the host country - and still being put forth by the foreign nation as their authorized representative within the host country?”

There are substantial differences. Priests, are admitted on their own visas, and are, in many cases, not subject to the jurisdiction in which they serve. There is nothing untoward about this, this is standard practice, done all over the world. They are exempt because they never have been subject. This isn’t post, but prior to their entry into the United Kingdom.


24 posted on 11/08/2011 9:51:44 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: Alex Murphy
Ephesians 5:11

1 Corinthians 5 1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

25 posted on 11/08/2011 9:51:56 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: vladimir998

Curses to the Protestant Reformation.

Imagine that.... expecting accountability and responsibility of their fellow clergy members in moral behavior.

How dare they hold the church responsible for the actions of its priests? Don’t they know that it’s only the lay people who have to be accountable for their behavior?

Of course, I’ve seen that same blame shifting going on when Catholics blame ex-Catholics for not making sure they got themselves *properly* catechized.

It’s never the RCC’s fault. /s

The RCC lords it over everyone and takes responsibility for nothing.


26 posted on 11/08/2011 9:56:16 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Alex Murphy

“For the most part, this works for me. I’d change point #3 to add “...or the Church had knowledge of previous incidents committed by the same individual”. Does that change work for you?”

Would still fall under the statutes of limitation. You couldn’t for example, go back 20 years and say you were abused, have the Church show that there was abuse 20 years ago from events even further back and hold the church responsible.

I’m not sure exactly how to word number 3, because it’s important. There would have to be knowledge to the superiors documenting their knowledge that an incidence has occurred, that it is true, and that they did not act on the incident to confine the priest. All within the statute of limitations.

You’d also have to have something about the priest acting in his official capacity. There would have to be knowledge that the victim would know that X was in fact a Catholic priest.

And this would only apply to citizens of the UK.


27 posted on 11/08/2011 9:59:49 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: vladimir998; 1000 silverlings; Alex Murphy; bkaycee; blue-duncan; boatbums; caww; ...
I think priests should be responsible for their own behavior.

That's exactly why the4 Catholic church is in the mess it's in for the rape of so many children by so many priests.

Everyone can see how well that's worked out. It really put a stop to the abuse, didn't it? The priests, all on their own, just decided to stop raping the kids. Right? Right?

It just staggers the imagination to consider what kind of mind would defend those priests like that and absolve the RCC from being complicit in the very crimes they were permitting and actively covering up.

28 posted on 11/08/2011 10:02:16 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: BenKenobi
Priests are admitted on their own visas, and are, in many cases, not subject to the jurisdiction in which they serve. There is nothing untoward about this, this is standard practice, done all over the world. They are exempt because they never have been subject. This isn’t post, but prior to their entry into the United Kingdom.

Thank you - an excellent example. I was not aware of priests that serve in a country outside of their political nationality/citizenship. This however makes my "embassy" example even more pertinent.

Using your priest-with-a-visa example, lets assume that said priest has committed a crime (according to the host country) inside parish walls. Whose laws do you believe he should be subject to, if he steps outside of those walls? What if the crime itself was committed outside of those walls, i.e. on host country soil? What country issued him the visa - the Vatican, or some other entity? Is he subject to the laws of that entity, should he step onto that soil?

FWIW, I'm assuming the crime will not be claimed to be a "sacred practice" according to his religious order (i.e. as smoking peyote is, in some American Indian religious traditions).

29 posted on 11/08/2011 10:05:31 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy

Well I believe that if a foreign national commits a crime and the crime is proven, that the foreign national should be deported.

Calling them Embassies, sets a bad precedent because Henry VIII took over many of the parishes in England (including St. Paul’s). If they were in fact embassies, than they would be inviolate.

As for crimes ‘as defined by the host country’, this is a bad precedent again in the UK, where the laws once said that a priest could not perform any of the sacraments legally. This is why many were executed under Elizabeth I.

The same is true now of China, where it is effectively illegal for the Catholic church to exist as they have a ‘government church’, so everything must be done underground.


30 posted on 11/08/2011 10:16:58 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
Would still fall under the statutes of limitation. You couldn’t for example, go back 20 years and say you were abused, have the Church show that there was abuse 20 years ago from events even further back and hold the church responsible.

I’m not sure exactly how to word number 3, because it’s important. There would have to be knowledge to the superiors documenting their knowledge that an incidence has occurred, that it is true, and that they did not act on the incident to confine the priest. All within the statute of limitations.

My edit was an attempt to change the focus from knowledge of a single current incident to knowledge of the history of the accused. I think we're both just having a hard time trying to cover all the bases. I can see legal holes in your wording, and you're probably seeing holes in mine. I honestly am not sure what to do with statutes of limitations, though. I'm inclined to waive them when a history of criminal activity is exposed, generally agree that they should be upheld, and can't find any Biblical "case law" examples of letting the perp get away because too much time has elapsed. I could be persuaded to go either way.

You’d also have to have something about the priest acting in his official capacity. There would have to be knowledge that the victim would know that X was in fact a Catholic priest. And this would only apply to citizens of the UK.

Could you go into more detail on this? It sounds like you're discussing a priest not being known to be a priest by the victim, or a priest molesting someone "off the clock", but I'm not sure I'm reading it right. And why would it only apply in the UK?

31 posted on 11/08/2011 10:20:06 AM PST by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: metmom

Priests are no more likely to abuse children than other occupations, including pastors.

So I’m not sure how this is a sole Catholic problem, because it isn’t.


32 posted on 11/08/2011 10:23:32 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: Mad Dawg
The real question is this.

Who in an organization should be held accountable when a sex abuse charge is reported but not acted on?

Running to the defense of “It is the Church, so the laws governing other organizations don't apply” is a very, very dangerous line to take. For it opens the door to continued cover ups and abuse. For example, how could your prosecute a polygamist sect where the head of the church was able to claim immunity?

As an aside, the statement that each diocese is a stand alone corporation is a very interesting one for ecclesial government. The risk is that you end up with each diocese being a stand alone church (which is the case in many areas). It also means the theology of the Catholic Church doesn't reflect the reality on the ground. It also begs the question of why the Pope is able to have authority to name the executives of said corporations (bishops) while claiming to not have any real authority over those corporations. I fear you, or any Christian for that matter, will not like how that gets decided in court one of these days.

This isn't unique to the Catholic Church. My own LCMS has some interesting corporate structure that was set up to protect property and has become very problematic. The unwinding of a hundred years of legal posturing is going to be very interesting.

33 posted on 11/08/2011 10:28:19 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: Alex Murphy

“My edit was an attempt to change the focus from knowledge of a single current incident to knowledge of the history of the accused.”

Yes, I’m aware of this. However, all, or almost all of the abuse cases are well past the statutes of limitations. This is problematic because now you are using one standard for everyone else, and another for priests.

“I honestly am not sure what to do with statutes of limitations, though. I’m inclined to waive them when a history of criminal activity is exposed”

The problem is that this isn’t the case in the criminal justice system. I can’t draw up allegations that are more than 7 years old and charge someone with them. Criminal history only covers convictions, not stuff that someone might have done way back when and was not convicted.

You can’t use stuff that old to establish a pattern of behaviour because it’s inadmissible, and trying to do that would likely get everything tossed, including the recent accusation. Convictions, yes, but not unreported allegations.

“I could be persuaded to go either way.”

Well as you said, fiat lex. The law is King. :D We have to go by what the common law states, and the common law has a privision to protect the defendent in having a statute of limitations.

“Could you go into more detail on this? It sounds like you’re discussing a priest not being known to be a priest by the victim”

Well, say I work at McDonalds. I get off my shift and go rolling in my truck. I get up and I beat up a bum, get back in my truck and roll away. Is McDonalds responsible for the assault?

It has nothing to do with letting the perpetrator off, but to distinguish between the official duties and the private lives of the perpetrator. Ask yourself this? Is there any distinction between a priest and between the average joe on the street from the perspective of the victim? If the answer is no, then I don’t see how you can hold the Church responsible.

“And why would it only apply in the UK?”

Well, this is a UK case. It would only apply to citizens of their particular country, not foriegn nationals.


34 posted on 11/08/2011 10:32:33 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: redgolum

Flip it around. They can only be held responsible, if and only if they are chopped up this way.

If they are subsidiaries of the Catholic church, and headquartered in the Vatican, then they all have sovereign immunity. :)

So, take your pick.


35 posted on 11/08/2011 10:35:53 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: redgolum; Alex Murphy

Wow! It’s complex.

I think certainly in cases of recidivism there is no question of the bishop’s culpability.

Failure to act on a reported case is also as culpable as can be.

On the other hand, HOW does one act? The short answer is, “Better than the bishops WERE acting, fer shur.” I know priests who now fear that to be accused is to be declared guilty.

In my parish the priests’ offices all have glass doors. Self-defense! When I think of what I might have been accused of when I was functioning as a clergyman, it scares me a LOT! I could still be accused, there seeming to be no effective statute of limitations.

I disagree with you, Alex, about the analysis of a sinful act v. an evil act. It’s the whole question of the insanity or “irresistible impulse” defense. BUT I would insist, because of what I think about freedom, that someone who was excused of SIN though he committed EVIL because some incapacity was exculpatory could not be said to be “well” until he had made such reparation as was possible for his evil act. That’s one of the saner aspects of AA: Yeah ‘alcoholism is a disease,’ but the way you get better is to take responsibility for what you did when you were sick.

I don’t see the problem about each diocese being its own church. Technically and precisely speaking, I am a member of the Church of Richmond, which is in communion with the Church of Rome.

I’ll tell you what would be interesting: Some hitherto “Catholic” bishop decides to strike out on his own and found the Church of Ralph. Wouldn’t that enrich the lawyers!


36 posted on 11/08/2011 10:57:30 AM PST by Mad Dawg (Jesus, I trust in you.)
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To: BenKenobi
Which is true to a point. And it is part of the reason the dioceses and parishes were set up the way they were. Similar thing in other churches.

The problems that arise is what is the true reporting authority? In the typical Catholic ecclessial system, the Pope is the head of the “corporation” for lack of a better term. If in the legal sense he is not, but he exercises authority like he is, someone will challenge that.

This is a legal mine field, and will (not may) result in a serious change in who heads up the corporations we call “churches” on paper, and how they are set up.

37 posted on 11/08/2011 11:07:17 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: BenKenobi
Priests are no more likely to abuse children than other occupations, including pastors.

So I’m not sure how this is a sole Catholic problem, because it isn’t.

I didn't say or imply either of those two things in my post.

My contention is that in the cases of where the church knew about the abusive priest and covered for him by hushing it all up and moving him around, they are complicit in his crime, just as any other person in any other venue would be.

Legally, if you don't stop a crime by someone you are with and it's in your power to do so, you can be charged with the same crime. The Catholic hierarchy should not be exempt in this regard.

I met someone once who was charged with rape because the friend he was out with picked up a girl and raped her and this guy didn't try to stop him. He let his friend rape the girl. That made him guilty of the crime in the eyes of the law and he went to jail for it.

38 posted on 11/08/2011 11:35:16 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom

“My contention is that in the cases of where the church knew about the abusive priest and covered for him by hushing it all up and moving him around, they are complicit in his crime, just as any other person in any other venue would be.”

You are aware that in many cases, putting him under house arrest and assigning him to a different diocese is more rather than less lenient than what he would receive from the courts?

“Legally, if you don’t stop a crime by someone you are with and it’s in your power to do so, you can be charged with the same crime. The Catholic hierarchy should not be exempt in this regard.”

We differ on ‘doing what is needed to stop things’, as to what is or is not effective in stoppoing the problem. Yes, there are a few examples where the bishop has been protecting priests. I am curious as to whether you can actually name the ones who are known, and their dioceses.

“I met someone once who was charged with rape because the friend he was out with picked up a girl and raped her and this guy didn’t try to stop him. He let his friend rape the girl. That made him guilty of the crime in the eyes of the law and he went to jail for it.”

Ok, now how is that the same as suing McDonalds because the rapist worked there? It’s one thing not to do anything when you are right there, quite another to charge them, when they were not there at all.


39 posted on 11/08/2011 11:53:25 AM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
You are aware that in many cases, putting him under house arrest and assigning him to a different diocese is more rather than less lenient than what he would receive from the courts?

Sure it's more lenient. That's the problem. That's why there were serial molesting priests.

Anyone who molests children deserves to be in jail. Indefinitely. No questions asked.

No keeping him out. No way, no how.

40 posted on 11/08/2011 12:15:47 PM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom

“Sure it’s more lenient. That’s the problem. That’s why there were serial molesting priests.”

Blah.

It’s stricter. Most molesters are out in 2 years if they are successfully charged. The reason there are serial priest abusers is because of the bishops.

“Anyone who molests children deserves to be in jail. Indefinitely.”

Well, talk to the courts. Most are out in 2 years.


41 posted on 11/08/2011 12:18:15 PM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
Ok, now how is that the same as suing McDonalds because the rapist worked there? It’s one thing not to do anything when you are right there, quite another to charge them, when they were not there at all.

You're apparently not reading my posts. It's not that it happened. It's that it happened and people knew about it and either did nothing or moved the guys to protect them. The Catholic church history is replete with examples of it happening. There have been LOTS of threads on the topic.

If McD's knew the guy was raping girls and still kept him on, yes, there would be a case.

42 posted on 11/08/2011 12:18:49 PM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom

Ok, now what if you reported this incident which happened 20 years ago now, and tried to sue McDonald’s because he happened to work there at the time?


43 posted on 11/08/2011 12:21:49 PM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: BenKenobi
Priests are no more likely to abuse children than other occupations, including pastors.

That, then, is also part of the problem.

Does not the Catholic church take the moral high ground? Not only should priests be no more likely to molest as others, they shouldn't even be equally as likely to molest as others.

Knowing what they claim to about God and sin and Scripture, they should be FAR less likely to molest and far MORE likely to put a stop to it when it is found out. Neither of those situations seem to be the case within Catholicism.

Same for pastors.

44 posted on 11/08/2011 12:24:11 PM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: metmom

People shouldn’t be molested at all. But “should happen” and what does happen are sadly two different things.


45 posted on 11/08/2011 12:38:47 PM PST by BenKenobi (Honkeys for Herman! 10 percent is enough for God; 9 percent is enough for government)
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To: metmom; vladimir998; Alex Murphy

“Everyone can see how well that’s worked out. It really put a stop to the abuse, didn’t it? The priests, all on their own, just decided to stop raping the kids. Right? Right?”

In a sane world, the Catholic Church, after conviction, would burn these priests at the stake.


46 posted on 11/08/2011 1:28:08 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: metmom

Your view is entirely irrational. I believe evil doers should be held accountable for what they do. You apparently believe a whole body of people - innocent people - should be held responsible for what the evil doers do. That’s irrational. If a U.S. soldier rapes a South Korean woman, he should go to jail. He’s responsible. I don’t blame his fellow soldiers. They’re innocent. You apparenmtly believe otherwise.

Then, to make your post even more irrational, you post an outright falsehood: “It just staggers the imagination to consider what kind of mind would defend those priests like that and absolve the RCC from being complicit in the very crimes they were permitting and actively covering up.”

And, of course, NO ONE at FR EVER “would defend those priests like that”. Protestants would obviously lie about it, however.


47 posted on 11/08/2011 3:26:05 PM PST by vladimir998
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To: vladimir998

Does this also mean, then, that Presbyterian Church can be held responsible for wrongdoing by ministers?

Lutheran Church..............repeat the question

Baptist Church................repat the question

Etc.
Etc,
Etc.


48 posted on 11/08/2011 3:34:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation; Alex Murphy

If there is a pattern of allowing child rapists to continue in the ministry, like the Roman Catholic Church did, yes.


49 posted on 11/08/2011 3:48:25 PM PST by Gamecock (I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it. JGM)
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In 2010,
seven credible cases of abuse were reported in a church that numbers over 65 million adherents.

vs>

(and these are old numbers(

ALL Protestant denominations - 838 Ministers

147 Baptist Ministers

251 "Bible" Church Ministers (fundamentalist/evangelical)

140 Anglican/Episcopalian Ministers

38 Lutheran Ministers

46 Methodist Ministers

19 Presbyterian Ministers

197 various Church Ministers


50 posted on 11/08/2011 3:54:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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