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By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Dec 13, 2004

If this story is anywhere near accurate, it's frightening. Consider:

  • A priest has a conflict with his bishop, and is suspended. The priest says an injustice has been done, and files a canonical appeal.
  • The Church's highest court sides with the priest, and orders the bishop to reinstate him.
  • But the bishop doesn't want to reinstate him, so he doesn't.
  • Canonical procedure requires all parties to keep the appeal secret, and refrain from discussing the case.
  • But the bishop doesn't want to keep it secret, so the diocese issues a press release.
The purpose of the Code of Canon Law is to protect the rights of the faithful. If the bishop can ignore the law, the faithful have no rights.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Dec. 15, 2004 11:31 PM ET USA

    When any "Law" or"Code of Laws"can be arbitrarily ignored it becomes as a mockery in the Face of God. But this is just the way it can go in a "Monarchal" system Funny how I don't hear any "teachings" on that coming from the Vatican or any other high ranking prelate for that matter The ranking Bishop of the Catholic Church seems to have just decided (for whatever reason) that he will not in general enforce Canon Law against his fellow Bishops in many cases,hence, lay rights are obliterated

  • Posted by: Abraham Tolemahcs - Dec. 15, 2004 9:11 AM ET USA

    We in the Arlington, Va are observing a similar scenario as Bishop Loverde takes on one of his priests who has made some very serious accusations against the Bishop himself & a number of priests in the diocese. This involves among other things an alleged coverup involving Fr. X who ran away & married a woman that Fr. X had previously been "counseling". This case has I think also made its way to Rome before one of the canonical courts. 2 sides to every story though & I can't wait to hear it.

  • Posted by: opraem - Dec. 15, 2004 2:06 AM ET USA

    we know bishops consider themselves above the law. think of the many failings by the us bishops: serial child rape ( a crime) paid for, promoted and protected; conspiring and covering up these sexual offenses; overlooking ex corde; ignoring the letter on the role of lay ministers; and let's not forget humanae vitae. our bishops, for the most part, are mediocre careerists. the pope can't or won't discipline them. who said 'the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops?

  • Posted by: RC - Dec. 14, 2004 10:49 PM ET USA

    Whatever happened to the similar case in Pittsburgh? Bp. Wuerl refused to reinstate some priest who won his appeal to Rome.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Dec. 14, 2004 12:53 PM ET USA

    We are a Sequestered People.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2004 11:29 AM ET USA

    I'm not sure I would want to be reinstated to this bishop's fold. Solomon would promote the offended priest to the archepiscopal see of Los Angeles and make him a cardinal. He would then transfer his erstwhile bishop to Los Angeles and make him an auxiliary! He could then humbly serve out his days fetching the new cardinal's newspapers and slippers.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 11:51 PM ET USA

    Is it not "normal" for some bishops to ignore the law, since they think themselves ABOVE the law ? With some exceptions a bishop is a priest who managed to claw his way to power so he would be able to push other priests around. And so many of the faithful just say: "Duh." But not you !

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 9:46 PM ET USA

    "According to O'Connor [the priests counsel], all the parties involved in the case were bound by "pontifical secrecy," which he explained to be a legal requirement of the Canon Law system, somewhat like a gag order. "You can lose your job if you violate it," he said. Knowing nothing about the case, still, it is clear, tha if Canon Law has any validity, the Pope will fire the Bishop. Can you keep us posted?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 8:41 PM ET USA

    Put not your trust in the bishops of men!

  • Posted by: Japheth - Dec. 13, 2004 7:51 PM ET USA

    I would be shocked if this story isn't accurate. I've seen firsthand Bishop Pelotte ignore Canon Law when it didn't suit his purposes. In one example (that doesn't necessarily involve violating Canon Law), he led the Diocesan Council to refuse permission to a group who wished to celebrate Tridentine Masses as it might cause "confusion". But whenever he could, he encouraged "inculturation" of the liturgy, especially when it involved Navajo religious customs or anything from the USCCB.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2004 3:01 PM ET USA

    Whoa, the bishop's going to get it now. Everybody stand back--an autobiographical collection of reflections on JPII's youth in Poland is coming!

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