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It took a non-Catholic...

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Jul 29, 2003

Civil-rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate, writing in the Wall Street Journal (his op-ed column, unfortunately, is available online only to WSJ subscribers for the moment) to point out what's wrong with the ballyhooed report by Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly on the sex-abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese.

The attorney general, Silverglate carefully points out, is not the Pope.

So why does Reilly presume to dictate the policies of the Catholic Church?

As a public prosecutor, Silverglate points out, Reilly has the authority to press charges against clerics who break the law. But he does not have the authority to dictate the internal policies of a religious body-- which is what he has sought to do. Silverglate also notes:

Mr. Reilly, although himself a Catholic, appears to have no understanding of the implications of a church that believes in the redemption of sinners, where pastors see themselves as shepherds rather than adjuncts to prosecutors.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 29, 2003 3:17 PM ET USA

    I wonder if Reilly has been invited to the installation of the new archbishop? He could enthrone the new ordinary and place the miter on his head. But, then, the outward show is hardly necessary. With the Kennedys and Kerrys in attendance, we know that the new archbishop is simply one of the cultural elites who make the deals, call the shots, and ignore the Church.

  • Posted by: Phil - Jul. 29, 2003 1:15 PM ET USA

    Please, John, read a bit more carefully. Nobody is suggesting that wrongdoers should "get away with it." Prosecutors can prosecute. Nobody is saying that bishops should be immune from "reasonable criticism." We've done more than our share of criticizing, right here on OTR. But AG Reilly is not prosecuting. Nor is he content with criticizing. He wants to dictate church policies. The question here is not the bishops' guilt, but a politician's ambition-- a clear church-state concern.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jul. 29, 2003 1:05 PM ET USA

    So I guess that means our Church can do as much evil as it wants and get away with it???And that our Bishops can be as negligent as THEY want and not be subject to reasonable criticism??? Paul writes in his Letter to the Corinthians that "there is a man among you that is guilty of evil that not even the heathen would be heard of doing..." and he (Paul) continues "Put the evil man out of your group..."Many are in contradiction of Holy Scriptures and Church Teaching. What about you?

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