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English court ruling seen a danger to Church freedom

Catholic World News - July 13, 2012

Father Alexander Lucie-Smith writes in London's Catholic Herald that this week's appeals court ruling, holding the Portsmouth diocese liable for sexual abuse by a priest there, endangers religious liberty.

The appeals court ruled that a priest's relationship with his bishop is akin to that of an employee to an employer. The problem with that finding, Father Lucie-Smith argues, is that it opens up many other questions about the bishop's authority:

Employees can sue their employers, and vice versa; the relationship between employees and employers is governed by a vast corpus of case and statute law. At present the relationship between bishop and priest is governed by canon law, the only force of which is in the will of those who adhere to it.

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