would you believe ...?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 26, 2004

I didn't think it could happen. Mahony's Archdiocese of Los Angeles has surpassed Law's Archdiocese of Boston in the Watch Me Self-Destruct Sweepstakes.

The Cardinal has recently made himself scarce on the Stonewall Issue, but the archdiocesan newspaper carries a must-read-to-be-believed interview with his lawyer that floats the latest pathetically flaccid trial balloon:

The State Constitution -- not the Catholic Church -- is preventing the release of priests' personnel files sought by the Los Angeles District Attorney in conjunction with criminal allegations of sexual abuse of minors, says the chief lawyer handling the case for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

"Every document subject of this public interest inquiry is protected by the California Constitution, and cannot be distributed without a court order," stated J. Michael Hennigan, of Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman, LLP, the Los Angeles law firm representing the archdiocese. "So even if we decided it is in the best interest of the church to distribute these documents, we could not do so. It is prohibited by law."

Maybe the Cardinal's legal team hopes to get lucky, figuring the DA and LA Times editors, reading this over their breakfast, will laugh so hard they may choke to death on a half-chewed bagel and delay the proceedings long enough for the earth to be wiped out by an asteroid. It's a risky strategy, though.

A cop stops you and asks for your driver's license. You tell him you left your wallet in your other pants. He asks for your address. You tell him that state law prohibits your giving it to him, because that address also appears on a piece of paper that is one of several thousand documents in a grand jury proceeding and, regrettably, cannot be made public without a court order. (Don't try this at home, kids.)

You won't want to miss Hennigan's explanation of the vanishing "formation privilege" claim in the same article. I blame poor record keeping.

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  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2004 9:58 PM ET USA

    I haven't read the California constitution but, from media accounts, I understand it pretty much limits itself to property taxes, racial quotas, and condom distribution financed through health insurance plans. So, I doubt there's any legal merit to the Cardinal's arguments. However, since he lacks any real legal basis, Mahony could try to appeal under the California constitution to the Massachusetts Supreme Court. But for that to work he'd have to stop pretending to be Catholic...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2004 9:20 PM ET USA

    Ya know, the process of formation is that by which a "spiritual father" guides his sons in his own image. It begs the question - whose image is the Cardinal forming these protected perpetrators in? Is it a truely a "privilege" the keep them from facing the music? Are we to expect that his example during all of these years is worthy of emination? You shall know them by their fruits............Please God, give us real priests, sons after Your own heart that will bring glory to Your Holy Name.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2004 12:29 PM ET USA

    The Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot were two events completely out of the control of ordinary English Catholics during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. These events inspired the increasingly Protestantized populace against the minority of Catholics that remained faithful to the "old religion." The result was blood and death for the "papists." It could happen again - in America of all places - and in this century. The perverts and those who defend them need to be purged.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 26, 2004 11:25 AM ET USA

    I'm not surprised in the least -- this theological freak show is going to dwarf Boston. If you thought it was less than trendy to be Catholic before, just you wait till this one goes off. Vae victus.