Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

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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