Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Catholic Priests: Constitution Cuts Both Ways

Here is a twist: separation of church and state cuts both ways, it seems. A Catholic Priest, angry because he was accused of molesting two boys, sued them for defamation. But the U.S. Constitution, which the Church has used as a shield, cut the other way this time. His case was thrown out because the only way the court case could go forward was to examine how the Church investigates its own clergy. Such an examination, said the court, would violate the separation clause of the Constitution.

So the priest is out of luck. The Roman Catholic Church removed him from his pulpit because there was "reasonable" evidence to conclude he'd molested the boys. He apparently wasn't convicted in criminal court, so legally he's innocent. If his employer was anything except a church, he could have his day in court. But if he wasn't a priest, he'd probably be in jail.

There's no happy ending to this story, but at least for once the Constitution's separation clause protected someone from a clergyman's vengeance.

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Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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