Have the civil rights of any group (besides the unborn) been trampled by U.S. courts more than Catholic priests?

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is being torn limb from limb by the hyper-liberal MSM in the Twin Cities.

There are some clerical abuse cases in the spotlight right now.  It is a kind of perfect hideous storm.  Homosexualists hate Archbp. Nienstedt with the intensity of a white-hot star for his support of the Marriage Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.  Cases involving priests were mishandled.  A former-employee has been showing the Archdiocese all the love that Herodias showed John the Baptist. And the notorious Catholic Church hater lawyer Jeff Anderson has his HQ in St. Paul.  Add to that some real bungling and the over-arching liberalism of the metropolis and you get serious problems for the Archdiocese.

I don’t know how this will play out, but from where I sit it looks pretty ugly.  I grieve for my home town.

Today I saw an article in the local paper with an line that fired me up.  Ever-more-invasive and hostile judges are demanding documents that have little to do with the actual cases under scrutiny.  They are demanding files concerning any priest ever accused, credibly or not.  Get this:

Judge John Van de North also ordered the archdiocese to create a list of all priests accused of sexually abusing minors since 2004. The list, which must be prepared by Feb. 18, is in addition to a list of clergy accused before 2004, which was released in December and would include all priests who had been the subject of abuse complaints, not just those church officials had determined were “credibly accused.

I ask you.

Can you think of any other group in recent U.S. history (besides the unborn) whose civil rights have been trampled on by the U.S. courts more than Roman Catholic priests?

I can’t.

Being accused with no credible evidence is enough to have your name and reputation destroyed permanently.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Clerical Sexual Abuse of Children, Goat Rodeos, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Priests and Priesthood, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Religion of Peace, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Have the civil rights of any group (besides the unborn) been trampled by U.S. courts more than Catholic priests?

  1. Ray says:

    The St. Louis Archdiocese is going through a similar ordeal. Seems like a fishing expedition to me!!

  2. Dimitri_Cavalli says:

    Catholic liberals’ and the secular media’s favorite bishops, Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, and Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago (and previously as the Archbishop of Cincinnati), behaved no differently than Cardinal Law of Boston in sheltering abusive priests.

    How is it that they failed to spark the same moral outrage among liberals (inside and outside the Church) than Cardinal Law (who was rightfully run out of town) did?

    Am I missing something?

  3. yatzer says:

    One of the reasons I stand in awe of good priests and pray for you all at least daily.

  4. C N says:

    It really is tragic when mass murderers are “innocent until proven guilty” but a priest is not.

  5. Johnno says:

    Even if these thigns were provided, I’m betting Mr. Van de North won’t even bother going through them. All this is nothing but PR hyperbole to slam the Church. So Archbp. Nienstedt and other Catholic bishops need to learn to play this game.

    We can start by telling the judge and the press that Judge de North’s background as well as others involved in the prosecution should be checked for corruption, and thoroughly checked enough to make sure the judge and presecutors themselves haven’t been involved in bribery, anti-religious bigotry, harassment charges, or sex abuse himself before the bishop even thinks about turning over these files to him. Because after all the bishop wants fair justice and if the judge himself and other involved in the case don’t have clean records then we cannot trut them to protect the wee little children. If they begin acting incredulous, the bishop can openly ask, “Why? I’m willing to comply by allowing them to look at anyone presumed innocent. What have they got to hide? If I am acting in goodwill with the court by making sure that the prosecutors aren’t corrupt while presuming that my priests who’ve had false accusations levelled against them must now reopen up their cases for them, then who are they to judge when I ask the same?”

  6. Dimitri_Cavalli says: Catholic liberals’ and the secular media’s favorite bishops, Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, and Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago (and previously as the Archbishop of Cincinnati), behaved no differently than Cardinal Law of Boston in sheltering abusive priests….How is it that they failed to spark the same moral outrage among liberals (inside and outside the Church) than Cardinal Law (who was rightfully run out of town) did?…Am I missing something?

    Simple. Because liberals are always liberals first, and whatever else they may claim to be comes in a distant second. Their true religion is their ideology.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    If the US Courts have shredded the rights of priests then they have been aided and abetted every step of the way by US bishops…

  8. Mike says:

    For how much longer must faithful priests and bishops reap this terrible harvest of the late-20th-century encouragement of poisonous “vocations” (and its concurrent rejections of genuine vocations)?

  9. Beau says:

    I read stuff like this, and I think of ways to thwart the system.

    I think all the priests of the diocese should just put their names on the list preemptively. Then they should make some kind of public announcement accusing every priest, bishop, cardinal and pope, living and dead of sexually abusing minors. And then accuse every living person in the whole world of the same. Then they could turn in a list to the court that just said “everyone”.

    Maybe the courts wouldn’t do stupid things if they got stupid responses when they did.

  10. the_ox says:

    Truly a scary time to be Catholic – in particular clergy. Soon they will come more.

    “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  11. rbbadger says:

    My home parish is currently going through this drama. Our administrator, a Crosier father who was seeking incardination into our diocese, was swiftly spirited away by his Crosier superiors thanks to an allegation which comes from 40 years ago.

    While nothing is impossible, I suppose, I tend to be quite skeptical of some of these ancient allegations, especially if they involve “recovered memories” in any way, shape, or form. Our administrator had never had any other allegations made against him received before these from forty years ago. In fact, these allegations go back before he was even ordained.

    He is a very liberal priest, but I hate to see this happen to any priest. I wonder by what standard the Crosiers judge allegations as “credible”. We have a very good administrator now. While I am very grateful for sound preaching and liturgies, this is not the way I would have wanted to see change happen.

    At any rate, even if he is able successfully prove that the allegations are false, he is forever more tainted, as his superiors have come out and said that the allegations are “credible”. In some religious communities and dioceses, just about anything is credible.

  12. Natalie Anne says:

    This isn’t a battle being fought in the courts, it’s a battle between Heaven and Hell with the courts as the stage. We may lose some battles, but we win the war.

  13. Moro says:

    Every diocese needs to have a policy of saying something along the lines of the following, “We don’t handle accusations of abuse, we aren’t qualified to deal with such an investigation. Please contact local law enforcement as they alone are competent to deal with such a matter. If they believe it is a credible accusation, we’ll gladly cooperate.”

  14. Legisperitus says:

    Cardinal George is surely right in his prediction that his successor will die in prison and his successor will be martyred.

    Catholics in the US will die for Christ in this century, many of them at the hands of other “Catholics.” The clergy will be first.

  15. The Cobbler says:

    I like Beau’s idea. Stupid questions merit stupid answers, and stupid demands necessitate stupid compliance.

  16. Priam1184 says:

    Upon further review: when the Catholic hierarchy in the United States goes groveling before American courts citing the American constitution as the supreme authority and begging for the powers of this world to just leave us alone and to grant us our precious religious liberty why should we expect not to be abused?

  17. bmadamsberry says:

    Yes, the rights of blacks. Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott v. Sanford, Pace v. Alabama, to name a few. These cases weren’t that long ago (as long as you don’t have a narrow understanding of history and time). No doubt, the fact that the Supreme Court ignores the right to life of the unborn is a travesty (the Supreme Court is really the only ones to blame on this front. Lower courts largely have their hands tied because of Supreme Court precedent). And, no doubt, Catholics do face prejudice, even in the U.S. Nevertheless, I don’t believe it truly lives up to some of the other traditions of prejudice and discrimination in the U.S.

  18. Lin says:

    Many prayers offered daily for all Catholic priests!

  19. Liz says:

    God have mercy!

  20. pmullane says:

    ‘Liberals’ arent interested in the rights of children not to be abused. You want proof? Woody Allen.

  21. JonPatrick says:

    If the public school systems were subject to the same level of scrutiny regarding sexual abuse as the Catholic Church is, there would hardly be a functioning school system left in any major city in the US (come to think of it, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, given what is going on in these classrooms).

  22. Eliane says:

    @rbbadger

    ” I wonder by what standard the Crosiers judge allegations as “credible”. ”

    My understanding is that the accepted definition of “credible,” when it comes to accusations of abuse by Catholic priests, is that the accuser and the accused were in the same proximate geographic territory at the time of the alleged conduct. However, there seem to be a few cases involving prosecutions where that standard was overruled. And especially in “trophy” cases there need to no proof that the accuser and accused have met.

    I believe that Catholic bishops need to do a MUCH better job of defending priests — assuming they are in a position to do so.

  23. BGrace says:

    There are some crimes so heinous that even a whispered and unsubstantiated rumor are enough to dog the accused for life. No one finding out that a person was accused, even if on the same page it also says “no charges were filed” or “claims unsubstantiated”, will forget that accusation. The accused will always be looked at as unsavory, untrustworthy, and dangerous. All it would take is one unstable or spiteful or vengeful person to file an anonymous complaint in order to ruin ANYONE’s life. The Evil One has yet another tool…

  24. midwestmom says:

    “…torn from limb to limb…”

    This is a brilliant description of what Archbishop Nienstadt is living – and it’s not even my diocese. Much of the aggressive pro-gay/anti-Church mentality in the Twin Cities grew under the apathetic watch of Archbishop Flynn. I am convinced that an email I sent to the CDF in 2007 alerting them to an impending New Ways Ministry conference in the Cities, complete with “eucharist” and the attendance of three retired US bishops, caused an intervention by the Holy See. Flynn was doing nothing to stop it.

    IF Pope Francis is planning to visit the U.S., he needs to go to these persecuted bishops and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in a very public way. Forget the PR events in Yankee Stadium. The sooner everyone figures out we’re at war, the better off the Church will be.

  25. Palladio says:

    Hey, you are my kind of mom! (My mom was from the Midwest.)

  26. Fr. Bryan says:

    “Being accused with no credible evidence is enough to have your name and reputation destroyed permanently.”

    This is, and will continue to be a kind of dry martyrdom. They may not kill you physically (yet), but they will kill your active ministry. Priests, never forget, Once a Priest, always a Priest…even if they unjustly strip away your active ministry, before God you are who you are. This is martyrdom in the 21st Century West.

  27. midwestmom says:

    I was 36 years old in 2007. Even a stay-at-home mom can fight heresy!

  28. Fr. Bryan says:

    One more thing. Let there be True Due Process under civil and canon law for the credibly accused, which means presumption of innocence, not presumption of guilt (which seems to be the prevailing mentality today).

  29. robtbrown says:

    midwestmom says:

    This is a brilliant description of what Archbishop Nienstadt is living – and it’s not even my diocese. Much of the aggressive pro-gay/anti-Church mentality in the Twin Cities grew under the apathetic watch of Archbishop Flynn.

    NB; Abp Flynn was a HUGE improvement over his predecessor.

  30. midwestmom says:

    I love that one long-standing, dissenting priest in the Twin Cities is now calling for Abp Nienstadt to resign because he just doesn’t get the whole gay equality thing. Their brazenness went unchecked for too many years.

  31. jhayes says:

    The USCCB “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” says:

    ARTICLE 4. Dioceses/eparchies are to report an allegation of sexual abuse of a person who is a minor to the public authorities. Dioceses/eparchies are to comply with all applicable civil laws with respect to the reporting of allegations of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities and cooperate in their investigation in accord with the law of the jurisdiction in question.

    Dioceses/eparchies are to cooperate with public authorities about reporting cases even when the person is no longer a minor.

    In every instance, dioceses/parches are to advise victims of their right to make a report to public authorities and support this right.

    HERE

    Note that it says to report “allegations”, not “credible allegations” I think that any diocese that delays reporting an allegation to the public authorities in order to decide whether it is credible will end up ruining its own reputation and that of the Church.

    Once the allegation has been made, the harm has been done. The diocese can’t make the allegation disappear.