Catholics priests have rights, too!

At News and Faith there is a good piece everyone should look at.

OPEN SEASON ON PRIESTS? Demands To Disclose Names Of Priests Not Credibly Accused Of Abuse Go Too Far!

St. Paul, MN—Catholics priests have rights, too, and the Catholic Defense League of Minnesota is pushing back against recent attacks on the Catholic Church.

It’s been open season on priests, and that isn’t right,” said David Strom, spokesman for the League.

Accusations of abuse by priests have dominated the news lately, and in some of those cases it appears that genuine wrongdoing has occurred. In those cases, the League believes that justice needs to be served, and victims protected.

Now, Ramsey County Judge John Van de North is being asked to enforce an order that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reveal the names of all priests accused of abuse, even in cases where the accusations were found to be not credible. That is a step too far, says the League.

“Requiring the Church to reveal names of priests who have not been credibly accused of abuse is going way too far,” said Strom. “In no other profession would a judge require the disclosure of the names of people who have been wrongly accused of a crime, especially such a heinous crime.”

The Church has been publicly battered in recent months for its handling of the abuse scandals, and Archbishop Neinstadt has apologized for the Church’s mishandling of certain cases.
“If the Church is required to release the names of innocent priests who have been wrongly accused of abuse, then it only makes sense that every business and government agency be required to do the same thing. Perhaps the media should publish every complaint as well. The reason they don’t is that a false accusation can ruin lives,” said Strom.

The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board adjudicates accusations against lawyers for professional misconduct in private. Only in cases where misconduct is found are the names of the accused released. Teachers accused of abuse are represented by the union and given due process until the accusations are credibly substantiated.


It seems today that the only right a priest has is that of a Catholic burial.

Anyone can lie about a priest and the priest is then dragged through the mud and publicly pilloried, even by his own bishop!  Once your name is tarnished, it is almost impossible to restore your good reputation.

Fathers, be careful out there.

There is going to be a lot more of this.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse, Priests and Priesthood, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Widukind says:

    Thank you Fr. Z. for posting this.
    I think the first big step for the Bishops to do in protecting their priests is to
    denounce, sue, or whatever would work, to close down the clap-trap that is
    SNAP. This group has been most vile and dishonest in their destruction of priests.
    This group is the epitome of unreason and self-righteousness.
    Be gone!!

  2. AVL says:

    This is so sad.

  3. My understanding from human resource folks is that if an employer discloses information from a personnel file — which the employer is bound to keep confidential — that is defamatory, a lawsuit can and often does ensue. So we’re drilled: don’t say anything about a former employee, other than dates of employment.

    So I’ll say it: one of these days a priest is going to sue his diocese or order over the disclosure of confidential information in his personnel file. If it hasn’t happened already.

  4. BigCath22 says:

    I live in Saint Paul. Please pray for our Archdiocese, particularly the leadership here!

  5. msc says:

    I was barely into the piece before I thought about teachers. False accusations of abuse are too common there, too. I also thought that it would be different if priests had a union, and, lo, the teachers’ unions are mentioned later. It is very sad. But the good news is that this won’t hold up in higher courts. Some group needs to get behind the first priest so named and fund his lawsuit. That will help shut things down.

  6. LarryW2LJ says:

    I would daresay that there’s a special place in Hell for those who would falsely accuse a priest of wrongdoing. Small comfort in this world, of course, but when you think in terms of Eternity – is anything you could gain from doing something like that worth it? Makes one shudder to contemplate how some people think.

  7. APX says:

    Fr. Z said:
    Anyone can lie about a priest and the priest is then dragged through the mud and publicly pilloried, even by his own bishop!

    Something similar happened to that in my diocese…except the Bishop went to court to fight for the restoration of the priest’s reputation.

  8. Gratias says:

    Be nice to your priests. They give their lives to the Church. Why are our enemies so merciless? Because Catholicism is the antidote to the secular humanism that is destroying Christian Civilization.

  9. Facta Non Verba says:

    From my personal observation, it seems that the local newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune) tries to find a way to put something negative about the Church everyday (or at least every Sunday) on its front page. This diocese has had some issues, as all will have, but the amount of criticism hurled in particular against Archbishop Nienstedt appears to be motivated only as revenge against him for daring to teach the Truth last year in regard to the marriage amendment. What is going on now with the courts is akin to a witch hunt.

  10. Long-Skirts says:

    I’D KISS

    Your hand I’d kiss
    But not for this
    The mundane games
    Men play.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    For doing this
    Absolve my sins

    Your hand I’d kiss
    But not for this
    That any man
    Can do.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    For doing this
    God’s strong, His choice
    The few.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    But not for this
    Like any
    Virile male.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    For doing this
    Place Him between
    Lips pale.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    But not for this
    Your strength
    Exudes each pore.

    Your hand I’d kiss
    For doing this
    Your prayers
    I do implore.


  11. Peggy R says:

    A similar effort is occurring in the StL Archdiocese. The story is filed under crime and courts in the St Louis Post. The Archd. is losing so far, it appears.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Makes me long for the days of Abp Roach giving the phrase “running into the 7-11” a new meaning.

  13. Martlet says:

    I have nothing to add to these comments except my profound sadness.

    Peggy, I lived in the STL archdiocese until three years ago. My prayers are with you all.

  14. eulogos says:

    Another issue is that even if an accused priest is cleared in criminal court, there can be civil suits which go on for years. In some cases a diocese will pay even though the priest has been declared innocent in criminal court and wants to defend in civil court. And even when all that is cleared up, the companies who insure dioceses and religious orders do not want them to accept these priests back as active priests because they consider them an insurance liability. It seems as if there is no way for a priest to get past an accusation and return to his work. This makes me sad. It seems so not right.

  15. Ben Kenobi says:

    “right a priest has is that of a Catholic burial.”

    Rite, right. What’s the difference? ;)

    Good to finally get some pushback here! It’s harder to get ordinations if you know that unfair accusations are going to hang over you. Especially if you teach the truth and someone decides that you need ‘payback’ for ‘bad feelings’. Ugh.

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