The Curmudgeon


Sunday, July 24, 2011

If Any Man Will Sue Thee at the Law

The Catholic church is displaying its usual preference for moral imperatives over legal technicalities by trying once again to squirm out of responsibility for the activities of its own priests. In a child abuse case now before the high court, the Church is claiming that priests are not employees, and that therefore the Church is not "vicariously liable" for any beating or buggering which may occur. Presumably this is yet another statement of the Church's famous assumption that canon law trumps national law; a premise which has previously been used to argue that criminal priests should be dealt with by ecclesiastical courts rather than by legal courts, and that raping a child is an act of depravity on a par with allowing a woman to stand up before a congregation and mumble. No doubt the Church does not consider its personnel as employees; most likely they are thought of in terms of a hierarchy befitting the mediaeval city-state which Mussolini so generously helped to constitute. The courts have yet to rule on whether the rest of us are obliged to think of them in the same way.


  • At 6:53 pm , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Well, if they're not employees, the only alternatives that spring to mind are independent contractors who nevertheless have universal benefits and a life tenure but whose private lives are subject to Church directives, or slaves. I'm fascinated to see which argument is successful. Who knew the whole canon/secular law dispute would continue to bedevil us, pun intended.

  • At 7:10 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    independent contractors who nevertheless have universal benefits and a life tenure

    Adopted family members? I hear they're all brothers, and quite a few are fathers in more senses than one.


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