Church

When Is A Priest Not A Priest?

Apparently, when he’s molesting a child. So says a Diocese in defence of a lawsuit.Chris-Naples-Terence-McAlinden.jpg

Chris Naples says something snapped inside him that January day.

The Burlington County man sat in the gallery of the Delaware Supreme Court, watching as a lawyer for the Diocese of Trenton told the justices that the Rev. Terence McAlinden was not “on duty” — or serving in his capacity as a priest — when he allegedly molested Naples on trips to Delaware in the 1980s.

McAlinden, who once headed the diocese’s youth group, had introduced himself to Naples at a church-sponsored leadership retreat in Keyport. He’d heard his confession, included him in private Masses and discussed matters of spirituality with him.

Yet McAlinden wasn’t officially a priest when he took a teenage Naples to Delaware, the lawyer argued.

“How do we determine when a priest is and is not on duty?” one of the justices asked, according to a video of the session on the court’s website.

“Well,” replied the diocese lawyer, “you can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example. … A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

The statement — one prong of the diocese’s argument that it should not be held responsible for McAlinden’s alleged assaults — left Naples reeling.

“Any hope I had that the church was concerned about me as a victim or about the conduct of its priests was totally gone,” Naples, now 42, said in a recent interview. “They were washing their hands of it. I was shattered. I just couldn’t believe that was one of their arguments.”

Rest here. It makes for sad reading.

 

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Church

Bishopess Katharine Jefferts Schori Finds Theological Opponents Guilty of Misconduct

Conger:

A 3-member Reference Panel led by U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has found that a prima facie case of misconduct can be made against nine serving and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church for voicing public disagreement with her view of church polity.

Bishops Peter Beckwith, Maurice Benitez, John W. Howe, Paul Lambert, William Love, Bruce MacPherson, Daniel Martins, Edward L. Salmon, Jr, and James Stanton were told on 19 Oct 2012 a reference panel consisting of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, her aide Bishop Clayton Matthews, and the retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina and chair of the church’s disciplinary board Dorsey Henderson had found there was merit in the charges brought against them for having dissented from her view of the nature of the church’s hierarchy by testifying in court or having submitted an amicus brief to a court.

The Reference Panel recommended the accused bishops pursue “conciliation” with their accusers. Conciliation is not defined, however, in the canons.

In his email to the accused informing them of the panel’s decision, Bishop Matthews said that “after obtaining the agreement of the complainants, we will include in the process some representatives from the House of Bishops, in the spirit of our closed sessions, appointed by The Presiding Bishop.  After some research for potential persons to serve as a Conciliator, I will meet on October 29th with the person, who we hope will serve as the Conciliator. I hope following this meeting, a schedule for proceeding will be forth coming.”

Under the Title IV disciplinary canons adopted in 2009, an intake officer must first determine if the offense described in the complaint warrants action. As intake officer for the House of Bishops, Bishop Matthews held that held that having endorsed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme court that defends one view of Episcopal Church history and canon law, or in the case of Bishops Beckwith, MacPherson and Salmon, for having testified to their views of church polity in a case involving the secession of the Diocese of Quincy, the nine bisohps violated the canons.

Bishop Matthews then referred his findings to the panel, of which he is one of three members, and which was led by the presiding bishop whose views on church polity were the subject of the dispute, for determination of guilt.

Canon lawyer Allan Haley said the system adopted by the Episcopal Church to try political dissent was absurd. “No man shall be judge of his own cause is a maxim of law from the time of Solomon,” he said. In this case the presiding bishop and her staff are the investigators, prosecutor, judge and jury.

This “reeks of the kangaroo courts of rough justice of the mining claim” of the old West, he said.

One of the nine accused told CEN he has yet to be told what it was about his actions that violated the canons.  Is it the “issue” or “expressing the issue in court” he said.

If it is the issue, the bishop noted the position set forth in their brief was identical to that put forward in 2009 in the Bishops Statement on Polity.  If it was stating this belief in court, “what is illegitimate about that,” he asked.

Canon law experts note the prosecution of the nine bishops was politically motivated, as the actions for which they are accused are not considered “triable” when done by bishops who endorsed the party line.

Canon IV.19.of Title IV states: “No member of the Church, whether lay or ordained, may seek to have the Constitution and Canons of the Church interpreted by a secular court, or resort to a secular court to address a dispute arising under the Constitution and Canons, or for any purpose of delay, hindrance, review or otherwise affecting any proceeding under this Title.”

If the nine are being charged with violating this canon, the question need be asked why the Bishops of Texas, Southwest Texas, Northwest Texas and the Rio Grande have not been brought up on charges also, one bishop told CEN.

In the case of Masterson, et al. v. Diocese of Northwest Texas, No. 11-0332, the Rt Rev. Andrew Doyle, the Rt. Rev. Garry Lillebridge, the Rt. Rev. Michael Vono and the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court that endorsed the three-tier hierarchy concept favored by attorneys for the presiding bishop’s office.

One commentator asked “why it is OK for some bishops or dioceses and TEC itself to seek to have the courts interpret the C&Cs, but when others specifically advise the courts that they cannot get embroiled in these issues, it is a canonical offense.”

 

Church

Still More on Archbishop John Hepworth…

The bloggers are rehashing the Archbishop John Hepworth situation today:

The official TAC position (lest we forget in all the natter), a Statement from The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth, is here.

The Traditional Anglican Communion

STATEMENT

The Tribunal of the Traditional Anglican Communion comprising Archbishop Samuel Prakash (India), Bishop Craig Botterill (Canada) and Bishop Brian Marsh (USA) on 6 October 2012 examined the charges brought by eight (8) Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth under Section 10 of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and delivered the verdict that Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth was guilty as charged.

The following sanction was imposed:

1. THAT JOHN ANTHONY HEPWORTH, ARCHBISHOP, be, with immediate effect, permanently expelled from the COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION.

2. THAT all licences for any EPISCOPAL or PRIESTLY function within any affiliated church of the TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION, be with immediate effect withdrawn.

Charges under Section 6 of the Concordat are now being considered by the College of Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth.

Johannesburg
South Africa
17th October 2012

Bishop Michael Gill
Secretary to the College of Bishops
Traditional Anglican Communion

_______________________________________________

That is where we stand at present. There is nothing new to report as yet.

Church

The TAC Tribunal and Archbishop Hepworth

Fr Anthony Chadwick comments:

Until now, I have kept silence on this subject as brought up by Fr Smuts in Statement from the The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth, with the exception of writing a comment on that blog asking about the possibility of having the exact wording of the charges of which the Archbishop was accused…

It seems to me that a canonical trial should be a public procedure. There should at least be a publication of the charges and a reasoned conclusion leading to the court’s sentence. All we read is that the Archbishop was found guilty, with a vague reference to the TAC Concordat, and the sentence. Several have made the same observation that the charges leading to the conviction are missing.

Now, I am not going to take a position in all this or express any personal feelings. I have spent a sufficient time without contact with the Archbishop to verify my own independence from any influence he might have had on me. This was important to me as my intuition told me that many things he said to me just didn’t ring right or were actually false, for example the assurances that Rome was going to grant special dispensations for some canonical irregularities or whether Anglicanorum coetibus was about whole churches or just cherry-picked clergy and communities. The facts as they stand are now clear and there is no further discussion. Only time would verify things, since a priest tends to trust one’s ordinary – a part of ecclesiastical obedience, I principle I believe in. Yet my critical faculties were unimpaired – but I just had to keep quiet and wait. In a way, he did lead us up the garden path. The only question was why and whether he had a mitigating circumstance for telling untruths and lies.

I don’t know why he wasn’t truthful. Bad personality? Psychological problems because of the sex abuse and / or other reasons? Ambition? Being a common crook? I have my theories, but they will probably never be verified. He was kind to me, gave me something like a canonical mission as a priest, a kind of “regularisation” and appeared to be heading a credible church on two counts: he was in dialogue with Rome and some good serious bishops were following him and trusted him as I did.

The events of September 2011 and the Australian press did not impress me, nor has the Peter Slipper affair. If the Archbishop was in good faith, his judgement was appalling. His appearance in a recent video is bizarre and incongruous. On these counts, I am unable to defend him in any way.

The bishops who have now condemned him once trusted him. Perhaps the Archbishop betrayed that trust by not effectively ensuring a “third way” between the growing anti-Roman Catholic tendency and the Ordinariates. I understand bitterness, but it is a passion to overcome to avoid falling into sin. We are Christians!

Read the whole post here.

 

Church

Statement from the The Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Re: John Hepworth

The Traditional Anglican Communion

STATEMENT

The Tribunal of the Traditional Anglican Communion comprising Archbishop Samuel Prakash (India), Bishop Craig Botterill (Canada) and Bishop Brian Marsh (USA) on 6  October 2012 examined the charges brought by eight (8) Bishops against  Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth under Section 10 of the Concordat of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and delivered the verdict that Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth was guilty as charged.

The following sanction was imposed:

1. THAT JOHN ANTHONY HEPWORTH, ARCHBISHOP, be, with immediate  effect, permanently expelled from the COLLEGE OF BISHOPS OF THE TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION.

2. THAT all licences for any EPISCOPAL or PRIESTLY function within any affiliated church of the TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN COMMUNION, be with immediate effect withdrawn.

Charges under Section 6 of the Concordat are now being considered by the College of Bishops against Archbishop John Anthony Hepworth.

Johannesburg
South Africa
17th October 2012

Bishop Michael Gill
Secretary to the College of Bishops
Traditional Anglican Communion

______________________________________________________________________

The above is in pdf. here.

Church

Priest who Refused Communion to Lesbian Buddhist Placed on Leave, Faculties Removed

[Background here.]

Fr. Marcel Guarnizo can no longer function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.  Details below, courtesy Abbey Roads:

A reader told me that Fr. Marcel’s pastor read the above letter at all the Masses this weekend, and took pains to point out that it was unrelated to the communion controversy.

Stay tuned.  And keep all concerned in your prayers.

Source (and more)

Some bloggers are enraged at the news.

While the Huffington Post has:

Priest Who Denied Communion To Lesbian Suspended For ‘Intimidating Behavior’

 Read that here.
Church

The Pope Broke Canon Law?

So says the Queensland Supreme Court:

THE Pope acted against natural justice and the Catholic Church’s own canon law when he sacked Bill Morris as Bishop of Toowoomba last May, two expert independent reports have found.

The Queensland Supreme Court judge W.J. Carter found that Bishop Morris was denied procedural fairness and natural justice and his treatment was “offensive” to the requirements of both civil and canon law.

He wrote about one unsigned Vatican letter to the bishop: “One could not  imagine a more striking case of a denial of natural justice”. His conclusion was endorsed by a leading Australian canon lawyer, Father Ian Waters, of Melbourne,  whose report was made public last week.

He found that Pope Benedict had breached canon law and exceeded his authority in removing Bishop Morris without finding him guilty of apostasy, heresy or schism and without following the judicial procedures canon law requires.

Bishop Morris was sacked by the Pope after refusing to resign when requested to do so by three cardinals, the heads of important Vatican departments, who considered that his leadership was “defective”.

He never saw any of the charges against him and never had a chance to defend  himself.

Both reports were commissioned by Bishop Morris’s supporters in  Toowoomba.

Justice Carter listed 14 points where Bishop Morris was deprived of natural  justice and due process and writes that the Vatican showed “an appalling lack of  evidence and particularity”, “demonstrable errors of fact” and decisions “by  high-ranking church officials more likely based on gossip and hearsay” than  evidence.

Bishop Morris had strong support from his diocese, especially the Toowoomba Diocese Leadership Group, comprising the diocesan council, the heads of every Catholic agency and all but three priests. All wrote letters supporting the bishop to the Vatican, without his knowledge, but never received a response…

Read more here.