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Catholic Bishops As Fifth Columnists In War On Religious Liberty

A reader sends along the sworn affidavit of Jennifer Haselberger [1] (PDF), from 2008-2013 the chief canon lawyer for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It’s part of a civil lawsuit having to do with alleged clerical sexual abuse in that archdiocese, and the conduct of its archbishop, John Nienstedt.

Learning how the sausage is made in the Minneapolis archdiocese makes for sobering reading. For starters, she said that shortly after she was hired by the archdiocesan marriage tribunal, she learned that the priest leading it, Father Conlin, had been taken out of parish ministry because he had fathered a child out of wedlock with a married woman [2] — a woman that some believed he had been counseling when he got her pregnant. Haselberger said she was shocked to discover this, and even more shocked when she learned that the archbishop and many other canon lawyers knew about it before the priest was appointed to lead the tribunal — a position in which he would be leading decision-making about the validity of marriages, and dealing with emotionally vulnerable men and women. Haselberger testified that she wanted to quit her job, but another canon lawyer told her that if she did, people would think that she was the woman carrying Father Conlin’s baby, and that it would hurt her ability to find another canon law position.

When she eventually left the archdiocese for the first time, in her exit interview she talked about how the archdiocese’s toleration of moral corruption by priests on the tribunal hurt the morale of its lay employees. At that time, Harry Flynn was the Minneapolis archbishop — and tolerated all this even as he was chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ sexual abuse task force.  [3]

She returned to the archdiocese as chancellor under Flynn’s successor, Abp John Nienstedt. In this role, Haselberger was shocked to discover how so much of the archdiocese’s public statements of reform and concern for victims were nothing more than window dressing, and how it had actually continued to cover for some sexually abusive priests. This passage made my heart sink (deletions are in the affidavit):

[Priest] was dismissed for sexual misconduct with multiple women, including one who was under the age of eighteen, as well as for the canonical crimes of absolving his victims of sins against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue in which he was a participant, and soliciting women to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue [“Thou shalt not commit adultery” — RD] in the act of, on the occasion of, or under the pretext of confession.

Many of these crimes had originally been reported in the 1990s, following which Father was sent to the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the University of Minnesota. I returned to the Archdiocese to execute the rescript because, although his own bishop was unwilling to give him further ministerial assignments, Father had been permitted to minister in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis after and even during the period in which he was enrolled in the sex offender treatment program, and, in fact was quite active in the local movement [name of movement deleted] despite having engaged his victims in sexual acts during [word deleted] retreats.

I was, and remain, deeply impacted by the suffering caused by Father in part because it was the first case that I worked on that involved a victim who committed suicide, but also because of the link between his crimes and the sacraments of the Church.

According to Haselberger’s affidavit, the Minneapolis archdiocese’s vicar general, Fr. Kevin McDonough, was responsible for this and other reassignments, in violation of the 2002 Charter that forbade them. (She confronted the sex offender priest in 2006.) McDonough simply didn’t think the Charter was right, she testified, and took the side of protecting the accused priest’s position, even against stated church policy. Haselberger says the vicar general’s open defiance of the norms has a lot to do with why the archdiocese finds itself in so much trouble today.

She goes on to testify that the archdiocese’s investigations of accused personnel were more or less shams designed not to find incriminating information — and in one case in which she herself, as chancellor, was investigating a priest’s involvement with a prostitute (get this: the pimp had called the chancery complaining that his ho hadn’t been paid!), the vicar general at the time, a Father Laird, did everything he could to block her inquiry. The archdiocese, she further said, had terrible record-keeping, with the archbishop and others keeping vital files out of the hands of those who needed them to do their work. She speaks of a 2013 meeting at which Nienstedt and vicar generals discussed the unsuitability of a lay Catholic school principal to run a Catholic school in the archdiocese, given that he had not gone to Catholic school — this, despite the fact that they had no problem letting a Father Gallatin, who had an admitted attraction to teenage boys, administer a parish middle school. Haselberger calls this the epitome of “the Archdiocese’s cavalier attitude towards the safety of other people’s children.” She also alleges that the archdiocese’s “Safe Environment Working Group” on sexual misconduct was designed more to give the appearance of change without actually changing anything.

In fact, she says what drove her to quit in anger was realizing how little the archdiocese cared about protecting children, only protecting priests — even priests they knew were guilty — and how vulnerable children were. She says that Archbishop Nienstedt was such a micromanager that he would send stern notes (“nastygrams”) to chancery employees for such petty offenses as leaving the lights on, or not wearing a tie — but when it came to dealing with clerical sexual misconduct, he was seemingly indifferent.

Look at this, having to do with a request by a priest to be incardinated (that is, canonically received) into the archdiocese:

Both Andy and I were dismayed that Archbishop Nienstedt was even considering this, because taking on responsibility for [priest] was obviously a very risky proposition, especially because of the previous incident involving young males. Moreover, the decision to incardinate would make the Archdiocese responsible for his pension plan and other retirement related expenses, which would create a large unfunded liability to a pension plan that was already significantly underfunded.

However, [Auxiliary] Bishop [Lee] Piché was advocating for incardination, and so the Archbishop requested his personnel file from the [unspecified] Diocese, as is required by the Archdiocesan policy on the incardination of priests.

To its credit, in responding to Archbishop Nienstedt’s request, the Diocese sent the complete personnel file of Father [name], which included, as I recall, more than one page of photos of Father engaging in what I will describe as “romantic activities” with other men. When this file arrived, I personally delivered it to the Archbishop, an action that brought more criticism from Bishop Piché, who didn’t think that the material should have been presented to the Archbishop since “those issues had been resolved.”

Those issues had not been resolved, nor have they been. Since [priest] was incardinated in 2012, I have learned of additional incidents of Father making inappropriate advances towards young (adult) males who attended his parish. I question how the Archbishop could claim not to remember reviewing Father [name’s] file, and especially those pictures, given that this occurred in 2011, during the Archbishop’s campaign to pass the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. [Emphasis mine — RD]

There is so much more here, if you can bear to read the whole thing [1]. Remember, Haselberger wasn’t a low-level employee, but the chancellor of the entire archdiocese. She left in disgust, and became a whistleblower. Despite it all, and even after her resignation, she testifies that she felt that Nienstedt should not resign — until she was interviewed this past April as part of an independent investigation into allegations that Nienstedt has spent his priestly career being sexually active. She says she was told one thing the investigators are looking into is whether or not then Father Nienstedt had previously had a sexual relationship with Father Curtis Wehmeyer [4], who was last year convicted of molesting boys in his parish, and sent to prison. Though the archdiocese had long known that Wehmeyer was sexually out of control, Nienstedt still assigned him to a parish.

Haselberger’s blockbuster deposition, released today, is part of a civil suit against the archdiocese. If you don’t want to read the entire affidavit, read Minnesota Public Radio’s report on it [5], which hits the highlights. Keep in mind most of the things she talks about didn’t happen in the Bad Old Days, prior to 2002, but since then — and as recently as last year.

If Haselberger is telling the truth, it staggers the mind to think that Pope Francis — who has the right to remove Nienstedt — tolerates this man remaining in charge a single day longer. Then again, Bishop Finn still rules in Kansas City, and according to a comprehensive report done by BishopAccountability.org [6], the pope had a poor record on responding to abuse as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

As a non-Catholic, I read this story, and think about how religious liberty in this country is now under assault, especially how right here in Louisiana, the seal of the confessional is severely threatened by ongoing litigation. And I think about how the archbishops of Minneapolis-St. Paul have behaved, saying one thing to reassure the public, but in fact behaving in exactly the opposite way, doing whatever they could to protect the clericalist mafia, and to marginalize Catholics like Jennifer Haselberger, who only wanted the Church to be the Church. I think about how the archdiocese appointed a priest who — if Haselberger is telling the truth (and as chancellor, had access to his personnel file) — had used the confessional as a way to facilitate an adulterous relationship.

I think of this, and it is not hard for me to understand why people have so little sympathy for religious liberty claims. They believe religious liberty is an excuse to let cretins like Archbishop Nienstedt and his minions get away with serving themselves, their careers, and their perverse sexual appetites. Just yesterday, I was speaking to a Protestant friend about the seal of the confessional controversy, and he said something to the effect of, “In this environment, there’s no way people are going to be predisposed to support the Church on this.”

He’s right. In the present and future war on religious liberty — a war that affects all religious believers, Catholic and non-Catholic alike — the US Catholic hierarchy all too often behaves like a fifth column.

I can hardly express how discouraging all this.

UPDATE: A reader who comments anonymously, but whose identity I know, so I can confirm that he speaks from experience, writes:

I read about 2/3 of the affidavit, still plugging along but needed to process 2 things.

first … Having worked in a Catholic diocese for 2 years in a similar role, her stories about the interactions between the clergy & lay employees ring true. Loyalty is rewarded, clergy are protective of each other’s privacy & peccadillos. She really understands this culture, and the frustration with seeing a naked emporer and being asked to give a favorable fashion review.

And … The blatant cover-ups, disregard for both civil and canon law, and disrepect for victims is not AT ALL consistent with my experience. All victims were listened to … Face to face and on their terms … And encouraged to contact police. Information was shared as needed between canonical, legal, advocacy, and supervisory parties. Investigations were professional and then reviewed by a highly qualified lay review board. Police reports were made, priests were defrocked, and the community was notified if an allegation proved true.

No, it was not a perfect system, but there was a system, and it was run by qualified and compassionate people. When i dealt with other diocese or religious orders, most were organized & trying hard to deal with these impossibly difficult cases. Some were understaffed or naive; others appeared willfully defiant when “doing the right thing” seemed obvious.

I am out of it now, and praying that Minn/St Paul is an aberration. In any case I would not be too quick to dismiss this testimony – Ms. Haselberger seems to have really been on the inside of a real mess.

How are laypeople supposed to know when their diocese is doing the right thing, as this reader’s diocese was, and just putting on a show, as the Minneapolis diocese apparently was? The fraudulence of one diocese, especially a big one like Mpls, dramatically undermines the good-faith efforts of other dioceses. I know I’m especially sensitive about this, based on what I’ve seen, but after all I’ve seen, it is impossible for me to trust any church — Catholic and non-Catholic, including my own — to do the right thing in these cases. I assume, until proven otherwise, that they think victims and the laity are the Enemy. I’m sure that isn’t true, but how is one supposed to know? Why should we trust any church authority on this issue?

UPDATE.2: A priest writes (anonymously; I know he’s a priest because we’ve corresponded privately) in the comboxes:

Thank you for sharing this. If there is one small point of light, it focuses on the lay chancellor. In my experience, the laity, especially trained professionals such as lawyers, frequently do bring a de-clericalizing attitude to the administration of the Church. I hope that we see more of that, especially as degrees in Canon Law are becoming more common for laypersons.

I think it’s important that non-Catholics and even members of the laity understand that not all priests are on board with the culture of clericalism and cover-up in their chanceries and dioceses. Over the years, some of my best sources for writing about what’s really going on have been priests who despise it, but are powerless to stop it. Yet they suffer too, in part because so many people assume that they’re on board with the coverups and such. It should also be noted that there are many in the laity who still, to this day, support the culture of cover-up, for their own pietistic and psychological reasons. The line between good and evil in the Catholic Church (and any other church) does not run between clergy and laity.

By the way, this all reminded me of a story a laicized priest (he left to be with his boyfriend) of my acquaintance told me about his burnout in the ministry. He said that a decade or so ago, one of the priests of his diocese had been arrested for having child porn on his computer (a repairman had discovered it while working on the hard drive, and called the police). The bishop called his priests together to talk about it. His first words to them, according to my ex-priest friend, were along the lines of, “If you have anything compromising on your computer, throw the thing in the river if you have to, but just get rid of it.” The bishop did not say, “Come to me, I will help you get help with this problem,” or anything like that. He was all about “destroy the evidence before you get caught and cause me problems.” That was a turning point for my friend, who said he just couldn’t take the hypocrisy and cynicism anymore. He is now laicized and legally married to his then-boyfriend. His bishop went on to become a big deal figure in the US Catholic Church.

116 Comments (Open | Close)

116 Comments To "Catholic Bishops As Fifth Columnists In War On Religious Liberty"

#1 Comment By Fran Macadam On July 17, 2014 @ 9:01 am

“As it is, I just don’t see why we should believe anything the Catholic hierarchy says these days. They’ve proven to us time and again that they are dishonest, self-serving, and rotten to the core.”

It’s hard for me to get excited about subjugating religious liberty (another of the Constitution’s amendments to become victim) to the insensibilities of a political and legal class suffering from precisely the same deficiencies.

#2 Comment By Autolukos On July 17, 2014 @ 10:16 am

3. No one has tried to prevent a VICTIM from testifying, and that has nothing to do with the seal of the confessional.

“In February 2013 the priest and the Church filed a motion in limine seeking to
exclude at trial all evidence, including testimony by the minor child herself, about the confessions.”

In fact, the claim made here is that the seal not only allows people to refuse to testify, but that it also allows the Church to demand that a penitent remain silent about what happened within.

#3 Comment By dominic1955 On July 17, 2014 @ 11:05 am

Re: the secular law vs. seal of confession.

Exactly why we never should have given up on the Confessional State as an ideal.

As to the rest, IF Archbishop Nienstedt is guilty, cashier him on the spot and send him off to a monastery to do penance. I have no sympathy for the “Lavender Mafia”, they have and will continue to do massive harm to the Church with their sexual perversion and coverups.

As to Popes John Paul II and Benedict supposedly choosing all these hard core “conservatives” for bishops, those who assert such nonsense have no idea of how bishops are chosen. The candidates are vetted by the local Bishops’ Conference. Whichever way that is and has been going determines who they chose from amongst the priests to be bishops. Often its a buddy buddy system and sometimes it was ideologues weasling their way into positions of power.

For minor locales, they might pick a pastor who’s a mover and a shaker and they don’t really care which way he rolls theologically as long as its not too out there. However, both Bishop Bruskewicz and Bishop Gumbleton are notable examples of people who its hard to believe they got made bishops though for radically different reasons. I think Bruskewicz knew how to fly under the radar and just get out into the parish baptizing, and marrying and burying without getting into it about liturgy or theology. Once made a bishop, I’m sure he knew he’d never leave Lincoln but I doubt he ever wanted to. Gumbleton was probably the same way, except when he got made a bishop and opened his mouth, that sealed his fate as an auxilliary.

That said, most of them are seminary friends of guys who are bishops already and probably honestly don’t know if they have major hangups and such. I know I was seriously surprised on who ended up being gay in the seminary after I left as I would have had no idea, and I usually have pretty good gaydar.

The point is, the pope usually has to trust (even if he doesn’t) the local bishops conference. It would be like if the Vatican asked me to decide on who would be the new bishop of Timbaktu, I would have to rely on who they vetted because I would have no idea who was what or really believed and stood for what.

#4 Comment By grumpy realist On July 17, 2014 @ 11:42 am

(Sigh). The diocese of Baton Rouge and the priest involve should bow to the will of the state (in this case the Supreme Court of Louisiana) in this matter because it’s a lawsuit in CIVIL COURT. Yes, the state has a statute that recognizes privilege for communications between priests and penitents. Said privilege is not absolute and corresponds to other privileges that exist in our legal system. (patient/doctor, attorney/client) The scope of such privileges is also set by law. Under law, it is also defined when such privileges can be waived (i.e. the penitent can testify.)

The Catholic Church does not get to make up its own definition of what privilege is and how it works and insist that U.S. civil law courts follow it. It can try–as it did in this case where it tried to keep the penitent from testifying–but it is NOT the arbitrator of what rules of evidence hold in US secular law courts.

#5 Comment By Sean Scallon On July 17, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

What I’m arguing Rod is religious liberty is going to be decided on a case-by-case basis. I don’t think anything that blanket whole sectors of culture and commerce would be decided by court and certainly not legislature as the Hobby Lobby case demonstrated in its limited scope. The nation is simply too diverse in its religious practices for that to happened.

You mentioned your priest friend saying how he believe the bishops and priests caught up in the scandal in their hearts didn’t believe in God. I think that’s nonsense. It has nothing to do with belief. It has everything to do with shame. Because that’s what is behind every action or inaction. People are ashamed at who they are, what they know or who they they know, so they act accordingly in order not to deal with this shame. Imagine yourself a priest admitting to your family you’re a homosexual, that family which was so proud and felt blessed to have a priest from their home or to know one. Actually don’t imagine it now, imagine it 10, 20 and especially 30 to 40 years ago. If you can do that, then you’ll understand the scandal.

#6 Comment By Chris C. On July 17, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

Grumpy actually when it comes to its sacraments, the last word, like it or not, is the Catholic Church. It cannot and will not be otherwise. And it matters not if this involves a civil court proceeding; the reason being that from the nature of the case, in so far as it concerns the matter at issue,it involves the sacrament of penance, before it involves anything else. The no civil court of law can determine whether a proper confession has taken place, or anything having to do with the nature of the sacrament, or whether disclosure of the subject of the confession is proper. Those are matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Catholic Church and no civil power can legitimately declare otherwise.

Now taking a cue from what totalitarian governments have done in the past, I suppose it is conceivable that the state of Louisiana could attempt to use its inherently coercive powers to do violence to those who would refuse to obey any unjust dictate it issued. In other words it could, through its state courts, hold in contempt and imprison the priest involved. However I doubt it will come to that.

The law governing civil recognition of the sanctity of the confessional, while not absolutely clear cut, will almost certainly give way in favor of the position of the diocese of Baton Rouge. It can hardly be otherwise. For an agency of government, or civil court to rule otherwise, given the facts of this case and the language of the LA Supreme Court ruling, would of necessity entail state involvement in religious practices, constituting an establishment of religion in violation of the establishment clause of the first amendment. The ruling in effect requires the trial court to determine whether or not a confession has taken place. They are not competent to make that judgment. Therefore if and when the priest were to refuse to testify on the matter, and was charged with contempt, the issue would again be before the courts, and perhaps at some point in the federal system; where a proper first amendment analysis will be done and this will be resolved as it should. At this point, the legal analysis has focused on the mandatory reporting law, and privileges defined as a part of it. Only at a later point will the more substantive issues of religious liberty and the first amendment be adjudicated.

You say “said privilege is not absolute.” Actually it is. “Said privilege” was in existence long before there was an entity known as the United States of America, or the state of Louisiana. “Said privilege” does not depend on the civil authorities for its legitimacy. It involves an exclusively religious practice; a sacramental one, governed by the law and tradition of the Catholic Church, and no other power or authority. At least not any power operating legitimately and within principles of justice. As such, if the courts of Louisiana, or of the U.S., attempt to in any manner whatsoever to override or infringe upon, the sacramental practices of the Catholic Church, such actions would be accorded no respect, nor would they be followed. At which point, it could properly be said, we are not a free nation, nor a just one.

#7 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On July 17, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

Yes, dominic, I’m sure you would have loved a confessional state. The rest of us, not so much. Maybe you should emigrate and become a citizen of the Vatican. But don’t expect the Republic of Italy to give the Papal states back to their former feudal overlord.

#8 Comment By dominic1955 On July 18, 2014 @ 12:39 am

Siarlys,

“Yes, dominic, I’m sure you would have loved a confessional state. The rest of us, not so much. Maybe you should emigrate and become a citizen of the Vatican. But don’t expect the Republic of Italy to give the Papal states back to their former feudal overlord.”

Well, the issue is to make the rest of the world properly Catholic so I really do no good by moving to the Vatican.

I think you’ve read enough of my posts. I’m happy to tolerate any degree of nonsense and heresy to exist for the sake of keeping the common good, but when the rubber really hits the road you know where I stand.

#9 Comment By JuneAnnette On July 18, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

Rod,

Just wondering why my most recent (2) posts, one in response to Rusty, the other in response to Dave didn’t pass moderation?
I did not attack or insult anyone personally, nor did I call anyone a name, nor did I veer off topic, and to the best of my knowledge, I have observed the rules of engagement.
Both quotes which I included in my comment are made by Roman Catholics. Furthermore, the comments I made and the information I have sought to share with readers is relevant to the discussion, which in a fair, open and unbiased forum, deserves consideration.
So why the censure?

[NFR: Because you’re just cutting and pasting anti-Catholic invective. I’m fine with you criticizing the Catholic Church, but I’m not going to let the comboxes be taken over by people whose idea of engaging in debate is to cut-and-paste inflammatorily worded statements making the same point that they made several times already. — RD]

#10 Comment By grumpy realist On July 18, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

Chris C. you’ve confused privilege as defined under Roman Catholicism with privilege under secular law. The definitions are different, the scopes are different, and how the two can be waived are different. The state may or may not accept the Roman Catholic Church’s definition with regards to the priest, but it is extremely unlikely that it will accept that definition for the girl. In fact, it didn’t, which is why her testimony gets admitted.

The priest I don’t care much about. He can decide to speak up in self-defense, or stay quiet, whichever he wants. But he doesn’t get to then claim that he didn’t get a chance to speak up, if he is then convicted by a jury. It is his own definition of privilege that he is imposing on himself, not that of secular law. Another person may say that he refuses to speak up in his own defense because the sky is cloudy, or there’s no fringe on the flag in the courtroom, or whatever. That doesn’t mean we throw the case out and release him.

#11 Comment By JuneAnnette On July 18, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

Here’s a comment with no cut and paste, but five will get you ten, you won’t post it!

[NFR: You win! I’m tired of your axe-grinding attitude in this forum. Goodbye. — RD]

#12 Comment By Chris C. On July 18, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

Grumpy: At the point in the trial at which the girl is asked “did you attend confession with Father X” the objection will be posed by counsel for both the priest and the diocese based on the very privilege we have been speaking of; that of priest-penitent. If overruled it will be posed again at the point at which she is asked specifics regarding the substance of her confession. That is the matter I expect will be litigated in a first amendment context whether again at the state level or possibly later at the federal appellate level.

The state is not competent to determine whether or not confession has taken place, which is the very issue the LA Supreme Court directed the trial court to address. They cannot do so without making a factual determination on “what constitutes the sacrament of penance”; that to which the privilege attaches. This in turn would involves the state, acting through its courts, in giving a legal definition to the sacrament of penance, at which point its impossible to see how they are not engaged in an establishment of religion contrary to the first amendment. Civil courts are simply not competent to judge and rule in these matters, and are barred from doing so under the US Constitution. That is unless in our era of “hope and change” we are on the brink of a radical new understanding as to the nature of our freedoms.

If so, our guarantees of religious freedom, and of liberty in general will be about as meaningful as the empty words of the constitutions of numerous nations who pay lip service to the terms, but punish severely any genuine exercise of said freedoms unless they are in line with the whims of the dictators who actually run the nation in the name of whatever political or religious ideology functions as the national idol.

Yes freedom of religion was “protected” even in the USSR, Communist China, as well as in North Korea, and even in some Islamic nations. But the “protections” are of course absolutely meaningless. The open question is whether they mean anything today here in our nation.

#13 Comment By grumpy realist On July 18, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

Chris, the state Supreme Court has already said that the girl is able to testify. No matter whether she was in confession or not. She is able to waive the privilege, since she’s the penitent. This parallels the sorts of privilege we have in law and with doctors.

The question about confession vs. non-confession is going to come down to figuring out who said what when.

Just because a definition of a religious term is involved doesn’t mean that the court will throw a case out nor that a First Amendment question exists. If it’s standard practice for confessions to be taken inside a confession box or inside a certain office, the court will probably say “ok, that’s what we’ll take for confession in this case.” It will probably also ask: “did the two parties act as though it was a confessional interaction?” Then they’ll say “well, what about this other behavior?” They might draw comparison with other forms of privileged communication and when it is broken.

They’ll give credence to the Church’s definition of confession, but won’t if it becomes ridiculous (“yes, we regularly use confessional boxes, but in this case every time I talked with this young girl, even out on the street, it was a confession and thus should be privileged.”) Talked with the girl and her parents? I really doubt privileged.

#14 Comment By grumpy realist On July 18, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

P.S. And the Church will definitely NOT be able to do post-facto shifting of confession vs. non-confession and defining it on such airy definitions as state of mind of the penitent, which it can’t even talk about, because it was “confessional.” The law courts really, really don’t like that. If you’re going to claim a privilege, there’s got to be definite bounds on that privilege and some cut-and-tried limits. That is what happens for the attorney-client privilege.

#15 Comment By Chris C. On July 19, 2014 @ 7:22 am

Grumpy one last post. I realize that many people of good will see nothing wrong with what the LA Supreme Court has ordered. However the reason this matter prompts concern is that is fits within a clear pattern of other decisions over the years by various governmental agencies and legislative bodies to, in effect, establish the state as “god”; the one to whom all owe unfailing loyalty and obedience even at the expense of ones own conscience and convictions. These efforts are applauded and encouraged by many who frankly abhor and detest Christianity in general, and the Catholic Faith in particular.

Certainly not everyone, maybe not most, who support this LA decision could be so described. But people of good will, religious or not, need to pay careful attention to how easily and readily considerations of conscience are being swept aside, on case after case, all apparently in a hopeless quest to build a man made, secular utopia. There is “nothing new under the sun.” Such an effort is doomed to fail, miserably. The foundation upon which this effort is built is one of sand. It can ultimately do nothing other than collapse upon itself.

The question in the minds of many of us who have concerns over this specific case, is whether our cherished freedoms, are becoming little more than the “freedoms’ enshrined in the constitutions of some of the thriving democracies I mentioned in my last post; N.Korea, China, old USSR, Iran. That is to say, nothing but words; words that have lost all true meaning. I submit this case in LA will prove to be an indicator of who we are, and what we are becoming.

#16 Comment By sal magundi On July 20, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

“It should also be noted that there are many in the laity who still, to this day, support the culture of cover-up, for their own pietistic and psychological reasons.”

yes indeed there are.