I remember simultaneously having three parishes in New South Wales, Australia. All three brought in a total of about AUS$1000, which was just enough to pay off the insurance. These were itsybitsy churches. To meet further expenses, I threw some pottery on the side over at a neighboring parish. I’m good at that. Meanwhile, the other priest had a kiln and knew how to glaze pottery, being a bit of a chemist. That made another AUS$1000, which I donated to the parish. We got by.
Now, imagine if I had been accused and was told that the Church would stand me down as a priest should I lose any court battle to defend myself, and then had to pay some hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees in order to stay alive as a priest. Where oh where would I get the money? I wouldn’t be able to get it. I would simply be run over by any anti-Catholic who wanted to make a few bucks, and that would be blessed and encouraged by the hierarchy. My, my… The Judas Crisis continues. Read more about it in The Judas Crisis widget in the sidebar of
Oh, and, by the way, that mention of “legal aid”… What is that, you ask? Good question. Legal aid means getting a court appointed lawyer. That lawyer is already swamped with cases, and — I’m generalizing now, though quite accurately — that lawyer will tell the “damn priest” (already judged by the legal aid) to do a plea bargain, it not mattering to anyone whether he is guilty or not. Of course he’s going to lose his priesthood after this, so why not avoid prison time as well by plea bargaining?! Get out in, say, a year, instead of spending life in prison. Legal aides don’t take no for an answer. They scream this at you and leave. So, some priests do this, abandoned by their bishops and fellow priests, totally, instantly. This is also about the time that the innocent priests commit suicide. They just can’t face the betrayal of their bishops and priests, who really appear that they absolutely couldn’t give a damn.
Remember, the Holy See is now collecting policies from all over the world so as to make a general policy for all. Remember that Cardinal Pell is a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which will have a key role to play in such policy.
Priests, be forewarned. Get ready to be betrayed. Ask Jesus about it. This also is why you were ordained: to suffer mistreatment and calumny with the very Son of God, who was betrayed by His own right unto death. Those who do the betraying should be careful:
It’s open season on priests. But this doesn’t bode well for real victims. When people are sick of priests being falsely accused, and when some independently wealthy priests countersue the accusers for everything they have not to mention having them thrown in prison, and when this happens regularly in the courts, so much so that even real victims are slammed down, do you think then that real victims will continue to come foreward? No? You would be right on that. All too sad, that.
So, what should the policy be, you ask? Due process for all, always, from the beginning.
But that wouldn’t seem fair, you know, because the accuser probably is getting pro-bono work done by lawyers. Uh-huh. Should we discuss the tens of millions of dollars, even hundreds of millions of dollars, made by abuse lawyers? Fair? Uh-huh. So, what happens? This is what happens:
May it please Mary Immaculate’s Son to grant to His faithful priests a spirit of fortitude, to be able to say:
My heart is ready, O God! My heart is ready!