Even Bishops Accountability Notes the Lack of Due Process for Accused Priests
A well beloved young priest in California was accused by an adult woman of improprieties. Three people know the truth, God, the woman, and the priest. But in a span of time too short for sufficient discovery or due process, the priest was dismissed.
Some priests have fallen, some women of uncertain mental stability have been known to suffer a morbid attraction to priests by virtue of their celibacy, some attorneys have targeted the Catholic Church for “deep pockets”, some Bishops have “passed the trash”.
Bishops Accountability is no friend of the Catholic Bishops, but even they note that accused priests are denied due process. The Second Wave of Abuse: the Fate of Our Accused Priests
The little-known story is that the Catholic Church was originally instrumental in the development of due process, an outgrowth of Justinian’s Code and heir to the Code of Hammurabi. And yet, due process is now routinely denied to the class of Catholics most important to the Church’s wellbeing, the Priesthood.
It is difficult to get at the truth about this historical issue, because it is involved with the word “inquisition” (an inquiry), an institution in a Church that tells people not all sexual activity is good for them, for families or for society, a Church has been cudgeled with the black legend of “the Inquisition”.
The Roman Inquisition was not the same as the Spanish. Torquemada committed grievous abuses. But the Spanish Inquisition was a civil institution, heavily involved with the Spanish monarchy, even though its officers were clerics. About 1475, the Papacy forbade the Spanish Inquisition permission to operate; about 1525, the Spanish Crown sent a menacing letter to the Pope regarding interference with the Spanish Inquisition. It is estimated that the Spanish Inquisition was involved in the execution of approximately three obstinate, relapsed heretics per year over a 400 year period over a geographic span extending from Peru to Malta.