Sex-Abuse Scandals, Transparency, and the Right to a Good Reputation

Q:  In a previous article, you stated that under canon law we all have the right to privacy and a good reputation.  I’m having a hard time reconciling these rights with the need for transparency in the Church regarding sexual abuse by the clergy.  Doesn’t preserving an abusive priest’s “good reputation” mean covering up his misdeeds?

…Everyone is outraged because bishops have long been sweeping sexual abuse under the rug, but if bishops are required to protect the good name of their priests, can’t they cover up and then argue that they were just following canon law? –Zach Continue reading

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Sex-Abuse Scandals and Papal Responsibility

Q:  What can we do, as lay faithful, to remove bad clergy from office?  My guess is probably nothing.  It’s hard to believe we are completely powerless under such extreme circumstances.  Theologically, I understand why.  But, doesn’t canon law ever consider a situation when the bishop (or Pope) is so bad that the faithful can take some action against them to remove them?

I don’t expect there is anything … but I’m sure many readers would like confirmation if they suspect they know the answer already. –Emily Continue reading

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Do Sisters Have to Wear Their Habits?

Q: When I was a child in Catholic school, the nuns all wore full habits which reached all the way down to the floor.  Nowadays we’re lucky if they’ll even wear a cross that identifies them as a nun and not just a laywoman.  Aren’t nuns still required to wear their habits? … It doesn’t seem like anybody cares about enforcing the rules…  –Rick Continue reading

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Why Would I Need to Convert in Order to Get Married?

Q1: I am a woman who was baptized, belongs, and actively practices my faith in a Roman Catholic church. I am in a love with a man who belongs to an Orthodox church. I do not wish to convert and become an orthodox for marriage but would like to know if there is any way for us to get married in an orthodox church without any conversion. I don’t mind getting married in a Orthodox church and don’t mind raising my kids in Orthodox beliefs but I do not prefer to convert myself. I am okay with attending ceremonies at both churches but do not want to change my faith. –Mariya

Q2: I am writing this mail with a heavy heart. I am a Roman Catholic woman preparing to marry an Orthodox man. My Catholic parish priest is not giving his consent for this marriage, so it will be held in an Orthodox church. However, I want to know if I can continue receiving Holy Communion at Roman Catholic churches (because after marriage I will be an Orthodox).  It breaks my heart to even think of not being able to receive the Holy Eucharist from Catholic churches ever again. I’m unable to find an answer to this on the internet. So kindly advise me on this issue, it is a matter of life and death for me. –Wynona

Q3: I am a Catholic and married to a non-Catholic. I received Holy Matrimony sacrament (sic) in Syro-Malabar Mar Thoma church and was blessed by one of the Mar Thoma priests. For marriage, even though I’ve not got baptized as a Mar Thomite, I agreed to join Mar Thoma church, by signing a promissory note which was a mandate for blessing of marriage in Syro- Malabar Mar Thoma church.

I would like to have authentic information regarding my present rights to receive sacraments like Holy Mass and confession from Catholic Church… please note that Catholic priests did talk against my understanding of a Catholic (sic)….  –Alitta Continue reading

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When Can a Church be Used for Non-Liturgical Events?

Q: There are things taking place in the “sanctuary” of my parish church that I feel are inappropriate… and not in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The modern worship space was built in the early 1990s….  The worship space, because it is so open, is used as an auditorium for various parish activities.  The “sanctuary” is made into a stage where the Fall Festival talent show and drawing for prizes are done, and Vacation Bible School large group activities are held each summer.  There are also monthly concerts put on by the parish music director performed in the worship space.  The altar is pushed to the back wall, along with the crucifix, and ambo.

I sent a letter to the Archbishop… as of today, I have not received a response.  Is there something in Canon Law that says that the sanctuary is a sacred place because that is where Holy Mass is celebrated and the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ?  It concerns me that there is little reverence shown for what is supposed to be a holy place. –Eileen Continue reading

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