Can a Catholic Sue the Church in Civil Court?

Q: Does a person have the right, both moral and legal, under canon law, to sue a Church Institution and/or the individuals in authority over the institutions in civil court, whether they be bishops or lay persons?  In particular, I’m thinking about a seminarian who was harassed and pressed to engage in homosexual acts, and reported this to the authorities in the Church, but nothing was done and he was attacked for making the complaints.  Does he have the right under canon law to sue those institutions and the people running them?

Why I ask this, is I am a Catholic and I am a civil lawyer. I have been asked to help in such a case, but I do not want to act against my faith.

My understanding is all people are bound to obey all moral and civil laws, and if not they can face the consequences in civil court for those violations.

Is there a distinction between suing the “Church’ as the Mystical Body of Christ and His Bride, and suing an institution that is part of the Church institution or hierarchy?

One canon lawyer whom I know and who is a priest maintains no person or worldly institution has the right to judge the Church, that right falls to God.  I agree with this statement.  But I see a difference between judging the Church, and suing corrupt institutions…  –Scott Continue reading

Posted in Clergy Issues, Crimes and Sanctions, Rights of the Faithful | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Can a Catholic Sue the Church in Civil Court?

When is it Okay to Go to an SSPX Mass?

Q: My parents (devout Catholics) have been attending an SSPX Mass on Sundays. I have always understood that SSPX churches are not licit options for a Roman Catholic.

I have read your posts, and showed them to my parents, but they have heard it is okay to attend because they are only going for their love of the Latin liturgy.  My parents use as their defense that the SSPX are not sedevacantists, as they pray for the Pope, so how can they not be in full communion….  However my parents have a plethora of Catholic churches at their disposal and even an FSSP parish about the same distance as the SSPX one.

…[T]here is a lot of vague yet conflicting information online about this issue.  If I am misunderstanding and this is a licit option, I will be happy to admit I am wrong.  Any guidance would be appreciated. –Martina Continue reading

Posted in Baptism, Confession, Crimes and Sanctions, Holy Mass, Parish Life, Sacraments, The Eucharist | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on When is it Okay to Go to an SSPX Mass?

Can Church Officials Require Us to Get Vaccinated?

Q1: My daughter attends [a Catholic university whose president is a Catholic priest] and he announced that all students are required to get vaccinated against covid. We are stunned. Does a Catholic school, which I assume is governed by canon law like all Catholic institutions, have the authority to effectively force my daughter to put chemicals in her body if she wants to continue to study there? –Michelle 

Q2: Can you answer whether it is permissible for seminaries to force candidates to receive the EUA Covid vaccines? Thanks! –Alex

Q3: I am writing because a nun asked me for help.  In her monastery they are forcing her to take a covid vaccine against her will.  The pressure has been building for months in a very hostile fashion, and now they asked for her documents, so they can give them to the medical staff…
She believes she cannot take this injection in good conscience and she feels that her well being is being seriously endangered in the monastery.  Is there any article of canon law that can defend her? –Ivan

Continue reading

Posted in Clergy Issues, Rights of the Faithful | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Can Church Officials Require Us to Get Vaccinated?

Spiritual Directors and a Seminarian’s Privacy

Q1: According to this article, a seminarian in New York was kicked out of the seminary because he complained about his spiritual director.  What concerns me is that the article says that according to canon law, seminarians can freely choose their spiritual director, but in this case the seminarian was forced to talk to this particular one….  What recourse does a seminarian have, if his rights are being violated like this?  It’s incredible that we have a shortage of vocations, and yet seminary officials hound men out of the seminary like this… –Charles

Q2: I was in minor seminary, but eventually found out that the priestly vocation is not what God wants from me.  So I left, but some of my friends proceeded further towards ordination.  One of them told me one time that he had homosexual feelings, and, although he had a few interactions with the same sex (as I understood, one time it was real interaction), he claimed that he didn’t have deep-seated homosexual tendencies because he was also in love with girls and he is not effeminate, etc.  Also he does not support the gay culture and is no longer practising homosexual acts.  His ex-spiritual director advised him to leave the seminary, but he stayed and has a new spiritual director, and he decided not to tell him anything.

So, my question is: will he, if it comes to it, be properly ordained if he does not tell the spiritual director anything?  Or if he does tell the new spiritual director, and he likewise tells him to leave the seminary but he proceeds to ordination anyway, will he be properly ordained? –Piotr Continue reading

Posted in Clergy Issues, Rights of the Faithful | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Spiritual Directors and a Seminarian’s Privacy

The Enormous Loophole in Traditionis Custodes

Q:  My fellow-parishioners and I are so shocked and hurt by the Holy Father’s deliberate destruction of the Traditional Latin Mass [in Traditionis custodes, his new motu proprio]….  Everyone agrees it’s so badly written, there are many internet articles explaining the document’s inconsistencies as I’m sure you’re aware.  We’re wondering if somehow this can be said to render the document unworkable, because it’s so unclear.  Or maybe there’s a loophole that somehow we can use….  –Ciara Continue reading

Posted in Holy Mass, Parish Life, Rights of the Faithful | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Enormous Loophole in Traditionis Custodes