Sunday, June 27, 2010

Religious law and secular law

Recently Belgian police detained and questioned nine Catholic Bishops at a meeting, raided the home of a retired bishop and searched the tomb of at least two deceased Archbishops.  This was to search for more evidence of sexual abuse and was prompted by several claims.  The Catholic Church's position has been one of outrage at this lack of respect.  But the Church has used legal deference to its sacred position to hide crimes in recent years, leading to a lack of credibility.  The Pope has agreed to work with legal authorities,
But in his reaction to the Belgian raids, Benedict stressed that abuse within the church needed to be handled by both civil and canon law, "respecting their reciprocal specificity and autonomy".
The Vatican's ambassador to Belgium has compared this lack of respect for Church Law to suppression under communist regimes.  But the Church in this case is not being unfairly targeted for ideological reasons, it is instead being treated as any other organization would be in similar circumstances.  Church Law is revealed law, not created by the governing bodies of Belgium, the USA, etc.  Much as humanists oppose the imposition of revealed truth into scientific or educational settings, we oppose the inclusion of revealed law in legal settings.

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