Good News! I Might be Way Wrong!

A reader tells me: Wanted to point out that I saw some helpful discussion of

that word “notorious” in yesterday’s New York Times (online). When I read

the Cardinals’ statement I got stuck on that word and thought “who uses a

word like this?”

Turns out from the NYT that this is a technical canon law word. (Bevilaqua,

my bishop, is a canon lawyer as are some of the others.) It seems that

“notorious” is a trigger in canon law for the defrocking process. It was a

slip into the church equivalent of lawyer speak.

I’m okay with that and it makes me feel a little better that what they were

trying to get across was that they’re going to throw the guys out, but didn’t

someone reading the draft say “Notorious? Can we get a better, jargonless

word here? Bernie, any suggestions? What did you call that SOB Shanley when

you saw his name in the paper again?”

As I have written elsewhere (and should have thought of) Catholic theologians (and, even more, canon lawyers) have a positive genius for cloaking sensible ideas in impenetrable jargon. If this is the case here (and given what Cardinal B has been saying since the Confab, it looks like it) then I’m much more comfortable with the direction things are taking.


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