Also, A Lawyer Speaks!
I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the lawyers’ First Amendment “defense” — assuming the lawyers are serious about it. However, I would like to think that they are asserting that defense as a formality without seriously intending to pursue it.
Lawyers do this pretty often — they will assert a defense that they have no intention of actively pursuing, just so they don’t lose that option in the future. I would hope that, given the events that have occurred thus far, the Archdiocese understands that it must be an “open book” from now on — for p.r. reasons and avoiding Caesar’s meddling, if no others. (Certainly there are many, much better reasons, but if p.r./avoiding government scrutiny are the ones that get them to do the right thing, then so be it!)
Bottom line, I would not necessarily assume that the Archdiocesean attorneys are idiots or evil people.
Certainly I don’t assume such. It’s just that I keep thinking of Norman Angell. Who?, you ask? He was the author, in 1913, of The Grand Illusion, a book which cogently argued that there would never be a Great War between the Powers in Europe because, after all, millions of people would die and the entire geopolitical structure of Europe would be destroyed. Why, that would be… insane! If you’d asked me six months ago whether the ecclesiats in this country would (after the Rudy Kos debacle) go on shielding abusive priests, or lying to cover things up, or giving stupid excuses like “I didn’t notice it was odd when Shanley advocated Man Boy Love”, or continuing in their jobs when they were themselves abusers called in to replace abusers, or blaming six year old children and their parents for the behavior of Paul Shanley, or jabbering that this is a “wake up call for the Church“, or transparently jockeying for power like the Cardinal of LA (while he deceives about his own record), or condescendingly explaining that we as Americans have no sins to confess, or blathering about how celibacy is the problem… why I would have said that would be…insane.
So given their track record of preternatural stupidity so far, I fear that anything is possible. I’m beginning to think–supernaturalist that I am–that whoever is behind this is not human and to suspect that the only way out of this impasse is prayer, fasting and major major spiritual warfare.
For our reading assignment today: Ephesians 6:10-19:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Don’t forget that there is a supernatual dimension to all this and that this is not Art Bell paranoid weirdness but a revealed fact. If the Church is not supernatural, then it’s a Kiwanis club in funny hats.