Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Canonist discusses "Suspension" vs. "Administrative Leave" using a recent case in the news

Ed Peters offers some clarification on terms when discussing priests who are put on leave versus those who have been suspended. I must admit that I did not know the difference here.  Dr. Peters, who teaches canon law and latin at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, uses a recent case that has taken the blogosphere by storm:

Three recent questions in the wake of the lesbian/Communion controversy

I get paid to explain canon law in the calm context of the graduate classroom, where things like definitions, nuance, history, and values can be reflected upon by well-informed peers (or at least by students who do the readings!) But I never let my students forget that canon law is fundamentally a legal system, and that legal systems deal with real people, and that real people can make a sorry mess of their lives and the lives of others in pretty short order. So, if the recent lesbian/Communion controversy affords us an unlooked-for opportunity, perhaps even a necessity, to explain some of the working of canon law, so be it. I’m game.

Here, I consider the three common questions about this case. Sometimes, yes, the questions are rhetorical and seem designed more to taunt than to inquire, but to the degree they nevertheless help surface issues that others might find instructive, let’s look at them.

Go to Dr. Peter's post at In Light of the Law to continue reading.  He breaks things down in a way that I find easy to understand.  He also addresses some frequently asked questions concerning the case using only what is available in the public domain.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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