Saturday, 20 March 2010

The 2001 letter.

Fr Peter suggests that it is not the smoking gun than many would like to think, and I am inclined to agree with him.

One aspect of my professional life is that of trade union casework, and it can involve supporting colleagues who face allegations. A key principle is that any such allegations are dealt with confidentially - that is, without public discussions - and follow the due processes of the employers disciplinary procedures. There are allegations, though, which require referral to the local safeguarding board for a strategy conference, and/or which involve a police investigation. None of this is prevented by the consideration of confidentiality - it is all accepted as being within the circle of the confidentiality. Why should we not see the request to refer allegations to the Sacred Congregation for Doctrine in the same way, a way that does not imply at all that allegations should be kept secret from civil authorities?

It is also worth noting that suspension from work is, so far as the truth or otherwise of the allegation is concerned, a neutral act. In my professional area, suspension is not automatic on the receipt of an allegation, but is only undertaken when the nature of the case or the circumstances of the investigation of the allegation demand it. As Fr Peter points out, the Catholic Church's practice in England and Wales of automatically placing on "adminstrative leave" (equivalent to suspension in other contexts) priests who face an allegation is in practice a harsher standard than is applied in other contexts.

1 comment:

bernadette said...

"the Catholic Church's practice in England and Wales of automatically placing on "adminstrative leave" " ?

That is not the church's current practise as everyone knows, although it may have been at one time.

Quite why this has been suggested poses an even more interesting and disturbing question.

I suspect there will be many Church Bashers coming out of the woodwork between now and September 16th.