Fairness, decency not in evidence in the Philadelphia abuse case

Catholic Culture

Phil Lawler | February 02, 2012

In the prosecution of three priests from the Philadelphia archdiocese, the level of hostility toward the Catholic Church has become so pronounced that it’s difficult to see how a fair trial could take place.

Prosecutors have indicted one former official of the archdiocese (along with two other priests). But they have described the archdiocese itself as an “unindicted co-conspirator.” In practice, that seems to mean that the prosecutors can make charges against the archdiocese without having to worry about rebuttal, since there are no lawyers in the courtroom to defend the archdiocese.

Meanwhile the judge in the case, Teresa Sarmina has showed her own hostility with the outrageous statement: “Anybody that doesn’t think there is widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is living on another planet.” Notice that her claim is voiced in the present tense. She is not saying that there was abuse in the past: a claim that can easily be supported. She’s saying that there is widespread abuse now. Maybe we don’t even need a trial; she’s declared the Church guilty already!

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