Would a Priest or Bishop Lie under Oath? Mental Reservation Debated in Court Wednesday Re Church Witnesses Refusing to Answer in Depositions

City of Angels
May 17, 2007

Attorneys debated "mental reservation" in court Wednesday in hearings on motions to compel, and Catch 22's were flying all over the place. Ms. Young appearing for the archbishop repeated several times that if a priest says he doesn't remember, he doesn't remember (much like a Bushie testifying before the US Senate). DeMarco for the plaintiffs pointed out, "Defendants have brought Code of Canon Law into court when it suits their purpose and they argue Canon Law, but we're not allowed to inquire at all into church doctrine or law."

Donald Woods for the church said, "These witnesses already said they saw nothing, heard nothing, nobody ever reported anything to them." Tim Hale for the plaintiffs replied that one priest answered yes without hesitation when asked if mental reservation "is a doctrine that protects the church from scandal."

Then Ms. Young tried to say mental reservation is no more than "lying and saying that's a pretty dress when really it's not," and I am so glad I've recently gotten on medication and joined an Anger Management group. In fact throughout this hearing I wanted to jump up and start yelling, "Look at my case, my case, my case, my case." Because Mental Reservation was the church's MO way back in 1955 when Cardinal Stritch in Chicago stood over me and told me I had to lie in order to protect a greater good.

Plus, church attorneys Young and Woods both seem to believe that a priest would never tell a lie, especially under oath. Even Judge Fromholz pointed out that plaintiffs seem to have evidence that these priests are lying.

FROMHOLZ: "Plaintiffs argue that there is contrary testimony that he was given notice."

When Anthony DeMarco spoke the room fell silent, because his was practically the only rational voice.

DEMARCO: Under the statute of limitations it's if they knew, had reason to know, or were on notice, and that's the relevance.

WOODS: Did he know. Not whether he was suspicious or would have been suspicious.

DEMARCO: Knew, had reason to know, or was on notice. Actual knowledge is not the issue.

The rest of the attorneys went silent.

Fromholz granted the plaintiffs motions and depositions will now go forward on these six monsignors.



When the motion to make Cardinal Mahony respond came up, the attorneys went into the jury room. A clerk explained to me that the judge had ordered them to "meet and confer" on that motion. So anything that was said about Cardinal Mahony was said behind closed doors. It will take more document diving next week to find out what happened there.

Still church attorneys didn't stop trying to twist the truth and tie logic into knots, like Ms. Young for the archbishop saying, "If I ask a witness if he's perjuring himself how many are going to say yes?" I'm going "Real smart, church attorney lady, that's the plaintiffs' point exactly."

Church hierarchy witnesses are perjuring themselves because they think they're answering to a higher authority.

Church attorney Donald Woods even said, "The doctrine is that there is some higher value, not just the church."

At one point Woods had his arms up like an evangelical stupefied in prayer as he contradicted himself right there in public for everyone to see:

(From City of Angels Winging It Transcription Service)

FROMHOLZ: Why can't they answer what their understanding is? Some of them may think it's a

doctrine that permits them to state other than the truth in order to protect the church.

WOODS: That's not what the doctrine is.

FROMHOLZ: What the witness believes may be significant.

WOODS: But it's clearly not implying that. And we submitted the catechism. Doctrine is that there is some higher value, not just the church. This is just a plaintiffs' prejudicial argument that sidetracks us into giant red herrings, it's just -- it's just prejudicial.

FROMHOLZ: Almost all evidence is prejudicial.

WOODS: I don't know what evidence it would lead to. It's speculative. How does it lead to admissible evidence?

FROMHOLZ: Plaintiffs argue that there is contrary testimony that he has given notice.



City of Angels Lady recently realized it's not safe for me to cover these hearings without being in therapy at the same time. I freaked last week, lost it and ended up 5150 in a mental ward. Because as I write this blog about Los Angeles cases details of my own case are popping into my head in what I've learned now to call "flashbacks" as opposed to memories. Every now and then a detail in these cases makes my own case so vivid in my head. And I'm SOOOOOOO Angry.

But I never stop praying, in fact at this point in my life I try to stay in prayer 24 hours a day, it's the only way I can stay alive. In the mental health unit I adapted to the medicine and did everything the way they said to do it, and they lifted the hold on me Monday. I was able to get home in time to get to the hearings Tuesday. It was a God thing all the way. Now I'm leveled a little on meds and have joined a PTSD group and an Anger Management group with occasional time with a shrink to help me get through this.


More Church Lies

When Mahony took issue with the LA Times for its March 26, 2007, article about mental reservation, he announced on the archdiocese website: "The Times allows the lawyers suing the church to take a centuries-old theological discussion (it isn't doctrine) over what constitutes the telling of a lie, and fashion it into the 'doctrine of mental reservation.' The term isn't even found in the Catechism."

But Donald Woods stood before Judge Fromholz Tuesday and said, "We submitted the catechism," as his way of explaining away mental reservation. After the hearing Mr. Woods and I spoke and he assured me that all you have to do is google a catechism then type in mental reservation to read about it.

Well I did go to several online catechisms and typed in mental reservation and they all said, "no documents found, no documents match your query." Plus I believe the catechism is for the parishioners, not the priests, isn't it?

And as Ms. Young for the archbishop stated, these lies about pedophile priests are no more than lying about whether or not that's a pretty dress.

Gotta get to Anger Management class, more later.


Church Attorney Donald Woods re whether hierarchy witnesses are silently invoking mental reservation:

"This is more gamesmanship and speculation to create issues that don't exist."

Onward, more to come ...


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