The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Archbishop bars prominent priest as canon lawyer

posted by deacon greg kandra

This news will likely be raising some eyebrows, since the man in question is one of the most prominent, outspoken and uncompromising voices working as an advocate for victims of clerical sex abuse:

Saying Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle had “failed to represent [clients] properly or effectively” in the church court in St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke has barred the priest from acting as a canon lawyer in the St. Louis archdiocese.

In a decree issued April 11 and printed in the archdiocesan newspaper, Burke justified his action by saying Doyle is guilty of two canonical crimes: “abuse of ecclesiastical function” and culpable negligence.

Doyle, long noted as an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, has a private practice as a canon lawyer representing people who, in his words, have “found themselves in disputes with the Catholic church or harmed in some way by the institutional church.”

Doyle said Burke’s action is an abuse of the church’s judicial process. Burke “has sorely misused and abused the canonical process as a way to get even with people who disagree with him or whom he sees as being in opposition to him,” Doyle told NCR.

In St. Louis, Doyle had been representing Stan Rozanski and Bernice Krauze, two members of the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka, a parish under interdict over a property dispute with the archdiocese. Other board members and the parish pastor, Fr. Marek Bozek, have also been excommunicated and have been consulting with Doyle.

Earlier this year, Burke refused to recognize Doyle as canon lawyer for Bozek in the diocese’s attempt to laicize him (NCR cover story, Feb. 22). The cases against the board and Bozek are now at the Vatican on appeal.

Burke’s decree says that Doyle failed to seek Burke’s permission to represent Rozanski and Krauze, missed deadlines for filing papers and didn’t appear before the St. Louis tribunal as summoned.

In a statement, Doyle said he didn’t get Burke’s approval to represent Krauze and Rozanski because he was already representing other board members. He acknowledged that he did miss a filing deadline, but said Burke had rejected his written explanation for the delay. He also acknowledged failing to obey summons to appear before the archbishop because he had judged the appearances to be “unnecessary, inconvenient and punitive in nature.”

According to Oblate Fr. Francis Morrisey, a member of the canon law faculty at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Burke’s decision to bar Doyle is highly unusual.

Canon law requires an advocate to “be of good repute,” so presumably a bishop can make a judgment about a particular person in a particular case. However, he said, “It is quite unusual for a bishop to refuse recognition for a canon lawyer to represent a person before a court in his diocese.”

Morrisey expressed uneasiness about this case. “Canon law was not designed to handle this type of situation,” he told NCR. “It can easily become a travesty of justice to apply all types of canons to situations that do not merit such an action.”

He suggests that the guiding canon should be 1341, which “strongly recommends that before any penal process is begun, there be previous steps, such as fraternal correction, reproof, methods of pastoral care and so forth.”

“A penal process is the last resort in canon law, and to impose penalties too readily goes very much against the principles that were accepted when the Code of Canon Law was being revised,” Morrisey said.

There’s more at the link.



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Scott

posted April 30, 2008 at 9:58 am


It seems as though Archbishop Burke sits around waiting for someone to club with his letter of the law interpretation of Canon Law. I put him in the same mold as Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. Bishop Fabian feels as though he doesn’t have to follow the National Catholic of Catholic Bishops’ regulations for The Protection of Children Act in his diocese. It’s ironical that Archbishop Burke is taking on Fr. Thomas Doyle who first addressed the Catholic bishops in the mid-1980′s about the severity of the abuse problem involving clergy, and his prophetic analysis fell on deaf ears.



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mfranks

posted April 30, 2008 at 4:33 pm


Consider the news source… The only objective reporter over there is the fair minded John L. Allen, Jr. as far as I can tell.Archbishop Burke is a conservative who’s been a thorn in the side of liberal/progressive – “We are the Church” Catholics for quite some time. I fail to see the relevance of this matter in their slanderous association to the ‘sexual abuse crisis’. This is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on Archbishop Burke.



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A Simple Sinner

posted April 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm


I know Scott – those mean old guys who are not fluid and bendy enough with folks we like, eh? Rotten rigid fundamentalist with their stupid full seminaries and diocese that are well run!“This news will likely be raising some eyebrows, since the man in question is one of the most prominent, outspoken and uncompromising voices working as an advocate for victims of clerical sex abuse: “However good he might be at “A” if he is problematic with “B” that doesn’t mean action “C” is not right.“He shouldn’t get a ticket for speeding – he started a recycling program!”



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Michael

posted April 30, 2008 at 7:21 pm


I know Scott – those mean old guys who are not fluid and bendy enough with folks we like, eh? Rotten rigid fundamentalist with their stupid full seminaries and diocese that are well run!I wouldn’t trust a single seminarian that Bruskewitz approved. Ever. Under any circumstances.



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A Simple Sinner

posted April 30, 2008 at 8:12 pm


The feeling could likely be mutual… Non sequiturs are as non sequiturs do I suppose.But if it is just about our personal opinions about these guys, I think the ones I have met are great…So that leaves us with one vote for, one vote against…



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Tom McFadden

posted April 30, 2008 at 10:01 pm


I do not know the situation but doesn’t the church require obiedience to our Priests Bishops et al…So wouldn’t stand that if the Bishop is wrong the Archbishop or Cardinal or if needed the Pope would step in and correct the situation?If so doiesn’t that make the Lay persons and Pastor wrong?As for the seminarians it takes many people to approve one to study for the priesthood. No one individual can say yeah or Nay. So if these seminarians approved by whatever controversial person have years of study to go through and can be removed at any time as many have been in the oast and will be in the future. Also under church law doesn’t the bishop “own” all Catholic property in his diocese. Therefor it would be the bishops decision not the pastor or layity.As Jesus said “A house divided among itself cannot stand.” As Catholics we have enough external enemies without having internal ones as well.



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Scott

posted May 1, 2008 at 6:11 am


I thought that vocations (i.e., full seminaries) came from God through faith-filled families, not from Archbishop Burke or Bishop Bruskewitz.



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A Simple Sinner

posted May 1, 2008 at 7:12 am


“I thought that vocations (i.e., full seminaries) came from God through faith-filled families, not from Archbishop Burke or Bishop Bruskewitz. “Scott don’t be pedantic. Who said they didn’t come from God?But if we want to be just that simplistic – Why did God sent +Burke & +Bruskewitz so many?



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Scott

posted May 1, 2008 at 8:24 am


“But if we want to be just that simplistic – Why did God sent +Burke & +Bruskewitz so many?”God sent the Church so many vocations as the action of Divine grace in response to prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit. You neglect to mention vocation-rich dioceses such as Cheyenne, Rapid City, Alexandria, Pensacola-Tallahassee, Spokane, and Bismarck as though Lincoln & St. Louis have a monopoly on vocations because of the actions of their Ordinaries.



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A Simple Sinner

posted May 1, 2008 at 9:05 am


“You neglect to mention vocation-rich dioceses such as Cheyenne, Rapid City, Alexandria, Pensacola-Tallahassee, Spokane, and Bismarck as though Lincoln & St. Louis have a monopoly on vocations because of the actions of their Ordinaries. “If you want to read about more vocations success still, Counting Blessings….. « Per ChristumI neglect to mention a lot of places as those aren’t places we were discussing. If you want we could talk about the Norbertines in Orange County, the Ann Arbor Dominicans, the Nashville Dominicans, the Fraternity of Saint Peter, The Sisters of Life, The Clear Creek Benedictines, the Diocese of Arlington… I can spend all day talking about those great places.We could go on and on – but don’t make more out of the omission than it was. I don’t meniton all these other places because we weren’t talking about any of these other places, Scott.Let us not go round for round with pedantic semantics on the matter. If Father Thomas Doyle happens to have been the fella that did something very good back in the day but is not having issues with his Archbishop over something else… Well what I do wrong doesn’t get erased or get a pass because of what I have done right.



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Scott

posted May 1, 2008 at 9:45 am


“If Father Thomas Doyle happens to have been the fella that did something very good back in the day but is not having issues with his Archbishop over something else…”Archbishop Burke is not Father Thomas Doyle’s archbishop. Father Doyle is a Dominican priest with residence in the Archdiocese of Chicago, responsible to his Prior Provincial, and indirectly to Cardinal George. I apologize if it irks me that Fr. Doyle is presumed wrong in the current matter of Canon Law in the Archdiocese of St. Louis because Archbishop Burke says it is so. I am aware of Archbishop Burke’s credentials, but I am also aware of Fr. Doyle’s credentials, and the latter is no lightweight. The rights of the downtrodden are protected in the Church as well as in jurisprudence in the United States. As far as I know, the matter has been appealed to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota for a decision.



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Mike

posted May 1, 2008 at 10:53 am


Before you bring Doyle up for canonization, you should consider that he is one of the founders of the “Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church”, an organization that advocates, among other things, female priests, remarriage of divorced Catholics without need for annulment, and free and open distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ to all comers, “regardless of race, age, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, state-of-life, or social position”.Having said that, the fact is that he failed to keep three appointments with the Archbishop, saying that to do so would be “inconvenient”. Now he whines that the Archbishop hasn’t spoken to him.I’m sorry, but the Archbishop is well within his rights (and duties, for that matter) to refuse to allow Doyle to be an officer of the court in his Archdiocese. In spite of the tone of the original post and several of the comments, he is protecting the rights of the accused by insisting that they be represented by someone who might actually show up.



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Tony

posted May 8, 2008 at 12:37 pm


Bishop Fabian feels as though he doesn’t have to follow the National Catholic of Catholic Bishops’ regulations for The Protection of Children Act in his diocese. That’s right. He’s not accountable to a lay committee set up by his brother bishops.I believe he has a much better program in place. Teaching Catholic sexual morality from the ambo.



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