It was only one phrase, but it raised hackles here…and in other places as well.
Of course it’s the Redemptorist Deadbeat Father story we’re talking about. And strange bedfellows – protected, I hope – this story makes, from Kissling to Novak to …
Levada was on vacation and unavailable to comment on the controversial legal stance, but the attorney who came up with it, Richard J. Kuhn, said he wrote Levada’s answer to the complaint strictly from a "common sense" legal perspective, without regard to Catholic teachings.
However, Kuhn, an outside attorney who was hired by the archdiocese to handle the case, questions whether Levada ever saw the document. "I doubt that the archbishop would have gotten a copy of the pleading," he said.
He said his best recollection about the proceeding was that he worked exclusively with the risk management department for the Archdiocese of Portland.
Kuhn said the defense he raised was probably based on his suspicion that Collopy got pregnant to keep Uribe out of the priesthood. "The archbishop shouldn’t be criticized for something I did that didn’t have anything to do with Catholic doctrine," Kuhn said. "It would be a different story if we sat down together and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ "
The Portland archdiocese also doubts that Levada was closely involved. "We understand that the attorney handling the case did not speak with Archbishop Levada on this issue, and that the archbishop had no input," said Bud Bunce, the archdiocese’s director of communication. But the fact that Levada may not have approved a legal argument filed under his name troubled some.
"Whether a bishop likes it or not, he has ultimate responsibility for a legal argument made on his behalf or upon behalf of his diocese," said Father Richard McBrien, a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame. "Archbishop Levada would have — or certainly should have — known what his lawyers were arguing on his behalf."
Donohue, of the Catholic League, added, "At the very least, [there was] a certain degree of carelessness on the part of the archdiocese" for allowing the argument to go forward.
It’s to be expected. You get in deep legal messes borne of sin, and your primary goal in legal action is to save your fiduciary skin, so you get sharp lawyers who really don’t give a flip about Catholic moral precepts.
But we know that already from how they’ve historically treat victims, don’t we?