Sunday, 31 May 2020

Covidiots - Minnesota Catholic Church 'Above the Law'

Bernard Hebda
Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Showing Backbone, MN Bishops Defy State

Showing not the slightest sign of contrition or humility, following the bankruptcy of the St. Cloud diocese in Minnesota, because of the $22.5 million payout to the victims of its predatory paedophile priests, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota issued a defiant letter about the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, calling for the ban on assembly in places of worship to be lifted and declaring the church to be above the law.

In defiance of Minnesota governor, Tim Waltz, the letter asserting the "independence of Body of Christ has from secular authority" and announced the resumption of public Masses beginning May 26.

Astonishingly, they felt entitled to announce that they had given their parishioners "permission for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass on Tuesday, May 26, which will give us time to be ready for the celebration of Pentecost on May 31." They feel they have the authority to "give permission" to Catholics to defy the lawful instructions of an elected state governor!

The letter, signed by all six bishops (only one of whose dioces is not now in a state of bankruptcy due to having to pay their share of the $210 million paid to 210 victims of their priests) states that the lockdown order is an order "that defies reason." Presumably, a Catholic bishop knows more about viruses and epidemiology than virologists and epidemiologists.

in their letter the bishops talk of "the vital importance of faith", which would seem to be more important than that other vital importance, the life of their parishioners. With the parlous state of their finances the "vital importance" is to keep the money supply flowing. Nothing concentrates mind of clergy as the thought that people could find they manage perfectly well without going to church and that life is in many ways better without the nosey interference of a parish priest in your personal affairs, especially one that you would not trust to be alone with your children.

The letter states that:

Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols we have published for sanitation and social distancing," the letter states, "and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church. No one will be obliged to attend, as the bishops of Minnesota will continue to dispense from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.

This limiting attendance to one-third of the seating capacity is the same as the joint one agreed between the Catholic church and some Lutheran clergy which was rejected by the governor on the grounds that it did not sufficiently safeguard the health and welfare of those gathered in the churches. Nevertheless, the Catholic bishops believe they know best, so they can overrule the governor.

This reassertion of the right of Catholic clergy to be exempt from the rule of law and to be entitled to make law for Catholics is an age-old one, stemming from the belief that Catholics are answerable only to the Pope and not to any head of government or head of state, and that Catholic priests are diplomats of the Vatican state, so should have diplomatic immunity. In effect, Catholics, especially in non-Catholic countries, are expected to behave like citizens of a foreign state and the church sees itself as an autonomous state within a state. In the past, in countries like Portugal and Spain, demands that the Catholic Church operate within the laws of the host nation were sufficient to precipitate a Catholic-led right-wing coup and the establishment of a totalitarian state.

My (now Atheist) partner was raised as a Catholic in the UK and was forbidden to join the Girl Guides because the then Guide oath swore allegiance to the Queen and her allegiance was to the Pope. This tendency and at times insistence, to operate as an autonomous state acting outside the law of the host nation was behind the refusal of priests, on the orders of Pope Benedict XVI with the threat of excommunication, to inform the law and child protection agencies of the crimes of predatory paedophile priests, preferring to 'deal with the problem internally'. Dealingf with it internally meant to cover it up and try to hide it from the authorities, and, in the case of senior clerics, to whip them off to Rome under diplomatic protection where they were safe from public criminal investigation and trial, to be given a slap on the wrist, a room of their own and free board and lodging while they 'did penance' for their sins and the church fought tooth and nail to shame their victims and avoid paying compensation.

It was this arrogant presumption of the freedom to operate outside the law of the host state that landed the Minnesota diocese into the present state of financial impecunity and public opprobrium and a legacy of 210 victims whose lives were ruined by Catholic priest, for recreation.

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