With Quentin’s blessing, John Candido writes: –
According to journalist Peter Stanford, writing in ‘The Independent, Jack Mahoney could be headed for controversy and an appointment with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Mahoney has previously been in trouble with the Vatican with a book he published in 1984 called, ‘Bioethics and Belief: Religion and Medicine in Dialogue’. In this title he examined the ethics of abortion and the question of ensoulment, or when does a foetus acquire a soul, among other issues.
If Professor Jack Mahoney SJ is brought before the CDF, for his recent book called, ‘Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration’, will the Congregation operate as if the modern world had passed it by? Will the CDF replicate past examples of its treatment of academics and operate without contemporary standards of legal due process? If the treatment of the recently sacked Bishop of Toowoomba in Australia is anything to go by, then Jack Mahoney could be headed towards interesting times.
In a recent article in ‘The Age’ newspaper in Australia it has been estimated by two authoritative sources that Bishop William Morris (who was removed from office five years after he wrote a pastoral letter indicating he would be open to ordaining women and married men if Church rules changed to allow such a possibility),
‘…was denied procedural fairness and natural justice, and that his treatment was ”offensive” to the requirements of both civil and canon (church) law’,
The above quote is attributed to Queensland Supreme Court judge The Hon. W. J. Carter. The other critic of the Morris case is leading Australian canon lawyer, Father Ian Waters from Melbourne. Procedural fairness is a natural part of due process in law, and the goal of such guidelines is to ensure justice and fairness for anyone who is accused of an offence under law, state or ecclesiastical law. These guidelines are terribly important as a safeguard to anyone’s human rights.
According to Father Ian Waters,
“Pope Benedict breached canon law and exceeded his authority in removing Bishop Morris without finding him guilty of apostasy, heresy, or schism, and without following the judicial procedures canon law requires”.
Can a sophisticated society such as ours tolerate any organisation which operates without recourse to fairness and justice? Or can we, or must we, reluctantly or otherwise, make an exception for religious entities?
(Quentin adds the following from The Tablet’s Vatican Correspondent, Robert Mickens. Mickens writes in the same context: “Quite simply, the crisis is this: the structures of the Catholic Church are no longer adequate for life in the modern world or responsive to the developments of the Church’s own ecclesiology and self-understanding. “ 25 Feb 2012.)