Philly monsignor’s going to jail for covering up child sex abuse

Msgr. William J. Lynn is the first U.S. Roman  Catholic official to be convicted and sentenced to jail (three to six years in a decision handed down Tuesday) for covering up the church’s child sex abuse scandal.

You can read more here. Given the environment post the Freeh Report on Penn State, do you think other church officials will follow?

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  1. If we accept Ann Casey’s assessment, “It was his vow of obedience to the church that landed him this morning in jail,” then it would follow that those who issued such orders to faithful devotees like Flynn, knowing they would comply without any deference to secular law, would suffer the same penalties.
    Mens rea. Actus reus. Attendant circumstance. Basic criminal law.
    But until I see someone like Dolan behind bars, I’m not going to get my hopes up.

    Winnifred Fallers Sullivan writes, in the latest contribution to the Immanent Frame series on sex abuse in the Catholic Church, on Separationism and the sex abuse crisis:

    Surely each of these positions [1.that all privileges and special treatment for religion should end. 2. protection for religious liberty should focus on the church, not the individual.] is, in its own way, a profoundly inadequate response to the massive pain evident in these events and, more generally, to the gaps left by the modern church-state settlement. In each position, authority is misrecognized and mislocated. The first, overly confident of the possibilities of progressive law reform simply refuses religious authority of any kind; the second, founded in a narrow Christian sectarianism, abdicates any responsibility for participation in a serious dialogue about the larger common good.

    I’m not sure I completely agree because I have difficulty recognizing any religious “authority” outside the walls of a church. But I shall ruminate upon it as I enjoy the message that small degree of justice visited upon William Flynn sends to his cohorts.

  2. I wonder how much time he will actually serve. For all the damage done, the sentence sounds light to me.

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