How Illegal?

Okay. Show of hands. Everybody reading is fairly sure that it’s bad for a priest to have sex with a person with whom he’s in a ministerial relationship, right? So, up (or not) with your hands.

Hands down. Tougher question: should it be illegal for a priest to have sex with such a person? And hands?

In liberal ol’ Minnesota, did you know it’s a felony?

A Saint Paul parish priest is seeking to have the felony charges thrown out. Unconstitutionality. Interesting take from the archdiocese:

Andrew Eisenzimmer, chancellor for civil affairs with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said the archdiocese has not taken a position on the constitutionality of the law. He said these types of cases are complex because of the restrictions on testimony about a particular religion’s practices or beliefs.

The Church wades in and wades deep in a lot of situations where both the morality is clear and the legality is complex or unclear. In the archdiocese’s defense, this case is already five years old.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to How Illegal?

  1. FrMichael says:

    My hand is up.

    It is not only gravely sinful but in secular term also a violation of a counselor-client relationship. Surely most jurisdictions have civil and/or criminal sanctions against counselors engaging in sexual relations with their clients. Or perhaps not– the world is going mad.

  2. Mike K says:

    And actually, if I’m reading the article correctly, would not he face excommunication and laicization because he took advantage of the priest/penitent relationship?

  3. crystal says:

    That seems kind of harsh. If this were the law of the land, that priest in Florida would have gone to jail instead of becoming an Episcopal priest and marrying his girlfriend.

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