Thursday, June 23, 2005

Attorney Daniel Shea and Co: Liberal Agenda to discredit Pope Benedict XVI? Part II

In his letter to Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, attorney Daniel Shea refers to canonical trials as "secret canonical trials" and goes on to suggest that "These so-called church trials are a sham." However, according to canonists, the fact that Crimen Sollicitationis was not designed to "cover up" sex abuse is made clear by a careful reading of paragraph 15, which obligates anyone with knowledge of a priest abusing the confessional for that purpose to come forward, under pain of excommunication for failing to do so. This penalty is stipulated, the document says, "lest [the offense] remain occult and unpunished and always with inestimable detriment to souls."

Canon lawyers have also noted that pontifical secrecy is not reserved solely for sexual abuse. Under a February 4, 1974 Instruction entitled "Secreta Continere," pontifical secrecy covers the following: 1. Documents for which pontifical secrecy is expressly indicated; 2. Affairs dealt with by the Secretariat of State under pontifical secrecy; 3. Doctrinal denunciations and publications of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as its investigations; 4. Extrajudicial denunciations of crimes against the faith or against morals, and crimes against the sacrament of penance, as well as the procedures leading to these denunciations; 5. Acts by Vatican representatives relative to matters covered by the pontifical secret; 6. Creation of Cardinals; 7. Nomination of bishops, apostolic administrators and other ordinaries with episcopal power, and the procedures related to these appointments; 8. Nomination of superiors and other major officials of the Roman curia; 9. Codes and coded correspondence; 10. Affairs and practices of the pope, of the chief cardinal or archbishop of a dicastery and of pontifical representatives.

Crimen Sollicitationes does not address the civil rights and responsibilities of the person alleging to have been solicited. Instead, as the statement of the USCCB makes clear, it is considering the good order of the Church's own internal life: the protection of the good names of the persons involved, the sacred nature of the sacrament of penance, and the potential for scandalizing the faithful etc. The document says nothing about the responsibility that the Church may have within the civil jurisdictions in which it lives and works.

Who is Daniel Shea?

Attorney Daniel Shea is a Houston, Texas-based lawyer who used to be a seminarian and whose hatred of the Church would seem to be rather evident based upon his own rhetoric. As already noted, he has referred to the Church as "a criminal institution" while asserting that "those who contribute to it any longer are aiding and abetting this criminal conduct called obstruction of justice." He has also asserted that "Ratzinger and Co" are engaging in an 'international conspiracy to obstruct justice."

Attorney Shea has also been a guest speaker for the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy. He spoke at their 2nd Conference which was held at the Hilton, Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas on August 26-29, 1993. His involvement with this group is documented at this website link: (p. 4).

At this website, readers may click on an article entitled "The International Bill of Gender Rights." #1 of this document reads: "All human beings carry within themselves an ever unfolding idea of who they are and what they are capable of achieving. The individuals sense of self is not determined by chromosomal sex, genitalia, assigned birth sex, or initial gender role. Thus, the individual's identity and capabilities cannot be cirumscribed by what society deems to be masculine or feminine behavior. It is fundamental that individuals have the right to define, and to redefine as their lives unfold, their own gender identities, without regard to chromosomal sex, genitalia, assigned birth sex, or initial gender role...Therefore, all human beings have the right to define their own gender identity regardless of chromosomal sex, genitalia, assigned birth sex, or initial gender role."

Does attorney Shea accept this philosophy? If so, and knowing where the Church stands on such issues, could this be a factor in his ongoing attacks against the Church?

Paul Anthony Melanson

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