Catholic Archbishop Unsure if Sex With Children is Illegal

Canon Law 1180sArchbishop Robert Carlson testified last month that he “wasn’t sure” if he knew — in the 1980s — that it was illegal for priests to have sex with children.

We don’t usually comment on the credibility of witnesses in lawsuits we are not involved in, but EVERYONE KNOWS IT IS ILLEGAL TO HAVE SEX WITH CHILDREN. And it was in the 1980s when Carlson was was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was illegal to have sex with children in the 1880s. And in the 1580s. And in the 880s.

In fact, The Didache, one of the earliest surviving examples of canon law or Church law, dating from the late first or early second century, condemns illicit sex and the corruption of young boys, which is interpreted to mean sex with children. As the Catholic Church grew and its teachings and laws became more formalized, canon law has always condemned and penalized the sexual abuse of children by priests. Archbishop Carlson would know this just as every priest and every bishop knows this. It is part of the Church’s teaching.

Most people who aren’t trying to justify their actions or cover up for the actions of others know that sexual activity with children is abuse and a crime. It’s a matter of common sense and this common sense notion is codified in both civil and canon law. And that is what a jury is going to say too.

Shame on you, Archbishop. Shame on you, and your lawyers.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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