08 May 2008

Disciplined Canon Lawyer Fr. Doyle Responds to Archbishop Burke

Fittingly enough, he does so via a dissenter website.

The entire response is contained at the linked site. Due to length, I will only quote excerpts here. However, to alleviate the concerns of those who support anyone who has a beef with Archbishop Burke, I invite everyone to read the entire response. Also, you can read the Archbishop's decree here.

There are a number of interesting issues raised by Doyle's letter. Excerpts and commentary below:


Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C

I. Background

I believe it is necessary that I present a response to Archbishop Burke’s “extrajudicial decree” which was published in the Catholic paper in St. Louis. In doing so I will not get into detail about the various canonical issues involved. I do not intend this response to be part of any form of debate with the archbishop or the archdiocese nor do I intend it to be a personal attack on him.

If this letter isn't intended to be part of any form of debate with the Archbishop or Archdiocese, then why publish this letter? The answer, I believe, is that Doyle has met his match in the field of canon law and must rally his natural friends and supporters in the public arena, by giving his view of events. Fine. Why not say that this is his intent? Why pretend this is not part of a very public "debate"?

The board has consistently refused, believing that ownership should be held in the name of those who actually donate funds for the support of the parish. As a result of their refusal Archbishop Burke decided that the board members had committed the canonical crime of Schism. The basic argument of the board is that neither they nor the parishioners intend to sever ties with the Roman Catholic Church. They are in disagreement with Archbishop Burke which, they argue, does not constitute schism. Catholic Church law does not require the archbishop to hold title or own the parish property and its resources.

From the decree signed by Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos in 2004 rejecting the recourse (appeal) of the St. Stan's Board:

Whereas, the current board of directors and members of the civil corporation have amended the corporate documents of the civil corporation so that the parish is not in conformity with the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, namely cann. 209, 519, 532, 536, 537, 1257, and 1276;

Whereas, on 19 March 2004, the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, the Ordinary of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, wrote to all of the faithful of the parish insisting that the parish structure comply with the norm of Church law, or it would be declared to be no longer a Roman Catholic Parish;

...Now, therefore, the Congregation for the Clergy hereby decrees that the petition for recourse against the Most Rev. Ordinary’s dispositions of 19 March 2004 is rejected both de decernendo and de procedendo and judged to have no basis in law or in fact.

(Signed Dario Cardinal Castrillon) Given at the Seat of the Congregation for the Clergy, 11 November, 2004.

Note that Doyle seeks to tie his own canonical problems to the glorious fight for St. Stan's. He wants the reader to believe that he is a victim of an unjust process because he dared help St. Stan's fight for its canonical rights. This is misdirection, because regardless of the merits of St. Stan's Board Members' claims, his own conduct was found to have violated canon law.

The parish elected two new members to replace two members whose terms had ended. After their election, Archbishop Burke informed them that unless they resigned from the board they would be excommunicated. They then asked me to serve as their advocate before the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I agreed and they presented mandates of appointment to the archbishop. They each received a summons to appear on September 4, 2007 in which they were told to respond within 21 “useful days.” The letter did not explain to them what the term “useful days” meant. They then contacted me and asked for assistance.

It is important to note here that he acknowledges that he was contacted by Krauze and Rozanski after (I assume immediately after, but that is not stated) they received a summons to appear on September 4, 2007, giving them 21 days to respond. Remember how his representation agreement with Rozanski was dated August 5? How is it possible that Rozanski hired Doyle to represent him in a matter that did not arise until a month later? Remember, also, that Krauze's agreement was dated September 5. Why the difference in date? Is it possible that these agreements were created much later and back-dated? Or perhaps that they were contemporaneously created but undated, and later incorrectly dated? Can there be any other explanation?

Now, for the timing of the response. September 4 plus 21 days equals September 25. Is the term "useful days" really so mystifying? To someone with a legal education? Doyle admits in the paragraph below that he did not respond as directed by the Archbishop or as he was retained to do by his clients until October 6. However, even here the dates are doubtful. The mandates referred to above that he says were submitted were not submitted until October 17, twenty days after the Archbishop issued the decree of forfeiture of the right to defense.

II. The canonical process against me

I wrote to Archbishop Burke on Oct. 6, 2007 and informed him that I had been asked to represent Mrs. Krauze and Mr. Rozanski. I also explained that I had been unable to respond earlier because of serious family obligations. I did not see a need to go into detail about the nature of these obligations since I expected enough good will on the part of the archbishop that he would not consider the delay to be a major problem. I also did not elaborate on the serious nature of the family problems for reasons of confidentiality. On October 15, 2007 I received the first of three summonses’ to appear in St. Louis to be informed of the details of canonical charges being brought against me by the archbishop. I responded by letter on November 9, 2007. On December 12, 2007 a second summons was sent to my home ordering me to appear in St. Louis.

I responded to the second summons on December 12, 2007 and informed the archbishop that I was unable to respond earlier or to send detailed rebuttals to his statements to Mrs. Krauze and to Mr. Rozanki. I informed him that I was experiencing some serious personal health issues that required testing, evaluation and therapy. Again, I did not go into detail because I did not believe that it was necessary.

On February 3, 2008 I received a “Decree of Contumacy” from Archbishop Burke to which I did not respond. On April 9, 2008 I received the “Decree of Extra-judicial Adjudication” from Archbishop Burke. This decree was published in the Archdiocesan newspaper.

The summons and other decrees are part of a process that has been carried out within the context of Canon Law and not civil law. I found all of the Archbishop’s letters and decrees, especially his final decree to me, to be written in a convoluted, legalistic style which made it very difficult to follow the texts and to comprehend what the archbishop was trying to say. In 30 years of practice as a canonist I don’t ever recall seeing decrees from any source which were as confusing as these.

If there were serious reasons that prevented Doyle from responding to a judicial summons issued by a competent authority, it is incumbent upon him to provide the details. He didn't think it was necessary? Would any civil lawyer write to a Judge and tell him he couldn't get to responding to his orders and not give proof of serious reasons for the inability to do so? Even if he gets credit for the first refusal, the subsequent admonitions from the Archbishop put him clearly on notice that his summary excuses were not sufficient.

Also, Doyle has a problem with dates again. The first summons from the Archbishop was November 3, not October 15.

Doyle admits, in the end, that he did not respond to the Archbishop's Decree of Contumacy in February.

Doyle was thus apparently incapable of doing anything for his clients from the time the Board was elected in August until the decree of forfeiture of right to defense on September 27. His taking of the case under these circumstances harmed his clients. Thus the penalties to Doyle.

Finally, Doyle faults the Archbishop for writing in a "convoluted, legalistic style" that made it difficult for him to follow and understand. A canon lawyer was thus put off by legalistic writing style. OK.

I believe that what he has done is this: he has reacted to the fact that I failed to answer the initial summons sent to Mrs. Krauze and Mr. Rozanski within the period of 21 useful days. He has also reacted to the fact that I did not explicitly ask his permission to act as their advocate. The letters which I sent in response were apparently not sufficient so he reacted by charging me with a canonical crime.

He nails it here. These acts are exactly why he was disciplined. He didn't respond. And he didn't submit his mandate as required under canon law. He is a canon lawyer. He didn't follow proper canonical procedure. What is his mystification here? Perhaps because he is not used to bishops who actually know canon law or seek to actually enforce it. Fr. Doyle, meet Archbishop Burke.

Doyle failed to appear or respond to the Archbishop's summonses all the way until April 9, the date the decree of extra-judicial adjudication. Why did he never do so?

Canon lawyer Doyle does not mention Canon 1465: §1 The so-called canonical time limits are fixed times beyond which rights cease in law. They cannot be extended, nor can they validly be shortened except at the request of the parties.

That means that if you don't comply with the canonically set time limits, RIGHTS CEASE IN LAW. This seems pretty clear to me, and would provide a good reason to respond to the relevant time limits.

III. My Response

I have never heard of a “Decree of Extrajudicial Adjudication.”


Archbishop Burke’s decree was the culmination of a purely subjective process that contained none of the required elements for due process of law.

I believe any reasonable observer will find that the Archbishop followed canonical procedure and ensured due process of law. That is a matter for appeal, I suppose. Good luck with that argument.

He has acted as the judge and prosecutor and has presumed the authority to reject the plaintiffs’ choice of defense attorney and appointed a substitute from his own staff. For a legal system or legal action to fulfill what it is intended for, there must not only be justice, but the appearance of justice. In the case of Archbishop Burke’s version of canon law there is neither.

This is some evidence that either Doyle writes speeches for Bozek, or Bozek writes speeches for Doyle.

Archbishop Burke stated that “the accused has, in an habitual manner, publicly committed objective denials of definitive truths of the faith.” He used this same line of argument in his justification for not allowing me to serve as Fr. Bozek’s advocate. First, my theological opinions have nothing to do with my capability to serve objectively and competently as an advocate before a church tribunal. In fact, the Code of Canon Law does not include membership in the Catholic Church as an absolute requirement to serve as an advocate. It is recommended that advocates be Catholic but in fact there are canon lawyers in several countries who are not Catholics. I have never heard of canonical advocates being subjected to a test or evaluation of their theological “orthodoxy” as a prerequisite for acting in this capacity.

What is most unfortunate about the archbishop’s subjective judgment of me in regard to having publicly denied truths of the faith is that it is an unfounded and slanderous accusation. He failed to cite anything specific nor did he specify any particular sources. He and I have never spoken to each other much less engaged in any form of conversation about my theological opinions.

Canon 1483 states: The procurator and advocate must have attained their majority and be of good repute. The advocate is also to be a Catholic unless the diocesan Bishop permits otherwise, a doctor in canon law or otherwise well qualified, and approved by the same Bishop. A Catholic, and especially a Catholic who holds himself out to be an expert in Canon Law and who represents clients in Catholic tribunals, cannot be of good repute if he publicly rejects Church teaching. His "theological orthodoxy" is thus directly relevant. Only those persons who dissent from Church teaching would maintain that public support for heterodoxy has no bearing on a person's reputation. Just because Doyle "never heard" of a Bishop who cared about this section doesn't make it wrong for Archbishop Burke to so care.

Then, Doyle stoops to accuse Archbishop Burke of making slanderous accusations. Ironic, perhaps, but let's look at some evidence. The following article was published in The Patriot Ledger on March 22, 2004:

Dissenting priest scornful of pope, bishops

The Patriot Ledger

... On other subjects, the Rev. Doyle said he ‘‘can't see any problem'' with gay marriage. Heterosexual marriage has been destroying itself, he added.

He also said he believes women should be allowed to become ordained priests and that he believes priests should be allowed to marry.

He said John Paul II has ‘‘done more harm to the body of Christ than any pope in 700 years,'' citing the pope's handling of the priest sex abuse scandals, appointments of ultraconservative bishops and centralization of power.

The Rev. Doyle's lecture was sponsored by the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a lay organization formed in 2002 in response to the sex-abuse crisis in Boston...

That article was found with a simple google search. Other writings of Doyle's have been canvassed here before.

He has no idea what my opinions are on any matter of Church doctrine or practice including such issues as ordination of women, married priesthood or the source of episcopal authority. In any case, the present official positions on these issues are not definitive or infallible church teaching. There is no such thing as “creeping infallibility” which amounts to claiming that something becomes infallible simply because a pope or bishop stated it several times in a row.

The infallible nature of the teaching that women cannot be ordained has been discussed here at length. Doyle perhaps wishes it weren't infallible, but that is not his call to make. Sodomitical acts are against the natural moral law; to be fair, the article does not make it clear if he were referring to "gay marriage" as a purely positivistic legal concept and not as a possible reality.

In the end, Doyle wants to have it both ways. He is a canon lawyer who wants to avoid penalties for failing to comply with the requirements of canon law. His public statements undermine the foundations for the canon law, and encourage the faithful to see it as arbitrary and unfair. He knowingly undertook certain canonical obligations, and wishes to change the subject once he was judged to have failed to meet those obligations.

Remember, it's all about St. Stan's money...


Anonymous said...

All Fr. Doyle's reply can be summed up like this: “My puppy dog ate my homework”. He says,

1.) I couldn't reply to the Archb. on time. I was so sick I couldn't reach for a phone.

2.) I'm a Canon Lawyer but I can't read canon law. Can't someone please tell me what "useful days" means?

3.) I'm caught. So Daddy, let's talk about something else, like he Kenrick rules for St. Stan's.

4.) I'm not attacking Church doctrine, I'm only defending a heretic and keeping him from trouble by telling him he's not in trouble when he is. This will get him an appeal based on his inept defense.

5.) And lastly, I just won't mention the charge that I falsified documents. Nobody cares about that anyway. Maybe if we don't talk about it that will just go away.

Jeremy said...

"All Fr. Doyle's reply can be summed up like this: “My puppy dog ate my homework”. He says, "