Mr. Jim Corcoran, the self-described abhorrent, disobedient catholic who initiated the OHRC complaint against internal Roman Catholic matters, feels a litle stressed out these days. After all, he didn’t expect that Bishop DeAngelis, one of the defendants in his complaint, would be allowed to publicly defend himself. I mean, how can you bend these millenia-old religious institutions to your enlightened will if the clergy are allowed to get uppity like this?
In a stunning twist of irony, Corcoran compares his experience to that of the victims of the Catholic Inquisitions:
This past week was a little stressful as one of the respondents to the HRC case decided to use his office and all of the Catholic Churches in the Peterborough diocese to establish his authority, and my guilt, and to spread his version of recent events that is substantially different than what I perceive the facts to be (sound familiar?).
Well, let’s see… during the medieval Inquisitions, the Catholic Church was forbidden to perform any sentences on heretics – that was done by the state. In fact, the worst of all the inquisitions was the Spanish Inquisition, which was set up by the ruling monarchs, and not the church. Inquisitions only came about when the state and church meddled in each other’s affairs, exactly what Corcoran and the OHRT are doing right now.
We can also make numerous comparisons between the Inquisition procedures and that of the Human Rights Tribunals. The prosecution was infinitely funded, while the defendant was financially ruined even if proven innocent. The accused did not have the right to face or question his accuser. The process was kept secret from the public. Outright acquittals were rare. The Inquisition encouraged the public to rat out their neighbors.
Bishop DeAngelis has a duty, much less a right, to defend himself and the church. Defendants in criminal and civil cases always have a right to free speech and the presumption of innocence. DeAngelis was also correct in using his office to communicate his position; the OHRC complaint is against Catholic doctrine and the authority of the bishop over church matters, and not DeAngelis himself.