Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Katelynn Sills and the Catholic School That Isn't

No doubt you've all been following the story of Katelynn Sills, the student at Loretto High School in Sacramento, California, who has been expelled following her outing of a teacher there who was a volunteer at an abortion clinic. The school's administration fired the teacher only after being forced to do so by the Bishop of Sacramento, William Weigand, and Katelynn's expulsion has all the appearance of retaliation on the part of the school.

The question is "can the bishop do anything about this?" The chancellor of the Sacramento diocese says "no", but canonist extraordinaire Pete Vere disagrees. (link courtesy of Mark Shea)

Coinicidentally enough, I also agree with Pete. And, in a sense, I agreed with him two years ago, before any of this happened. A couple of years ago (August 2003) I wrote an article for Catholic World Report titled "The Bishops' Disciplinary Options", in which I explained just what canonical avenues were open to a bishop trying to deal with a dissenting and/or disobedient Catholic institution in his diocese.

Here is a link to the article: "The Bishops' Disciplinary Options". When you click on the link, the article will be downloaded to your computer as an "RTF" (Rich Text Format) file. This is a standard interchange document format that any word processing application can read. Depending on your software and configuration, your computer may automatically open it for you. If not, you can open it via your word processor.

I think Bishop Weigand can do quite a bit about Katelynn's situation. Of course, as I write in the article, it's ultimately up to him to make the prudential judgment about what should be done and what the best course of action is.