Sunday, July 24, 2005
What would Jesus do?
Thanks to this article in the LA Times we know what the Redemptorists won't do
Single and unemployed, Stephanie Collopy asked a Portland judge this month to order her son's father to increase her child support and to add their chronically ill boy to his health insurance plan.Read the whole story, it gets worse.
Sitting on the witness stand in a white button-down shirt, gray slacks and blue blazer with a small gold cross on the lapel, Arturo Uribe — the 12-year-old boy's father — had an unusual defense: He is a Roman Catholic priest.
Uribe, who was a seminarian when he fathered the boy during a consensual affair with Collopy, had taken a vow of poverty and therefore had no money to support his son, he told the court. Now pastor of the 4,000-family St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Whittier, Uribe had never seen the boy, who was born in 1993.
And as for health insurance, Uribe said his plan — tailored for priests, nuns and brothers — didn't provide for children.
Uribe's legal argument worked.
Canon, or church, law didn't help Collopy either. It is silent on financial support for children fathered by priests. Still, several Catholic scholars said religious orders, such as the Redemptorists, should be guided by higher standards when it comes to providing for children. The Redemptorists are an order of missionaries, priests and brothers whose "special mission," according to its website, is "preaching the word of God to the poor."
Father John J. Coughlin, a professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School and canon law expert, said it was "customary" for religious orders to provide financial support for the children of its members.
"Given the special needs" of Collopy's child, who has chronic asthma and allergies, "it would seem that the Redemptorists have a moral obligation to contribute to the child's support … in accord with the order's ability to provide that financial support," Coughlin said.
Officials with the Redemptorists' Denver Province could not be reached for comment.
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