In a recent talk in Eastern Europe, Archbishop Charles Chaput criticized increasing ant-Christian sentiment in the West. He gave as an example the police raid of the Cardinal's residence, which he characterized as being conducted without due process.It seems to me the only question to be asked is whether the Belgian police followed the established procedures they would have followed if investigating any other suspects of child pornography and child abuse. (Belgian due process applies--not American.) And that question, it seems to me, should be asked. The procedures seem very rough. But I don't know the answer--maybe they are always very rough. I've only seen FBI raids on television.If this is the way the police proceed in every case, then it seems to me there is no question of discrimination against Christians--though there may or may not be separate reasons to call into question police procedures. Law enforcement officials should proceed the same way when investigating bishops, priests, rabbis, imams, and lay people of all stripes. We are all equal under the law. No one is above the law. There is no "benefit of clergy," so to speak. (There also should be no "benefit of celebrity, "---but that's a separate blog post.)Surely, Archbishop Chaput cannot be saying that members of the hierarchy deserve preferential treatment at the hands of secular law in the matter of investigating child abuse? Can he?UPDATE: The search was ruled illegal--but it's not clear why.

Cathleen Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor in the Theology Department and Law School at Boston College.

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

© 2024 Commonweal Magazine. All rights reserved. Design by Point Five. Site by Deck Fifty.