Hi, and welcome back to the Archdiocese v. St. Stan’s proceedings.  I was able to send another observer into the courtroom downtown today, and he was present for a treat.  The career anti-Church “expert” witness, Father Thomas Doyle, O.P., testified in open court today.  Of course, he was testifying against the Archdiocese.

That is Fr. Doyle in the photo above.  Yes, he is wearing a suit.  No, he is not wearing clerical attire.  Yes, I am told he wore a similar suit today in Court.  Yes, he is a priest.  Yes, he is a canon lawyer.  Yes, as a canon lawyer he should be aware of canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law (1983):

Can. 284

Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.

Perhaps he forgot.

Anyway, this is the same lawyer who was found guilty of two canoncial delicts under Canon 1389 by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke, then-Archbishop of Saint Louis.  In that decree, Archbishop Burke wrote:  “As a result of the instant case, any solicitation, on the part of Rev. Doyle, to provide canonical advice or representation is deemed inept by the same Archbishop.”

This is the guy who was hired as the canon law expert by the schismatic board and its faux-pastor.  

Anyway, the following is from the report of today’s observer:

Fr. Doyle took the stand wearing a snazzy business suit– not his Dominican habit– after much sidebar discussion among the lawyers and the judge.  Apparently, there was an objection to the entirety of his testimony, but in the end he was allowed to testify, albeit with some restrictions on the record of proceedings in the ecclesiastical processes which are ongoing.  In other words, only the civil law related matters were subject to testimony.

As it turned out, however, Doyle (who in a mild surprise did not bring his own microphone) testified freely as to all kind of opinions– about canon law, civil law, the proper role of a bishop, etc.  Substantive objections to testimony were all overruled.

However, even in direct testimony Fr. Doyle made a few damning admissions.  He admitted he blew a filing deadline “by one day” in the case that led to his discipline by Archbishop Burke.  He admitted he did not submit the necessary requests for permission to represent parties therein.  He admitted he ignored summonses by the Archbishop and did not appear.  The hilarious thing to me was that clearly the St. Stan’s lawyer thought all this made Cardinal Burke look bad, but not Fr. Doyle.

If I could have stayed for cross-examination, my first question would have been, “You’ve been deemed incompetent by the Church to act as a canon lawyer in this Archdiocese, right?” And I would have followed with, “So, I guess you’re not a canon law expert then, right?”  And so on. 

Fr. Doyle testified that he wrote a letter to the Bozek and his friends at the former parish back in 2008 to the effect that they should just ignore Archbishop Burke’s letter to them warning of their spiritual peril; basically, he said the Archbishop was flat wrong.  I guess it is easy for a dissident canonist to discount the opinion of perhaps the finest canon lawyer of our time in Cardinal Burke.  But then again, I don’t think it’s in Doyle’s mindset to play second fiddle. 

Specifically, he said there was no authentic basis for His Eminence to warn the faithful that if they knowingly received sacraments from Mr. Bozek they would possibly commit mortal sin.  However, in answer to the one-question-too-many by the St. Stan’s lawyer (who, by the way, is a dead ringer for Harry Reid) whether Doyle thought they were committing mortal sin, he didn’t say “no.”  Instead, he correctly stated the classic test for mortal sin (grave matter, knowledge, full and deliberate consent) and said “You’d have to ask them.”  If I were a Stan’s member and my ears were open, that wouldn’t make me too comfortable.

After that, the bulk of his testimony related to the interplay between the parish, some individuals, and the Board, on issues of standing in canonical proceedings and in civil law matters. 

Near the end, he criticized Archbishop Burke, stating that the faithful’s duty to be obedient had to be balanced against the Bishop’s duty to “preserve communio” and to deal in mutual respect.  That answer, to me, encapsulates in testimony what Doyle identified early on as his three specialties, “canon law, addiction therapy, and political science.”  Oprah would be proud.

Finally, the Stan’s lawyer, for some reason I cannot fathom, read to him excerpts from the St. Louis Review and had him parse the language as though it were a Papal encyclical.  Weird.

All in all, knowing he was hired to discredit the Archdiocese, the testimony was relatively harmless.  I hope they didn’t pay him too much.

I had to leave before cross, but I wanted to tell you that Bishop Thomas Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and a fine canonist himself (with Polish community connections) was at the Archdiocese’s table, presumably as a rebuttal witness.  Sorry I missed it.

Good luck, love the blog–keep up the good work.