Some of the members have expressed concern to me over the time of the Society's existence about Sylvia's Site. I have always had a 'wait and see' attitude, fueled in no small part by my desire to extend a little bit more slack toward the victim lobby than pure jurisprudential reason alone would allow. Today, however, I was rather disturbed by what I read in her latest post: read it here.
I have communicated with Sylvia a few times over the last few years and have always found her to be very humble and obliging. That has tended to reassure me. Yet I have read enough about justice going bad to have been really disturbed by the kind of things I was reading in this latest post.
I think more - much more - work needs to be done to clean out the Church, and in that regard I am 100% alongside the goal of her blog. Yet a blog is not a private sphere of private contemplation. Legislation is catching up with the internet and perhaps some day we will have a better idea of what constitutes online defamation, etc. But so far, a blogger seems to have a great deal of freedom to harm another's good reputation. I am practically libertarian when it comes to free speech, but fueling speculation that another person is perpetrating, or has perpetrated, illegal activities should be against the law, in my opinion. Frankly, priests don't have it easy these days, and it is the fault of the few bad apples, not the majority. Law is at its best when it serves to ensure every person receives due-process, including the presumption of innocence.
As many of you know, I spent one year in the seminary. When I announced my desire to become a priest, a family member, someone very dear to me, said, "I hope you don't become one of those molesters." Suspicion hurts. It is unchristian. But people are astronomically stupid, even the best of us. Because of human stupidity, we need law. Innocent people deserve it, and it is usually very difficult to sort out the innocent from the guilty - that is why the legal system is so expensive to run.
If you want to make sure that none of the guilty get away, you employ the tactics of someone like Joseph Stalin. But no one got away from Stalin, neither the innocent nor the guilty.
So, now that I have stacked the deck, I put the question out in the open, as all these things deserve to be: should I remove Sylvia's Site from the SCCB roll or not? I am all ears.