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« Thought For the Moment | Main | The Octopus Grows Another Tentacle »

June 21, 2004

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How about bringing criminal RICO charges against the Catholic Church? We could seize their assets...I mean, the Church has money to spend $200 million to build one church - they are loaded.

I say, let the church continue spouting off stupidity re: Kerry and communion....and let the Republicans continue to be seen gloating about the actions of an organization that has actively harbored pedophiles.

Wouldn't the RICO act be far more appropriate ?

Catholicism is a religion and believers are entitled to the same tax-exempt status as any other ( whether religious institutions should be tax exempt in the first place is another debate). We have to separate the religion as a whole from a numerically small but dangerous camarilla of criminal pederasts.

It seems what we have here in the pedophilia scandal is within the heirarchy of the Catholic Church a concerted conspiracy to a) obstruct justice and b)at least a reckless disregard of the criminal activity that is likely to continue as a result. I'm not an attorney so I'm not familiar with the fine distinctions within criminal law but " accessory after the fact " is a phrase that comes to mind with prelates who have covered up sexual criminal acts against children by their subordinates.

If employees of Pepsi or Burger King were raping and sodomizing children on a national basis is there any chance this would not be a major Federal investigation ?

When two commenters from opposite ends of the spectrum make the same suggestion simultaneously, it's either exactly the right thing or a near-universally-held mistaken belief (but who can tell the difference?). So, RICO it is.

Mark- I'm firmly in the pay-your-own-damn-taxes camp, but between the electioneering (they're gonna put an image of W on the communion wafer next) and criminal activities, I'd say the IRS Code should provide for their exemption to be yanked if it doesn't.

I agree that a fair amount of money that moves tax free under the religious exemption is not what was originally intended in terms of promoting bona fide charitable activity.

As a matter of principle we have to have a level playing field between various religions and sects -singling one group out for punishment, even meritorious punishment, probably runs afoul of the establishment clause. What applies to the order of the Norbertine brothers must apply to Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Baptists, Lutherans etc. etc.

As a practical matter, any politician could hardly do otherwise given the size of the Catholic following in the United States. Yanking the exemption is probably not " doable" but using the issue as a wedge for tax code reform/enforcement on political activities by tax- exempt institutions may be.

Nice post and discussion. RICO act sounds nice, but I think we're now dealing w/ far more complicated problems,especailly jurisdictionally, in pursuing a case like this. And the 'power' of a religious sects in more confined cultures (geographically, enonomically and politically), may make this an intractible foreign relations problem.

Now, ain't that a surprise?

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