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When is a priest off-duty?

June 4, 2014

The Diocese of Trenton argues that it cannot be responsible for a priest’s sexual abuse, because he was off-duty at the time, every time:

“How do we determine when a priest is and is not on duty?” one of the justices asked, according to a video of the session on the court’s website. “Well,” replied the diocese lawyer, “you can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example. … A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

If the lawyer managed to speak that argument while keeping his face straight, he deserves an award in casuistry.

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