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Editor's choiceHoly Orders on Trial, The French Legal System vs The Vatican

Holy Orders on Trial, The French Legal System vs The Vatican

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Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil
Juan Sanchez Gil - at The European Times News - Mostly in the back lines. Reporting on corporate, social and governmental ethics issues in Europe and internationally, with emphasis on fundamental rights. Also giving voice to those not being listened to by the general media.

In a growing dispute that reveals the relationship, between governmental institutions the Vatican has officially voiced its worries regarding the decisions made by French officials in the matter of a nuns removal citing violations of religious freedom. This global disagreement revolves around the situation of Sabine de la Valette, Sister Marie Ferréol and her expulsion, from the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Spirit.

The Vatican, represented by Matteo Bruni, the Director of its Press Office has officially acknowledged that it is handling this matter through means. A formal communication was sent to the French Embassy, at the Vatican in a gesture that highlights the seriousness with which the Vatican perceives the French legal systems intrusion into what it deems as purely religious and internal affairs of the Catholic Church.

The dispute sparked off when the Lorient Tribunal allegedly issued a ruling, on the religious aspects of Ms. De la Valettes exit from her religious community. The Vatican has expressed disapproval of this ruling hinting that they were informed about the tribunals role through media coverage than formal channels implying a breakdown in transparency or communication, between French officials and the Holy See.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was part of the case, as the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops reportedly did not receive any notices from the Lorient Tribunal concerning the issue. Bruni mentioned that Cardinal Ouellet had carried out a visitation, to the institute as part of his duties, which resulted in actions being initiated against Ms. De la Valette ultimately leading to her termination.

The Vatican contends that if the Lorient Tribunal makes a decision, on this issue it raises concerns, about immunity and may infringe upon the rights to worship freely and associate with others. These rights are safeguarded by laws, which typically affirm that religious organizations have the right to manage their matters independently without outside intervention.

The recent event has triggered a discussion, on how national legal systems and religious laws intersect and the role of courts in regulating religious groups. Opponents of the tribunals ruling suggest that it establishes a standard for interference in religious freedom, which could impact not only the Catholic Church but also other faith based organizations seeking autonomy, from external pressures.

As this scenario unfolds it presents legal hurdles underscoring the persistent debate, on delineating the limits between church independence and governmental jurisdiction in modern societies. The outcome of this matter may hold ranging consequences for the rapport between France and the Vatican well as for the broader topic of religious liberties, across Europe.

As Massimo Introvigne said in a recent article: “it seeems that violating religious liberty is now a daily occurrence in France”.

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