Religion and law round-up – 30th August

Is seems as though there is plenty going on if you know where to look – but not much in the UK

Vatican ex-envoy dies ahead of trial

On Friday the Vatican announced: “In the early hours of this morning SE Msgr. Józef Wesołowski, former Apostolic Nuncio was found dead in his home in the Vatican. The Vatican authority immediately intervened for the initial investigations, which indicated that the death was due to natural causes. The Promoter of Justice ordered an autopsy, which will be done today and the results will be communicated as soon as possible. The Holy Father has been fully informed”.

Those querying the use of the style “His Excellency Monsignor” in the Vatican announcement were given a legalistic but otherwise unsatisfactory explanation by Vatican spokesman Fr Ciro Benedettini: that “Wesołowski had appealed his laicization and that the appeal had been denied, but that the denial ‘was not officially communicated so as not to aggravate the situation’ with the on-going trial.”

A subsequent announcement confirmed that he died late on Thursday, and stated that the autopsy carried out on 28 August “confirmed the natural cause of death, attributable to a cardiac event … the Office of the Promoter of Justice will acquire the subsequent findings of the usual laboratory tests carried out by that Commission”. On his Canon Law Facebook page Dr Ed Peters despairs of the handling of the story by the Vatican Press Office; and we agree with his assessment that the events are “tailor-made for conspiracy theories”. Following last week’s ecclesiastical funeral in Rome of alleged Mafia boss Vittorio Casamonica, the Church’s handling of the arrangements for the former nuncio will be under detailed scrutiny.

Update: Vatican Insider carries a report of the funeral mass of Józef Wesołowski which took place on 31st August and was celebrated by Pope’s Almoner, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, “according to rite for the laity”.

Trinity Western Law School: round three

As we have mentioned before, Trinity Western University, British Columbia, is an overtly-confessional, Christian institution which requires its students to agree to comply with a code of conduct, the “Community Covenant”, which inter alia bans all sexual intimacy outside marriage between a man and woman. TWU is in the process of establishing a law school; and though its syllabus was approved for professional purposes by the Federation of Canadian Law Societies, reaction among Provincial Law Societies has been mixed. Continue reading