Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Court rejects Padre Beto's Request
Jornal da Cidade
July 23, 2014
The Bauru court rejected former priest Roberto Francisco Daniel, aka Padre Beto's request that the process led by the Catholic Church that culminated in his excommunication be reopened. Beto had argued that he didn't have the right to defend himself and that the investigating judge appointed by the Diocese of Bauru lacked the competence to judge him.
In the judgment signed on July 16th, the judge of the 6th Civil Court of Bauru, André Luiz Bicalho Buchignani, ruled that the state must respect the sovereignty of the Vatican, as canon law is autonomous. The magistrate further argued that the secularism proclaimed by the Federal Constitution aimed to "prevent interference by the Church in the state as well as state interference in ecclesiastical matters."
Also according to the judge, the judiciary could only interfere in the internal decisions of the Church if they contradict institutional principles.
Buchignani recalled that Padre Beto was warned by the Diocese before being excommunicated, as required by canonical penal law. And this warning, he recalled, contained the "invitation (to the priest) to abandon the insubordination (disobedience) and gave him appropriate time to repent."
After that period, Church law provides that excommunication is automatic, a penalty that can be interrupted at any time with a formal request for retraction from the ex-priest. Also according to the magistrate, the priest who was the judge in the ecclesiastical proceeding, having been appointed by the diocesan bishop, had legal competence to make the judgment.
Roberto Daniel's lawyers were contacted, however they didn't return the call for the story. Padre Beto was excommunicated on April 29th last year after challenging the conservative stance of the Church in remarks that were videotaped and posted on social networks.
Due to the controversy, the Diocese ruled that Beto should withdraw the videos from the air and recant publicly. As the requirement was not met, the leaders of the religious institution decided to excommunicate the priest, thinking that his views betrayed the commitment he had made to the Church.
Padre Beto is dismissed from the clerical state and also banned from the ranks of the faithful in the Diocese of Bauru. Moreover, the ex-priest can no longer minister in the name of religious institution and is unable to receive any sacrament.