Lawyers grapple with blank doctrine

An elderly nun, under questioning by a lawyer, recently said she could not remember anything about his client, a child who had been sexually molested by a priest. Finally, the lawyer asked whether she was familiar with "mental reservation" - a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Church. "She explained in her own way that ... she subscribed to the doctrine," Zalkin said. Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law, experts say, but some US lawyers reported encountered it in clergy sex abuse cases - John Spano

Lawyers grapple with blank doctrine

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