Resurrecting the flogged horse: Fr. Guarnizo’s administrative leave
Okay, I really thought I had flogged the horse completely dead, but then I woke up at 2 a.m. with what I think is a brilliant insight. Of course, it could show how stupid I am. In all the discussion I have been having about administrative leave being uncanonical, I, me, myself, (can’t say for others) have never twigged to the fact Fr. Guarnizo is NOT on administrative leave in any other diocese in the world, other than Washington D.C. (and I’ll grant, just for argument in this post, that he is on admin leave in DC). The law itself grants Fr. G the faculty to preach unless it has been removed by an Ordinary (c. 764). So Fr. G has had his faculty to preach in DC removed by one of the Ordinaries of DC. Since Fr. G is incardinated in Moscow, he receives his faculties to hear confessions from the Archbishop of Moscow. Those faculties can be exercised anywhere unless a particular local Ordinary/bishop removes them specifically from Fr. G (which is what has happened in DC) (cc. 967.2 and 975) (now we canonists get technical so I have to add the caveat that it is possible that Fr. G had his faculties for confession granted by the Archbishop of DC and not by the Archbishop of Moscow — but that would be very unusual — and therefore, he cannot hear confessions anywhere in the world until a new local Ordinary grants them, or he receives an office, like pastor, which grants them by the law itself). So, the point is that Fr. G can certainly celebrate Mass, preach, (probably hear confessions — we don’t know the exact details to make that determination) and all that other priestly stuff, immediately once he steps outside the territory of the Archdiocese of Washington. If it had been his Bishop in Moscow who placed him on admin leave, he wouldn’t be able to do that. As it is, the Archbishop of Washington can only affect Fr. G’s ministry within the territory of the Archdiocese of DC. Why is that important, apart from the fact, that I never thought of it until I was asleep? Well, because it makes the whole affair of administrative leave a very slippery slope, a very messy affair. I still maintain that it doesn’t exist as most canonists envision it, or that it is a good way of covering a gap which some canonists perceive to exist. salvo meliore iudicio.