It is with great sadness that the Metropolitan Chapter of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe announces the instruction to investigative lawyers to trace, with a view to civil and possibly criminal prosecution, the origins of defamatory i.e. libelous material by vexatious antagonists made against members of the Clergy and attempts to limit the religious freedom i.e. the exercise of the ministry of her Clergy and of her faithful both by individuals and organisations.
Having desire to follow the Pauline doctrine [1 Corinthians 6:1-8] and despite having maintained a charitable silence concerning the actions of known particular individuals for sometime, the decision to seek legal redress was made under advisement by the ORCCE’s legal consultants. The Chapter agreed the use of a recent legacy to sponsor costs until the receipt of damages. Primarily to protect the exercise of religion and charitable endeavours of the Old Roman Catholic Church in Europe across the European Union, a specialist international law firm has been engaged under advisement by an MEP. The same firm will also establish the legal or State registration of the ORCCE where necessary to protect the ministry of Clergy in various countries.
Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris) states;
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Article 17 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states;
1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
ORCCE Clergy who have experienced attempts to impede their ministry or who have received defamatory material concerning the ORCCE or any colleague are asked to forward such to the Chancery Office, clergy of other jurisdictions are similarly invited as are members of the faithful or the general public. A considerable body of evidence has already been passed to the investigating lawyers who advise that it is worth noting that in general, everyone involved in the dissemination of the defamation is liable as having published it i.e. even if they didn’t compose it, if they just forwarded it onto another. Defamatory libel includes all forms of written communication including published comments on the internet (incl. social websites and forums) and most especially emailed as well as paper correspondence. The investigating lawyers have been given access to the ORCCE’s website statistics which automatically log IP addresses and activities in order to match emails.
The forwarding of such material to the Chancery Office may be deemed sufficient demonstration of goodwill i.e. lack of malice, on the part of the sender to eliminate them from any investigation. Persons preferring to distance themselves from any culpability are thus advised to make contact as soon as possible. Any decision to proceed with the prosecution of an individual or organisation will be made by the Metropolitan Chapter upon the recommendations of the investigating lawyers and counsel.