A family in New Mexico is suing their parish priest and the local Archdiocese of Santa Fe because, they claim, the priest said at a funeral Mass their relative is in hell. The lawsuit says the priest said the 80-year-old man was living in sin, lukewarm in his faith, and that he would go to hell. They also say the priest laced his comments about the man with profanities as they went to the grave site.
Now, even if these claims are true—something which I find very difficult to believe—how can they possibly sue? First, there were 200 people at the funeral. If all of them agree that the priest said this, then that’s a lot of evidence against him. But this seems to be a clear freedom of religion case here. I think it would be well within a priest’s right in his religion to declare the supernatural destination of someone based on religious principles. I’m not saying it would be right for him to say what he did, but I don’t think the case has a leg to stand on.
Too many lawyers with too much time on their hands filing too many stupid lawsuits.