When is a priest not a priest? When he's molesting a child.

via NJ Star-Ledger

Rev. Terence McAlinden, with an alleged child victim, via NJ Star-Ledger

That's the argument made in the supreme court of Delaware by the attorney representing Rev. Terence McAlinden, a priest accused of serially molesting "a number of" boys.

"How do we determine when a priest is and is not on duty?" one of the justices asked, according to a video of the session on the court's website.

"Well," replied the diocese lawyer, "you can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example. … A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master's business, to the work of a diocese."

The statement — one prong of the diocese's argument that it should not be held responsible for McAlinden's alleged assaults — left [victim Chris Naples] reeling.

"Any hope I had that the church was concerned about me as a victim or about the conduct of its priests was totally gone," Naples, now 42, said in a recent interview. "They were washing their hands of it. I was shattered. I just couldn't believe that was one of their arguments."