In the Church.
In general, I follow the rule of not getting emotionally or intellectually involved in the dirt, and not saying anything bad about priests. I recommend it for us peanut gallery folks.
Today, however, want to point out something subtle and pernicious and so very modern in the way many church leaders seem to think think.
Take this, for today’s example:
Here we have Cardinal Cupich explaining that:
- the Pope has a bigger agenda than dealing with the sex abuse scandal
- It’s a rabbit hole – dealing with it would derail more important things
- The pope has a record of acting when actionable information is made known
- People don’t like the pope because he’s Latino
- It’s not just about the Catholic Church.
- It is not the primary duty of the Church, the Bride of Christ, to be holy. The personal holiness of all Catholics and most especially of Her priests, ordered to their salvation, can be set aside for the sake of the environment and migrants, for example.
- Seeking justice and truth is a far too involved and time-consuming activity when other more pressing goals are on the table.
- The pope acting on credible information – isn’t that the question being asked? It is a rabbit hole to ask it? Seems a fairly straight forward question. Either Vigano’s information wasn’t actionable or was never known by the pope. Well? Is this the denial Francis himself would not make?
- This is simply too absurd for serious consideration. Really? People were all cool with Italian (or Polish or German) popes, but an Argentinian pope (of Italian ancestry!) is just too much? This reeks of deflection and desperation.
- The church somehow can only act if EVERYBODY gets on the sex abuse bandwagon? We now *follow* in moral issues, instead of lead? Or does the Church get a pass because gym teachers also abuse people?
The basic attitude here is political. Some powerful subset of the bishops has long seen their role as primarily political, of trying to get the state under the guidance of Democratic party to do the good works of the Church. Worries about the spiritual well-being of their flocks and priests are easily classified as rabbit holes, things that merely distract from their *real* job of using political influence to create heaven on earth.
It’s no surprise that this is being said by Chicago’s archbishop – a city long given to big Catholic funerals and weddings for criminals, mobsters and murderers who, nonetheless, were the political powers and so could not be offended. Habitually letting the personal criminal behaviors of the people you are courting for political reasons slide for Higher Goals in the Big Picture, ignoring their advocacy for sins like abortion and sodomy because they never met a union or refugee they didn’t love, is a habit of contempt for Christian charity. Let them die the second death, so long as we get to unionize and outlaw capital punishment!
They all seem to think they’re Cardinal Richelieu (as if that would be desirable). They’ll let others loose their souls, and loose their own, if they go to bed at night having been patted on the head by the right kind of politicians.
All those saints, starting with John the Baptist, who called out the sins of the powerful and got persecuted, banished and murdered – pray for us! Pray for our priests, bishops and pope! And pray we have the strength to do the same.