Under Pope Benedict, Rome has sure changed its tune about bishops. Remember when Cardinal Law had to insist on resigning? Twice? Irish Central was picked up by Pewsitter with its suggestion that several Irish bishops could be ousted by the Vatican. I presume that any resignations offered would be quickly accepted.
Is it just about the quantity of shuttled abusers and its timeliness? Or would one bishops’ one tragic error lead to similar consequences? Post-charter bishops stateside in Chicago and Santa Rosa have dodged everything but the anger of SNAP and other abuse-watch groups.
It will be interesting to see if what sort of assignments await bishops who were low on the careerism ladder. We’ve seen cardinals treated with more deference. But it might just be that the Vatican, indeed, is tiring of bishops mismanaging personnel. They have to know it cuts deeply into efforts to evangelize, it undermines ecumenism, it devastates the morale of clergy, and it’s an embarrassment to the laity.
My instinct is that Irish bishops will stand as an example for other bishops. I suppose it would be easier than it would have been to turn a few dozen American prelates out on their butts back in ’02. And as abuse prevention gains more widespread acceptance, Rome and bishops can claim their efforts are working. Thanks to a more observant laity, I hope we can say that.
Here’s another consideration: do you suppose future pababile will be vetted in part for a clean record in their dioceses? The most horrific scenario would be a future pope having been credibly found to have sheltered sex predators.