A House Safe From Fear?

They say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
We do not desire to know your ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
Is not their prosperity indeed their own achievement?
The plans of the wicked are repugnant to me. (Job 21:14-16)

Jimmy Mac sent me this link to a Reuters article (Reuters image, right). Father Federico Lombardi at a news conference on leaked papal documents:

This is naturally something that can hurt the Church, and put trust in it and the Holy See to the test.

The bigger test has come and not been passed. But that’s not to say a wounded body can’t be injured further. It might be that an initial scandal will be compounded with lies and cover-up. They could consult with Americans Bill Clinton and Robert Finn to see how that meme plays out in the long run. I’d say that many people are already embittered over the handling of moving sex predators from one community to another. Laundering money may well be the Church’s next big scandal.  But putting children in harm’s way is about as bad as you can get.

One Italian newspaper quoted a “leaker” who wasn’t a butler:

There are leakers among the cardinals but the Secretariat of State could not say that, so they arrested the servant, Paolo, who was only delivering letters on behalf of others.

Fr Lombardi gave it his best game face:

I categorically deny that any cardinal, Italian or otherwise, is a suspect.

This has the ring of truth. In order to be a suspect, one has to be under active investigation by authorities. It might be that no cardinals are under investigation. Yet. Or otherwise. I suppose if one can direct one’s own newspaper,  L’Osservatore Romano to ignore the story, confining the investigation to scapegoats shouldn’t be hard.

This scandal may play out big time in Italy and in the rest of Europe. I don’t think it will be a big concern in the US. First, we have direct experience of corporate CEO’s and big-time bankers trashing the American economy and getting away scot free. They’ve managed to pass the blame to Democrats and people who got duped on predatory loans. Cardinal Bertone only has to pass the Karl Rove Class in Poiliticla Dodgery and if a butler and a few sisters get thrown under the bus, at least it’s not his back with the wheel tread.

Second, Rome is a long way away for domestic-focused Catholics. As long as the pope “continues on his path of serenity, his position of faith and morals that is above the fray,” then faithfulCatholics will keep funding investigations and posh retirements.

Third, I think a lot of us who do have a sense of a universal Church, and recognize that this is an important scandal, have been hardened by recent experiences. This can go one of two ways: business as usual or a twisted sense of entertainment. Neither option does much for our spiritual lives. Some say God is alert to the wicked, but Job takes issue:

Why do the wicked live on,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their children are established in their presence,
and their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them. (Job 21:7-9)


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A House Safe From Fear?

  1. Mike says:

    This can go one of two ways: business as usual or a twisted sense of entertainment. Neither option does much for our spiritual lives.

    Spot on. That you and Jimmy Mac can stay Catholic amazes me. I couldn’t, for I find no God in the Catholic Church anymore. To maintain any spiritual health I had to leave.

  2. Jimmy Mac says:

    Mike: my attachment to Catholicism is, at best and on a very good day, tenuous. I consider myself a “Roaming” Catholic.

  3. Brendan Kelleher svd says:

    Do they, the Curia bureaucrats, need to be taught by Karl Rove, or is it possible he learnt the tricks of the trade from watching how they do things in Rome.
    Currently reading Alberigo’s History of Vat II, and its fascinating to see how L’Osservatore Romano used to edit John XXIII in the early days and months after he announced his intentions to call a Council. And you can be sure they will have an endless line of minor curial functionaries etc whom they will throw under the bus to keep attention away from those who are really behind this whole fiasco.
    The shared line of most Vaticanista is that our butler is a scapegoat, since there is no indication of immediate personal gain, monetary or otherwise, in the material he is said to have alread leaked or had to hand. The Church has survived its share of dysfunctional Popes and Papacies over the year, but that doesn’t ease the embarrassment or discomfort of seeing it splashed over the secular press or blogged by any one with access to a computer and the internet.
    On my own visits to Rome, on and off, through the years I’ve heard my share of stories of Vatican functionaries who seemed to have an endless supply of ways of blocking inconvenient enquiries, of ducking questions they found inconvenient. On some occasions you take the path indicated by the principal that forgiveness is easier to obtain than forgiveness. It can be quite effective.

    • Jimmy Mac says:

      The self-selected, self-appointed authoritarian male-dominated bureaucracy has survived, mostly by nefarious means. That is NOT the church.

      • Liam says:

        No, but it is as much a part of the Church as you and I are. It’s no better for us to declare who is unfit to be called part of the Church than it is for them to say we are the unfit.

  4. Deb says:

    A book by Jason Berry, “Render Unto Rome: the Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church” might be a good read. The ISBN is 978-0385531320. I cataloged the book for our library, but have not had the chance to read it yet.

    Also, my manager came back from a conference in Dublin, Ireland. She says that the abuse scandal is very much a topic of conversation there. Also, the people are very discouraged not only by the recession, but also by the depths of the scandal. Church attendance has dropped dramatically. I can only imagine what this news does to any remaining faith they have.

    For myself, I’d probably would have left already for another church. Our pastor has been ranting about the HHS mandate, religious liberty and all that, and said he’d be willing to go to jail. However, I hang on because my husband still wants to go as we do have some connection to our parish. My sister, for all intents and purposes, has already left. She only goes because our mom insists on going.

    • Todd says:

      I find it hard to take clergy seriously who are talking about going to jail for insurance purposes. Far more likely they’ll pink slip their lay employees than do that. You’d think that this challenge on health care insurance might inspire these guys to put heads together with the KC’s and wrench this totally away from employment.

      As for jail, it’s more likely they–especially bishops–will be there for enabling child sex predators than for any exalted sense of martyrdom.

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