Latest Vatican Story

The gay lobby story coming out of Rome seemed to be just a little too much to be believed. I was relieved to see John Allen weigh in with some sensible commentary.

If you want to understand why Benedict is tired, in other words, part of it is because he knows that putting things right inside the Vatican will take a tremendous investment of administrative energy, which he doesn’t feel he can supply, and which probably isn’t in his skill set in any event.

No, Benedict didn’t quit under the pressure of a “gay lobby.” But the perceived disarray in the Vatican, which may well be one part perception and one part reality, probably made resignation look even better.

Applying the old philosophical tool seems to fit. The pope is old and tired. He said what he said.

We also know that the upper hierarchy is no more or less virtuous than any other group of human beings. Ordination, elevation, and careerism impart no special quality of holiness. Holiness derives from God’s grace and from human cooperation with God’s call in our lives. That cooperation might be found in the call to ordination and service, especially if that is aligned with the God-given gifts and abilities of the believer. But thwarting God’s call by the human expressions of nepotism, careerism, greed, and other human considerations–this will result in decay of the culture, especially the individuals and groups involved. There’s no getting around that.

I don’t believe you can completely discount the cumulative impact of the various meltdowns over the last eight years on Benedict’s state of mind.

This makes more sense. Pope Benedict was already at the end of a career as a professor, theologian, bishop, and curial bureaucrat in 2005. He likely counted on a united support from his brothers in the episcopacy and especially the curia. It’s rather ironic that he was unsuccessful in achieving unity with schismatics, and continued to take the hard line against bishops like William Morris who were no threat to him or to the Gospel. He let bishops like Robert Finn, Bernard Law, and others continue, despite the scandal of their behavior and the damage done to the preaching of the Gospel.

Above all, we need a pope who can cut through the blind spots of the Roman perspective and reorient the upper hierarchy to the Gospel.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to Latest Vatican Story

  1. Charles says:

    “Above all, we need a pope who can cut through the blind spots of the Roman perspective and reorient the upper hierarchy to the Gospel.”

    Out of charity, I won’t challenge the imprudent implications of that presumption, my friend, or add another presumption that your statement contains blind spots of its own.
    I will state that in one week such a pope will vacate his cathedra.

    • I consider the fruits, as conceded publicly in various pieces by the pope himself and some cardinals. If they diagnose backbiting, careerism, cronyism, competition, sycophantry, and such among their number–who am I to quibble?

      I am sure that the root orientation of the upper hierarchy is to the Gospel. However, the behavior doesn’t reflect the teachings of the Lord.

      However imprudent that observation may be coming from an ordinary lay person, and a blogger to boot, sort of throws out the whole principle of familial correction. It’s not like these guys listen to me, anyway. I’m just one voice of a few million. I’d be a lot more concerned with the people who just don’t listen to these guys at all. What’s the point of possessing the kerygmatic ministry of Christ if nobody’s listening.

  2. FrMichael says:

    “…and continued to take the hard line against bishops like William Morris who were no threat to him [the Pope] or to the Gospel.”

    Without defending the cause of Cardinals Law and Mahony, as well as Bishop “See No Evil” Finn, I think the issue of Bishop Morris was that some of his theological positions were a threat to the Gospel.

    • Todd says:

      Bishop Morris had no public theological positions on the issues in question. They were dialogical positions. He conceded none of the views attributed to him. Dialogue is a threat to the institution, not the Gospel. Pope Benedict and Archbishop Chaput misfired on this one, no doubt.

      • FrMichael says:

        Shared sacramental ministry with non-apostolic churches is a threat to the Gospel. Sacramental ministry by non-ordained persons (i.e. priestesses) is a threat to the Gospel. Dialogue within the Church for the purposes of changing one from unbelief to belief is valid. Dialogue within the Church for the purposes of treating false teaching as equal with the truth is bogus and Morris was rightfully removed.

        Now if only the Holy See would remove bishops for gross errors in governance with the same determination. Not that Morris’ removal was speedy by any stretch.

      • Todd says:

        An accurate misdiagnosis, such as it is. But thanks for commenting.

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