‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

The various news reports surrounding the new pope are entertaining. Does he have one lung or two? Was he soft on South American fascism? I like this one: Cardinal Law ejected from Santa Maria Maggiore.

So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems (Cardinal Law) couldn’t resist a discreet peak.

But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.

I have to admit that fifty-some hours into this pontificate, they’re laying the legend on a little thick. Pope Francis is no superhero. But after a long hierarchical winter, I have to ask what’s up with the paying hotel bills, breaking out of the six-candlestick-prison, and now the banishment of Cardinal Law. Do I want to wake up under the rule of Pope Pius XIII?

Mark Silk is upping the ante a bit. He wants to see my former bishop ejected from Kansas City.

If Francis wants to make as much of a mark by his handling of the abuse scandal as he has by his simple lifestyle, he’s got a ready-made opportunity. Last September, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City was convicted of a criminal misdemeanor for failing to report one of his priests for possible sexual abuse of children. Thus far, neither the Vatican nor the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has so much as issued a statement on the matter.

It’s one thing to move a disgraced eighty-something into new lodgings. It’s another to reach past a national conference and do what should be done on the local level: American bishops taking their colleague aside and suggesting they will not stand in his way if he wants early retirement. Then the man steps down.

With respect to Professor Silk, I am not in favor of the pope removing bishops. I wasn’t in favor of it with the arrogant and juvenile handling of Bill Morris. I wouldn’t approve of it with Robert Finn. If Bishop Finn doesn’t resign, I’m okay with an Opus Dei bishop to continue serving for fifteen years as an example of conservative ideology run amok. I doubt he will transgress and endanger children again–that would mean prison time, and not the Cardinal George version of unjust incarceration. A lot of people will be watching.

When I read this criticism of careerism and vanity, I feel hopeful:

The cardinalate is a service is, it is not an award to be bragged about. Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a worldly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the Church. This is affirmed in the final pages of the book entitled Méditation sur l’Église, by Henri De Lubac. Spiritual worldliness is a form of religious anthropocentrism that has Gnostic elements. Careerism and the search for a promotion come under the category of spiritual worldliness. An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.

Good message from the red hat meet-up. Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle and the Jovial One all having a good laugh. Hopefully they talked about how the Church is going to reinvigorate its spiritual life. That would be something with which I’m on board.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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11 Responses to ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

  1. John Mack says:

    What’s he up to? Reforming the Curia, starting with a moral cleansing before administrative scrutiny and reorganization, with many fresh faces. He’s letting the Curia know just what he said, “You are priests. Act like it.” Take away the trappings of royalty and their pride in controlling a royal court and the hapless king and you through them off. Brilliant psy ops.

    H’s doing Law a favor. Letting the “Prince” know he needs to stop prancing and start repenting because he’s getting close to the Judgment (if he actually believes any of that).

    Now I’m willing to give him 5 years before he appoints some women Cardinals. Cardinals do not have to be priests, they do not have to be males.

  2. Jen says:

    If it is true, then there are probably enough people in Boston happy about it that Francis would never have to pay his own bar tab.

  3. FrMichael says:

    With this news, I’m smiling so broadly that my cheek muscles are going into spasm.

    Jen: I’ll pay his bar tab myself!

  4. Liam says:

    Well, to show the breadth of dish available, here you have Law as pope-maker midwife of the compromise chess game in the last days of the general congregations:



  5. Bill Logan says:

    The “exile” of Cardinal Law did not happen.

  6. Stephen says:

    “Six-candlestick-prison?” Oh my word you sound petty with this statement. The so-called “Benedictine Arrangement” of the altar strikes a lot of us as rather nice. It strikes a few people (and I don’t count myself in this group) as being remarkably significant and celebration-worthy. But for the life of me I cannot see why anybody in the world would find it objectionable – unless of course they find the people who like it to be objectionable and they form their opinions of aesthetic matters mostly in opposition to what the “wrong sort of people ” like.

    • Todd says:

      I find the so-called Benedictine Arrangement to be little better than a fad. I am sure it’s well intentioned. But it is a poor idea.

      It demonstrates and invites clutter. I certainly approve of candles marking the altar, but appropriately spaced, and preferably on floor stands. I like having clear sight lines on an altar, so the very basics–the Body and Blood–are not obscured and overpowered by decorations that call attention to themselves by their height.

      The altar is also a place of sacrifice, and not a place I like to see associated with aristocratic dining. Westerners place candlesticks on a special dinner table. I think the meal aspect of the Eucharist does well with the actual eating and drinking. Less so with the “place setting” of a corporal and with dinner candles.

      I certainly don’t find Pope Benedict XVI objectionable, nor those who have copied his arrangement. I disagree with their aesthetic and liturgical tastes. But disagreement does not imply dislike.

      • Stephen says:

        Fair enough, but the use of the word “prison” was a heckuva lot less even-keeled than your response here.

        Clear sight lines may well be a good thing. But the Eastern churches have seemed to get by for a very long time without them, and the Latin church did until a few decades ago. A big ornate crucifix and six big candlesticks may well obscure the “action” on the altar more than is necessary, but even with these additions to the altar that “action” is much more visible to the congregation than it was for the many centuries leading up to the late 1960s and more visible to the congregation than it is still today in the eastern churches.

  7. FrMichael says:

    Bummer, it’s a made-up story by Fleet Street. Sigh.

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