How Long Does Discernment Take?

Liam broke the news here a little while ago. The major Catholic internet news outlets are already on it.

The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the rights and privileges of a cardinal … presented by His Eminence Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, after a long period of prayer.

cardinal dedecusKeith O’Brien, you will recall, was doused in scandal near the very end of Pope Benedict’s term, and declined to participate in the 2013 conclave after the outrage broke. So it has been a “long period” of prayer indeed. What I haven’t seen among the journalists or commentators yet is the question, “Why so long?”

For a major life initiative, the Jesuits would suggest thirty days. Many Catholics observe forty-plus-a-few days of Lent for an annual taking-stock. After two years, the archbishop emeritus can wear red hat and cape around the house, but that’s it. This discernment, which didn’t change very much at all, took hundreds of days?

I think there is blood lust in the Church the man be made an object lesson, but perhaps the Pope Francis way is better. The title and the pomp are really meaningless, and the retired prelate and the occasional houseguest are the only ones who will notice them. I imagine that will be a rather empty experience as the years roll on.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to How Long Does Discernment Take?

  1. Liam says:

    A tangent. Under international law since at least the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Cardinals have the diplomatic status of princes of blood royal. It would appear that O’Brien loses that status.

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