An old blogging foil asked me how long it would take for Pope Francis’ silence to bother me. Given the unraveling of the case against his resignation, it would seem that so far, silence from the Chair of Peter is working to good effect.
(A) reliable source close to Benedict … said the allegations of abuse of seminarians by McCarrick, now 88, were “certainly something known” to Benedict. And, he said, “Certainly, it was known that McCarrick was a homosexual, that was an open secret, all were very aware of that.” (However, it is important to note that there is no evidence that Church authorities either in the Vatican or in the U.S. were aware of any allegations of sexual abuse of minors by McCarrick until long after Benedict had resigned as Pope.)
As far as Benedict could recall, the source said the instruction was essentially that McCarrick should keep a “low profile.” There was “no formal decree, just a private request.”
Some of my fb contacts marveled at the astute backpedaling of the NCReg. That “private request” could mean nearly anything. Don’t upstage the new archbishop. Don’t dine in fancy restaurants. Avoid strip clubs. Who knows? Maybe it was just good advice for an elderly guy heading into retirement.
I didn’t think Pope Benedict came off looking all that good from Archbishop Viganò’s testimony. It all seemed unbelievable: a prelate with a reputation for toughness–even on misbehaving bishops–going soft on a supposed celibate with an active sexual lifestyle.
In my own diocese, we have a public statement from our ordinary. In addition, an “update” of sorts was sent to pastors to be shared with parish staffs, something that responds well to the Viganò statement.
I suspect we will see more unraveling in the days ahead. But one good development speeded along: the floating of an idea for a synod for bishops and clergy to replace a postponed synod for youth. I don’t know that both things couldn’t proceed. Just put lay people in charge of the originally scheduled event, and make sure more lay people are involved with the suggestion for something new and current on abuse and cover-up.