A facebook friend alerted me to this Crux piece on a report published by Anthony Figueiredo, a Newark diocesan priest, Rome resident, and occasional travel aide for ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
The source confirms some sort of restriction in place–the former Washington archbishop admits it in the one-sided correspondence. That’s not really news. It’s more than believable that the college of cardinals needed protection from scandal, so why wouldn’t Pope Benedict XVI be satisfied to impose secret sanctions? It begs the question on why non-cardinal bishops weren’t treated with the same solicitude.
And if said sanctions ended questionable behavior that wasn’t widely known outside the clergy, did it really matter that the retired archbishop ramped up his globe-trotting in 2012 and continue into a new papacy? Pope Francis has had his say on what he terms “airport bishops.” We can guess what he thinks of frequent fliers among his brother shepherds.
Maybe Pope Francis had every bit of knowledge from secrets kept on two other continents. And maybe the Vatican was satisfied with a few years (2008-2011) of relative quiet, though not in a monastery.
My conservative friends seem to be going, “Ha! Archbishop Viganò was right all along!” And I think, not so fast. I would certainly be interested to comb through the archives in Rome or the Vatican embassy in Washington. Journalists more so, I imagine. I think a person can send correspondence, but without seeing responses, we might judge they range anywhere from “That nut job sent another e-mail.” to “This is important stuff we need to get to the pope ASAP!”
End result is we get a bit more action in social media for another day or two. A bit of heat. But no more real light. Msgr Figueiredo looks like a child of Archbishop Viganò to me. He doesn’t need to be selectively releasing emails for public view so much as working the clerical culture from the inside out. Maybe he is. And if so, hat’s off to him. But if not, the question remains: why not?