Archbishop of Atlanta to be transferred to: Archbishop of Washington.
Seems like a demotion. Fewer Catholics in Washington than in Atlanta. Fewer parishes. The Metropolitan of Atlanta exercises vigilance over three entire states–Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; the Metropolitan of Washington, D.C., presides over part of one state, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But for whatever reason, the ecclesiastical mafia will view Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s transfer as a promotion. Meanwhile, blind Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, or those who listen only to the radio or to podcasts, will not notice any change, from the old Archbishop to the new one.
I re-read Archbishop Gregory’s statement regarding Theodore McCarrick, from last August. The incredible thing: Nothing has changed since then. Seven long months have passed. McCarrick still lives the same life, in the same place. If we know more about the hidden evils of our bishops now than we did then, no one currently serving in the hierarchy did anything to enlighten us.
But, wait, Father! The pope defrocked McCarrick!
Okay. But: Why? According to what evidence, and according to what legal criteria? [crickets]
Meanwhile, in Australia, the court of the State of Victoria also convicted a Cardinal of sexual abuse. Why? According to what evidence? According to what legal criteria? The judge spelled it all out, in detail, for the public to understand.
Some have argued that George Cardinal Pell never abused anyone. Perhaps he did not. He has appealed the ruling against him.
But the legal procedure according to which George Pell was found guilty and sentenced–there is no question of that procedure’s fundamental soundness. We know what happened. The jury believed the accuser and convicted Pell according to clear laws.
What happened in the Vatican trial of Theodore McCarrick? What laws? What facts? We have no earthly idea.
…Yet a third Cardinal was convicted in court. In a civil court in Lyon, France. Not for criminal abuse, but for failing to report criminal abuse, in accordance with the law.
Perhaps one reason why Cardinal Barbarin did not report the abuse: The Cardinal Prefect in Rome (the same one who presided over McCarrick’s Vatican trial) had written to Barbarin, telling him to avoid scandal. The court had subpoena’d the Vatican Cardinal who wrote the letter. The Vatican refused to deliver the subpoena. Barbarin took the fall.
After his conviction, Cardinal Barbarin traveled to Rome to offer his resignation–like a man of some honor might do, under the circumstances. The Pope refused to accept it, citing “the presumption of innocence.” (The Cardinal had already been found guilty.)
…I had a chance conversation with a Mexican friend the other day and learned this: Six years and four months ago, in a diocese northeast of Mexico City, the civil court found a priest guilty of pederasty. They put him in jail. The bishop had tried to cover the whole thing up; Pope Francis promoted the bishop to a larger diocese anyway. The priest will soon finish his jail term, and he will receive a new pastoral assignment…
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, we find a commentary on the relative speeds of youth and old age. Regarding her dear, old nurse, Juliet says:
Had she affections and warm youthful blood,
She would be as swift in motion as a ball…
But old folks, many feign as they were dead;
Unwieldy, slow, heavy and pale as lead. (Act II, scene 5)
The irony is: Pope Francis has just written a long letter to “young people.” He addresses the sex-abuse scandal. He writes:
The irresponsibility and lack of transparency with which so many cases have been handled have to be challenged. (para. 98)
Indeed, Your Holiness. They must be.