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November 19, 2010

I Was Dead Wrong!

Roy Meachum

Following up on Tuesday’s column (“Real Devil”), I hailed the election of New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan, on Wednesday’s as the president of the national bishops’ conference for a sign that America’s Catholics were free of the Vatican’s power-sucking into itself.


My reasoning was prompted by the fact Msgr. Dolan’s name was left off the list of new cardinals gathered in Rome this week to receive their red hats. I wrote: “Somehow, in some not obvious way Timothy Dolan crossed chalices with Pope Benedict XVI.”


I was dead wrong!


His fellow American prelates elevated New York’s archbishop to be their leader and public face because he is more faithful to the curia than the pope himself. Defeated Tucson’s Gerlad Kicanas is a proponent of “social justice;” promoting Christian principles in the way the people live and are governed.


Msgr. Dolan strongly resists attempts to pin guilt on bishops for their shielding and recklessly reassigning sexual predator priests and other clerics. Benedict XVI has at least waved a general apology, while not admitting guilt.


The archbishop of New York advocates forcefully that he and fellow prelates are teachers, under the Catholic doctrine of Magisterium; as teachers, they know better than anyone else and everyone – in their church or not – should do as they say. Obviously, not what they do.


As for his promotion to cardinal, it’s safe to say the Vatican has a red hat already inscribed with his name. A consistory is hardly necessary.


For non-Catholics and such, I should define consistory. It is a gathering of cardinals to formally install other, new princes of the church. The ceremonies are elaborate and stretched over several days. Other than the St. Peter’s service confirming their rank, the most important event of the week takes place at Papa Pio X Auditorium, located close to the Tiber.


Named for the 1927conciliation with Mussolini that unlocked Vatican doors locked from the inside by Pius IX, Via del Conciliazione’s noble, classical building serves as the office for the papal secretary of state when he receives the tickets (biglietti) naming the candidates to be voted on by the College of Cardinals.


When Archbishop Patrick Aloysius – Patricio Luigi, in L’Osservotere Romano the Vatican’s paper – O’Boyle received Washington’s first red hat, I went along together with a Channel 9 cameraman. I returned to Rome for two tours as a journalist.


Sucking on his tooth, Grandfatherly “Paddy” O’Boyle pointed the way to today’s Catholic Church, expressing more than once that liberals and dissenters should be ousted, keeping the faith of his Scranton (PA) childhood intact.


At the same consistory, Krakow’s Archbishop Karol Jozef Wojtyla provided the sensation; he was the first prelate who traveled from behind the Iron Curtain to receive a promotion in the Vatican. (The case of Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty caused later Papal honors and appointments to be secret; the Hungarian ordinary spent years in a communist prison for upholding his church’s rights and obligations; finally dying in Vienna’s U.S. embassy.)


Of course, readers know the Polish archbishop went on to become the widely revered Pope John Paul II who firmly backed resistance to the recommendations of Vatican II, setting off the conservative battle for the Curia’s close control of the church.


Washington’s new Cardinal, Archbishop Theodore Wuerl, promotes the same inflexible doctrinaire approach fostered by the pope who named him, ex-Nazi Jugend member Josef Ratzinger, otherwise known as Benedict XVI.


In past columns, including Tuesday’s, I cautioned against the present slippage that affects all Western religions, Their dwindling state prompts a fear that the world could lose its moral guides, one-by-one; until all that’s left are radicals, Christian, Judaic or Muslims.


Catholic leaders try to do everything in their power to kill off anything new that’s significant; they threaten to wind up fighting for media attention alongside al-Qaeda, Israeli West Bank settlers and Protestant fundamentalists, like the Florida minister who threatened to burn a number of Islam’s holy book, al-Quran, in protest against crimes committed by criminals who are Muslims.


The pope and all his bishops, including New York’s Timothy Dolan, are guilty of abandoning their spiritual guidance in a world condition that cries for all their help! Instead they struggle to impose man-made stipulations on their fellow men and women.


The Italian counterpart to “what a pity” translates more precisely: What a sin!


Che peccata!


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