Accountability – Vatican Style

Up until this week, only one bishop had been held accountable for his role in knowingly transferring sexually abusive priests. That bishop as Boston's Bernard Cardinal Law. Now Cardinal Law has been named to head the St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, and the number of bishops held accountable has dropped back to zero.

By the way, there is every reason to believe Cardinal Law will live in a style similar to the previous archpriest of that basilica, who according to The New York Times, received a monthly stipend of $12,000 ($144,000 annually) and lived in a "palatial apartment" - a classical Roman apartment with frescoes on the walls. Cardinal Law continues to serve on a number of influential Vatican committees, and as a cardinal he will be able to vote for the next pope.

In bitter irony, news of Cardinal Law's appointment came two days after the archdiocese of Boston announced it was closing 65 of its 357 parishes due to financial problems that developed under his stewardship. The Boston archdiocese now plans to sell parish property for $300 to $400 million. There has still been no public accounting for this financial crisis.

Is this what accountability looks like to the Vatican?

The appointment of Cardinal Law to this new post has caused more pain to both tens of thousands of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and millions of Catholics everywhere. If you believe the Spirit of Pentecost calls for the Catholic Church to do better than this, contact your bishop and let him know. Silence is what allows the unthinkable to happen. Now we know silence is no longer an option.

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