Misplaced Compassion

Recent news includes the item that Cardinal Bernard Law has been appointed archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome, complete with stipend to cover household help, a car and a driver. {In addition, Cardinal Law continues to function actively on a number of Vatican committees and retains a vote for the next pope.}

There is a Roman take on this story that would hold that this recent appointment is low profile and represents an act of compassion by the pope for a longtime faithful friend. It is difficult, of course, to appreciate the compassion in the gesture. The pope himself has yet to meet with any victims. No bishop has come forward to take responsibility for any portion of the scandal. No prelate has demanded the kind of investigation that other areas of society would require in the light of such mismanagement and lapses in leadership.

One risks appearing the common scold by making the same point repeatedly. Yet this latest development with Law drives home again : at least in U.S. circles : the fact that no one has been held accountable. Bishops particularly have simply held themselves above the fray. What has become frustratingly clear to lay people and priests is that there is no mechanism available in the Church for holding bishops accountable to the community for their actions.

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