More News on Cardinal O'Brien

On Saturday, my attention was brought to an article in the Herald Scotland which suggests that the Vatican
"...has called a halt to the appointment of any more Scottish bishops until a full investigation into the Cardinal Keith O'Brien scandal is completed by Rome."
Of course this move by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the current prefect of the Congregation for the Bishops, which oversees the selection of new bishops, means three dioceses – Paisley, Dunkeld and Edinburgh – will not have their vacancies for a bishop filled for some time.

Apparently, the Congregation for the Bishops has instructed Archbishop Mennini, the Pope's ambassador in the UK, to keep the book open on Cardinal O'Brien and continue to gather evidence.

Surely this can only be another indication Pope Francis is turning his attention to the crisis engulfing the Catholic Church in UK? It certainly seems to me to signify a key change in the way these things are dealt with. Rather than brushing the whole sorry affair under the carpet, it would be good to see a clear, rigorous process lead to a definitive outcome which could be communicated to the faithful. It would be demonstrative of the Church's commitment to justice for all.


Of course, the The Bishops of England and Wales have been in Rome for a retreat at Villa Palazzola where they have been addressed by Cardinal Ouellet. Much of what the Cardinal had to say has intrigued me. And I am not alone. Deacon Nick Donnelly has commented along with Fr. Ray Blake and Joseph Shaw. It has been widely commented that there is something of a war raging between the bishops of England and Wales, the Nuncio and Rome. It has been speculated that Pope Francis may prefer a more collegiate approach to governing the Church which would, no doubt, go down well with Archbishop Vincent and Cardinal Cormac.

Fr. Ray voices concerns I have to say I share about such an approach;
"strongly local or national Churches growing in independence of Rome have historically always ended up in schism. That is the story of the Reformation, of Jansenism, of the rise of the Old Catholics and as Pope Bergoglio is only too aware of Liberation theology. Whilst guarding against Ultramontanism and excessive centralisation a weakened Papacy will bring about weakened sense of unity, and therefore of the faith."
Deacon Nick highlights the way in which Cardinal Ouellet's words present the bishops with a rather stark challenge: can they withstand the pressure to obey men rather than God? This challenge is very clear in the Cardinal's address:
"My brother bishops, you face many challenges In your apostolic ministry in England and Wales. Perhaps you can identify with Peter and John as they are dragged before the Sanhedrin to be pressured, threatened and even beaten to stop proclaiming the saving Truth of Jesus Christ.Perhaps you can sense viscerally the pressure to obey men rather than God, to see yourself-as a mere manager or functionary rather than a disciple and an apostle."
There is no doubt in my mind that this is a critical time for this country, with, I think, eleven episcopal vacancies currently, the Vatican has an opportunity to re-evangelise these islands in a way that hasn't happened for centuries. Pope Francis has made appointments in other countries, but here we still wait patiently. My prayer is that this is because Pope Francis and Cardinal Ouellet are working with the Nuncio to make the changes necessary to re-ignite the Catholic faith in the U.K.

However, many have a much more pessimistic outlook. Ttony at The Muniment Room sums up the situation thus:
I have a disinclination for conspiracy theories, and this isn't one. I think the people running the Church in England and Wales since 1980 have had a clear idea of exactly what they want it to be, and aren't really hiding it. I think they have been clever enough simultaneously to speak against the empowerment of non-magic-circle Catholics (whether in orders or not) by the Internet while using the Internet to corral activist Catholics into as controlled an environment as the pre-Internet Church, all the time using top end techniques to spin and control discussion so that it is always based on their terms.
I have to admit that I worry about this, largely because the people I have had dealings with and who 'run things' do not seem terribly efficacious, or evangelical about the Gospel, and they tend to be defined by a common hatred for places that do.

Comments

  1. Please God, grant us holy priests and even holier Bishops!

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