In Britain we are no strangers to political scandals, all of which have certain features in common.
One such is the statement that the
Prime Minister has “full confidence” in whoever the minister or MP might
be who is in the eye of the storm.
When the embattled politician hears
that, he knows his days are numbered.
Now something that sounds similar is happening in the Vatican.
The council of cardinals have said
that they give Pope Francis their “full support”.
expression of support is quite unprecedented.
One is left with the
impression that someone is protesting too much.
After all, Cardinals
support the Pope in all things, don’t they?
That is their default
setting. So why the public expression?
The answer may lie in the grievances listed on the posters that went up around Rome
the other weekend, and which are now collectors’ items.
an unprecedented rebuke to the Vicar of Christ.
Moreover, along with the
discontents listed in the posters, other troubles may be brewing for
No one accuses or could accuse the Pope of not caring about the
welfare of children, but evidence is building that his handling of the
child abuse crisis that continues to challenge the Church has been less
First we had the setting up of a Commission for the
Protection of Minors, whose success has been mixed to say the least. One
member left the commission, saying it was meaningless unless Bishop Barros of Osorno, Chile was removed from his diocese.
Bishop Barros faced angry accusations from Chilean Catholics of protecting an abuser, but he is strongly supported by the Pope.
If this were not enough, we also have the case of the convicted abuser
Don Mauro Inzoli, whose priestly faculties were first taken away and
then returned, with the approval of the Holy See and according to The Week, with that of the Pope.
If all this were not enough, we have had ample evidence
of the Pope showing great personal favour to Cardinal Danneels, despite
the latter’s history in the sad case of the Bishop of Bruges’ abuse of
Needless to say, any one of these cases would have been enough to
sink anyone in public life apart from Pope Francis; it is remarkable
that none of these stories have attracted much attention in the
Because each one represents his personal
judgment, each also means that his judgment can be called into question.
While the Pope is infallible in certain narrowly defined instances,
in matters of administration he can, and does, make mistakes.
two Popes made lots of misjudgments in their appointments, I am sure, so
it should come as no surprise that this Pope may also do so.
Like Charles II,
the Pope can always attribute his mistakes to those who advise him.
here, of course, the council of cardinals has its role to play in
advising the Pope and letting him know the mind of the faithful.
Church is not a democracy, but it is a family, and in every happy family
all voices need to be heard.