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By Cheshire (articles ) | May 05, 2003

It is easy to counsel patience regarding the removal of a problem bishop, and it is reassuring to the pious to say that all will be well since the matter is in the Pope's "holy hands." This is bad theology. Infallibility and the "grace of state" do not ensure prudence in administrative matters, even in the case of a saintly Pontiff. Were that otherwise, papal history would be a lot gentler to read.

The Church is suffering unspeakably now in morale and money because of the failure to remove bishops, not to mention the countless souls that have been lost. A long list of these failures will be recorded in the history books. One representative case suffices for this space: Rembert Weakland. How did he slip through the Pope's "holy hands" for so long?

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