Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

the 'bad guy' wears a white miter

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Aug 17, 2010

The Boston Globe is displeased with Pope Benedict for failing to accept the resignations proffered by two Irish bishops. The Globe, which likes nothing better than a good old-fashioned episcopal resignation—ask Cardinal Law—laments in an editorial that the Pope’s decision as a “step backward” for the Church.

What would be a step forward, then? The Globe does not tell us. But the editorial makes it clear that Boston’s own Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin are the “good guys” in this drama, while the man wearing the white hat is the villain. 

Any prudent Catholic prelate should be uncomfortable receiving the editorial endorsement of the Globe—a paper not exactly known for its love of the Catholic faith—particularly when that endorsement comes at the expense of the Roman Pontiff. It would behoove these two archbishops to let the Globe know that they are not in conflict with the Pope—assuming, of course, that they aren’t.

Cardinal O’Malley, the editorial reminds us, is one of the prelates appointed by the Vatican to conduct an apostolic visitation of the Irish Church. “Their efforts are likely to be hamstrung, however, if the Vatican is undermining the authority of Martin,” the Globe claims. Well frankly, an apostolic visitation is never a ringing endorsement of the local archbishop’s authority; it is an unmistakable sign that the Vatican sees trouble, and wants an outsider to weigh the possibility that major changes must be made.

The likelihood of such changes, the Globe concludes, is lessened by “the same old tolerance of cover-ups and failed leaders.” Here at last the logic of the editorial is flawless. But the facts are out of kilter. Pope Benedict apparently decided not to accept the resignations of Bishops Walsh and Field because there was no evidence that they had participated in a cover-up. The evidence, rather, is that Archbishop Martin pushed remorselessly for their resignations, without adequate justification.

The Globe has rushed to judgment—again—and proclaimed Bishops Field and Walsh guilty as “failed leaders.” But there’s no evidence to support that charge. And the question now pending before the house is the leadership of Archbishop Martin.  

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