Or was it a self-inflicted reprimand?
First Cardinal Bertone made the observation that homosexuality is a major factor in the sex-abuse crisis. Then the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, issued a clarification, emphasizing that Cardinal Bertone was speaking only about the clerical-abuse situation, not making any broader psychological claim.
On an Australian television program, the liberal ex-priest Paul Collins, anxious to assure viewers that homosexuality has nothing to do with sexual abuse, said:
In many ways I think Lombardi's statement is a quite public reprimand from an Italian or from a Latin cultural point of view. I think this is Pope Benedict telling Bertone to keep his mouth shut while he's in Chile.
Sounds plausible, on the face of it. But here's the problem: Father Lombardi has revealed that he has not even spoken to Pope Benedict about the sex-abuse crisis. The Vatican spokesman told reporters that he takes all his orders from the Secretary of State: Cardinal Bertone.
Since it's generally not good policy to issue a "quite public reprimand" of one's boss, the Collins hypothesis goes out the window.
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!