Here's Richness!

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 22, 2003

When the Stalin-era agrarian economy was at its nadir the economic propaganda of the Soviet régime, not coincidentally, was its most extravagant in celebrating prosperity. A sardonic proverb ran: if you want milk, fill your pail from the radio.

Last week's meeting of bishops ended as it began with prolix self-congratulation (for public consumption, at any rate) on the advances made in dealing with the child-abuse crisis. There was even a undertone of impatience at the less effusive enthusiasm voiced in other quarters.

The problem is not idleness or inattention -- at least not of the bureaucratic variety. The bishops can point to an abundance of new policies enacted. What bothers the skeptics is the bishops' continued inability to demand a reckoning of their brother bishops. A few heads have been bared of their miters in the past two years, but always because the media or the law enforcement heavies did the bishops' work for them.

Or look at it another way. As a consequence of their criminal negligence, Bishops McCormack of Manchester and O'Brien of Phoenix were forced by the DA's office to relinquish some of their ecclesial authority. If this is a bad thing, why did their brother bishops permit it? If it is a good thing, why didn't they do it themselves?

If we take our pails to the radio, we can quickly fill them with policies. Is it a reproach to us if we're hungry for something more?

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 22, 2003 10:55 PM ET USA

    The real problem we have is that we expect the bishops to act as Apostles when, clearly, they don't have the same expectation for themselves. It's easy to see why. They weren't chosen because they were the best at proclaiming the Gospel. They were chosen because they were able to raise money or because they naturally take to hierarchical politics. When businessmen or politicians get in trouble they form committees and hire PR consultants. The poor bishops don't know what else to do.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 22, 2003 3:52 PM ET USA

    I say don't blame the Bishop's Conference; blame the "good 'ol boys" in the Vatican. After Vat II we had hoped that the Bishop's Conferences would have been allowed to exercise some of the authority handed down from the Apostles, but alas, what little they did have has been returned to Rome. As a result each Diocesan Bishop is a Monarch answerable only to the Pope and NO ONE ELSE! What is it they say: Power corrupts, abosolute power corrupts absolutely!