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Quick Hits: From Crux, two detailed looks at current Vatican woes

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Apr 25, 2018

Credit the Crux news site with two detailed and informative looks inside the current operations of the Vatican:

By all accounts, the investigation into the Chilean mess, prepared by the Pontiff by Archbishop Charles Scicluna, was thorough, accurate, and damaging. Pope Francis has admitted as much himself. So what happens now? Ines San Martin asks, On Chilean abuse crisis, who led Pope Francis to make ‘serious errors’?, and proceeds to suggest some answers to that question. The past and present archbishops of Santiago, Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz and Ricardo Ezatti, respectively, are at the top of the list; they have apparently devoted a good deal of energy to the effort—now finally defeated—to protect the clerics who surrounded the notorious Father Fernando Karadima. In passing, the Crux report also explains why the scandal became tinged with ideology, so that Pope Francis once complained that the critics of embattled Bishop Juan Barros were being misled by “leftist” propaganda.

John Allen, meanwhile, remarks that the Pope’s most influential advisory board, the Council of Cardinals, “right now is a distracted bunch.” His reasoning is impeccable. Of the nine cardinals on the Council, five—that is, a majority—now have serious issues of their own to address:

  1. Cardinal Errazuriz, as mentioned above, is embroiled in the Chilean scandal. He is also, at 84, well beyond retirement age, and thus a good bet to drop off the list of the “Council of Nine.”
  2. Cardinal George Pell has missed several meetings of the Council, and likely will miss many more, since he is in Australia fighting abuse charges. He too is beyond retirement age, and although he remains the titular Secretary for the Economy, it is questionable whether he will return to Rome in that, or any other, official capacity.
  3. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the chairman of the Council of Cardinals, faces his own brewing scandal in Honduras, where he has been accused of accepting massive financial payments for which his archdiocese cannot provide a satisfactory accounting. Oh, and he too has passed his 75th birthday, so his resignation should also be on the Pope’s desk, although it is unlikely to be accepted anytime soon—unless the situation in Honduras heats up considerably.
  4. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, as president of the German bishops’ conference, is busily battling with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) over a proposal to allow the Protestant spouses of German Catholics to receive Communion. The CDF reportedly disallowed the German bishops’ policy; Cardinal Marx is fighting to preserve it.
  5. Cardinal Sean O’Malley is not himself under fire, but as chairman of the papal commission on sexual abuse, he has his hands full with the consequences of the scandal in Chile and whatever moves the Pope plans to make to address that situation.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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