Wishing You Comfort in this Time of Grief

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 19, 2004

Writing to a friend, Flannery O'Connor once remarked about a distant relative:

She always leaves me with a warm feeling -- as if I had just been promoted to the fourth grade after having stayed in the third grade two years.

O'Connor exactly describes my own invariable reaction to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and master of the Hallmark Card school of condolence. Herewith a specimen from today's Wall Street Journal:

On Feb. 27, the National Review Board will also make public a report presenting the results of the Board's interviews with numerous knowledgeable people relating to the "how and why" of this crisis. This second report obviously will not be "scientific" as the John Jay study is, but will provide an important perspective of a group of dedicated Catholic laity who share the bishops' commitment to a safe future for all children. ...

While apprehensive about the forthcoming difficult news, I feel the confidence that comes with facing a situation clearly and fully. I believe that God can bring new life out of suffering. I have seen Catholic dioceses bringing about reconciliation, including the Archdiocese of Boston under Archbishop Sean O'Malley.

All the predictable wind chimes get a tinkle (knowledgeable, perspective, dedicated, commitment, safe future, reconciliation) yet to the extent Gregory says anything at all he answers questions that no one has raised.

Q. Bishop Gregory, have you observed dioceses bringing about reconciliation -- as, for example, in the Archdiocese of Boston under Archbishop Sean O'Malley?

A. Nah, I was watching the Packers and Rams that night.

Still, it's nice to know Gregory feels the confidence that comes with facing a situation clearly and fully. Perhaps his successor will give us a clue as to what situation he had in mind. I'm not holding my breath.

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