Catholic World News

Pope Benedict's crackdown

May 27, 2011

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter perceives a "quiet revolution" in the management style of the Vatican under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. He points to the Vatican's assertion of control over Caritas International, and also the suppression of a high-profile Cistercian abbey in Rome.

The suppression of the abbey, Allen notes, has been portrayed in the press as a bizarre story, with lurid coverage featuring a "lap-dancing" nun and partying by the monks. The real story, he says, is somewhat more complex and much more significant.

The abbey of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem had gained a great deal of attention in Rome: hosting very popular events, drawing influential guests, and producing plenty of revenue. By most popular standards, Allen notes, the abbey's work was successful, and the popular acclaim usually drowned out the whispers of personal and financial improprieties. He continues:

Once upon a time, the working assumption in officialdom often was that if someone is doing great good for the church, then allegations of sexual or financial impropriety against them were likely bogus, and taking them too seriously risked encouraging the enemies of the faith.

Without great fanfare, Benedict XVI has made it clear that today a new rule applies. No matter how accomplished a person or institution may be, if they're also involved in what the pontiff once memorably called the "filth" in the church, they're not beyond reach.

It is interesting to note that both Allen and the French journalist Jean-Marie Guénois--both seasoned observers, with years of experience at the Vatican--use the word "revolution" to describe the impact of Pope Benedict's moves during the past week.

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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - May. 29, 2011 9:34 AM ET USA

    God bless our Holy Father! Yes, I agree with a previous poster: it does remind me of Jesus sweeping clean the temple area that had become a 'den of thieves'. We are the Church of God, not a worldly corporation! We should be about the Lord's business. Pray for our Holy Father and all of the good priests and religious working every day to serve our Lord. Pray for those who have become misguided that they will return to the right path under our Holy Father's guidance!

  • Posted by: impossible - May. 28, 2011 11:44 PM ET USA

    Too bad he can't close down the National Catholic Reporter with its heretical contributors. Then he could work on America, Commonweal and St. Anthony Messenger Press and Paulist Press.

  • Posted by: ebabril2340 - May. 28, 2011 9:13 PM ET USA

    This is heartwarming. This reminds me of our Lord standing up against the leaders of the establishment, the Pharisees, against the crowd that desecrate the temple. God be with our Pope!

  • Posted by: voxfem - May. 28, 2011 7:19 PM ET USA

    May the Holy Spirit guide him and our Lady protect him.

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - May. 27, 2011 8:58 PM ET USA

    It's about time the pussyfooting was ended.

  • Posted by: - May. 27, 2011 8:56 PM ET USA

    If we add to these two happy events the "Silencio!" delivered to the bishop of Toowoomba down under by none other than the archbishop of Denver up top, it was a very good week. Can we hope for a little something to make the Jesuits uncomfortable? hmmm?