When walls are too high
A penchant for conspiracy is no help to the Vatican’s image
¨IT WAS a scene that could have come from medieval times: the ruler sat on a gilded throne before the multitude as a courtier extolled his virtues. The sovereign, he said, was an “unfailing rock” who would not be deterred by the “idle chatter” of critics.
The setting was St Peter’s Square at the start of the most solemn Mass in the Roman Catholic liturgy, on Easter Sunday, April 4th. The ruler was Pope Benedict XVI and his courtier Angelo Sodano, the dean of the college of cardinals. His oddly anachronistic eulogy was a reminder that the Vatican is not a democratic state or a multinational firm, but a sort of absolute monarchy. Catholics believe its ruler owes his place to divine right: that he is chosen not by the cardinals who elect him, but ultimately by the Holy Spirit working through them.
That is why it may be misleading to view the scandal over clerical sex abuse that is rocking the Catholic church as a latter-day Watergate, certain to undermine the pope’s legitimacy in the eyes of his own lieutenants. Deeming their mandate to be from God, popes believe it can only be taken away by the Almighty at death. Whatever evidence is produced to embarrass Benedict and his church, it will be irrelevant to the length of his tenure. But it will not be irrelevant to his—or its—moral authority, and that point risks being lost as the Vatican sinks ever deeper into self-pity, laced with conspiracy theory.
Beyond its high walls, the crisis is deepening. On April 7th it was reported that a bishop, Georg Mueller of the Norwegian diocese of Trondheim, had resigned last year after confessing to the sexual abuse of an altar boy. He is the most senior prelate to have been linked to the scandal.¨ HERE
Fired Catholic Bishop of Norway continued service in Germany
Bishop Georg Mueller was in 2009 silently removed from a Church in Norway because of his sexual abuse of a boy. He kept his salary from the Vatican, and continued in Papal service in Germany HERE
More than one ¨most senior prelate to be linked to scandal¨
Bishop Raymond Lahey
¨Ottawa police have issued an arrest warrant for a former Roman Catholic bishop who recently oversaw the settlement of a lawsuit alleging church sexual abuse in Nova Scotia.
Raymond Lahey, 69, is charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Importation of Child Pornography.¨ HERE
Angelo Cardinal Sodano, Dean of The College of Cardinals
Angelo Sodano is mentioned in Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish blog: Following the Money
Another critical figure who was the recipient of vast amounts of Legion money was Cardinal Sodano. Sodano was critical to fending off investigation of Maciel once formal charges were brought in 1998:
"Cardinal Sodano was the cheerleader for the Legion," said one of the ex-Legionaries. "He'd come give a talk at Christmas and they'd give him $10,000." Another priest recalled a $5,000 donation to Sodano.
Sodano was also the key Vatican figure who this Easter derided the latest stories of abuse as "petty gossip" and declared the church united in defending the Pope. He has refused to answer Berry's questions about the Legion's cash gifts to him over the years.¨ HERE
· Thanks to The Economist
· Thanks to Getty Images
· Thanks to Thalamus Center, sidebar
· Thanks to CTV, Canada
· Thanks to BBC, photo
· Thanks to News That Matters, Exposing Fake and Falsehood
· Thanks to Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish
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