Friday, April 02, 2010

O'Malley Just Loves His Boss

Mad as a March hare comes to mind, albeit that phrase has decided sexual tones. Instead, let's put Sean Cardinal O'Malley's latest laugher into the sycophancy class.

On his personal blog (apparently the only bishop or higher's in the R.C. church), Boston's Archbishop writes that Pope Benedict XVI is a swell guy and was as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Specifically, "What is very clear to me — and I think to all who are fair-minded — is that Cardinal Ratzinger and later Pope Benedict has been dedicated to eradicating sexual abuse in the Church and trying to rectify the mistakes of the past. "

Any questions? He thought not. Be quiet and remain seated until you hear otherwise.

What's sad and incongruous is not that a church politician would make kissy-face with the big guy. Rather it is that of the ranking prelates, only O'Malley has gunslinger cred. He's the guy, not Ratzinger cum Benedict, who cleaned houses and set up systems.

  • 37 years ago, O'Malley was a young priest living with poor Latinos in D.C. and participating in such social action as rent strikes
  • In the next decade, he worked for and with the Virgin Island's homeless as AIDS striken.
  • Elevated to a bishop in New England, he emerged as the sex-abuse fighter, the East Coast hired gun brought into town to clear out the bad guys and make the townspeople feel safe (and non-litigious).
  • He cleaned up Fall River, then Palm Beach, then Boston, tromping heavily on abusive priests and undoing the mistrust of the negligent bishops who had been there.
  • Boston may have been the toughest, trying to deal with the mess left by Bernard Cardinal Law, who skipped state ahead of the law to hid out in Vatican City.
Of course, as one might expect, the higher O'Malley got, the lower he acts. There is some cliché about power corrupting that comes to mind.

O'Malley earned his chops doing what others found impossible or at least supremely unpleasant. Now, he has reduced himself to painting a fantasy portrait of a misunderstood Pope. Yet, in light of the plethora of documented facts of then Bishop Ratzinger's actions and inaction, O'Malley's apology is incredible. (Note that a quick search for Ratzinger and abuse among other such terms will provide far more than you care to read or even think about the subject.)

Catholic chums tell me to expect nothing better. After all, they say, bishop and above are political positions, not religious and moral ones. Yet, considering where O'Malley has been and what he has done, I would still expect better of him.

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1 comment:

Ryan said...

It is sad to think of all the hope O'Malley came into Boston with to see what little that amounted to. I think he really lost what little opportunity he had to 'rekindle the faith' amongst those who left over the child abuse scandal with all the church and school closings -- and the poor ways in which many of them were handled (closing schools midyear? seriously?).

Of course, choosing blind button-issue dogma over doing good never helps, so the smaller scandals, like when Catholic Charities chose to get rid of their adoption services (or, rather, forced by the archdiocese's leadership), more and more people felt turned away by the church. Or, like the fact that the church tells entire segments of the population that they're going to hell for doing ordinary, not-evil activities. That can't help...