ITALY -Complicit non-voting cardinals in the “general congregation” meetings in Rome
We urge Catholic officials to make real – not symbolic – reforms that protect children and expose wrongdoing. At the same time, however, sometimes even a small gesture can bring some healing to suffering victims and betrayed Catholics. And sometimes, when wrongdoers experience even slight consequences, it can help deter future wrongdoing
In that light, many have questioned whether clearly complicit church officials like Cardinal Brady and Cardinal Mahony should be asked to stay home or voluntarily stay home. (We are grateful that Cardinal O’Brien has opted to recuse himself from the conclave.)
But there’s another set of prelates who are also in Rome this week. They won’t vote in the conclave. But they will take part in the secret General Congregation of Cardinals meetings. Thus they too will play a decision-making role in picking the next pope.
They are the roughly 90 Cardinals who are over the age of 80. Some of them, we strongly believe, are also compromised because they too have protected predators, endangered kids, and enabled abuse.
We don’t know who each of them is. But they do. And we urge every single non-voting Cardinal to examine his conscience and seriously consider staying or going home if he has exacerbated this horrific crisis by acting callously, recklessly or deviously.
Doing so would be one way to show contrition and bring healing. It would bring at least some small consolation to many who are in pain. And it might discourage other church leaders from dealing irresponsibly with clergy sex abuse and cover up cases in the future.
If none of these complicit cardinals recuse themselves from the General Congregation meetings, we urge their colleagues – and other Vatican officials – to prod them to go home, for the sake of the church, the victims, and the laity. Archbishop Gomez “rebuked” Cardinal Mahony. Cardinal Schoeborn criticized Cardinal Sodano. Archbishop Curtiss publicly blasted Cardinal Law. Bishop Gallante criticized his supervisor, Bishop Grahmann. So while it’s painfully rare, one Cardinal prodding or criticizing another is not unprecedented. And whether such a move – to persuade a corrupt colleague to go or stay home – may not succeed, it’s certainly just and caring and the effort should be made.
Catholic parishioners and clerics deserve a papal election that is tainted as little as possible. And so do victims of clergy sex crimes and misdeeds.
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