Today’s New York Times reports that disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law, while too old to vote for the next pope, is eligible to “participate in the general congregations meetings that precede the conclave.”
We beg Pope Benedict and Cardinal Angelo Sodano (who heads the College of Cardinals) to insist that Law stay away.
His presence and participation hurts in two ways. First it inflicts more suffering on those who have already suffered enough – clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics in Boston and elsewhere.
And it sends precisely the wrong signals to church employees everywhere: “Endanger kids and you’ll rarely and barely pay any price at all. Your career will largely remain unscathed, no matter how irresponsibly and recklessly and deceitfully you behave.”
It’s tough to imagine that Law’s involvement in these meetings will benefit anyone. It’s easy to see, however, how his involvement will hurt many.
This is less about punishment. It’s more about prevention. It’s not really about discipline, it’s about deterrence.
As victims, we find ourselves asking “Does our pain mean nothing Why aren’t complicit Cardinals told to stay home? Why won’t they, as a tiny gesture of remorse, recuse themselves to help foster healing in even the simplest way? Why are their egos given consideration while the feelings of victims essentially ignored?”