UK- Cardinal’s move is “public relations, not punishment”

Some claim that the Vatican is “punishing” disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien. That’s baloney. A news account today suggests the Vatican is just caving into O’Brien’s UK colleagues and helping them limit the public relations damage caused by O’Brien’s continued presence in the UK.

The Scotsman reports:

“After ten weeks in hiding, he returned to Scotland intent on retiring, as previously planned, to a Church property in Dunbar in East Lothian. However, the surprise move angered the Bishops’ Conference who are understood to have complained to the papal nuncio in London.”

That’s hardly “punishment.”

In fact, the Associated Press reported that the Vatican announcement “didn't specify that the decision was imposed on O'Brien by the Vatican as punishment, and in fact went out of its way to suggest that the decision was O'Brien's.”

Similarly, some also claim that O’Brien was forced out by Pope Benedict. Maybe…maybe not. Because Catholic officials refuse to speak honestly about clergy sex crimes and misdeeds, one can only guess. In February, church bureaucrats said that O’Brien had “resigned.”

Until the Catholic hierarchy stops the double talk, we should all be careful about interpreting Vatican words and deeds. We should refuse to let Vatican officials play the “spin” game insisting that they are clear about clergy sexual misconduct and cover-up.

And when there’s doubt, we should assume the worst, not the best, about their moves and motives.


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