Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paul V. Kane's Recent Commentary / Cardinal George

In a recent widely-publicized commentary, Paul V. Kane describes Pope Francis as  "a rare man and gifted leader who lives the message of Jesus...and as one who seeks to convert the church..."  He goes on to suggest three needed reforms with which I agree:

        1) Dropping from 75 to 70 the mandatory retirements age for bishops and cardinals.
        2) Ending the celibacy requirement.
        3) Establishing a parish leadership council composed of lay women and men and eliminating the parish leadership model that "is built around an all-powerful pastor."

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass in St. Peter's

His stated reason for dropping the mandatory age retirement is that, in the past, "church officials have found it more important to promote men into leadership positions whose orthodoxy and embrace of traditionalism were never questioned."  Many, he states, "were possessed by a severe theology that saw the church under siege in a hostile world."  Consequently, the age and inflexible leadership models came at an "enormous expense...It denied the advancement of sounder, more dynamic leaders willing to move in new directions..."  This, according to Kane, resulted in a massive exodus of good people from the church and "accompanied a wave of horrific child sex abuse scandals."  Kane applauded Pope Francis for publicly asking forgiveness for the scandal.

Kane pointed out that during the Church's first thousand years of priests, there was no rule baring their service due to marriage.  According to Kane, "the rule of celibacy arose mainly for human, not divine reasons" because "the motivation for keeping priests unmarried came as some bequeathed church land to their sons."  This prompted church decision makers to institute measures to protect church property.

Kane proposed that a papal commission be established, made up of lay Catholics and clergy to end the celibacy requirement.  He named two individuals he thought would make "ideal co-chairs of such a commission -- Archbishop Sean  O'Malley of Boston and Mary McAleese, wife, mother, canon lawyer and former president if Ireland."

Moving on . . .

It appears that Cardinal George's health has caused church leaders to seriously begin vetting candidates to replace him.  Gossipy news media personalities continue to publicize names they  project to be on the "short list."  Archbishop Wilton Gregory's name continues to be named by these media personalities.  THE CONTINUED SURFACING OF PEDOPHILE COMPLAINTS AND THE RESULTING PAY-OUTS FROM DIOCESAN COFFERS prompt me to question whether I should wish such a appointment on a cleric I admire and respect.  Nevertheless, without a doubt, Archbishop Gregory status is deserving of being elevated to the level of cardinal.

Recently, more lawsuits have been filed against the diocese in relation to former priest and convicted sex offender, Daniel McCormack.  His offenses took place under Cardinal George's watch.  As of March 2014 it has been reported that up to $2.1 million was paid an abuse victim.

Cardinal George has indicated his wish to have input in the vetting process.  Due to his weakened condition, his recent meeting with SNAP (Survivors Network of those abused by Priests) leaders was taped in the event his health does not permit him to testify in court.  Another such taping is scheduled for the future.

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