UPDATED TWICE: A few nagging questions as Pope Benedict XVI steps aside #rogermahoney #bernardlaw #B16

February 11, 2013

It is a great astonishment, although it should not be, and very entertaining to observe so-called journalists trying to sort out the Roman Catholic Church. This commentary comes from an odd bird, an unashamed Protestant Anglican and Catholic of the Reformation. I can forgive mortal reporters not understanding the squabbling offspring from the Church of England, but darn it, Roman Catholics are important. This matters.

Let me give you the question that everybody missed in the early morning. It is indicative of a grave lack of background from those entrusted to report the news. Excuse me for whining, but these are jobs that are so elite, so exalted, so intellectually demanding, that a college degree is absolutely mandatory – no exceptions. (Whew! That sure feels better now!) What about retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney? He may be removed from public ministry, but Mahoney still has a vote in the College of Cardinals. Will he slip out of the country, out of the reach of pesky prosecutors who might have a few hard questions about the apparent pattern of obstructing justice and protection of pedophile priests? Will he join retired Boston Cardinal Bernard Law in luxurious exile, hiding from the long arm of the American judicial system. Law voted in the 2005 conclave, but I am unsure of his current status. It may be that Law is no longer an elector. These are questions that American journalists might pose to some competent authority. American Catholics should be embarrassed that Vatican City is becoming a foreign refuge for shade characters who wear their collars backwards. Let’s hope the California prosecutors get the jump on Mahoney before he splits the country for good.

“Will there be changes in the Catholic Church now that we are rid of that terrible old man? Will this testosterone poisoned bunch of elderly hard-heads finally give way to the more enlightened and PROGRESSIVE voices demanding reform? Will the new Pope change church doctrine and take a course more RELEVANT and SENSITIVE to the modern world?  You know! Will he be as smart as me?” (Tongue now removed from cheek. Gosh I despise such shallow reporting and dull journalists.)

Oh, it just chaps my hide. There are plenty of things about which Joe Ratzinger and Pat Lynch might disagree (see the 39 Articles of Religion), but he is an orthodox Christian, my brother in Christ, and a tremendous theologian. As Pope, nobody ever knew better than Ratzinger that doctrine was not his to decide. He is a protector of church teaching, even if the Catholic Church has fallen into error. Understanding this would demand knowing something about Leo the Great, his Tome, and the Council of Chalcedon. Yeah, it was a long time ago (451 AD) and I am very blessed to know about such things. The lack of professionalism on this story ought to make you wonder how are they doing on the economy? or the war in Afghanistan? or health care? Ugly is skin deep, but stupidity runs clear down to the bone.

UPDATE: Dr. Edward Peters’ blog on Roman Catholic canon law has some useful information, although no word on Bernard Law’s status. I suspect he is too old by now, but Mahoney is certainly making preparations for his escape from American justice.

SECOND UPDATE: Ed Peters excellent canon law blog links to a list of papal electors. Mahoney is “in,” Law is “out.” Bernard Law, the disgraced protector of pedophiles and former Cardinal Archbishop of Boston, was awarded a non-demanding position to subsidize his flight from American authorities. It would seem Mahoney is about to stage the same kind of shameful exit.


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