Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who would trust the Bishops' Conferences to solve the sexual abuse crisis?

Certainly not Cardinal Baggio who in 1977 when Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops addressed the Circulo di Roma, a group of diplomats and intellectuals based in Rome.

While dressing up his assessment of Bishops' Conferences in a generally positive light, he declared that, « as they were entirely human institutions, they reveal  grandeurs and servility, ambiguity and contradictions, such as improvisation and inexperience, empiricism, group mentality when it comes to expressing an opinion, bureaucratic and administrative inertia, a refusal to take responsibility, a loss of energy and time- these defective elements lead one to consider sometimes that the Bishops’ Conferences are a aberration of pluralism »

And the then Cardinal Ratzinger writing in 1982, "it is however a fact that we have become the witnesses of a dissolution of personal responsibility of the bishop in the anonymity of collective decisions, a disolution which is without precedent in history".

Ironic indeed that conservatives and traditionalists, given their, at least, incipient ultramontanism  have a rather flatter view of ecclesiastical hierarchy than progressives and modernists.  Cardinal Manning reportedly expected a direct instruction from the Pope to be brought to him at breakfast each morning.  But there again, one would expect progressives and other socialists to rather like building bureaucracies.   It does employ them so.
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