Friday, March 8, 2013

The Pope Is Not A Janitor

Christopher Gillibrand gave us a few quotes from Archbishop Chaput. These are the type of quotes that will comfort the thoughtless Catholic Republican. Indeed, Archbishop Chaput seems to be one of these, for his salient political commentary started happening about twenty years too late.
This notion that the pope needs to clean house is laughable. The Vatican is his gilded cage; if the pope must clean the house, we are in trouble, because he is prisoner to whatever filth is there. The only thing he could theoretically do is release us, as various popes have done when kings have begun to behave badly. Well, we've got governments, both secular and Christian that are being rather naughty, so he could release us from our perceived obligations to them.
That is about all he can do, and it isn't clear that he could do that. Can the Queen say a word that isn't vetted by Cameron or one of his buddies? We can assume the outreach to the SSPX was initiated by Benedict, but the subsequent discussion via the Vatican went nowhere. I suspect this is because the Vatican is nuts about Vatican II and wouldn't let the appropriate language pass from Benedict to the SSPX. Things immediately got changed from something the SSPX might be able to sign (after much prayer and deliberation) to something that made Fellay wonder why the gesture of conciliation was made in the first place.
So this is foolishness, a comic book version of reality. The pope isn't a janitor. He isn't superman either. The few powerful gestures he could make are desperate ones. He can't clean house, but he could flee it. The power of these questionable people is derived from being near the Papal throne. A 'cleaning' just means a shuffle of personnel, many of whom will continue to be untrustworthy. Decentralization is the only way, and with these sorts of cases the metaphor of a wrecking ball is likely to be more apt.

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