Whew! It was speculation, not an apology for priestly abuse or episcopal morons and their probably criminal activities in covering it all up, not noticing it, and continuing to dodge the language of responsibility for it. Some passionate mail today from people offended by these musings. But honestly: do you understand why John Paul, a good, intelligent and holy man, won’t get rid of these guys?
I don’t either. And so, following Sherlock Holmes, I say that when you have eliminated what is impossible then whatever is left over, however improbable, must be the truth. I can’t believe JPII is stupid, or wicked, so there has to be some other motive for his actions in refusing resignation from Law. Like I say, it’s just a guess.
Obviously when I say that the bishops who are responsible for this catastrophe are “carrying their cross” I don’t mean they are sinless Saviors. I simply mean that they are now living the suffering they’ve inflicted on others as penance for their sins. Jesus does, after all, make exactly the same connection when, moments after the prophecy of his cross, he binds us to ours, saying: ““If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24. None of this suggests that our carrying of the cross makes us sinless or saviors. It merely means that if we hope to be saved (and boy, do some bishops need saving!), the way to that salvation is by carrying the cross, not taking a powder. The question then, is: how do they find and carry their cross? My guess (note that word) is that JPII thinks leaving them in their now-miserable jobs to face the music is their appointed cross.
It’s another matter entirely whether I think that’s the right course of action (I still don’t). But if that is JPII’s idea, I’m at least willing to listen, mostly for the simple reason that Peter was also cocksure Jesus was nuts for wanting to go to Jerusalem and garnered a very sharp rebuke for his very sensible advice about avoiding suffering. I’m circumspect enough to think that when I sharply differ from the Holy Father, it might just be me that’s missing something.
I hope John Paul will make clear what his motives are. But till he does, all I can do is go on what little I know. My guesses are just that: guesses. They are not agreements or excuses. Still less are they attempts to say (oy!) that the guilty bishops and clergy are the “real victims” here. They are, at best, real penitents here.