My heart swells with pride for the bishop of Phoenix

A reader writes:

My wife grew up in the Phoenix Diocese, and I lived there for some time, too; it has been a Catholic wasteland for years. While not as widely known and notorious as a Law, Weakland, or Mahoney, O’Brien is an ecclesiastical poster boy for

“giving the people what they want.” Well, they got it.

Bishop O’Brien admits cover-up in handling sexual abuse cases Bishop Thomas J. O’Brien has acknowledged that he covered up allegations of sexual abuse by priests for decades and will relinquish some of his power as head of the Phoenix Diocese to avoid possible criminal indictment, The Arizona Republic has learned.

Not because it was the right thing to do. Not out of concern for souls. Not even out of misguided loyalty to some priest abuser.

In order to avoid possible criminal indictment.


I also note this: “The Vatican refused to allow O’Brien to step down, the sources said, for fear that such a move would create the impression the church was yielding to pressure from civil authorities and disgruntled faithful.”

Americans will, of course, read this as “Rome clinging to power”. I suspect the Pope reads it through about 70 years of Iron Curtain history and of the dangers of yielding much of the Church’s autonomy to Caesar, who tends to take much more easily than he gives back (remember the 1912 income tax?). If the “sources” are accurate, it may well be that I’m right that the Pope’s refusal to let these guys go is accurate, but my suspected reason for this is not accurate (or is not the whole story, which I think is more likely). At any rate, I wish JPII would just take the guy’s resignation. Ah well, God’s still in charge of the universe.

A friend of mine with ties to Eastern Christianity remarked that the Pope is acting like an Orthodox patriarch, giving his brother bishops a helluva lot more autonomy than somebody like Pio Nono. An interesting observation. Anyway, I’m just busting with pride over our latest display of Pastoral Care from an American bishop. I also note that my reader describes the good bishop as having organized his life around “giving the people what they want.” How dare he implicate us stainless and perfect People of God[TM] in sins that are completely and solely due to the bishop (oh, and the Evil Pope)? Speaking on behalf of an American laity that is in no way morally deranged, I repudiate such thoughts utterly. Sin is due to That Guy Over There. This is America, after all.