Monday, August 26, 2002

The Cardinal

I don't claim to know the Pope's motivation in (supposedly) turning down Bernard Cardinal Law's resignation, any more than I claim to know Law's motive for offering it in secret. And I most certainly do not want to put any sort of Oprah-esque feel good spin on the fact that Law is still the Archbishop of my diocese.

But for all of you who have been blogging angrily about these facts (or ranting in bars, or calling the "David Brudnoy Show"), allow me to ask: have you considered how much harder the testimony and media attention is on the "current" Cardinal than it would be on the "former" Cardinal? If Law resigned and were sent to some monastery to live out his days, he would give his testimony, then slip into a van and drive off to New Hampshire, untroubled by telephones and televisions, ignoring all requests for interviews, and sleeping without the need to look for cameras outside his bedroom.

As it now stands, he still preaches public masses, still presides over one of the most prominent Catholic dioceses in the country, and must deal with the daily public scorn of the chattering classes whose attentions he once sought. For a Pope whose principal concern is the redemption of souls, which would have been the better course to take: the institutionally-sound public firing, or the personally-redemptive public agonistes?

To Rod Dreher and all those whose anger has boiled over: perhaps the man who brought down European communism knows precisely what he is doing. If you really want to do something about Cardinal Law, pray for him. Don't pray spitefully that he be removed, pray that he, like all people, receives Christ's mercy and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The madder you are, the more you need to pray *for* him, not about him. Pray also that the Holy Father is guided by the Holy Spirit to serve the true interests of the Church. And pray that healing for all of us will come in God's own time.


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