Monday, April 12, 2010

Bagnasco would be a strange bedfellow

Cardinal Bagnasco is no friend of the Gay. Now he wants heads to roll in the pedophile priest scandal, but if his head is the only one left enshouldered, we won't be any better off.

This is interesting Vatican politics. Bagnasco is an insider/outsider. The current pope made him a cardinal, but he came up through the Italian ranks and is not really a papal palace courtier. I suspect he'd like to clean house from bottom to top which would be self-serving.

He'd deny that he is lumping B16 in with the guilty, but he certainly is doing just that. A Cardinal bus driver en route from Genoa to throw the bishop of Rome under his tires?

Bottom line here: never before have there been so many signs of fracturing in the power structure of the Roman Catholic Church. It's turning into a game of every-Cardinal-for-himself. The 67 year old Bagnasco is probably sensing his own mortality and has figured out that the longer B16 lingers, the small are his own chances for succession.

9 comments:

steve said...

Tony:

Is it Rome (The Curia) fracturing, or is the whole church fracturing?

Father Tony said...

The curia is fractured, the people are waking up. We will soon see the result. Some will move to the comfort of the Episcopal church. Some will stay with Rome, most will do what they are already doing: stay home. Money will drive change. The American Catholic Church will implode because there will be no money to support its infrastructure. There is the unsettling thought in the American Catholic mind that every dollar placed in the collection basket will help feed and clothe a pedophile priest and a maniacal bishop.

steve said...

Tony:

Where doest the money come from for the Vatican? Is it similar to the situation at the UN where the US is by far the largest donor nation? Does Rome need the US money to function, or can they make do on the money from the rest of the world?

rethoryke said...

I've been thinking about the "Money will drive change" idea. Could it be that one of the reasons for high profile exits from charitable works in DC and other places, officially due to "being forced to acknowledge the civil rights of gay people" [never mind the divorced ones], is really a way to cover a genuine inability to pay for these charitable works anymore? That so many funds are being thrown into the gaping maw of scandal that there isn't anything left for the true Mission of the church: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the orphan and the widow?

Father Tony said...

Without American dollars, they'd eventually start selling the artwork. But the financial hit would be felt most immediately in the American Church which will not be able to support its own inflated infrastructure. I wonder how many people actually think that money flows from Rome to the local churches.

Father Tony said...

Dear rethoryke,
You are absolutely correct. I think I posted something about that in which I observed that Don Wuerhl was cleverly killing two birds with one stone: combating gay marriage while getting out of supporting programs that used a lot of diocesan resources that are already stretched.

ewe said...

They can start selling some of those Manhattan temples in the good neighborhoods.

Fortunata said...

get on that chilean-based announcement, linking priest pedophilia only with homosexuality, and denying it has anything to do with celibacy. grist for your reportage

Sebastian said...

Actually, in DC, the limitations on Catholic Charities saved only a small amount of money. Charitable endeavors were cut, but those had been funded by grants from the District of Columbia government, not from church money directly. They did save some money by ending spousal insurance benefits to new hires - or existing employees who wanted to make a change. But that savings was more than offset, I am told, by reductions to the diocesan lenten appeal. When I asked parishioners at one local parish whether people were upset about the child abuse stuff, I was shocked when one parishioner told me that she had heard many more objections to the archbishop's actions regarding gay marriage!

But withholding money is an effective weapon, especially when paired with specific donations that are targeted at particular groups and causes, which according to both church and civil law must be spent there, and not on general operations.

As for the Vatican, it already operates on a shoe string. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger headed and which has worldwide responsibility, is staffed by only 75 people. They own great works of art, which really are not liquid assets, and the Vatican is always in the red or just barely in the black.