There, I said it.
What’s interesting this time is the stuff that’s been on the sidelines and … ahem … peripheries of the meeting.
If Rome can be counted among the peripheries, the interview released by Vatican News on Monday morning – right about the time the US bishops were sipping their coffee – probably takes the cake.
It was an interview with Roger Cardinal Mahony, the archbishop-emeritus of Los Angeles, and it was mostly about the endlessly controversial draft document on “Eucharistic coherence” the bishops ordered at their spring plenary.
Cardinal Mahony doesn’t like it.
“I think it’s unfortunate that we’re even having this document before us,” he says, and calls it “totally unnecessary.” OK, he really doesn’t like it.
“[T]he document as we have it is being passed just as we come up on the holiday season, no one is going to read [it],” he says. He’s not wrong about that – and wouldn’t be wrong about it, were it written by St. Thomas Aquinas himself.
“Remember,” he says, “this document was intended primarily to go after and penalize Catholic legislators.”
Only, it wasn’t.
The idea that the US bishops ever countenanced targeting politicians or public servants in any branch of government at any level is one that played a big part in the pageant of idiocy that took place around the bishops’ last big pow-wow in June, but it was never going to happen and everybody who matters knew it – even and especially the ones who were ginning up opposition to the idea.
Anyway, that Cardinal Mahony doesn’t like the draft document is not exactly surprising. It also isn’t really any sort of news. What’s news is that the Vatican’s official information outlet ran an interview in which he says so, on the opening day of the US bishops’ fall gathering.
Now, it may be that Cardinal Mahony asked the pope’s news organ for some space, and they obliged. It may be that the editorial powers at Vatican Media sought him out, and he obliged.
I asked a couple of the senior people in the organization, but they hadn’t answered by late this afternoon EST – I’m stateside these days – and, anyway, it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that the Vatican’s official communications outfit is running an interview with a senior US red hat – one with a dismal record on child protection and clerical discipline – in which the prelate criticizes his brethren in the American episcopate for doing things their way, rather than letting Pope Francis call the plays….
The above comes from a Nov. 15 posting on Catholic World Report.