Showing posts with label Archdiocese of Boston. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Archdiocese of Boston. Show all posts

Monday, March 11, 2013


Cardinal Sean O'Malley
[Cardinal Sean P.] O’Malley has repeatedly dismissed the notion that he is a contender, and he continued to do so Sunday at his titular church. (All cardinals are assigned as honorary patrons to a Roman church; O’Malley’s is Santa Maria Della Vittoria.)

Clad in a red cardinal’s cassock for Mass, he silently climbed the steps of the church — a Baroque masterpiece resplendent with elaborate frescoes and marble sculpture, most notably Bernini’s masterwork, The Ecstasy of St. Teresa.

The Rev. Rocco Visca, a member of the Discalced Carmelite friars who run Santa Maria Della Vittoria, lavished praise on the cardinal as he opened the service, calling O’Malley humble and a friend to the friars. He said he hoped that this would be O’Malley’s last visit as a cardinal and that the church would be his first stop after he became pope.
Santa Maria Della Vittoria
The titular church of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who heads the Archdiocese of Boston in the United States, is pictured to the left.
Today, the cardinal priests have a loose patronal relationship with their titular churches (their names and coats of arms are inscribed on plaques in the churches, and many raise funds for their church's maintenance and restoration), but they no longer participate in the actual management of the churches. There are now 143 presbyteral titular churches. Likewise, the cardinal bishops are given only honorary title to the 7 suburbicarian dioceses, and the cardinal deacons are given a similar relationship to the churches of their 69 deaconries.
The Ecstasy of St Teresa
To the left is a photo of Bernini's magnificent sculpture, The Ecstasy of St Teresa. The sculpture follows closely the descriptions in her writings of Teresa of Ávila's ecstatic experiences during prayerful contemplative meditation.

In answer to my playful question in the title of the post, I believe the chances that Cardinal O'Malley or any prelate from the United States will be elected pope are slim to none.  The view of the US and its leaders from the outside is, all too often, as power-hungry and desirous of ruling the world, and few cardinals wish to put the power of the Vatican in the hands of an American.  Besides, the Italian cardinals think it's time to put an Italian back on the papal throne.  Barring an agreement on the election of an Italian, the next choice might be a cardinal from a third-world country or from a country in one of the Americas, but not the United States.  There you have my predictions, which are not specific, nor should they in any way be considered conjectures from an expert in papal elections.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Pope Benedict XVI's abrupt resignation on Monday heralds the end of a sad and storm-tossed seven-year papacy.

The former Joseph Ratzinger came to the highest office in the Roman Catholic church with a reputation as a challenging, conservative intellectual. But the messages he sought to convey were all but drowned out, first by a string of controversies that were largely of his making, and subsequently by the outcry – particularly in Europe – over sexual abuse of young people by Catholic clerics.
So far as I can remember, child abuse and cover-up in the Roman Catholic Church were first revealed in south Louisiana even earlier than the exposure in the Archdiocese of Boston, but the national media gave the story little attention. I suppose the newspeople thought the abuse was confined to the backward crazies in the Dioceses of Lafayette and Houma/Thibodaux in Louisiana. I left the church, not only due to the many instances of child abuse, but especially because of the cover-up. If the matter of child abuse had been handled properly from the beginning, the RCC would have saved itself a load of grief.  The Diocese of Houma/Thibodaux is small, and I knew too much about the cover-up and paying victims to keep silent be able to stay in the church in good conscience.  Since then, I have not looked back, for if I had not left in 1996, the more recent actions and words of the leadership of the RCC would have caused me to make my departure many times over.

Having said that, I am shocked at the resignation. John Paul II carried on long past the time he should have stepped down, and I thought Benedict would do the same.  Popes don't resign; it's been a long, long time - 600 years - since a pope did so.

One of Benedict's goals was to re-evangelize Europe.  We see how well that worked out.  Since the two popes, John Paul II and Benedict, served respectively for 27 and 7 years, each had many opportunities to appoint cardinals of the conservative persuasion, therefore I do not expect the next pope will be a flaming liberal.  In fact, if the successor turns out to be a moderate, I will be greatly surprised.  But then, God often surprises us, so we shall see.

Update from MuckRack: The journalist who scooped all the reporters on the story, Giovanna Chirri, a reporter for Italy's ANSA news agency, heard the pope's announcement of his resignation in Latin and understood what he said, which shows that Latin is not a completely dead language.