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According to Tom Reese SJ, on the America Magazine Blog, at the installation the new Cardinals will take an oath of fidelity and obedience to the pope and his successors. Text below: 

I [name and surname], Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, promise and swear to be faithful henceforth and forever, while I live, to Christ and his Gospel, being constantly obedient to the Holy Roman Apostolic Church, to Blessed Peter in the person of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, and of his canonically elected Successors; to maintain communion with the Catholic Church always, in word and deed; not to reveal to anyone what is confided to me in secret, nor to divulge what may bring harm or dishonor to Holy Church; to carry out with great diligence and faithfulness those tasks to which I am called by my service to the Church, in accord with the norms of the law. So help me Almighty God. [Translation by Zenit.]

One comment on the blog already raises the question about the appropriateness of such an oath given the fact of the scandal regarding abusive priests. Surely a greater scandal was caused by the secrecy regarding the protection of molesters and rapists and their multiple re-assignments which led in so many documented cases to multiple new victims. As a victim myself I have often reflected on the fact that my abuse, even the abuse of my siblings, was not enough to rob me of my faith in the Church, it was the scandal that came to light regarding the official policies of the ecclesial authorities that caused the greatest damage:

  • the systemic and documented policies of support for the perpetrators
  • avoidance of the truth (!) when asked about the personal histories and personnel files of individual priests
  • protection of the perpetrators from criminal charges
  • imposition of silence on the victims under threat of excommunication or removal of support
  • funding of aggressive lobbying against the removal of statutes of limitations

There are, as so many commentators have pointed out, sex abusers in every religious and social organisation and in many families. Finding evidence of abusers in the Catholic Church was not surprising, finding evidence of organized sanctioned cover-up was devastating. 

I am in mourning for my faith in my Church.

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Washington Post,  November 8

Pope Benedict XVI has summoned cardinals from around the world to a day-long summit in Rome next week on the clerical sex abuse scandal and other issues facing the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Monday.

The Vatican called the session “a day of reflection and prayer” that also will include discussions on threats to religious freedom, relations with other religions and procedures for disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church. Five Church of England bishops announced Monday they were converting to Catholicism following Benedict’s invitation to disaffected Anglicans.

Really? Sex abuse, religious freedom, ecumenism, and Anglican ministers joining the church … all in one day? Is this just a publicity gesture? Certainly, prayerful reflection is an important tool for Catholic leaders to utilise — would that more of them had used it in the past.  But what is the point of identifying so many issues as the focus for a single day? Nothing substantial can possibly be achieved in one day, except the eliciting of agreement on already formed papal opinion. Is that what the church needs right now — more yes men?  We can’t even get a decent English translation of the New Missal. How can we expect any real growth on the issue of abuse unless the pope is willing to actually address it with meaningful investigation, prayerful reflection and input from professionals in such fields as medicine, law enforcement, psychology, psychiatry and criminal law.  And by “willing to address it” I mean a month or a couple of weeks not a couple of hours, however prayerful.

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