"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd." ~Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Benedict bites a big bullet

Reacting to the results of an investigation of many sex-abuse allegations, reopened in 2004 at his behest as head of the CDF, the Pope has severely restricted the activities of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder and head of the Legionaries of Christ and its lay arm, Regnum Christi. This is good news. It means that Benedict is not the sort to be cowed by a dilemma.

The dilemma for the Pope is that the situation has forced him to choose between his hatred of all the sex-abuse filth in the Church and his love for vibrant, orthodox "ecclesial movements" that produce priests. Leave Maciel alone for the latter's sake, and the papacy ends up doing nothing about what at least appears to be an egregious instance of filth at a high level. Punish Maciel, and the papacy might demoralize a loyal movement that has aided the Church greatly in recent decades. But in the end, the cumulative allegations seem to have borne enough credibility to make some sort of meaningful action imperative. And so it has come about.

Here we have one of the most important signs that Benedict puts principle over politics, even Church politics, when the two conflict. Given the ever-louder chorus for him to approve condom use for married couples in which one party is infected with AIDS, he will need all the courage that such integrity can provide.
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