Allen’s logic

Allen’s logic

For all the accolades accorded to John Allen of the liberal National Catholic Reporter, his logic regarding O’Malley being overlooked for a cardinal’s red hat escapes me.

“This is an indication that, from the Vatican’s point of view, the American sexual abuse crisis is over, because if they felt it was a burning issue, O’Malley, rather than Rigali, would have gotten the red hat,” said John L. Allen Jr., Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. “The crisis response that drove O’Malley’s appointment in the first place has been set aside, and ordinary logic has been allowed to resurface. Rigali had been in the queue a lot longer, and he has very important friends in Rome.”

Passing over O’Malley means the Vatican sees the Scandal as over?! If it was business as usual, then O’Malley would have gotten the red hat. According to Allen, what would message about the Scandal would making O’Malley a cardinal have sent?

I think former Vatican ambassador Ray Flynn and George Weigel make more sense.

“This is not a time of celebration and pageantry, this is a time of bringing about stability and healing in the church in Boston,” said Flynn, who was Boston’s mayor from 1984 to 1993. “The Holy Father, John Paul II, understood this very clearly.”

“This is certainly no commentary on the Vatican’s confidence in Archbishop O’Malley,” said the pope’s American biographer, George Weigel, who is the director of the Catholic Studies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington. “Perhaps Boston is being gently reminded that no see, however venerable, is ‘owed’ a cardinal - a lesson St. Louis and Baltimore have had to learn in the past.”

If anything, I think Weigel’s explanation is probably most true, although there may be elements of Flynn’s reasoning in there as well as the precedent I was talking about before.

By the way, regarding the precedent, the Hungarian Archbishop Peter Erdo was named a cardinal while the retired archbishop of the same archdiocese, Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, is still only 76. So much for precedent.

Even so, naming O’Malley a cardinal would have increased the traditional complement of American cardinals from 11 to 12 and too many people in Rome think that the Americans have too much power and influence as it is. After all, with what has happened in the Church in America over the past 2 years, it might send the wrong message to increase the honor to American bishops as a whole.