A friend sends along the following thoughts concerning why otherwise orthodox and reliable bishops won’t stand up against CINO politicians. I don’t necessarily endorse the speculation, but I find it interesting and it could be an explanation of things:
I think it’s possible that Cardinal George and Archbishop O’Malley reason like this: “If I deny Kerry communion, he’ll defy me. And he’ll find a priest to defy me. That means I’ll have to discipline the priest, and probably a whole series of priests. The media reaction will be staggering. I may well not enjoy the support of more than a few fellow bishops and can live with that, but I absolutely have to have the Holy See back me up on this. That’s non-negotiable. What confidence do I have in this regard? Arinze and Ratzinger clearly, and the Pope probably, will be in my corner. But ultimately the decision will rest with Sodano. If I suspend priests, and Sodano stabs me in the back by reinstating them the way Wright did to O’Boyle, my episcopate will become a joke for the rest of my term. The Pope might disagree with Sodano on the subject, but he is too weak to face him down now—especially if Sodano presents him with a fait accompli, and especially if the media coverage beats the priest-sex-abuse drum as loud as possible in order to foreground Church hypocrisy, etc.—as they almost inevitably will. Arinze is making the right noises on this, but Arinze has zero to say on the issue of suspended priests, and his opinion counts for nothing in a showdown. The worst possible scenario is for us (U.S. bishops) to get tough, to get undercut from Above, and then to be forced to cave. Better to play it safe and instruct the voters about abortion as clearly as we can.”
Update: See below.