Set the record straight

Set the record straight

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorializes on the appointment of O’Malley to Boston. While I agree with them in applauding the choice of O’Malley for Boston based on first impressions, I am beginning to be dismayed a little by the retrospective mud-slinging against Cardinal Law.

Bishop O’Malley, 59, a Franciscan friar, would seem to be the perfect choice for Pope John Paul II. Like the pope, Bishop O’Malley is a doctrinal conservative, likely to rein in efforts to turn more of archdiocesan affairs over to lay people. But unlike his equally conservative predecessor, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, Bishop O’Malley is a man with a warm, outgoing personality. Significantly, he also has experience in cleaning up clergy sex abuse scandals in two other dioceses. And he’s Irish, to boot. [emphasis added]

Who says Cardinal Law wasn’t warm and outgoing? These people obviously never saw him meeting with people one-on-one. I had several personal encounters with the cardinal and saw him meet others and I don’t think you could find a more gregarious and open man. And that was especially true of him with young people. I went on two World youth Day pilgrimages with the cardinal and the teens and adults loved the man.

  • Another anecdote about Law: When he was a priest in Missouri in the 50s and 60s (I think I’ve got the time period right), he marched for civil rights in defiance of some in the chancery and some of his brother priests. And as editor of the local diocesan newspaper, he also used his bully pulpit to call for real social justice.

  • Hi folks,

    I wouldn’t worry about it all that much, meaning the (inevitable, I guess) comparisons.

    Even though I’ve been nicknamed (kindly or not, it doesn’t matter) as “Law’s Cheerleader” this kind o’ stuff really doesn’t bother me…and it certainly doesn’t bug Cardinal Law.

    The thing about Cardinal Law is that he is loved by those who don’t have a voice. That’s how he wants it. (Pretty much…he’s human after all, but pretty much.)

    He’s happy. As Archbishop Emeritus, as well as just your regular priest, he’s filled with hope for this Archdiocese.

    The one who might feel, were he a lesser man, constrained by comparisons, would be Bishop O’Malley…by people who, I know, are, while anxious to welcome him, are also unintentionally thinking stuff like: “So. Would YOU come and bury my son?” “Would YOU help my drug-addicted sister?” And so on.

    But I don’t think he does. Comparisons, as GOR noted somebody noting, can indeed be odious. Yet it’s just this odium we should let pass by…because it’s only designed to divide the Church.

    The point is, we’ve got a new Archbishop. He’s got the prayers—as we all have—of our Archbishop Emeritus.

    Some may think the latter as cold and insular. Others know better.

    Neither really matters in the eternity-run.

    What matters is what God knows.

    May He bless Bishop O’Malley, his priests, the people of his archdiocese, and all of His people.