All The Pope's Men
As a tired but nevertheless prayerful old Bavarian bowed out, he allowed himself a parting shot heard not merely around the world but in Heaven itself, one that will echo down the arches of the years to the end of time - the new man must clean house at the centre, and he and his successors must keep it clean thereafter.
To describe Benedict's address to his last audience as revolutionary is to overstate the impact of the majority of revolutions. In these days in which no public activity seems to be undertaken without prior consideration of its legacy, if a legacy must be sought from the Ratzinger papacy then this was it, with bells on - a pope has declared the papal bureaucracy to be part of the problem, not the solution, the clerical equivalent of Eisenhower's railings against the military-industrial complex, and life on Vatican Hill will never be the same again.
It would not surprise me in the slightest if the next pope's first orders, given perhaps only days after assuming office, will be to redraw the orders for the holding of conclaves in such a way as to debar cardinals who either are or have been the subjects of civil or criminal process from participating, thus assuring Roger Cardinal Mahony of his rightful place in ecclesiastical history. It will say much for the work of reforming the mechanisms of church government that may soon be underway that one day that particular change may be viewed as being a minor one.
Labels: Our Church