Rockin' at the Vatican.
Bishop John McCormack told parishioners yesterday he is haunted by his part in the church sex scandal, and for the first time apparently questioned whether it could affect his future as leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.``These days, my past haunts my present and clouds my future with you in New Hampshire,'' he said at the opening of Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral.However, McCormack tempered the remark by adding the best way he can help alleged victims is ``to serve and lead the church in New Hampshire well.''....McCormack criticized the attention paid to the sexual abuse crises, calling it a ``bizarre interest in the details of these horrible acts which repulse us.''McCormack also said too much attention has been paid to his shortcomings. ``Among the many choices and decisions that I have made as a priest and bishop, my mistakes and failings have been lifted up, scrutinized and characterized by some to be such that I am a harmful person or one who lacks moral character,'' he said.
``Little consideration is being given to any good that I have done in the past, and many are being led to question whether I can do any good in the present or in the future.''
Shedding some light on the sequence of recent events, Coyne said that Law had decided to offer his resignation by Thursday, Dec. 5, the day after he won permission from the archdiocesan Finance Council to file for bankruptcy if he concluded such a step was necessary. Law's decision came just two days after lawyers for alleged victims of the Rev. Paul R. Shanley made public 2,200 pages of church documents on eight priests, one of whom had been accused of terrorizing and beating his housekeeper, another of trading cocaine for sex, and a third of enticing young girls by claiming to be the second coming of Christ.
Coyne said Law flew to Washington to convey his desire to leave to the papal nuncio, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, and that Montalvo urged him to go to Rome to discuss it with the pope. Law arrived in Rome Dec. 8, and spent several days consulting with Vatican officials before meeting with the pope on Friday.
Coyne said that Lennon had known as early as Dec. 11 that he was going to be named apostolic administrator of Boston, meaning that the Vatican had decided to let Law go well before Pope John Paul II accepted Law's resignation Dec. 13.
Coyne said that Lennon, because he was appointed by the pope, has the full authority of an archbishop to ordain priests, name pastors, and close churches, as well as the secular rights to settle lawsuits or file for bankruptcy. Lennon's situation is different from that of many diocesan administrators, who are chosen by local bishops and whose authority is more circumscribed.
Saturday morning, we started of by heading to lovely Decatur, Indiana, to watch the momentous battle between the St. John's Eagles and the St. Joseph's Commodores 5th grade basketball teams. Katie continues her energetic play, chasing down her opponents like she's got a contract out on them, and hauling that ball up in the air from great distances - she is going to make a 3-pointer before the end of the season, I'll bet.
Of course, they lost (0-4 so far) in a show of strong defenses - I guess that's what you could call a 14-9 final score.
Did I do anything Saturday afternoon? I don't remember. Honestly. Saturday night, we went over to the very hospitable Nancy Nall's house for a lovely open house, and yes, this was the first time we'd actually met face to face! . We took Joseph, who gave their dog some work to do each time he spilled something on the rug, and who also made a religious statement of course when he grabbed baby Jesus out of the manger, dropped him on the floor where - yes - the dog immediately rushed, eager for another snack. We obviously made our exit before the Trivial Pursuit game. It was a very nice evening - thanks Nancy!!
Today, Katie and I went to a production of The Christmas Schooner a musical of the heartwarming genre (is there any other kind for the season? Should there be?) based on the true story of German immigrants who brave the wintery waters of Lake Michigan to get tannenbaums from the north shore of the lake down to Chicago. Sort of - if I'm not giving away too much here - an Edmund Fitzgerald thing, only a little more cheerful. Just a little.