The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican by the northeastern regional bishops is off and running, and BCI finds it interesting and ironic that Cardinal O’Malley started things out by saying he hoped that being together at the tomb of Peter would renew him and his fellow bishops “in our generosity, courage and faith.”
Sounds good at first and BCI would encourage all of our readers to also pray for generosity, courage and faith for our bishops. But BCI and our readers are wondering how that courage thing is going in recent years for Cardinal O’Malley, since a lot of faithful Catholics in Boston have been looking for more in that particular department. As St. Anthony of Padua said, “Actions speak louder than words, let your words teach and your actions speak.”
Here is most of the CNS story reporting on this:
Bishops from northeastern US begin ‘ad limina’ visits with prayer
By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Praying together at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and meeting Pope Benedict XVI should be a moment for bishops to reconfirm and strengthen their faith, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.
The cardinal was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Nov. 4 in the grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica in a chapel before the saint’s tomb.
In his homily, the cardinal told his fellow bishops that after Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, “Peter flees. He’s trying to follow the Lord at a safe distance, something we all try to do at one time or another. But Peter discovers it’s impossible; you can only follow the Lord up close.”
After the Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, because love is the measure of faith, the cardinal said.
“Jesus doesn’t ask Peter if he’s excelled in his intellectual prowess or his organization skills or his fundraising capacity or his Myers-Briggs score. Jesus only asks, ‘Do you love me?'” he said.
Cardinal O’Malley said love of the Lord was a prerequisite for Peter’s ministry and is a prerequisite for the ministry of bishops today.
Peter’s love for the Lord brought him to Rome, the cardinal said, but — according to legend — as persecution grew Peter decided to flee again. Leaving the city, he saw the risen Lord and asked him, “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”), and Jesus replied he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Peter renewed his faith and returned to the city where he met a martyr’s death.
“Each of us has gone through a ‘quo vadis’ moment or two in our vocation as bishops,” the cardinal said. “Hopefully, our being together at the tomb of Peter and close to Benedict will renew us in our generosity, courage and faith in following Jesus up close so that we can say with all our hearts what Peter said, ‘Lord you know all things. You know that I love you.'”
- Not forcing vigil protesters to leave the church buildings they have been occupying over the past seven years, at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful–and never publicly stating the protesters who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
- Selling St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee which said no more land was to be sold.
- Failing to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College and failing to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment
- Allowing a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement, by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred
- Cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers
- Continuing to pay millions in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives (i.e. $325K to schools superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill), when the standard paid by other diocese for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying.
- Refusing to acknowledge that the Boston Archdiocese mistreated the Daughters of St. Paul when the Daughters tried to recover millions in pension contributions for their lay employees, and then denying that his intervention with the Superior General in Italy was related to the removal of the U.S. provincial leadership team.
- Presiding over the nationally-televised Ted Kennedy rite of Christian burial–including the three eulogies, politicized prayers of the faithful, and celebrity musicians–and criticizing pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy.
- Continuing to allow Jack Connors to serve on the Finance Council and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors a) being front-and-center in the deception over the search for the new Institutional Advancement Secretary, b) serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, one of the largest abortion providers in Massachuetts and c) publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley
- Failing to clearly articulate Church teachings in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston (where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month) and allowing a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence.
It is good that the Cardinal is praying for more courage, and we would urge readers to join with him in that prayer! At the same time, it is not clear to us if he understands and acknowledges his actions have often not been matched with his words and where he has fallen short so he can do better in the future.
This is just a quickly drafted list BCI came up with of ten areas where the Cardinal could have demonstrated stronger courage and faith, where faithful Catholics may have wanted to see him demonstrate greater courage. What else do you think we have missed?