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Discussion 4 to Meditation 1028
A damning report leads to prompt papal inaction

by: JT

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In the past week, I've seen several more conspiracy theory claims as to hidden reasons for the Pope's resignation. They all fail the test of making more sense than the official story that Benedict is no longer up to handling the job any more due to the ravages of age. However, an article* in Thursday's Guardian does seem to have more of a basis in reality - and the Guardian does have a certain degree of credibility.

The Guardian story is based on an article in the Italian paper, La Repubblica, that a report had been prepared by three cardinals who were originally tasked with investigating the whistleblowing by the Pope's butler. The report identifies a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom were being blackmailed as a result of their sexual orientation and practices. Supposedly this report was delivered to the Pope on 17 December, and upon receiving it, he made his decision to resign and also decided to leave the report for his successor to handle.

Given that other reports, as noted in a footnote to previous discussion item, suggest that the decision to quit was made even earlier, I question whether the resignation was directly linked to this supposed document. But the refusal of Vatican officials to deny the report's existence suggests that it may really exist. If so, the refusal to immediately act on it is typical of Benedict.

While the man is insistent of proclaiming papal authority, Benedict has shown himself incapable of exercising that authority over the Vatican administration when necessary. He did not exercise it as John Paul II's right hand man, and he has not exercised it as Pope. The Vatican has required a thorough housecleaning to root out the corruption and nepotism that flourished under John Paul II and continued under Benedict XVI. Other than the punishment of the Pope's butler who took on the quixotic quest of attempting to force the Benedict to act, head have not rolled. And they should have.

If this new report exists, then it is a clear call for drastic action. Benedict could make his successor's job immensely easier by using his authority to act now, to thoroughly clean house. He could let the next man start with a clean slate rather than with a mess on his hands.

Since 1981 when he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith he has had the power, the duty, and the responsibility to clean the Vatican up. Failure to exercise that responsibility has been a continuing major moral failing. And by leaving this latest report (if it does exist) for his successor to act upon, Benedict fails once again.



* Pope Benedict retired after inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper, The Guardian, Thursday 21 February 2013