Thursday, May 16, 2013

O'Brien Press Release

This afternoon, the Holy See Press Office issued the following press release:
“His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien, archbishop emeritus of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, for the same reasons he decided not to participate in the last Conclave, and in agreement with the Holy Father, will be leaving Scotland for several months for the purpose of spiritual renewal, prayer, and penance. Any decision regarding future arrangements for His Eminence shall be agreed with the Holy See.”
It would be wonderful to think that this is last we will hear of this particular scandal and His Eminence. The problem is that Bishops' Conferences present their like for nomination as bishops. The Nuncios before Archbishop Mennini seemed to have rubber stamped the names handed to them. The sad fact is that there must be questions over those Bishops who are in place and whose nominations were endorsed by Cardinal O'Brien as well as priests and others who were promoted by him.

When one thinks about the murky character that has emerged of Drygrange when O'Brien was on the staff, the logical outcome is that one must ask questions about every bishop and priest who was associated with it.
Before the O'Brien case there was Roddy Wright the now ex-bishop of Argyle and the Isles who "eloped" with one of his mistresses.

The rather terrifying thought is that possibly Scotland is not alone in its moral turpitude, does it touch the other Episcopal Conferences in these islands and further afield?

Pope Francis has been speaking a lot about "careerism" in the Church, the O'Brien case is certainly the most  blatant example but should one wonder if it is his code for a certain lifestyle? It seems significant that the involvement of His Holiness is specifically mentioned in the press release and it seems impossible to believe that the misdoings of this Cardinal were not a significant blight on, but more especially within the Conclave.

Spreading rumour and gossip is not useful but it does seem that perhaps the past routes to the Episcopacy are pretty shaky and seem to aid and abet a certain type of Bishop from a certain coterie of clergy.

In Scotland it might be sometime before new Bishops are appointed and presumably they will come from somewhere far removed from the O'Brien stable, and only after a long process of vetting, will the same process go on elsewhere?


Amfortas said...

Was O'Brien a careerist? Is there an O'Brien stable? I hate to allude to something a tyrant once said but I don't have a window into O'Brien's soul. The impression that emerges is of a tortured soul who had not come to terms with his sexuality and was turned in on himself. Certainly not a very healthy person psychologically. I'm certainly not trying to defend someone who clearly abused his power and acted as a hypocrite. But hopefully the day will come when the finger wagging will stop and he can retire anonymously.

Meanwhile the Scottish church is left to pick up the pieces and no measure of easy fixes - a la Voris - will put that right. I'm not sure what the wider lessons are for the church. The seminary system infantilises many of those who go through it and unfortunately the priesthood has and continues to attract some pretty wounded individuals.

Crux Fidelis said...

Father: Roddy Wright, erstwhile Bishop of Argyll & the Isles has been dead for some years now.

GOR said...

It appears, Father, that there is a change underway in how new bishops are being selected. Recently, both here in the US and in Ireland, some recent appointments were of priests from different dioceses and not the ‘shoo-ins’ from the vacant Sees.

That is a good sign and I think it speaks to the ‘new breed’ of Nuncios, like Brown in Ireland, Mennini in Britain and Viganó in the US – not to mention Cardinals Ouellet, Burke and Pell in the Congregation for Bishops and the closer oversight of Popes Benedict and Francis.

The ‘Old Boy Network’ was disastrous for us here in the US where so many bishops advanced by Cardinals Bernardin and Mahony ended up being front page news – and not of a good sort!

Please God, we are past that now with a wider net being cast and more worthy candidates appointed.

Deacon Augustine said...

"The problem is that Bishops' Conferences present their like for nomination as bishops."

Yes its a huge problem. I hear that one of the "reforms" of the Curia that the English bishops are hoping for (some of them) is that episcopal appointments should be taken out of the hands of Rome and all arranged locally. What a disaster that would be for the English Church!

Ma Tucker said...

All very peculiar if you ask me. People with these kind of entrenched disorders don't do obedience as well demonstrated by this cardinal in his last public interview. Please God Pope Francis will deal with the curial ring soon. Let's keep the putrid festering nest in the cross hairs of attention. As regards Cardinal O'Brien's associates, there are many good priests who have been forced to swim around in this excrement and with God's grace have survived and maintained their sanity and sanctity. I think everyone is entitled to their good name unless they, by their own actions, have sullied it. Cardinal O'Brien's sins belong to Cardinal O'Brien.

Lepanto said...

It is an unfortunate fact that we have to consider the specific cases in order to recognise, and deal with, the general situation in which the Church finds itself. A situation so appalling that I, for one, can hardly imagine it being worse. Rome trusted the local hierarchies for decades and look at the results! If I were the Pope, I should be tempted to depose every bishop in the world and start again.

Amfortas said...

'Curial ring', 'putrid festering', 'swimming around in this excrement'. Get a grip!

Sadie Vacantist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Highland Cathedral said...

"easy fixes - a la Voris"
Amfortas: Could you be a bit clearer, please?

Physiocrat said...

This does not altogether explain the paranoia amongst some of the bishops when permission was being sought to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in the 1980s before the Motu Proprio. I am reminded of an episode in the C S Lewis novel "That Hideous Strength", when the chief character falls into the hands of a body known as NICE, the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments. It is run by determined atheists, and our hero is told that if he wants to advance further, he must stamp his foot on a crucifix placed on the floor in front of him.

The curious thing about this is that our atheists evidently believe at some level that the cross has power, which they would not if they were really atheists - they wouldn't even care. Likewise, if the bishops really had thought that the Tridentine Mass was powerless and obsolete they would have given their consent to priests to celebrate it as often as they liked, safe in the knowledge that it would quietly vanish into obscurity. Instead, not only did they hunt down priests who persisted in saying it, but they were niggarly with their consent and there was a massive lie perpetrated on the people when they claimed that the Tridentine Mass could not be celebrated without special consent.

Jim Dorchak said...

I think that there is a very easy way to solve these problems. The laity need to hire private investigators to follow our Bishops and Cardinals and yes Priests and to photo and tape them if found partaking in poor behavior. Make these reports public in the press. This would bolster the good men and bring down the poor ones who need to find another career.

Amfortas said...

Highland Cathedral, just an impression. Maybe a wrong one.

GOR said...


As further evidence of Pope Francis' concern about bishops, VIS notes that he meets weekly - on Fridays - with Cdl. Marc Ouellet.

Pope Benedict used to meet on Fridays with the head of the CDF.

Also, notably, there appear to be fewer meeting between the Holy Father and the Secretary of State.

Fr Ray Blake said...


mortimer zilch said...

thank you Fr. Ray, I think your comments are right on target, if far more understated than I would say.
A writer here named Mahoney and Bernardin's appointments as being not of the right sort. Add Cardinal McCarrick to that batch and you have the 3Musketeers of the let-it-all-hang-out model of the priesthood that continues to wreck the Faith in the USA.