I saw this article this morning. If it's true (and some are telling a different story), my feelings have totally turned from a sort of deep doubt and suspicion and cynicism, even dread, that began when I saw him come out without the mozzetta and then heard about all these showy, seemingly self-conscious, gestures of "humility" being touted...into something like elation. If this is true, then I am exuberant and love this guy now:
So when the appearance of a disgraced cardinal threatened to cast a shadow over his first engagement, Francis I made sure it couldn’t happen again – by banning him from his own church.
Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002, after being accused of actively covering up for a litany of paedophile priests.’
Despite the scandal which exploded to engulf the entire church, he was given an honorary position at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome.
Though now retired, the cardinal still enjoys a grace and favour apartment in the cathedral complex.
So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems he couldn’t resist a discreet peek.
But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’
One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.
I still have deep reservations and disagreements on the liturgical and aesthetic and "image" question, of course. But as Shawn Tribe said on New Liturgical Movement this morning, though the absolutely abrupt change in style apparent even just in his first public liturgy is disconcerting, the new liturgical movement does not have the Pope as its be-all and end-all. As strong public example from the Pope is nice, but maybe that needs to take a backseat at the highest levels to the questions of cleaning up the Church, administrative reform, personnel overall, spiritual purity, and salvaging things from the scandal and PR-nightmare. His won't be a terribly long pontificate, anyway, and maybe these things needs to be prioritized first (even if sacrificing liturgical excellence for a time).
As long as he doesn't revoke Summorum Pontificum or persecuted traditionalists on the ground, this doesn't change much for any of us personally in our Old Rite venues or private prayer lives (though reconciliation of the SSPX is out of the question now; unless, ironically, he "gets tough" with them and they actually respond to that sort of stern discipline).
But this act with Cardinal Law is really heartening, inspiring even. My heart literally leapt for joy and I got giddy. For so long this blog has expressed exasperation that the previous popes, even though they are absolute monarchs, seemed unwilling to institute real change though all it would take was a word from their mouths or a stroke of their pen, seemed to instead pussyfoot diplomatically around actually punishing anyone or sacking anyone or stepping on any toes, doing all this weird passive-aggressive back-room gradualist game playing. I mean, it's not like they're Presidents who need to worry about getting the support of Congressmen.
On the other hand, Pope Francis, just off the cuff, says, "Get him out of here, and he's not to come back!" and is ordering him into cloister after 10 years of getting away with his criminal negligence! Amazing! If it's true, I really really like him now, and he's totally converted me from my initial skepticism.