- Oct 27, 2020
If concern about being seen as partisan close to an election were actually as strong as the Vatican often likes to say, would it have been so hard to wait a few days to give a thumbs-up to a book or to name a new crop of cardinals?
Two storylines are fighting it out to dominate Vatican coverage, and so far it’s no contest: A media frenzy over a few seconds of papal verbiage on civil unions has overwhelmed the Vatican and China renewing their deal on the appointment of bishops for another two years.
No matter what a leader actually says or does, if he or she allows an impression to be created and doesn’t publicly disown it, then it belongs to them.
To call a public blast by one cardinal against another “rare” is to traffic in understatement. To find any sort of precedent we have to go back a decade, and a public conflict between Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, and Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
Following the eternal logic of cherchez la femme, the recent scandal surrounding Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu now has served up its own female lead: Cecilia Marogna, a 39-year-old lay Italian professional now under arrest in Milan awaiting possible extradition to the Vatican to face a criminal trial there.
Monday’s encounter between Pope Francis and Australian Cardinal George Pell marked a vindication for the 79-year-old Australian prelate, but perhaps not a full resurgence.