- Dec 14, 2019
While it’s tough for outsiders to assess the latest round of purported scoops about Vatican finances and stern denials, what’s becoming clear, at least, are the dueling narratives at work.
“They want to strike the papacy,” Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga said in an interview with Italy’s largest-circulation daily newspaper, La Repubblica. “First they depicted a church largely made up of pedophiles, now they’re suggesting economic recklessness, but it’s not so.”
The ironic juxtaposition of two stories on the same day illustrates a chronic confusion within the Church about what an “option for the poor” actually means.
Tuesday sees the start of the Vatican trial of two former officials of a papal hospital in Rome charged with illicitly using funds to renovate the Vatican apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a way that benefited a fellow Italian businessman. Bertone himself was not an object of the Vatican investigation and does not face any charges in the trial, which marks the first prosecution under new Vatican laws on financial crime.
Two stories this week, one in Italy and the other in the States, both highlight missed opportunities for real reform on clerical sexual abuse, born of trafficking in stereotypes and straw men rather than engaging the nitty-gritty of reality in the Catholic Church.