Christopher Hitchens has a history of bluntly stating his views that certain prominent figures in the Roman Catholic Church receive too much praise. His criticisms of Mother Teresa are probably the most well known instances of this trait. But just because someone has a habit of saying things that many would strongly disagree with hardly makes one wrong, and it's probably fair that he reminds us of some of John Paul II's darker moves at this time when the pope is generally receiving effusive praise. The Roman Catholic Church has much to be ashamed of when it comes to the handling of sexual abuse allegations both in the United States and abroad, and the protection it has afforded Cardinal Law is deservedly controversial.
Something that Hitchens doesn't address though I think deserves to be explicitly mentioned. Unless there are some rules I don't know about, Cardinal Law will be a voting member of the coming conclave. While many of the cardinals (particularly those from Latin America) have had stunningly cruel, oafish and arrogant things to say about the abuse scandal, the level of Law's actually involvement in it is unusually (and distressingly) high - and I imagine many of the world's Catholics will not be pleased to know that this man will have a say in selecting the next "Holy Father". But as Hitchens notes John Paul II has seen to it that Law still has a hand appointing bishops and disciplining priests. So perhaps this realization will not surprise many. Still, I would hope it would make many people reflect on and consider changing certain church practices, even if their maintenance at this time is not particularly surprising.Posted by armand at April 2, 2005 02:35 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Religion