February 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-POPE-BOWS-HEAD

From cardinals to parishioners, we must forgive, work on flaws

This week’s editorial leader

The Devil makes work for idle hands and idle tongues, and Pope Francis has no intention of his newly elevated cardinals being idle. Once the celebration of ‘two Popes’—Benedict and Francis—at Saturday’s ceremony giving out 19 new red hats was over, the following day Pope Francis turned to qualities he expects of cardinals. The Holy Father told the cardinals to shun gossip, intrigue, cliques.

“A cardinal enters the Church of Rome, not a royal court,” Pope Francis said on Sunday. “May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favouritism and preferences.”

It is not just cardinals who must be diplomatic and constantly strive to be more like Christ. From the youngest to the oldest in every parish community and organisation, we must work on mastering our human flaws and weaknesses. Pope Francis and our clergy aim to lead the way but they too are human.

Given the elevation of Cardinal Vincent Nichols for England and Wales, it may be some time before Scotland is again honoured with a cardinal. Our hierarchy is, however, growing in strength and numbers everyday and we must keep past, present and future members in our prayers and remember the heavy burdens they shoulder. Prayers for future vocations are also a priority.

The thought of biased secular media’s coverage of any Vatican trial of Cardinal Keith O’Brien and the restructuring of parishes and deaneries on Scottish dioceses strike fear into the heart of many Scottish Catholics. Indeed, 2013 was such a difficult year for our clergy, religious life and laity that the thought of pure poison once again being pumped out by the 24/7 news cycle by those who would marginalise Christianity is harrowing. While zero tolerance to abuse of power—and abuse in its broader context—is non-negotiable, where does justice end and revenge begin? The line between transparency and privacy on such issues is blurry. We do not have to condone or forget the lessons learned from the behaviour of sinners to forgive and offer support. And when it comes to the future of Scottish parishes and their associated communities, much will no doubt be made of this to allege and revel in the suggestion that the Faith is on the decline while the opposite is true if you look at our congregations and schools.

Groups using the technique of repeating something until it is seen as true must realise that this will not work. The Church will speak out against such mud slinging even if its members turn the other cheek.

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