May I preface this by saying that I am still angry at the way former-cardinal-bishop-priest Theodore McCarrick was handled? For his punishment he was made again a lay person?!? REALLY? Most of you reading this are lay people. THAT’s a punishment? And if the powers that be say that, “Well, we don’t intend laicization as ‘punishment’, per se…”, then that means he hasn’t been punished at all! So, I am angry about that.
I think the Rite of Degradation of a Bishop should be applied to him, all the down through all the orders he ever received…. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
Ross Douthat of the NYT had an interview with Raymond Leo Card. Burke.
He asked some good questions.
Douthat: But what if it’s in the nature of a hierarchy to allow people in positions of authority to suspend the rules? What if you need more democratic accountability somewhere or the law won’t be enforced?
Burke: Well, clearly Christ constituted the church as a hierarchical communion. His public ministry immediately took these 12 men aside and prepared them. They weren’t all angels either, as we know. But there is always a temptation to infidelity to the pastoral office, to permit things that are evil when it comes to a friend. This, by the way, is “clericalism.” Clericalism has nothing to do with being interested in the liturgy or wanting to wear a cassock. No, clericalism is the abuse of the office of cleric for sinful purposes.
So, yes, there have to be controls and they actually existed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Up until the reforms of the Second Vatican Council there were a whole series of rites for the degradation of a cleric who betrayed the holiness of his office.
Douthat: Some of them very vivid rites.
Burke: Very vivid. For instance, if it was an archbishop or bishop, they’d dress him in the full vestments and then take them off one by one, with these very severe declarations, and then at the end, scrape the hands that had been anointed at ordination with a knife [or with a shard of glass!] to signify that this person had completely betrayed the office.
Douthat: Would you like to see such a rite applied to, for instance, the now-former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick?
Burke: I would say that it’s the proper way to go.
Do I hear an “Amen!”?
And he’s not the only one.
In public. Prominently, to repair something of the scandal.
To read more about the Rite of Degradation of a Bishop. HERE
For the Degradation of a Priest. HERE