May 27, 2011
John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter perceives a “quiet revolution” in the management style of the Vatican under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI. He points to the Vatican’s assertion of control over Caritas International, and also the suppression of a high-profile Cistercian abbey in Rome.
The suppression of the abbey, Allen notes, has been portrayed in the press as a bizarre story, with lurid coverage featuring a “lap-dancing” nun and partying by the monks. The real story, he says, is somewhat more complex and much more significant.
The abbey of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem had gained a great deal of attention in Rome: hosting very popular events, drawing influential guests, and producing plenty of revenue. By most popular standards, Allen notes, the abbey’s work was successful, and the popular acclaim usually drowned out the whispers of personal and financial improprieties. He continues:
Once upon a time, the working assumption in officialdom often was that if someone is doing great good for the church, then allegations of sexual or financial impropriety against them were likely bogus, and taking them too seriously risked encouraging the enemies of the faith.
Without great fanfare, Benedict XVI has made it clear that today a new rule applies. No matter how accomplished a person or institution may be, if they’re also involved in what the pontiff once memorably called the “filth” in the church, they’re not beyond reach.
It is interesting to note that both Allen and the French journalist Jean-Marie Guénois–both seasoned observers, with years of experience at the Vatican–use the word “revolution” to describe the impact of Pope Benedict’s moves during the past week.
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.