Sunday, March 19, 2006

More from Cardinal Sean....

You'll have to forgive me for being shocked -- seems I'm better-acquainted with the nuances of the consistory than one of the cardinals-designate....

If you can believe what you read, it seems that -- as if there was any doubt -- Sean O'Malley's going to be wearing his red hat so lightly that, one day, you might just find it hanging in a tree, as was the case with St. Bonaventure (a Ratzinger favorite).

More snips from the full transcript:
Q: I understand that as part of the consistory, you'll be expected to exchange a kiss of peace with Cardinal Law. How would you have people understand that moment, given that he remains a fairly controversial figure here in town?

A: Well, I'm not that acquainted with the ceremony myself. I don't know whether it's like a Mass where you greet the people that are next to you, or whether every cardinal greets every other cardinal. And certainly I understand that there are people who are angry and upset because of things that transpired in the archdiocese that resulted in Cardinal Law's tendering his resignation. I would hope that people are not focused on that during this ceremony. Cardinal Law is no longer the archbishop of Boston. I am. And at Mass, we give the peace to everybody around us, and at the ceremony we will follow whatever the ritual is, as a sign of peace.
For the record, the new cardinals exchange an embrace with each member of the College immediately following their reception of the biretta. It takes about 30 minutes for the new porporati to wend their way through the rows of their scarlet-clad brethren, who flank the Pope at the ceremony.
Q: Did you have some kind of expectation when you were appointed here about how long you would be here, and has that changed as a result of becoming a cardinal?

A: Well, there's a tradition in the church, and this was raised by the head of the Congregation of Bishops a few years ago, that a bishop should be assigned to one diocese and be there his whole life. And that was always my expectation when I went to the islands and yes, now I'm in my fourth (diocese). In fact, the bishop's ring in Spanish is called 'esposo.' It's supposed to be like a wedding ring, that you're married to the diocese. And I never expected to have a harem....
Now that "harem" line is funny. Almost as good as the first ten minutes (the disarming comedy portion) of Sean's installation homily, the entirety of which was amazing.
Q: I'm sure you recall, there was that clause in the letter [on the archdiocesan reconfiguration], I think it was last fall, maybe it was two falls ago, in which you talked about sometimes wanting God to call you home. How should people understand that?

A: That reconfiguration was so much fun (laughter) that - I don't think that was a cry of depression. I think it was trying to share with people the pain that I was experiencing in this process. But I think I still have my wits about me.
And, lastly here, O'Malley on the state of the church and the divisiveness wherein:
Q: With so much disagreement within the church today, and I suppose within the society at large, what is the proper place, in your view, for disagreement within Catholicism?

A: Well, I'm often disappointed by the intensity or the, how shall I say, the rhetoric. I certainly think that there needs to be dialogue and we need to listen to each other. But sometimes people have extremes, as the French say, 'Les extrêmes se touchent.' They use the same type of Saul Alinksy methodology, which in the church I don't think is appropriate. I think that very often people disagree with the church (and ) they're very quick to misrepresent what the church is doing or saying, and are very quick to impute the very worst motives to people. I certainly wish that there was a little more charity in the discourse of people who disagree. I try not to treat people that way.

Q: Is there a place in the church for those who place their faith in Jesus but disagree with teachings about sexuality or even abortion?

A: Well, certainly we don't want to drive people out of the church, but we do want to bring people closer to the truth that is proclaimed in the church, particularly around these issues, which are very important. The church can not allow itself to be assimilated into the secular culture around us, and sometimes I think that some of our Catholics have been so influenced by their culture, and then are upset when the church doesn't follow the same path of assimilation, rather than one of giving prophetic witness to a different message, that is the message of the Gospel. I understand the forces that are out there shaping people. And, of course, for the longest time, the church taught from a basis of authority with people, and, with great simplicity and faith, accepted. And in today's world, we need to use more persuasion and apologetics, as we used to call it when I was in seminary, and explanation. But faith can not always be reduced to some syllogism. And we do believe that there are givens, as revelation that has come to us, and that it's our responsibility to embrace that and to teach it. And hopefully to witness to it, and, if we lead good lives, that helps to make our message more cogent, even to those who disagree.
PHOTO: AP/Michael Dwyer