The Innocent Cardinal and the Plagiarizing Priest?

The Cardinal Pell saga continues, with his own lawyer now apparently conceding some sort of truth to the decades-old offences, while George Weigel offers strong evidence that Cardinal Pell’s innocence, which His eminence has always maintained, an innocence which can be, and has been, confirmed beyond reasonable doubt. Perhaps the Cardinal could hire Weigel as his lawyer, credentials notwithstanding.

One way or the other, the Cardinal’s conviction bodes ill for the Church, for the perception of priests and high-ranking clerics, and for any future trials of clergy members, especially those of a more conservative disposition, a harbinger, methinks, of the imminent persecution, already underway in many subtle – and not so subtle – ways.

There is at least a passive persecution, as certain orthodox prelates and priests are shut out of synods, Vatican appointments and influential roles, while others whose views leave much to be desired are promoted, protected and shape what policies there be. The same applies to laypeople in dioceses, schools, colleges, apostolates. David Warren has some direct words about the recent synod, which ignored the central cause of the sex abuse crisis – the homosexualization of the priesthood. As Cardinal Ratzinger predicted, it seems the Church is being winnowed, and what will be left will be a smaller, more spiritually focused remnant. Without a central belief in Jesus Christ and all that has been revealed and handed on in His Church – from sex to ethics and beyond – we drift into unbelief and a secular messianism, the very doctrine of Antichrist, of which Cardinal Mueller – see the passive persecution, above – warned in his recent manifesto.

Yet there are ways and means of God winnowing His own, and I think the recent uncovering of Father Rosica, accused of rank plagiarism dating back decades, is an opportunity for him – and us all – to examine that ‘small, still divine voice’ that is our conscience. Yes, the same Father Rosica who not long ago rejoiced that the Church was now openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.

A Pope unhinged from the very revelation – the very truth – he is mean to keep, safeguard and hand on? I am not sure if the Pope feels this way about his office, whatever his own words and actions signify. What we can hope is that Father Rosica himself comes to a more ‘conservative’ frame of mind, which includes the principle that passing off the work of others as one’s own is a violation of the seventh and eighth commandments, part of that whole ‘Tradition and Scripture’ thing to which we are all – Vicar of Christ included – bound.