Courtesy of Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It we learned that Australian Archbishop George Pell has been raised to the Sacred College of Cardinals. Our group of reporters met recently with Pat Power, Bishop of Canberra, to interview him about Archbishop Pell. As background it should be noted that George Pell is already an Officially Bad Man, as proved by his own comments about the public's perception of what constitutes a scandal:
"I... mentioned that the church is being attacked for [sexually-abusive priests] sometimes by elements that are a bit anti-Christian ... I said there are other scandals, such as abortion which are under-reported and because abortion destroys innocent life you could say it´s a worse scandal."The media pool story can be found here, but this story provides information omitted from the pool write-up.
We met with Bishop Power at his residence in Canberra which is locally known as the "Tower of Power" or simply "Pat's Place." After we had been seated and given huge, unwieldy cans of Foster's, Bishop Power began answering our questions . . .
Bishop Power said it was inevitable that Archbishop Pell be promoted to cardinal. . .
. . . . but he declined to answer questions about what he meant by referring to the "obstinacy" of the Holy Spirit, preferring to stay "on topic" about Archbishop Pell . . .
"I think for him it means it's a great personal honour and certainly I wouldn't want to be a party pooper and try and play that down". . .
. . . said Bishop Power, his eyes wet, lower lip trembling. Then, making a slight jutting motion with his chin, he added in a hoarse whisper. . .
"But in terms of what it means for the church, I think it further shows the church to be representing many elements that I think are not doing the church very much good at the moment.
We noticed that he kept repeating this thought, his hand never leaving a book titled ICEL Manual of Style. As he spoke, his visage became paler, even translucent . . .
. . . . But in terms of what it signifies for the church of which we are members, I think it additionally advances the picture of the church as containing and holding many elements, groups, and movements that I also think are not doing the church all that good that can be done for the church at this moment in time . . . .. . . . and his voice took on a tinny quality, sounding more distant, as though he were going away . . . .
. . . . But in terms of what it signifies for the church of which we are members, I think it may additionally advance into our consciousness a picture and vision of the church as a church whose members make up and compose many elements, groups, trends, and movements that I also think and believe are doing the church not all the good which they might do for the church at this moment in time and in our lives . . . .. . . . until he was barely visible, lost in the dust motes swirling by the nearby window, his voice faintly echoing from some unfathomably-distant place . . . .
But, speaking primarily in terms of what it shows us about the significance of the church community of which we ourselves are all members, I think it may have the potential to emphasize an aspect of the vision of the church in our consciousness as being a church community which represents and echoes many things, elements, trends, movements, and groups that I think are not entirely giving our church community very much, or any at all, good or benefit at this moment in time, in our lives, today for us as committed Catholics who are members of a church community which very much need goodness at the moment.Then the pale, faint outline of his hand closed the ICEL Manual of Style. With a surprisingly-loud "pop," Bishop Power's appearance and voice returned, and he was fully with us again.
"I suppose what concerns me is that many of the values that I think are dear to Australian Catholics - such as the dignity of the human person, the primacy of conscience, the theology of communion, the need for dialogue in our church, reading the signs of the times - I don't think that they're values that are particularly clearly enunciated by Archbishop Pell.
. . . . as he spoke, Bishop Power took his hand off the ICEL Manual of Style to reach for a can of Foster's. He continued, "Look, mate, the bloke's just lost it. You think praysts at gay proid rellies don't have dignituy? I been to plenty of rellies, I tell ya, and there's more dignituy in one proid, bronzed Aussie man than in a whole bleedin' conclayve! We're Australians, mate, we can bloody well think for ourselves! Too right! We don't need any skurt-wearing dipstick tellin' us how to be true blue! He's not a real cobber like we are, mate! He's got no theology o' communion!" A puzzled look suddenly fell over Bishop Power's face and he quickly touched the ICEL Manual of Style again, saying . . . .
"I think for that reason, many people will be disappointed the church is going further in that direction."