The print and broadcasting media are all over the Cardinal O’Brien scandal yet again: this time their computers have been switched on by Archbishop Conti, former Archbishop of Glasgow, who claims that Cardinal O’Brien withdrew from a project aimed at publicising allegations of abuse in Scotland, with data on action taken.
The weak link in his claim is the fact that every bishop is answerable directly to the Pope. He has full authority, under the Pope, to act in the best interests of the Faith in his own diocese.
Therefore, each and every bishop in Scotland was and remains free (the few bishops left, that is) to conduct his own audit and publish the findings. It’s disgraceful to make Cardinal O’Brien the scapegoat, so shame on Archbishop Emeritus Conti for choosing to “kick the cardinal” while he’s down.
If, in fact, Cardinal O’Brien chose to withdraw from the “transparency” project for less than honourable reasons, perhaps to cover up his own negligence, as has been suggested in the press today, then shame on him.
But shame, too, on those bishops – like Archbishop Conti – who hide behind the novel structure of a Bishops’ Conference, a body which has absolutely no authority whatsoever, is unscriptural and a break with Catholic Tradition. It bears repeating: every bishop is in charge of his own diocese. He is the one person who is responsible for what happens there. Every bishop is answerable directly to the Pope, and, ultimately, to God. He is not answerable to any other bishop, nor to any so-called “Bishops’ Conference”.
Thus there is nothing to stop each bishop from publishing his own data on child abuse allegations. Let’s have it then, and the sooner, the better.