In many ways, recent remarks by Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga at the Spanish-language website Religion Digital are the perfect summary of where we are, right now, in the various scandals linked to the life and times of ex-cardinal Theodore “Uncle Ted” McCarrick.
Not that you would know that, the first time you read the most important quotation in that report. This was one of those cases in which you had to read the quote three or four times — focusing on a few strategic turns of phrase — to understand what was going on.
It also helps to remember that Cardinal Maradiaga is the chair of the inner ring of cardinals who advise Pope Francis. This isn’t a quote from the Throne of St. Peter, but it’s very close.
Ready? Read carefully.
"It does not seem correct to me to transform something that is of the private order into bombshell headlines exploding all over the world and whose shrapnel is hurting the faith of many," said Cardinal Maradiaga, in a Religion Digital interview. "I think this case of an administrative nature should have been made public in accordance with more serene and objective criteria, not with the negative charge of deeply bitter expressions."
Now, what does the word “something” mean? This appears to have been a comment about the McCarrick case, as opposed to the wider world of clergy child-abuse scandals.
Apparently, this Francis insider believes that this case is “administrative” and “of the private order” and, thus, not something for public inquiry and headlines (or published testimonies by former papal nuncios to the United States). In my national “On Religion” column this week, I also noted this quote from Maradiaga:
On another "private order," "administrative" issue in church affairs, he said the "notion of a gay lobby in the Vatican is out of proportion. It is something that exists much more in the ink of the newspapers than in reality."
All of this, and much more, came up for discussion in this week’s “Crossroads” podcast (click here to tune that in). Think of it as our latest attempt to answer the question people keep asking: What is this Catholic mess really about?