As the years pass by, I try to guard against the less attractive aspects of aging. On one hiking trip I heard my (female) guides discussing the problems that LOMP caused among male hikers. I asked what that was, and they explained it was Late Onset Male Pregnancy. That was the last straw – I went on a vegan diet.

 

I have also observed that people continue to fight the battles of their youth even after conditions have changed completely or the battles have been won. My late father in law could not believe that European communism had fallen. He thought it was all, including the suicides of several convinced Communists, a ruse.

 

I have tried to guard against this phenomenon in myself in the question of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. I wish the battle were won, that the Church had cleaned house and was fully determined never to let such corruption occur again.

 

However Benedict’s failure to act against egregious enablers among the hierarchy– Cardinal Sodano and Bishop McCormack spring to mine – is a bad sign, and then came Philadelphia. Rigali thought he could ignore the pledges he had made in the Dallas charter and leave two dozen priests in ministry who had highly convincing  accusations against them. After discussing the situation with those close to it, all I could think is that episcopal arrogance was untouched – Rigali thought that he could create a smokescreen and everyone (including the auditors) would believe what he said, because after all, he was a Cardinal.

 

The entire process of reform and audits is largely meaningless, a mere paper exercise – bishops do what they want to do, and what they want to do is continue in business as usual. The auditors and review boards see only what the bishops let them see; somehow in some inexplicable way everything looks perfect. However the grand juries disagree. Until a bishop (or preferably a Cardinal) enjoys the hospitality of some state penal institution, nothing will really change.

 

The situation among religious orders in even worse. Because of their national and international structure, it is harder for a local district attorney to investigate them.

 

So the battle continues, and it is too soon to declare victory.