Playing at Religion
After his presiding over the
canonization funeral mass of Ted Kennedy, read all about it here , I have expected little from Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, but his latest stunt does seem to sum up the essential fecklessness of the man:
Cdl. Sean O’Malley is considered the closest American to the pope, if not his “BFF”. Considering how bursting with ecumenism O’Malley is, it’s no mystery why.
“Cardinal O’Malley, female Methodist pastor team up on ritual” (January 14, 2014, The Patriot Ledger)
“What moved me was not so much that I was anointing him,” she said. “It was him being willing to accept that from my hand – to ask me, as a woman in ministry, to do that.” … She paused with the priest at the cardinal’s pew, so they could receive the baptism water from Cardinal O’Malley. The next moment, the cardinal quietly asked the Rev. Robertson to administer the water for him. “My heart immediately went to my throat,” she said. “To be asked that by the man who might be pope someday – I was stunned. I was choking back tears for hours.”
Go here to FideCogitActio to read the rest. Pope Francis has highlighted what he believes are some problem areas within the Church. May I humbly suggest that one of the main problems within contemporary Catholicism is that too many people in positions of power within the Church give every indication that they do not really believe what the Church teaches and are merely playing at religion. A fake shepherd is worse than no shepherd at all.
Update: The clergyperson who “anointed” the Cardinal has written about the experience. The money quote:
And then, as the two of us stood there together, Cardinal O’Malley looked me in the eye and asked me to anoint him. I did. The divorced, Scotch Protestant clergywoman anointed the Irish Catholic Cardinal in front of a pew of Catholic clergy and a Catholic Bishop, any one of whom would probably have given their eye teeth to have the honor. I choked back sobs all the way to the overflow room.
At the root of the word “significance” is the word “sign,” and that is what occurred in that moment of anointing. You don’t get to be a Cardinal by being unaware of the significance of your public acts. In a completely spontaneous moment, Cardinal O’Malley seized the opportunity of signifying the truth of Galatians 3:28, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Which is, of course, also the truth of baptism.
In that moment of anointing–as he anointed me and I anointed him–we were not Protestant or Catholic, Scotch or Irish, male or female, cardinal or clergywoman. We were Christians, babes in Christ, spiritually naked before the Lord who called us both to service. Nothing could have better signified what everyone in that room had just reaffirmed. In baptism, we are one.
The things that came to divide us after our baptism exist still. There was a reason beyond the accident of the day that we celebrated a reaffirmation of our baptism together and not Holy Communion. There are uncomfortable realities even in the world of Protestants, even in the world of United Methodists, that resulted in me being the only vested clergywoman of any kind in that service. And there were other symbols of unity that it was not even possible to signify because those exclusions run too deep still.
It was imperfect. In a perfect world this reflection would not exist because a a United Methodist clergywoman anointing a Roman Catholic Cardinal would be routine and unremarkable. In a perfect world Cardinal O’Malley and I would preside together at the Lord’s Table. In a perfect world I might preside with a Cardinal Brighid O’Malley.