I wonder at the message, if there is one, contained in the news of our day. The great volcanic shocks of the virus and the warping of media and tech for sure, but also the McCarrick scandal and disintegrating trust in the Church.
I think of my disappointment that Pope John Paul II, who seemed almost clairvoyant at times, could be so blinded by Maciel and McCarrick (assuming he was blinded and not motivated by something else). But the human condition is blindness and we live in the dark valley. To error is human, even in the saintly among us. Sanctity doesn’t mean freedom from error - especially with regard to “reading people” (if that was the issue; I assume we’ll never know on this earth why he really promoted McCarrick).
Jesus chose Judas as an apostle; Pope John Paul II chose McCarrick as a cardinal. In the end, Judas had an important if unwitting and terrible role to play in the saga of our salvation. Similarly, McCarrick could have an important role to play in the Church. Our abasement is complete in a way it wasn’t in say 2003 and with that comes a certain freedom. The Church no longer has to hide things in the interest of avoiding scandal. The “shouting from the rooftops of what is hidden” that our Lord said would happen, has happened.
Perhaps it’s a way to re-learn that the Body of Christ is a body for a reason and as charismatic and holy as the former pontiff may have been he could not overcome the rest of the body in the same way if our legs are broken our arms are of limited help in mobility. We seem to long for heroes but greedily we long that they have a “completeness” they cannot have. We look for multi-dimensional excellence and are lucky to see it in a single dimension. We see an echo of that in the Biblical books. No one book can carry the tune. Every book has a fatal incompleteness.
The difficulty in all of this seems to how to reconcile a realistically very low view of humanity given our helplessness and proneness to error, with a high view of humanity given how we are loved by God and made in his image.
“We look at the Church in search of Christ and become quickly disappointed; the only way forward is to look at Christ revealed in Scripture and in the Eucharist in order to see the Church within Christ. One kind of gaze does not supplant the other, they make each other possible.”