Jason Berry's book, ‘Render unto Rome’, was released to the public 7 June. It deals with the Church and scandals, from Rome's Vatican hill to individual dioceses in the US. It is subtitled: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church. It is his third book on ecclesial matters.
Sexual scandal of perversion, predation, abuse and betrayal [often of children] has led to financial settlements. Money is needed to pay (but often other money is used badly, or stolen through embezzlement). Properties are sold to gather this money. Many times these properties are parishes. The parish community is destroyed, and the church is diminished. The whole time this is done as secretly as possible.
Who are the authors of these calamities? Bishops [or other high prelates], who act without supervision and are held unaccountable. Berry follows several stories. He concludes that Vatican justice is a ‘farce’ [as in the US business world, and government extolling business, incompetence by executives is rewarded]. Berry offers an independent Vatican court that does not ‘cater to bishops’. But still many parishioners believe Rome will right the situation, and rule for them as Gospel, canons and justice dictate.
Two American parishes [Boston and Cleveland] share the woe wreaked by the same ‘self taught canonist’. The tenth chapter begins: For a second time, Richard Lennon assumed control of a diocese damaged by dishonest bishops, concealed sex offenders, and mismanaged money. Later in the book, he writes: Lennon repeated the destruction he wrought in Boston.
Now, sometimes Rome removes an incompetent bishop. The papal nuncio [ambassador] Pietro Sambi, and an apostolic visitor [papal investigator] have weighed the Cleveland problem. The problem will not go away. Bernard Cardinal Law is in Rome, but disgraced in America. He had promoted Lennon several times, and appointed him his interim successor [Apostolic Administrator]. He is protecting him now.
Some people say the church is mediæval. They liken a bishophric to a fief. But the suzerain, and monarch is the pope. The church is decentralised. What does the papacy do with a rogue vassal, that is protected by a higher vassal?