“While I am confident that I am faithfully handling the responsibilities entrusted to me, I personally made this request earlier this year because a number of persons have written to Rome expressing their concerns about my leadership of the Diocese. This visit will be an opportunity to gather extensive information on all aspects of the activities of the Diocese and will allow for an objective assessment of my leadership. I ask for prayers that this process will support the vibrancy and vitality of our Diocese going forward.” -- Richard LennonTiming. The diocese sends out an e-mail Thursday evening with news. This wasn't in it. Announcements are made at Sunday's Mass. This wasn't, but first thing Monday morning? No, Lennon would not be bragging about this, and the story could have further episodes during the week. No, this timing is very inconvenient for Lennon.
Lennon did not ask for an investigation.* He is above all law in his mind. It is implausible that such an executive calls to his superiors to examine him. This was forced upon him. Lennon is infuriated when he is criticised, and bombastically berates those whom attempt to. It is inconceivable that the above statement is truthful. It must be remembered, how very recently, Lennon's spokesman, Tayek, dismissed the report in the Italian paper, La Stampa, concerning an apostolic visit.
It seems to be a drama unfolding. Use the metaphor of your choice, dominoes are dropping. A retired bishop, John Smith, is the apostolic visitor. It is unusual to publicly announce an investigation with parishioners to speak. Rome wants Lennon out, but it is highly unusual they would publicly embarrass Lennon. They would not have had to, if he got the hint the first time.
Postscriptum: 14 July 2011. I have had people share their opinions with me. There are other perspectives to the evidence that is publicly available. Some people think there is going to be a face saving 'compromise' wherein a couple of parishes, or churches, or even one will be reopened; and that is it. Some people think this is the second visitation, and Smith is a man acceptable to Lennon for a re-evaluation. Some think the interviewees to be seen by Bishop Smith are those acceptable to Bishop Lennon.
Of course, these possibilities are within the sphere of probability. Logic still goads me to follow the argument on timing. Smith is in town on Monday, and the press release is made on Monday (after the fact). It comes after the one year anniversary of the last closing.
The questions are: will Rome discipline a bishop against his will? They have. Will Rome dismiss a bishop? They have. Will they do something of that nature towards this one? It remains to be seen. If they do not, it has been a farce.
*I have been told by one person who believes Lennon did ask, for this second visitation. He believes it is a very clever and realpolitik move of base cynicism.