The Devilish Delight When a Bishop Screws Up

by Steve Ray on May 8, 2013

When schadenfreude turns into demonic delight   by Dr. Edward Peters

The glee being expressed in open comboxes (modern near occasions of sin, if you ask me) over Bp. Robert McManus’ (Worcester, MA) arrest for drunk driving goes far beyond the schadenfreude that one has come to expect in the wake of a Catholic bishop’s fall. Much, nay most, of the public commentary on this matter is pure, unadulterated hatred of the Catholic Church. But let’s try not to allow what is little less than demonic delight at the disgrace of a prelate cloud our observations of the event itself. For the event itself is very, very serious.

Bishop McManus

Folks recall from several months ago San Francisco Abp. Salvatore Cordileone’s arrest for drunk driving; I think the parallels between that case and McManus’ are thin.

Cordileone was stopped at a check point (not at the scene of accident, and certainly not after fleeing the scene) and he cooperated fully with officers (instead of refusing a breathalyzer). If Cordileone was surprised to learn that he was driving under the influence, McManus’ flight from an accident and refusal to submit to alcohol testing is, in the court of common sense, seem clear evidence that he knew he was driving drunk and fleeing responsibility for his actions.

McManus’ legal problems are much worse than Cordileone’s and whatever personal slack folks might cut a Cordileone are not likely to be extended to one in McManus’ situation. The cases seem just too disparate.

Which brings us back to the schadenfreude-qua-demonic-delight erupting around McManus: the Devil knows that Catholic bishops teach with the authority of Christ, but that they rule largely by dint of their personal reputation for integrity.

When that reputation is stained, as it was for Cordileone, it takes time to wash clean; but when that reputation is actually and gravely damaged, as it seems to be for McManus, the recovery process is much slower in coming and the pastoral costs incurred along the way tend to be much higher. Those costs might not, in the end, be payable.

For the whole article, click HERE.

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