Well, more developments on that bishop scandal in the United Kingdom.
On Saturday Bishop Kieran Conry – head of evangelisation for England and Wales – resigned as Bishop of Arundel and Brighton after (at least) two affairs with women became public. Now Conry has told the Mail:
In some respects I feel very calm. It is liberating. It is a relief. I have been very careful not to make sexual morality a priority [in his sermons]. I don’t think it got in the way of my job, I don’t think people would say I have been a bad bishop.
Conry goes on to say that ‘I can’t defend myself. I did wrong. Full stop.’ But hehas just defended himself by saying that his womanising didn’t get in the way of his job, that he didn’t preach about sex, and that he was a good bishop.
This is called rubbing the noses of your flock in the sex scandal you’ve just landed on them. As I blogged on Saturday, lots of people – especially including his priests – thought he was an awful bishop, because he treated anyone who disagreed with him with cold arrogance, because he slagged off Benedict XVI and because they knew, but were too polite to say, that he was a womaniser.
This guy was head of evangelization for England and Wales? You have got to be freakin’ kidding me. If this is what the new evangelization is about, then just give me the old fashioned, plain evangelization, straight up, thank you very much.
I don’t generally link to Mundabor because I find his attitude towards Pope Francis overly negative. But this particular post is brilliant in light of what is above (my emphases):
The spectacular fall of Bishop Conry is occasion to repeat what I have already stated in the past: when a bishop is of clearly liberal tendencies, he probably has a skeleton in his closet.
Orthodox priests do what they had decided to do when they decided to become priests. Their life and ideology is aligned with their hopes and aspirations. They know and always knew (everyone does and always did, even the liberals) what is required of them, and what Christianity teaches. They know and always knew that their job consists in the salvation of souls (I mean: in doing their best for it), not in their self-promotion.
1. Father (or Bishop, or Cardinal) such and such has lost the faith. He does not believe there is any God, any judgment, any hell or heaven. At that point, he tries to solve the horrible conflict inside his head (along the line of: “what on earth am I doing wearing this habit?”) by becoming a social worker spreading a secular wannabe gospel that is the perfect enemy of the real one. Not infrequently, these people will not even wear the habit, in an attempt to reduce the cognitive dissonance of being, in the eyes of the world, men of a God in whose existence they do not even believe. Enter Jesus the illegal immigrant, Jesus the unjust (because only merciful), Jesus the environmentalist, and all the other Jesuses they invent to look, and feel, good.
2. Father (or Bishop, or Cardinal) has a skeleton in the closet. He is homosexual, or pedophile; or he has a mistress. Or he drinks, or gambles, or whores around. Again, an internal conflict takes place. The need to be seen as good arises as the awareness of not being the priest he is supposed to be also grows. Slowly, the zeal for the priesthood (provided it was there in the first place) fades in the background, because every thought of zeal reminds him of his betrayal of his vows. At this point, some kind of substitute goodness will have to take the place of the goodness he knows he does not have. Popularity, approval, the trust of the sheep will give him security and, he hopes, perhaps some kind of protection. But certainly, there is the internal absolution. “I may not be the best priest or bishop, but look how I fight for social justice!”, or the like. At this point, the mistress or the whiskey, the gambling or the call boys, become a secondary fault, a kind of venial sin compared to the Great Work Of (put here his favourite cause). When Christ gets smaller and smaller in the background, earthly issues become bigger and bigger as necessary compensation.
Well, I guess by Bishop Conry’s reasoning if Cardinal O’Brien had not been such a vociferous defender of traditional marriage, his homosexual affairs would not have gotten in the way of his being a good cardinal.
I hope and pray for deep repentance and conversion for Bishop Conroy, but it sure doesn’t sound like he’s anywhere close.