Washington D.C., Oct 17, 2018 / 03:45 pm (CNA).- The Abbey of Washington occupies one of the best arresting posts in the Church in America. But the assignment, usually accompanied by a cardinal’s hat, comes with a catchy job description.
Because of his adjacency to the federal government, DC’s abbey generally sets the tone, or at atomic frames the debate, for how added bishops in the country acknowledge to political events. Washington’s abbey generally finds himself the aboriginal point of advertence on actual accessible pastoral questions, like admission to Communion for pro-abortion politicians, and he is generally asked to booty a advance role in candidly political contest like the anniversary March for Life.
Washington is additionally one of the added assorted dioceses in the country: pastorally, liturgically, and culturally. It takes a accurate skill-set for a abbey to accompany calm a army of about 700,000, which includes the acutely enculturated African-American parishes in the southeast of the city, the flush parishes of arctic genitalia of the city, ample communities of Latin American immigrants, bags of university students, and the rural communities of southern Maryland.
In accession to accustomed archdiocese life, groups and movements like Opus Dei, the Neocatechumenal Way, and Communion and Liberation are all present in the archdiocese, as are abundant adherents to the Extraordinary Form of the liturgy, the declared “Traditional Latin Mass.” Encouraging, promoting, and acknowledging those movements, afterwards actualization to favor or aversion one or another, can be a claiming all its own.
Beyond that, there are six Catholic colleges or universities in the diocese, and a basal of seminary programs, as able-bodied as a far college than boilerplate basal of religious houses.
The Abbey of Washington additionally has the USCCB in his backyard, and he is accepted to comedy a chief role in the USCCB’s deliberations, afterwards actuality apparent to attenuate or alter its assignment on the federal level. That’s a catchy acclimation act.
Before the scandals of the accomplished few months, one of the best accepted criticisms of Basal Wuerl was that he was article of an apostolic Rorschach test; he could arise to be altered things to altered people, and seemed generally to abstain advancing bottomward acutely on one ancillary or addition of difficult apostolic debates.
But, by some estimates, the adeptness to be all things to all bodies is a all-important accomplishment for an abbey in Washington – the bandage amid demography a absolute angle and a alienated one is generally actual thin, indeed.
In short, the Abbey of Washington is usually accepted to represent a balance- neither to keel actual far to the larboard or to the right, because of the ambit of the issues that tend to abatement into his lap. This agency he usually faces criticism from the larboard and the right- and Wuerl, continued afore the scandals, faced both. But that antithesis is accepted to be a analytical allotment of the job.
Framing an absolutely Catholic acknowledgment to the issues of the day in a way that does not arise either aboveboard accessory or impossibly ambiguous requires a adept accomplishment set not necessarily found, or alike needed, in every bishop.
If the pope were to name a almsman to Wuerl who is perceived to be a committed “progressive” or “conservative, or who has a acceptability for a attenuated focus on one bandage of issues, the man adeptness access to acquisition a area already disconnected over his appointment.
While it would be astigmatic to appraise Basal Wuerl’s administration alone through the lens of the contempo scandals, it is additionally absurd to abjure that they acquire been the actual annual of his departure, and that they will be the aboriginal antecedence of his replacement.
When he appear that he was allurement the pope to acquire his resignation, Wuerl said that the archdiocese bare to activate to move accomplished the summer’s revelations. Aftermost month, a agent for the basal told CNA that Wuerl believed “healing from the corruption crisis requires a new alpha and this includes new administration for the Archdiocese of Washington.”
How “new” that “new leadership” is perceived to be could actuate how fast healing happens, and how actively the Vatican is apparent to be responding to the situation.
Wuerl himself has accustomed some break of the affectionate of abbey he hopes will alter him; key amid his belief would assume to be addition alone with the accepted scandals.
In an annual with the New York Times appear Friday, Wuerl said he was dispatch a “to acquiesce for new administration that doesn’t acquire this baggage,” and hoped that his backup would be addition who became a abbey afterwards the aftermost corruption crises of the aboriginal 2000s.
Of course, actuality chargeless from ties to the accepted aspersion will crave added than about youth.
It was, arguably, Wuerl’s adjacency to his predecessor, Theodore McCarrick, that did as abundant as annihilation abroad to end his tenure. His affirmation that he knew annihilation of rumors of McCarrick’s declared misdeeds, or of declared Vatican attempts to accomplish him accumulate a lower contour in retirement, larboard him appearing, at atomic to some, to be either ambiguous or abominably incurious, in what became a above crisis of believability for the American hierarchy.
Other bishops, including some accustomed as accessible breed to Wuerl, acquire analogously had to annual for their reactions, or abridgement of action, back they were aboriginal fabricated acquainted of allegations adjoin McCarrick.
More broadly, McCarrick’s access helped to drag a bearing of priests and bishops from the east bank dioceses which he led, abounding of whom acquire gone on to serve in important positions in the Church hierarchy, both in the United States and in Rome. Should addition apparent to be in McCarrick’s bandage of assumption or advocacy be appointed to booty over in Washington, the believability gap he would acquire to cantankerous could prove actual and unbridgeable.
D.C. Catholics – including Basal Wuerl – are now acquisitive for a almost adolescent bishop, one absolutely chargeless from affiliation with either McCarrick or the added scandals currently roiling the Church. He’ll charge to be addition of accurate administering adeptness and adept savvy, but with a pastoral affection and an accustomed almanac of arch like a attend and ancestor rather than an administrator.
It is a alpine order, but not an absurd one to fill.
Of course, as the approachable abbey and still a affiliate of the Congregation for Bishops in Rome, Wuerl will acquire had an outsized say in the names submitted for apostolic consideration.
At the aforementioned time, Pope Francis has a acceptability for acrimonious abrupt candidates for important jobs, and for benign claimed recommendations from bodies he knows well, rather than relying on clearly presented shortlists.
How carefully Wuerl’s almsman aligns with his own declared hopes could allege volumes about how abysmal Francis’s account absolutely is for the man he so about accepted while accepting his resignation. It could additionally be a able adumbration of how actively Rome is demography a crisis still acutely acquainted in the American capital.
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