Cardinal O'Malley leads today's inter-
faith service at Holy Cross Cathedral
Boston for victims of the Boston
Marathon Bombing. President Obama
is in the pulpit speaking his message
to the assembled congregtion.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx is the 59 year old Archbishop of Munich und Freising in Germany—a post held previously by Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus. Cardinal Marx is chair of the German Bishops’ Conference Commission on Social Issues. In the Curia he serves on the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. He is also President of the Bishops Conferences of the European Union. He holds a doctorate in theology from the Ruhr University Bochum. German doctorates are probably the most academically sound degrees in the entire academic world, but Bochum is, by European (and even American) standards a new university without an established heritage. Typical to German universities it houses distinct faculties both in Protestant and Catholic theologies and it hasn’t yet had the opportunity to earn the sort of reputation for excellence as Tubingen, Freiburg, Mainz, or Munich. Cardinal Marx would be slightly right of center in his theology but socially progressive. In 2008, playing on his name, he published a book: Das Kapital: A Plea For Man which subjects free market capitalism to the critique of Catholic Social Ethics. Capitalism is judged and found wanting. However Marx goes no further in his critique than the papal magisterium which has found capitalism to be rooted in materialism, the same heresy from which springs Marxism.
Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya is the 73 year old Archbishop of Kinshasa in the Congo. He studied in Rome at the Urbaniana and the Pontifical Biblical Institute and in Jerusalem at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He is a disciple of the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the Jesuit biblical scholar and former archbishop of Milan who before his death last year opined that the Church “is 200 years behind the times.” Monsengwo Pasinya is co-President of Pax Christi International. He is a member of the Congregations for Catholic Education and Evangelization of Peoples, and the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Culture, and Social Communications. In seeing the connection between the Social Order and Justice, Peace, and Christian Spirituality, he is a sort of Catholic Desmond Tutu. He is probably the most progressive member of this commission.
Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, is the 70 year old Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. A member of the Salesians of Don Bosco he would normally be presumed to be a team-player of Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, a fellow Salesian who has used his powerful post to plant members of his religious order in key positions throughout the Church, a sort of Salesian mafia. Nevertheless, Rodriguez Maradiaga took on (unsuccessfully, unfortunately) Bertone over the shameful treatment the Secretary of State handed out to the former Secretary of Caritas International, Lesley-Anne Knight (see entry for February 16, 2012). Various sources connected to Caritas—of which Rodriguez Maradiaga is President—say he is his own man.
Like many Salesians, Rodriguez Maradiaga is incredibly over-educated. He holds Doctorates in Philosophy, Theology, and Moral Theology. He also holds a diploma in clinical psychology and psychotherapy and is a classically trained pianist. He speaks at least six languages. Named an auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa in 1978 he became Archbishop of the same diocese in 1993 and was named a Cardinal in 2001. In addition to his responsibilities with Caritas International, Rodriguez Maradiaga is a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education. He is probably the sharpest member of this commission which is a distinction given the high quality of his colleagues. He works very well with laity and doesn’t suffer from the misogyny that afflicts many of the prelates whom he is being sent to investigate. No liberal in American terms, he is one of the more progressive members of this commission.
Sean Patrick O’Malley is the 68 year old Archbishop of Boston and the only U.S. member of this commission. Born near Pittsburgh PA, O’Malley professed first vows as a Capuchin Franciscan at the age of 21. Five years later he was ordained a priest. Cardinal O’Malley holds a Masters in Religious Education and a Doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese Literature from the Catholic University in Washington DC. He briefly taught at Catholic University before becoming Vicar for Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington. He brought incredible organizational skills to this ministry, opening centers offering legal and medical assistance to immigrants and starting a Spanish language Catholic newspaper. The late Cardinal James Hickey, when Archbishop of Washington, took O’Malley under his wing as a protégé. O’Malley managed to work closely with Hickey while maintaining his integrity, no small feat given Hickey’s unholy alliance with Cardinal Law. Undoubtedly his Franciscan spirituality is what has kept O’Malley focused on the Church’s mission to the poor while other protégé’s of Hickey’s have drunk the careerism Kool-Aid. In 1984 O’Malley was named coadjutor bishop of Saint Thomas in the American Virgin Islands and succeeded to the see the following year. In 1992 he was moved to the Fall River MA diocese where his ability to speak Portuguese was a great pastoral asset. While there he did a remarkable job of handling the sex-abuse crisis in his diocese. In 2002 he was sent to the Diocese of Palm Beach to clean up the scandal there where the two previous bishops themselves had been named in charges of misconduct. Given his reputation he was a natural choice for the Boston Archdiocese where the arrogance of Cardinal Law, then Archbishop, in refusing to respond responsibly to charges against numbers of his clergy led to a total loss of credibility in the Church. While O’Malley did heroic work in addressing the cleanup of the sex-abuse crisis, the need to close numbers of schools and parishes because of financial difficulties and personnel shortages has made O’Malley less than popular among many Catholics. Conservatives have been further outraged by the Cardinal’s presiding over the funeral of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and his welcome to President Obama to the Cathedral for the Kennedy Funeral and then for the Interfaith Service marking the tragedy of the Boston Marathon Bombing. O’Malley is somewhat right of center—you don’t get to be a Cardinal ordinarily if you are too left wing—but his personal integrity and apparent spiritual depth raises him above the ideological divide to be one of the most admired prelates in America. He also is a possible key ally in giving the sisters of LCWR a fair hearing in the halls of a reformed Curia.
Next time: how this all ties together for the job at hand.