View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

SNAP judgment, then a musical interlude

SNAP calls five cardinals 'morally unacceptable' as papal candidates

ROME (CNS) -- Five cardinals are "morally unacceptable as papal candidates" because they do not understand the gravity of priestly sex abuse of minors, said a U.S. advocacy and support group for abuse survivors.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released the names at an April 15 press conference in Rome, urging other electors to exclude the five cardinals from consideration. They are: Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City; Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under Pope John Paul II; Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy under the late pope; and Cardinal Francisco Errazuriz Ossa of Santiago, Chile.

SNAP based its list on statements it said the cardinals have made in the media. Because SNAP feels that the "crisis of sex abuse by priests will grow to other countries" beyond the United States, "we believe that it should be a factor in choosing the next pope," said Barbara Blaine, founder and president of SNAP.

Hmm. Hoyos, Carrera and Maradiaga are on a lot of lists as potential candidates. I don’t know what the latter two did to offend SNAP. NCR suggests that Hoyos’ crime might be that he suggested the sex abuse scandal was an “American problem.”

I guess he lumps the U.S, Canada, Ireland, Austria, Poland and Australia - all of which have had sex abuse problems in recent years - together in North America. Maybe we should disqualify him just for his poor geographic skills.

SNAP has a right to weigh in on who should be next pope – God knows, even non-Christians I know are voicing views. And a papal candidate’s reaction to the sex abuse issue is as valid a criteria as many others.

As for me, though, I want to see the papal candidates’ music collections.

A man’s taste in music might give us an idea of his character.

Given their ages, many of them could have been listening to music in the ‘40s or ‘50s. Do they like Bing Crosby (good Catholic) or Frank Sinatra (bad boy)? Maybe a little big bad? Or jazz?

Gregorian chant or classical would be safe, but might show a conservative nature.

I’d also want to see if they kept up with music over the years.

A cardinal with St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in his collection might just be open to experimentation.

A little Cat Stevens or Seals and Crofts might indicate ecumenical sensitivity.

Some nice world music would be a positive sign.

So too would be some Gospel.

On the other hand, any disco, Abba, or Tony Orlando and Dawn would raise doubts in my mind about a cardinal’s taste. I shudder to think what liturgical changes he might introduce.

And, of course, any Michael Jackson would be bad.

So let’s check out their music collections while they are in the conclave. Ultimately, it wouldn’t affect who gets chosen, but it might give us an idea what to expect.

Hey, maybe U2 might even get invited to play at the Vatican. Bono is used to pontificating anyway.


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