We were what you might call an Easter Christian family. On the one Sunday of the year when we made it to church, the congregation was overflowing and, because we were late, we were usually ushered to a pew in the front. When the minister announced, “There are a lot of new faces here today, we welcome you, and we hope we will see you before next year,” I felt he was looking directly at me. And I knew enough theology to understand that this was not a good start on the road to the afterlife. Even so, we were brought up to honor clergy as (in those days) men who had given up the pursuit of wealth and worldly pleasures to dedicate their lives to seeking spiritual truths. They had, we were taught, an extra magnitude of goodness. We counted among our family friends a future Episcopal Bishop of New York and a Trappist monk . . . and while few wanted to emulate the monk, all treated his decision with reverence.
So the continuing revelations of “the biggest scandal to rock the Vatican in decades” stun me. And they continue to take their toll. Last week, the president of the Vatican bank was forced out. Yesterday the Pope’s butler was arrested. The pope's butler?
Of all the “Vatileaks” revelations, the one for which I was least prepared is not the allegation of nasty internal power struggles, institutional corruption, money laundering or even mob connections. It is that the pope has a butler.