Thursday, April 05, 2007

When you don't obey, no one obeys you

Surprises still do happen these days. I was astounded to see this story from the AP headlined "L.A. Cardinal condemns bill on assisted suicide". Of course, the L.A. cardinal is Cardinal Roger Mahony. In a noon sermon on Palm Sunday (noted as "lightly attended") he said he was "saddened and confused" by the refusal of Fabian Núñez, the California Assembly Speaker and nominal Catholic, to oppose California's new assisted suicide bill, as Mahony urged him to do in a private meeting.

Now, for the Cardinal to stand up publicly and denounce an action of one of the Catholic-in-name-only politicians with whom he likes to associate is surprising in itself, a pleasant surprise. I feel sorry for the Cardinal if those were his true feelings, because he has little reason to expect anything else. He has built a career, and ruined the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, on a pattern of ignoring anything Rome was suggesting, or even ordering, that he didn't like. When you yourself don't obey, you simply haven't the moral standing to claim obedience from anyone under you.

I'll be interested to see what the Cardinal does when, inevitably, Mr. Núñez stiffs him and supports the bill (his spokesman has already effectively told the Cardinal to take a hike). Will he refuse Mr. N communion, as he should? I don't know. I would like to think that that miracle might occur.