Hats off to The Tablet, the international Catholic news weekly based in London, for two back-to-back stories. Last week you recall, writer Robert Mickens opened up the back story on the investigation into the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women's Religions. Mickens laid out the work of the tag team of Arcbhishop-designate William Lori, of Bridgeport, Conn., en route to the Archdiocse of Baltimore, Maryland, and disgraced U.S. Cardinal Bernard Law.
Incidentally, Cardinal Law was a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious when it launched its own visitation – separate from the CDF investigation – of women’s communities in the US. According to news reports, that project was at least partially funded by the Knights of Columbus, a wealthy fraternal order of Catholic men for whom Archbishop Lori has been supreme chaplain since 2005. Under the leadership of an influential Washington lawyer and former Reagan White House official, Carl Anderson, the knights have increasingly backed conservative causes and routinely make sizeable donations to the Holy See. Mr Anderson is a member or consultor of several Vatican offices, and one of the five-man board of directors for the so-called Vatican Bank. His close association with the Vatican and Archbishop Lori, and the archbishop’s own determination to bring the LCWR into line, should not be underestimated.
Today, The Tablet has a story by Duncan MacLaren, who worked for 12 years in the general secretariat of Caritas Internationalis, eight of them as secretary general.
MacLaren provides additional insight into the back story of the Vatican's Cor Unum's control over Caritas Internationalis. It's strange stuff and suggests that high octane clericalism is alive and well in parts of the Vatican.
It will come as no surprise then if Caritas Internationalis starts to lose material sums of donor dollars, and its effectiveness in serving the poor is significantly compromised.
But hey, this is the tenor of the times inside the hierarchy of the church.