Now that he’s turned 80, the Vatican yesterday accepted Cardinal Bernard Law’s resignation as archpriest of the St. Mary Major basilica in Rome, the cushy position to which he golden-parachuted his way out of Boston, just ahead of the howling mob. Wonder where he’s off to now? A monastery, one hopes, but one doubts. Privilege and humility do not go hand in hand. And you cannot shame the shameless.
We live in a time in which institutional elites fail to suffer meaningful consequences for their massive, damaging failures of leadership, thus bringing the authority of the institutions they led into question. It’s true across our society, particularly in the financial sector. Cardinal Law was and is the poster boy for the unaccountable elite. But he is by no means the only one of his kind, as we see every time we open the newspaper. Perhaps Angelo Mozilo and his friends need a personal chaplain.