Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin should replace Pope Benedict as pope writes Catholic commentator and author Michael D’Antonio in the Los Angeles Times.
In an op-ed piece in the influential newspaper, D’Antonio says “The lowest point in the (church) crisis came with Ireland's outraged response to revelations of sexual abuse by priests and the cover-up orchestrated by the hierarchy. In 2011, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny decried "the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism, the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day."”
D’Antonio says only one cleric took the side of the people against the powerful in Ireland’s crisis. “Amid the crisis, only one Irish bishop, Diarmuid Martin, approached the angry and the disillusioned with the kind of humility required.”
Martin, he says "symbolically washed the feet of abuse victims and noted the futility of a "faith built on a faulty structure," by which he meant the rule of ordained men. "The narrow culture of clericalism has to be eliminated," he declared. "It did not come out of nowhere, and so we have to address its roots from the time of seminary training onwards."”
D’Antonio says Martin is no heretic but a humble priest who now deserves the top job.
“This Martin is no Martin Luther. He supports the morality preached from Rome, including its opposition to abortion. These positions might bother anyone looking for rapid change in the church, but they should reassure the orthodox and make it possible for him to be considered a worthy successor of retiring Pope Benedict XVI. In addition, he's a son of the land that has historically given more priests and nuns to the church, per capita, than any on Earth.”
D’Antonio notes that “Ireland supplied the priests and the basic culture of Catholicism in America in the 19th and 20th centuries. For better or worse, it was the Irish style of belief and behavior that predominated, especially in big cities and Catholic schools, including Notre Dame University. More recently, one often finds Irish (or Irish American) priests and nuns doing the tough work of serving the poor and standing up to repressive regimes. For this reason, the radical priest in our imaginations, as well as the renegade sister, typically have Irish names.”
D’Antonio says if Martin were chosen it would signal a renewal in the church.
“His choice to replace the caretaker Benedict would bring the possibility of renewal to the church in the West, including former strongholds like Ireland, and signal a recognition that today's crisis won't be resolved with yesterday's perspective.”
Read more: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin sheds tears on "60 Minutes" describing meeting victims of clerical abuse