David Gibson sees today’s abrupt resignation of Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino as a heave out the door by the powers-that-be that portends a significant blow to the take-no-prisoners wing of the American hierarchy. Of course, as Gibson’s rehearsal of the prelate’s run of controversies makes clear, Martino often seemed out of control, if not off his meds. But there seems to have been more to it than that. As Whispers notes, the lone top aide to Martino not reappointed was the Rev. Kevin McMahon, appointed only last month as episcopal vicar for “Catholic Doctrine, Identity and Mission.”
McMahon used to work for sometime St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke–who last year was hastily removed from his post to become the Vatican’s chief canon law justice (so to say). In January, when Burke attacked the American bishops’ document on “faithful citizenship” as contributing directly to the election of Barack Obama, he cited as his authority an article of McMahon’s. Bishops don’t tend to forget such things.
While no one would say that a strong liberal wing is blowing from Rome, there seems little question that the message for the day is moderazione.