March 20, 2005

Abuse, papacy focus of group's meeting



March 20, 2005

The election of the next pope is more likely to be driven by personality and friendship than ideology, a leading Vatican expert told Long Island's Voice of the Faithful members at their second annual convention in Melville yesterday.

"The cardinals are more likely to vote for someone on the basis of personal connections, relationships and friendships," said John. L Allen Jr., the Vatican correspondent for theAbuse Tracker and Vatican analyst for CNN and National Public Radio.

Predicting who will be the successor to the ailing Pope John Paul II is hazardous business, Allen told an audience of about 500 at the Huntington Hilton. However, he said the word in Rome is there are three candidates to watch: Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Although the Vatican's inner workings are complicated and only 6 percent of the world's Catholics live in the United States, Rev. Thomas Doyle, a Dominican priest who was the convention's keynote speaker, told Voice of the Faithful members they must work to change the "medieval and monarchial" governance of the church.

Doyle said the sex abuse crisis spotlighted a church structure incapable of meeting the challenge of internal corruption. "The clergy sexual abuse phenomenon is about much more than dysfunctional clerics and their cover-up by dishonest monarchs," he said.

Doyle first warned church leaders of the scope of the abuse scandal two decades ago, when he was a canon lawyer for the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. Since then, his criticism of the church's hierarchy has made him a target of bishops seeking to silence him and a hero to victims and groups like Voice of the Faithful, which sprung up three years ago in Boston in response to the scandal. The group seeks accountability from church leaders and supports "priests of integrity" and abuse victims.

Posted by kshaw at March 20, 2005 06:45 AM