I'm in the same position Will Rogers described: "Well, all I know is what I read in the papers." (Will Rogers, New York Times, Sept 30 1923, via The Quotations Page) I live in central Minnesota, with about half the North American continent and the northern Atlantic Ocean between me and Rome. I have no first-hand knowledge of what's going on at headquarters.
Maybe Caritas, a Catholic charitable organization, really can't communicate with the Vatican: despite being on-site; with a Vatican rep sitting in at their meetings; and a Cardinal as president.
Not, I think, likely: but possible.
Or maybe there was communication, and the Holy See wasn't saying the 'right' things. That's speculation. But, again, I think it's possible.
Here's what got me started:
"...With a greater focus on evangelization, the outgoing secretary general said that some member organizations 'might want to distance themselves from Caritas.'Like I said: maybe, somehow, despite location and organizational ties designed to foster communication, the Holy See really hasn't been listening to Ms. Knight. Or maybe she didn't like what she was hearing - and decided to call a reporter, instead of a cardinal.
" 'That could seriously damage our confederation,' she said.
"Msgr. Dal Toso responded that for Caritas, 'looking towards the future' should mean not being afraid of a renewal of the 'various responsibilities and the approval of the new statutes through a wider consensus.'
"This work, he said, means engaging in 'authentic dialogue with the opportune bodies.'
" 'On the other hand,' he said, 'her declarations on the lack of communion with the Holy See might seriously damage the prestige of Caritas Internationalis, especially among the faithful.'
"In terms of Knight's method, he said, using the media to discuss questions “related to matters of the governance of Caritas Internationalis does not seem to me the best way to treat the various positions.
" 'This is one-way communication - not dialogue,' said Msgr. Dal Toso.
"He said that channels for communication are in place to offer opinions. The physical proximity of Caritas' headquarters to the Vatican, the presence of Cor Unum representatives at the agency's meetings and the fact that the confederation's president is a cardinal provide opportunities to voice concerns, he explained.
" 'The channels for discussion are not lacking, nor our willingness to dialogue, as Caritas Internationalis knows very well.' "
The Holy See does have a reputation for not keeping up with the latest intellectual fashions: and that's another topic.
So far, I haven't seen anything like the 'pedophile priest' coverage of Ms. Knight's employment status. Right now, it seems to be a fairly dry item: about as intrinsically exciting as the minutes of a shareholders' meeting. Maybe we'll hear more when her non-renewal takes effect. Or, not.
I'd like to think that low profile that Ms. Knight's career has in the news is the result of greater understanding of the Catholic Church on the part of journalists. There's a great deal of room, I think, for improvement in that direction.
Folks not knowing - and not realizing that they don't know - is nothing new:
"For although we ought with the greatest possible care to avoid error, not only in great but even in little things, and although we cannot err except through ignorance, it does not follow that, if a man is ignorant of a thing, he must immediately fall into error. That is rather the fate of the man who thinks he knows what he does not know. For he accepts what is false as if it were true, and that is the essence of error...."Related posts:
(Chapter 17. The Nature of Error. All Error is Not Hurtful, Though It is Man's Duty as Far as Possible to Avoid It. "The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love," St. Augustine (ca. 420))
- "Pope Benedict XVI, the Big Bang, and Science: No Surprises Here"
(January 15, 2011)
- "Once in a while a journalist gets it right...."
- "The Pope and Condoms: It Made a Good Story"
(November 22, 2010)
- "USCCB's New President: And the Press Still Doesn't Get It"
(November 17, 2010)
- "St. Mary MacKillop and Another News SNAFU"
(October 19, 2010)
- "Cultural Chaos, Divisiveness, and CNN"
(April 1, 2010)
- "Caritas head Knight analyzes Vatican relations"
UCAnews.com (March 4, 2011)
- "Vatican defends decision to seek new Caritas chief"
CNA (Catholic News Agency) (March 7, 2011)
- "Caritas Internationalis secretary-general denied second term by Vatican"
Boston Pilot, via SiloBreaker (February 19, 2011)