The present Bishop of Limburg in Germany and his $15,000 bathtub will soon be forgotten, or, at best, become a footnote in the account of the early papacy of Frank the First. At the time of writing the “Bishop of Bling” is in Rome, being hauled over the coals, not as a theologian from Tübingen was some years ago for unorthodox teaching, but for his scandalous use of diocesan funds to finance a luxurious life worthy of a 16th century Cardinal. The Poverello Pope will have none of it. Watch this space.
The episcopal extravagance and the papal protestation made the world’s headlines. More newsworthy, however, will be the imminent intervention of the Pope to eliminate certain other unacceptable behavior of some others of the Church’s prelates. Church finances and priests’ pedophilia call for urgent attention and will no doubt be handled in exemplary fashion by a Pope considered not only popular but pretty well perfect.
All these scandals have already taken their toll in terms of Church attendance and even membership. The danger is that all this will be dismissed, if not condoned, by the repetition of “errare humanum est” – “to err is human”. But even when the Church has washed its dirty linen, it will remain guilty – for the most part in good faith – of continuing to exploit the credulity of millions of people. Even with a clergy genuinely and selflessly dedicated to the service of those they call the People of God, atheists like myself will continue to combat the illusions which are their stock in trade. The real scandal is the Church’s promotion of the blind folly of blind faith.