So to recap:
- American Catholics were angered by revelations of financial misconduct in the Wheeling diocese. [Understatement!]
Under the circumstances, it would have made sense to appoint a new bishop of Wheeling who had absolutely no ties to any of the figures involved in the situation of that troubled dioceses. [Yeah, that would have made sense, but does anything in the Francis papacy make sense?] Bring in a priest of unquestioned integrity, from some distant part of the country. Pull a monk out of his cloister somewhere. Find a new broom to sweep clean. [Would have made sense, so maybe there's an underlying reason for Brennan's appointment.]
- The culprit (Bransfield) had a history of cronyism, and had given large cash gifts to Lori, McCarrick, and Wuerl—thereby creating the impression (accurate or not) that they were all involved in the same network of cronies.
Instead the Vatican chose Bishop Brennan, who is closely connected with all of the players named above. He is reportedly a favorite of Cardinal Wuerl; [uh oh!] in Baltimore he has been a deputy of Archbishop Lori. Earlier he served as a priest in Washington, under McCarrick and alongside Bransfield. [Hmm] He knows them all well. Maybe he can be impartial; I hope so. But at this point he can’t possibly look impartial. [Sure can't!]
And that’s the trouble with this appointment. When an institution has lost public trust because of manifest corruption, the task of restoring that trust involves two steps: First, addressing and eliminating the corruption. Second, persuading the skeptics that the corruption is being addressed and will be eliminated. Bishop Brennan may be the right man to take the first step. He cannot be—through no fault of his own—right for the second.
The Vatican still doesn’t understand why loyal Catholic Americans are so upset about the abundant evidence of corruption and cronyism in the hierarchy. [Nope! They are either totally clueless or don't give a damn!] For that matter few American bishops understand. The solutions are being offered by the same people who created the problems; [Yup and they figure the dumb clucks in the pew won't notice.] the would-be reformers are selected by the very people who should be reformed. The “envelope culture” remains intact and apparently unquestioned. [We need some reformer saints to clean out the Vatican and U.S. stables! Please, Lord!]