Here in the Diocese of Knoxville, our bishop has asked us to pray. He has asked us to pray for Pope Benedict XVI during his last days as the Bishop of Rome. He has asked us to pray for the College of Cardinals who have been given the task of electing his successor. He has asked us to pray for the man who will soon bear the weight of that office.
Today in Knoxville we bid farewell to one of the electors of the next pope, Justin Cardinal Rigali. My prayers are with him as he heads back to Rome to elect our next pontiff. As he does so, our newspapers are full of stories about the “dark side” of our Church. There are the stories of Vatileaks, of the supposed group of gay prelates in the Vatican, and Cardinals who have been accused of sex abuse.
Our job as Catholics, especially during Lent, is not to focus on the sins of others, be they Cardinals or simply our neighbors. We are called during Lent and at all times to focus on leaving our own sins behind and praying for others who also struggle.
Let us not be distracted.