Somebody sent me a link to a picture apparently showing the "General" of the "Society of Jesus" in a Buddhist posture praying, it appeared, among Buddhists towards a Buddha. Of course, photographs do not always tell the whole story, and there may be circumstances of which I am not aware. And it will undoubtedly be true that if the "principles" of Amoris laetitia really do cover Adultery, as so many of our Holy Father's admirers claim, then they will clearly also cover Idolatry (together with Genocide, Paedophilia, Embezzlement, Torture, and all the other Family Entertainments for a Cold Winter Evening so conveniently listed in Gaudium et Spes 27 and carefully repeated at Veritatis splendor 80).
Apostasy? Clerical Apostasy? Public Clerical Idolatry?
I am reminded of the description in Dix (Shape pp 24-26) of the apostasy of the clergy of Cirta (Constantine, in Algeria) in 303. Here is a snippet of the great Anglican Benedictine in characteristic (purple passage) full flood:
" ... What could they have said? To have surrendered the scriptures and the sacred vessels was 'apostasy', still for clerics (though not for laymen) the irremissible sin for which there was no possible penance. And they knew it; Felix [the City Warden] knew it; even the grinning public slaves knew it. They had saved their lives - but they had all irremediably forfeited their orders in that quarter of an hour. I know no more moving picture of the inner meaning of the persecutions than that shamefaced helpless group of apostate African clergy with the uncouth Berber names - the men who were not martyrs - as the public slave saw them across the shoulders of their enemies and jotted down their actions on that hot May afternoon sixteen centuries ago."
I believe the most recent very senior cleric to be caught apparently committing Idolatry 'to camera' was Maradiaga. It is claimed, I do not know upon what evidence, that there is another cardinal who once offered flowers to the deities in a Hindu temple. Pretty certainly misreported nonsense, but the sort of misreported nonsense that can be unsettling for us simple and unsophisticated souls.
I wonder whether we are bound to regard those against whom there is very plausible and undenied prima facie evidence of Idolatry as still morally entitled to the exercise of their Orders (of course, the character of the Sacrament of Holy Order will certainly not have been expunged from their souls ... the Church's Rigid Dogma makes that clear).
Will the student clergy in the Roman Colleges be obliged to concelebrate with highly-placed apostates? Would it be a helpful service if the Annuario Pontificio published the names of those hierarchs who had committed Idolatry, making clear, perhaps, which of them had been subsequently absolved for the Sin, and which (on the grounds that "their consciences were comfortable with it") had not?
As our dear old British journal of public record, Private Eye, likes to say, I think we should be told.