A correspondent suggested I was indulging in ecclesiastical schadenfreude (joy in another's misfortune) in my post on the current Vatican scandal. I thought my tone and comments in that post were sober enough to deflect such a charge, but evidently not. So, just to clarify - to delight in the current ills besetting the Vatican would be un-Christian. Why, even Aristotle noted in his Ethics that there is a malevolence in taking pleasure in another's misfortune which is incompatible with the justice we should strive for in all our relations with others. If even a pagan can come to such a realization, than the Christian has no excuse to indulge in such sentiments.
As I remarked to David in response, my acute interest in the Vatican leaks scandal is moral and theological and not evil-minded. An institution which claims to be the guarantor of God's grace in the world and, I might add, an infallible guide in matters of faith and morals, surely invites scrutiny as to its own moral life? Is it not reasonable to expect only the highest degree of probity from men who claim to be the leaders of the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church" and, by divine right, the successors to the Holy Apostles? To scrutinize or test the actions of such men against the very standards they inculcate in others is the duty of a Christian, since one must firmly decide for or against such momentous claims and it is, as our Lord said, "by their fruits that ye shall know them". When I thus consider the Vatican, T. S. Eliot's line from 'The Hollow Men' comes into my mind: Between the idea and the reality...falls the shadow. In the case of Rome the shadow seems conspicuously long.
Having said this in my defence, though, I will happily confess to using the various scandals of the Vatican as an antidote to the romantic longings for a return to Rome which seem to afflict some Lutheran pastors and laity in these poor and difficult times for the church of the Augsburg Confession. Whenever such a longing arises in my own heart and my head goes dizzy with thoughts of incense and Latin chanting, and the ancient Tempter approaches pointing to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in his hand, one whiff of pungent "Vatican Salts" is all it takes to regain my Lutheran consciousness!