In less than a year Pope Francis has changed the image of the Church by preaching tolerance and wading into crowds to embrace the sick. Few doubt his sincerity. But there’s one area in which the Church hasn’t changed in image or substance: Its stance on child sex abuse by the clergy.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child meets this week in Geneva to, among other things, investigate child sex abuse by Catholic clergy. The Vatican is sending representatives and announced it will put together another panel to look into the issue.
Today’s news out of Rome should dispel any notions that this pope is “better” on abuse than his predecessors.
Today, Pope Francis officially put out the welcome mat for child molesting clerics across the globe.
Today, the Vatican has told Polish prosecutors that it will NOT extradite Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski who stands accused of sexually assaulting at least five children.
First, we should all thank Billy Doe, his family, the police and the prosecutors whose courage made Lynn’s conviction possible. And we should thank prosecutors who plan to appeal this ruling. We of course hope the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will overturn it. And we call on Philly Catholic officials to keep Lynn permanently off the job or at least until this case is finally resolved.
Literally thousands of U.S. Catholic officials have done precisely what Msgr. Lynn did and were never even charged or exposed, much less convicted. And we believe that hundreds or thousands of chancery officials across the U.S. are doing – right now - exactly what Msgr. Lynn did.
Finally, finally, there’s a tiny, tiny ray of hope with this pope and the abuse/cover up crisis.
It’s not his signs of humility.
It’s not his compassionate words.
It’s not his touching gestures.
It’s his ever-so-slight snub of two dreadfully corrupt prelates – Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Justin Rigali.
Don’t believe it for a second.
Brisbane’s Catholic bishop claims he and his colleagues were “caught like rabbits in a headlight" regarding clergy sex crimes.
He also claims one case is a "dramatic failure of oversight" that showed a "spectacular bungling."
Two US media outlets today mentioned scandals over crimes against children. One involves 6,000 potential crimes in one jurisdiction. The other involves potentially 16 times that many likely predators.
Let’s compare them.
The New York Times reports that more than 6,000 possible crimes against children have not been investigated by state officials in Arizona.
Imagine this: A bank robber shoots and kills two people – first a custodian and a then a teller - as they run away seeking safety.
The criminal is held responsible for the custodian’s death but not for the teller’s death. Why?
Because when the bullet hit the custodian, he was on bank property but when the bullet hit the teller, she was actually standing on a public sidewalk.