For the third time in less than a month, a disturbing revelation has surfaced about Pope Francis’ handling of clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
The Wall Street Journal reports that while he was Argentina’s most powerful prelate, the pope did not meet a Vatican deadline for writing an abuse policy.
This disclosure follows two other recent troubling ones: Pope Francis’ meeting with Cardinal Bernard Law hours after his election and Francis’ intervention to help free a convicted Argentinian priest.
Catholic officials have been dealing with – and ignoring, hiding and enabling – child sex crimes for decades if not centuries. So writing an abuse policy is an extraordinarily minimal move. This is the most simple, cheap and ineffective step prelates can take, in response to this horror: simply writing an abuse policy.
(In our experience, these policies are largely meaningless. Bishops continue, no matter what written policies say, to handle abuse cases however they like. But an abuse policy, even if consistently violated, is better than no policy at all. And when the Vatican orders that such polices be adopted, the least prelates can do is to adopt them.)
So we’re deeply disappointed (though not surprised) that Pope Francis, as head of Argentina’s bishops, failed to write up such a policy. (Vatican officials also recently disclosed that roughly 25% of the world’s Catholic officials have also ignored the deadline.)
On Friday, the pope said he wanted to “continue” the abuse practices of his predecessor. In a sad and ironic way, by refusing to even write an abuse policy, by saying one thing and doing another, Pope Francis is indeed following the pattern of his predecessor: talking the talk but not walking the walk.
The claim that then-Cardinal Bergolio wanted to “delay” writing a policy until after some meeting rings hollow. Why not act responsibly, obey the Vatican, write a policy, and revise it after this abuse symposium? That would have been the proper course of action.
Catholics can feel good about the Pope’s apparently humble and likeable personality and his more down-to-earth demeanor and his professes concern for the poor. But everyone should realize that with the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis, he’s the “same old, same old.”
The time to end the protection of these scum is NOW.
Dear Mrs. Blaine,
Can it be possible that it is true that Italy does not allow cases of sexual assault by pedophile Catholic priests and laity "practicing outside of the Vatican, but still in Italy) to be reported in their police departments and nor allow legal actions to be brought in their public (Italian, secular) judicial systems? I suppose my being only a convert to Catholicism in 1994, I might not be aware of the (what is to, me) seemingly “strange” symbiosis between the Vatican and the country of Italy.
No matter. If we have only just now found out that it is true, I believe all the more reason for SNAP and other groups like them to continue to do the hard work they are doing on behalf of the victims. And, it makes me all the more hopeful that you can and will prevail! In my opinion there is simply no humanly possible excuse, nor divine “justification” for enabling, encouraging and allowing sexual predators and active pedophile priests and laity free run over the children of the Catholic Church. We do not have to forgive them, nor should the church hierarchy be allowed to continue to hide them.
So, as I said earlier today, I still want very much to encourage all the members of SNAP, the CCR and the attorneys and judges of ICC to pursue all avenues of legal prosecution, (now) of both the current Pope Francis and previous Pope Benedict and the Vatican (Catholic Church), in this matter.
Thank you for you constant and difficult, precedent-breaking hard work in this entire matter!
Mother and Grandmother