A new poll shows most people really like Pope Francis.
So what does that mean?
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.
A lowly US county judge did more yesterday to protect kids than the most powerful prelate on the planet. Yesterday, Judge John Van de North forced the Catholic archbishop of St. Paul/Minneapolis to disclose the names, whereabouts, statues and work histories of about 30 credibly accused child molesting clerics.
Yesterday, as he’s done for eight months, Pope Francis refused to disclose a single predator's name. Nor, as best we can tell, did a single one of the planets 5,000 Catholic bishops disclose a single predator’s name.
The St. Paul/Minneapolis archdiocesan abuse and cover up crisis is getting worse…and weirder.
Let’s start with the “weirder” part. An admitted predator priest there “met with Fr. Kevin McDonough, the vicar general, to talk about two topics — his relationship with a serial killer and his sexual interest in a convicted child rapist.”
It’s not enough that Fr. Clarence Vavra molested kids. He also apparently was (or is) close to two men. One is a serial murderer and the other was imprisoned for raping his son.
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.
Sometimes, I find hope in odd places, like the "international" of yesterday's New York Times.
On page one, there was a story about the hundreds of paintings that were stolen by Nazis and finally recovered decades later.
That’s how one of the most heroic whistleblowers in Catholic history describes her efforts to expose predators and protect kids.
“I didn’t do enough.”
What haunting words. That must send a chill up the spine of anyone who works – or worked - for any Catholic entity in Minnesota.
When allegedly celibate men use words and phrases about sex that you’ve never heard, that’s when you know something’s being hidden.
For example, do remember when you first heard the word ‘ephebophilia?’ Chances are it was around 2002. And chances are you heard it used by a Catholic official who was desperately trying to avoid having people think that a priest was a pedophile or a child molester.
Both are smart female Catholic lawyers who became part of Archbishop John Nienstedt’s inner circle and enjoyed his ear and his trust.
One of them, Jennifer Haselberger, became part of the solution.
The other, Greta Sawyer, remains part of the problem.
Haselberger’s story is widely known. She’s a courageous whistleblower. Here’s a recent profile of her: