Pope Francis hasn't done anything unusual or unexpected in regard to clergy sex abuse

"He's done something unusual/unexpected practically every day." That’s how an anonymous but high ranking Vatican official describes Pope Francis. 


Except, however, in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. So far in that arena, tragically, we see no changes whatsoever.

Pope Francis is being proclaimed as a master of the touching and unexpected gesture. He’s known for his simple lifestyle, and his openness and willingness to meet with “regular” people by doing things like taking the bus to work.

But the sole gesture he's made regarding the church's central crisis has been a hurtful one: meeting with disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law.


And on the most troubling recent disclosure in the church's central and continuing crisis, he has said nothing. 

We are referring to the February 19 Washington Post article which revealed that a convicted Argentinean priest – Fr. Julio Cesar Grassi – now walks free largely because of then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio’s intervention.

Fr. Grassi, who founded the Fundacion Felices los Ninos (“Happy Children”) charity, was later found to be abusing the children there that he was supposed to be helping. However, following his conviction Bergolgio commissioned a report that proclaimed the priest innocent, and has worked to get his conviction overturned. In the meantime, Fr. Grassi still lives across the street from the location where he abused kids.


It's worth noting that Vatican officials have defended Pope Francis' actions during Argentina's 'dirty war.' As they have done for decades, however, those same Vatican officials are saying nothing about Pope's Francis’ actions in Argentinean clergy sex abuse cases.

Showing 9 comments

  • Brigitte Heimes
    commented 2013-04-21 12:37:31 -0500
    Re: Was the Jesuit author of the ‘Autobiography’ of Ignatius of Loyola a child abuser?

    Dear Mr. Clohessy,

    I know that your concern is for the the present survivors of abuse by priests, but I have just been shocked to read of a case from the 16th century involving Father Luís Gonçalves da Câmara, an
    important early Jesuit. Church officials today often try to blame abuse cases on influences from the liberalization and secularization of modern society, rather than admitting that what has changed is the risk of exposure. They should be confronted with their history.

    In short:

    Luis Goncalves da Camara was an important early Jesuit, whom Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556) chose to record his personal recollections of his own religious experiences and development in a document that later came to be known as Ignatius’s Autobiography under the title “A Pilgrim’s Journey”.
    A few years later Padre Luís Gonçalves da Câmara became tutor and confessor of Sebastian of Portugal when the future king was a child.


    Today I found on the internet a text of the University of Virginia historian Harold B. Johnson

    “A Pedophile in the Palace: or The Sexual Abuse of King Sebastian of Portugal (1554- 1578)”


    The historian claims and collects evidence in the above quoted essay that Father Luís Gonçalves da Câmara sexually abused the ten year olf Prince Sebastian, infecting him with gonorrhea.

    If true, this is an egregious example of sexual child abuse by a ‘founding father’ of the Jesuit Order.


  • Jan Bowser
    commented 2013-04-10 23:40:19 -0500
    Thank you so much for your timely update to a new member. The more I learn, the more I hope and pray I can help. Blessings, Jana
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-04-10 19:44:39 -0500
    Truly, this is “the church’s central crisis”, as you say Mr. Clohessy.

    Lani Halter
    Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:41 and Luke17.2. Remember, Christ has spoken on this subject three times in the New Testament.
  • John Thompson
    commented 2013-04-10 19:39:42 -0500
    Nor has he done anything ususual in any other regard. His first or second statement made as pope was condemning ‘gay’ marriage. This said after he was just elected in a room decorated by a gay man which is one of the greatest art treasures in the world and has been a cash cow for the Vatican for hundreds of years. If being gay is so horrible you think these men would white wash the Sistine Chapel or, at least, not elect popes in it. And, of course, everyone knows that last pope is gay and he brought his lover/secretary to the Vatican (as first spouse?). This is the man who had Prada custom make his scarlet pumps so he could show them off sitting on the Throne of Peter? Why does Peter even have a throne?.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-04-10 19:39:32 -0500
    At this point, I want nothing less, than the SNAP and CCR filing requesting the prosecution of the Vatican to go forward now, and for the ICC to make a ruling of “guilty as charged”! And, I want to see actual change in the church, after such a verdict. As I’ve said many times now, “authorized” and enabled pedophilia by priests and laity in the Catholic Church MUST BE STOPPED, NOW!!!

    The course has already been charted by SNAP and the CCR, and it has already been accepted into the ICC at the Hague. Please let the trial go forward, now, beginning in APRIL 2013.

    Lani Halter
    Remember the Gospel writings in: Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:41 and Luke17.2. Christ has spoken on this subject three times in the New Testament.
  • Jan Bowser
    commented 2013-04-10 18:03:06 -0500
    Good heavens, I just joined SNAP as an advocate, not a victim. The situation with the new Pope is even worse than I realized. WE MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR JUSTICE
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-04-06 01:30:32 -0500
    April 5, 2013

    Oh! For the first time since I joined SNAP in February, I actually heard part of a TV news story on the local ch. 11 Fox News at 11pm about the new pope, that included mention of SNAP and saying its full name and reporting your repeated requests of the new pope (and catholic church) to do more than just talk. I was doing something in the dining room when I had to stop, come into the living room and pay closer attention to what was being said. I didn’t get here fast enough. But, God, I am glad that I at least heard as much as I did!!!



    I believe thiis, I truly believe this.

    Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your hard work
    Lani Halter
  • John Thompson
    commented 2013-04-05 20:01:37 -0500
    If Pope Francis wanted to start the healing on Holy Thursday he could have washed the feet of some of the children who were sexually abused at the school for deaf children in Verona. But he chose not to. To paraphrase Claudius in Hamlet: His words fly up to Heaven but his thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts do not to Heaven go.
  • Lani Halter
    commented 2013-04-03 15:23:57 -0500
    Dear Mr. Clohessy,

    Apparently, it’s more work than should have to be placed on anyone’s shoulders, to try to change the hundred’s of years old predators’ “run” of the Catholic Church.

    I for one don’t believe that pedophile priests and laity began being predators of the parishioner’s children in only just the 19th and 20th centuries.

    However, I do have hope and believe that with the advent of the 21st century with the globalization of communications through the internet, that acknowledgement of priests and laity who are predators of the church’s children has become a phenomenon that in the near future non-pedophiles will be able to prevent from continuing to be an (albeit, thus far “hidden” from the public and secular legal systems) to prevent it from continuing to be an integral part, day in and day out, year in and year out, of the catholic church and its ancillary organizations.

    On Easter, I was talking about (SNAP’s and) the upcoming ICC’s criminal prosecution of the Catholic church for crimes against humanity at the Hague, with a lapsed catholic I know, who seemed glad to tell me that “No one will ever be able to touch the former pope, (Ratzinger) Benedict XVI because the Vatican doesn’t have or allow extradition, and he just won’t ever leave the Vatican”. I didn’t think to mention to him that likely pope Francis will leave the Vatican, though.

    I think that we who share in the fight against institutionalized, enabled and condoned pedophilia in the catholic church, should do well to avoid listening to the “official” (Vatican) opinions of this new pope or “that priest” or the daily running commentary on essentially what are simply critiques of “style”, not report of substantive current issues that will require much of personal integrity, character or actual actions of import on the part of the new pope.

    I think I would personally prefer asking again, if the pope received your letter requesting meeting with SNAP officials.

    He (Francis) should be at least honorable ENOUGH, to say one way or the other if he received and read your very polite and reasonable request. That’s not really so difficult. (Although, maybe we have to keep “baby steps” or 1,000 steps, or extreme perseverance in mind, when dealing with all of these relatively very old prelates who simply cannot wrap their own minds around being seriously guilty…guilty of anything!)

    Nonetheless, thank you David, for this update. I do implore you to please ask again if your letter was received, and this time, if you do not get a legitimate, respectful response, please send the SNAP letter to new pope, Francis, again!

    Thank you for all your work on this matter. It is of great import.

    Lani Halter

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