Pope Francis Lashes Out at Media and Calls for “Unity”

As Pope Francis spoke publicly this week about the challenges facing the institutional Catholic Church in the United States, he took the opportunity to blame not abusers or their enablers, but the media for the “throwing gas on the fire.”

It is difficult to take his comments seriously when he completely sidesteps responsibility for the people who started that fire in the first place.

By railing against the “four sins” of the media, Pope Francis joins the chorus of folks who think shooting the messenger is the proper response to stories that upset them. The fact is, journalists represent an easy target for reporting on the failures of institutions and individuals. What is far more difficult is addressing the continued failures of the institution that claims to have its abuse scandal well in hand but that story after story demonstrates is not true.

It is a simple truth that the abuse scandal is not the fault of the journalists who report on it. The blame lies solely at the feet of the abusers and their enablers.

Pope Francis is upset because Catholic media is not toeing the party line. Yet it is a good thing that those closest to institutions needing reform are willing to ask difficult questions and discuss challenging topics. Change can never come without it.

We applaud the members of the media who are doing their job ethically and responsibly and hope the lashing from Pope Francis falls on deaf ears. We hope that these journalists continue to unify around the principles of truth and transparency as opposed to blind unity towards an institution.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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