Pope Francis has failed to punish child-abusing priests – AFP

Pope Francis
Vatican Sex Abuse Scandal“Francis has failed to definitively draw a line under decades of abuse which ruined the lives of tens of thousands of young Catholics and badly tarnished the standing of the Church in the eyes of believers and broader society.” – AFP

Many words, little action: three years after Pope Francis’s election, victims of priest sex abuse are bitter and disappointed, accusing the Church of having failed to punish guilty clerics and end a culture of complacency on the issue.

The recent Australian Royal Commission hearings of Vatican number three George Pell and a preliminary criminal probe into accusations that Lyon’s archbishop, Philippe Barbarin, covered up for a paedophile priest has put the question of Church complicity in abuse back at the top of the Vatican agenda.

Francis came to power promising a crackdown on cover-ups and a zero tolerance approach to abuse itself.

But victims still feel they are not been listened to, that bishops are still failing to hand criminal priests over to the appropriate authorities and that a conspiracy of silence remains the order of the day, right up to the top of the Vatican hierarchy.

The growing discontent with Francis’s record on ridding the Church of the taint of paedophilia is in sharp contrast with how he has performed in other areas.

As he prepares to celebrate Sunday’s third anniversary of his election, the Argentinian pontiff boasts genuine star status around the world thanks to his charismatic, simple style, his defence of the world’s poor and efforts to reform the Church and bring it closer to ordinary believers.

But despite an encouraging start, Francis has failed to definitively draw a line under decades of abuse which ruined the lives of tens of thousands of young Catholics and badly tarnished the standing of the Church in the eyes of believers and broader society.

Francis has made it clear bishops who cover up for abusers have no place in the Church and has put in place legal structures enabling paedophile priests to be tried under Vatican law. He also established his own advisory panel on the issue.

Peter SaundersBut the panel is now disintegrating with one prominent member, Peter Saunders, recently telling AFP he felt betrayed by Francis and that he had been tricked into taking part in what he described as a whitewashing exercise.

Francis won plaudits for meeting with victims in Rome and in Philadelphia during last year’s visit to the United States. But more recently he has come under fire for declining to repeat the gesture in Mexico or for the group that travelled from Australia to listen to Pell give evidence to the Royal Commission.

With the Oscar-winning film Spotlight further increasing public awareness of the abuse issue, “there is a real risk of this issue becoming the thorn in the foot of this papacy,” said Marco Politi, one of Francis’s biographers and a leading Vatican expert.

Politi said the “decisive test” of whether the Vatican hierarchy was serious about addressing the problem was whether Church authorities were truly willing to hand priests over to the criminal authorities. “Outside of cases where the judicial system gives them no option, the majority of bishoprics don’t want to talk about that.”

Ignazio Ingrao, Vatican correspondent for Italian weekly Panorama, said many local dioceses remained “incapable of moving beyond the secrecy mentality and the reflex of burying scandals.” He also noted that the Vatican’s ability to handle cases brought to its attention was severely compromised by staff shortages.

“I don’t doubt Francis’s desire to create a zero tolerance culture,” he added. “He has made it clear that the religious authorities must cooperate with civilian ones.”

John AllenDirect to the point of bluntness on other issues, Francis seems to have a “gut-level hesitation” when it comes to tackling the abuse issue, possibly fuelled by a belief that it is something he does not fully understand, suggested American Vatican expert John Allen in a column for www.cruxnow.com.

Andrea Tornielli, who writes for the website Vatican Insider and knows Francis well, says he does not detect any reticence to speak about the subject or when it comes to sanctioning offenders.

“The pope has spoken unequivocally, referring to diabolic sacrifices. He is trying to change the mentality,” Tornielli told AFP.

“One can very well understand the criticism levelled at him by victims and those close to them. But the most important task he has to accomplish is to create the conditions so that cover-ups do not happen ever again.” – IOL, 11 March 2016

Keith O'brien & Jimmy Savile

Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who had to resign in 2013 because of inappropriate sexual contact with his priests, has been further exposed as a close friend of the BBC’s notorious paedophile television personality Jimmy Savile. Click image for story.

Jesus

5 Responses

  1. BNF-Cochin: Pedophilia is just a salient feature of the Church fathers running over many decades, As a living spring of generous and manly action, the bishops, priests and spiritual leaders of the Christian Church from top to bottom were known practitioners of what is better termed as a diabolic pleasure trove for long. Since Catholic priests are not allowed to live a married life, as it’s quite natural that their long-standing pent up sexual frustration engrossed and duly without an age bar, the menace ruled the priestly vocation. To buckle up the blues apparent among the hard and the fast believers, caused by the rapacity of secret affairs of church father’s, as Pope Francis could see how things were going. Now, the dissatisfied liberal and pious Pontiff had to take serious steps, to bring back his discontent members. As an Argentinian bouncer, he can really deliver solid blows right on the nose-bridge of his sex manic cardinals, bishops and priests. He has been smelling a real rot in his bandwagon who become the slaves to passion and lust.

  2. Mother Teresa and her favorite paedophile priest Fr. Donald McGuire. She went so far as to write to the California court hearing the sexual abuse charges against him, and asked the judge to dismiss them. A true saint indeed!
    Mother Teresa and her favorite paedophile priest Fr. Donald McGuire. She went so far as to write to the California court hearing the sexual abuse charges against him, and asked the judge to dismiss them. A true saint indeed!

    A conservative estimate says over one and a half million children have been known to have been sexually molested by Catholic priests since the scandal broke in the 1980s.

    The problem of sexual misconduct among bishops and priests was there in the Church right at the beginning.

    In the 1st-2nd century there was a group called the Carpocratians who believed that Jesus and Lazarus were lovers. They had a “gospel” which described the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus as a sexual encounter between the two. The Early Church Father Clement of Alexandria had all their “gospels” collected and destroyed. So we only know about them from his negative references.

    The First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD is described in early accounts as an orgy of sex and violence. The 318 bishops who attended—the exact number is disputed—quarrelled over doctrine in the daytime and boys at night. Emperor Constantine had brought a thousand prostitutes and dancing boys with him to keep the bishops entertained. This is the most important council where Jesus, up to this time considered to be a human prophet in the line of Hebrew prophets by his followers, was raised to the status of a deity by a vote of the bishops—316 for deification, 2 against. The two bishops from Libya who dissented were murdered in their beds.

    Clerical licentiousness got so bad by the 12th century that in 1123 it was decided at the First Lateran Council in Rome that priests must be unmarried and celibate. They were also not allowed to live with their mothers or sisters as they could not be trusted not to rape them.

    This 12th century celibacy rule is a clerical rule, not a doctrinal injunction. Therefore priests have always flouted it with impunity.

    Celibacy, by the way, simply means unmarried in Catholic terminology. It does not mean the priest must maintain sexual countenance.

    There are hundreds of married priests and an equal number of active gay priests. It is a different matter that the Vatican does not acknowledge them or discipline them. At one time Catholic priests in the US had the highest number of HIV-infected members, more than any other group straight or gay.

    As for child abuse, more heterosexual married men with children are abusers than are single or gay men. Therefore the contention that priests must be allowed to marry to stop the abuse is not true.

    Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian), Anglican (English Protestant) and Evangelical / Baptist (American Protestant) Churches allow priests to marry. Child abuse is inherent and prevalent in these Churches too, as in the Latin (Roman) Church. Some years ago the Greek monks of a famous Mt. Athos monastery went on strike when they were told they could no longer take male lovers.

    The most famous of recent child abusers was Fr. Marcial Maciel who founded the Legion of Christ. The Legion gave him unlimited access to young men. He had two wives (or mistresses) and was a close confident of Pope John-Paul II. He started his career of sexual abuse on his own sons who have publicly accused and denounced him.

    The irony in all this history of Christian scandal is that sex is a sin in Christian theology and the sexual act itself is to be condemned. Women are to blame of course, as it was Eve who gave Adam the apple that opened his eyes to her beauty and sexual attractiveness in the biblical fairy tale.

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