If he didn’t care yesterday … why such urgency today?

On April 5, The Wall Street Journal reported that:

As the church’s most powerful official in Argentina, [Pope Francis] didn’t comply with a Vatican call to create guidelines for handling sexual-abuse allegations in the country.

But then, in the next paragraph:

On Friday, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who heads the office in charge of leading the Vatican’s global crackdown on abusive priests and instructed him to continue the Vatican’s strategy for fighting sex abuse. The pope urged him to “act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse, pushing above all the measures to protect minors,” the Vatican said. Swift detection, Vatican officials have said, is crucial to stopping abusive priests.

So I ask: Why is it so important for Pope Francis to crack down on abusive priests NOW, when it wasn’t such a big deal three weeks ago, when he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires?

How can he possibly implement a program on a global level when he couldn’t even draw up simple guidelines to prevent abuse in his own country … on time?

Yesterday, he couldn’t do his homework. Today, he’s the principal of the school. Only one conclusion comes to mind – and it’s not terribly optimistic.

Sure, I’ll wash your feet – as long as you keep silent about that pesky abuse crisis.

Here’s my take: All we have to go on with Francis is his record. Promises are nice. But as every election cycle (no matter the political system) shows us, most of those promises soon forgotten and ignored.

What really matters are concrete and transparent actions with outcomes that are tangible and measurable. And right now, we are not seeing that.

Instead, this is what we know:

  • As Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio “declined to meet” with victims of sexual abuse, as requested by the Vatican.
  • Although the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires says that there have been no accusations of abuse in that Archdiocese in the past six years, there is at least one church-owned predator priest treatment facility in the immediate area: La Domus Mariae (the House of Mary), north of Buenos Aires. (If there have been no allegations in the past six years, wouldn’t this place be shuttered?)
  • There is no tangible record of action on the part of Bergoglio or his priests to punish abusers and hold accountable the men and women who protected them.
So while there is much talk of Pope Francis’ humility and simple grace, victims must remain wary. Predators and enablers can hide just as easily under a simple while cassock as they did under papal ermine.


4 thoughts on “If he didn’t care yesterday … why such urgency today?

  1. If an extremely powerful, regressive organization has devoted its enormous wealth over hundreds of years to rewarding and protecting its members who rape, beat and exploit children why should we believe anything they say? Ever.

  2. The beginning of real church reform will only happen if an when any bishop who has had a hand in transferring, hiding or non reporting a priest predator under his watch is told that he MUST resign.

  3. As long Bishop Finn remains on the job on Kansas City, there is no cause for optimism that Pope Francis will be just toward children. By now Pope Francis must have read that Bishop Finn allowed a suicidal pedophile priest to continue to serve around children, even when the bishop knew that Father Ratigan had taken pornographic photos of his parishioners children. By sending a pedophile priest off to the nuns without informing them of Father Ratigan’s serial crimes Bishop Finn enabled more abuse of kids.

    If the new Pope had difficulty naming evil during Argentina’s dirty war, is it likely that he will name evil within his hierarchy?

  4. Church leaders always use double messages to control people. They build hope among those Catholics still going to church and say impressive things to set high performance expectations, but their actions do not match their words. This is why they have lost moral authority. They are willing to use religion to fool people so they can get what they really want. These actions are as far from holiness as one can get.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *