The big discussion at the 2014 SNAP conference was “everybody’s favorite pontiff,” Pope Francis.
Journalist Jason Berry—who faced raised eyebrows for earlier comments criticizing SNAP’s methods and “skillset“—told the group at his conference speech that SNAP should work strategically to “get a place at the table” and negotiate with the Vatican. (Note: Berry did apologize to the larger group and individuals for his July 29 remarks)
As much as I like and respect Jason, I think he is being suckered in by former Fox News journo/now Vatican communications guy Greg Burke’s carefully crafted Papal PR Machine. It’s the machine that always ensures there are plenty of photographers around to take photos of the Pope washing the feet of an Islamic woman, driving a car, living in a small apartment, and personally calling letter-writers. (In case you haven’t noticed, the PR move of calling letter writers was so successful, it’s been copied by Barack Obama, who is facing abysmal favorability poll numbers).
But just because the papal PR machine is shouting the loudest, doesn’t mean it’s right.
Fortunately, survivors ain’t buying it. I, for one, think a few “authentic gestures” are required.
What’s an “authentic gesture,” you ask?
Authentic gestures DO NOT include secret meetings with carefully picked survivors (who are asked to attend Mass and are sworn to secrecy until after the meeting). Authentic measures are NOT apologies, and certainly do not describe the deliberate and criminal cover-up of sexual abuse as “sins of omission.”
I’ll go back to my old rallying cry: I’ll believe that the Pope is a champion for real change when he fires convicted child endangerer (I guess that can be a word in this case) and Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn. THAT would be an authentic gesture. Super easy stuff. But too hard for Pope Francis, apparently.
Until then, I’ll pass on a seat at the Vatican’s table. I don’t like the Kool-aid they serve.
5 thoughts on “Just because they shout the loudest, doesn’t mean they’re right”
Thanks for writing on this Joelle..
I agree with you.SNAP and others who are directly involved with holding the pope and Vatican, hierarchy, church accountable for their crimes see things differently than Jesuit clones and other groupies who are deceived into thinking we look to them for guidance and direction.. We don’t..
Ms. Castiex is 100% correct. Pope Francis is the product of a skillful media campaign. If we look at the people he has appointed both in the Vatican and the U.S., we see this regime is just an extension of the past two pontificates. And the reason he will not sanction prelates who enabled and covered-up is because he would have to start with himself.
In fact, one of the SNAP conference speakers who has confidence in the pope, spoke that Francis can not just fire or remove bishops who cover up sex crimes against kids…. This is not true, Pope Francis can fire and demote bishops for any reason, and he has done so, he just has not had the guts to fire those who cover up sex crimes. Maybe there are just way too many….!
Progress on the Catholic clerical sex abuse front, such as it is, comes from the dogged work of attorneys for victims, and from the journalists who in equally dogged fashion pursue leads that turn into stories. By contrast, the US bishops have contributed nothing, ditto for the Vatican.
As for “a place at the table,” the counsel table in the courtroom, not the negotiating table in the chancery, is where it’s been happening. And it looks like it will stay that way, for a long time to come.
IMO, authentic gestures from Pope Francis are very simple; however, may be risky to the Vatican and U.S. religious leaders. Religious institutions and their attorneys must be ordered to cease and desist the multiple abuses and crimes continuing in U.S. courts of law, in addition to the following:
1. ENFORCE mandated child protection and reporting laws, with ZERO free passes out of jail for the select few that are employed by a religious institution and hide behind freedom of religion privilege.
2. REVOKE tax exempt status for any and all religious and/or non-profit institutions that have failed to report lewd and lascivious crimes committed against a child and/or vulnerable adult. The public has been betrayed for too long.
3. MONETARILY SANCTION religious and/or non-profits institutions who have failed to uphold state and federal Whistleblower protections…. especially when it involves wrongdoing that was reported by an employee and the employee was soon terminated from employment, defamed and personally destroyed behind closed doors.
Pope Francis has an opportunity NOW that he can either act upon and/or play the ostrich. If Pope Francis is serious about child protections and the teachings of the Catholic Church, it is time for him to step up with courage…. while dumping his corrupt attorneys that have created a serious public safety crisis! The longer Pope Francis waits for this clergy sex abuse crisis to resolve itself, the longer children will NEVER be safe from sexual predators and the wrath of the Catholic Church.