When the sheep smell a rat: A message on Zero Tolerance

In his Holy Thursday message, Pope Francis told priests to embrace a “good and healthy” tiredness by spending engaged time with the faithful and doing the “real work” of a priest.

From Reuters:

The faithful never leave us without something to do, unless we hide in our offices or go out in our cars wearing sun glasses. There is a good and healthy tiredness. It is the exhaustion of the priest who wears the smell of the sheep… but also smiles the smile of a father rejoicing in his children or grandchildren. (emphasis mine)

But what about the faithful in southern Chile, who are upset about the appointment of their new bishop—a man who has been accused of not only covering up abuse, but actually witnessing the sexual abuse of children?

That bishop, Juan Barros, according to the AP,

… is said by at least three victims to have witnessed the sexual molestation at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church, part of the El Bosque parish that serves an affluent neighborhood of Santiago.

Allegations are so bad (and include extensive cover-up of a serial molester priest), that Barros’ January appointment (he took office in March) has stirred international outrage. Anger is so great in Chile, that Chilean Catholics and government officials have begged Rome to rescind the appointment.

The sheep—in this case—smell a rat …

Rome has not responded.

Hear that? Pope Francis turned his back on Zero Tolerance.

Barros is not alone. Remember: Robert Finn is STILL in his position in Kansas City/St. Joseph, even though he has that pesky child endangerment conviction. And Rome has not responded with anything more than a secret review.

Hear that? Pope Francis turned his back on Zero Tolerance.

Zero Tolerance is simply that: the promise to NOT tolerate anyone who abuses children or covers up for the abuse of children. You can’t remove some bishops and keep others. You can’t engage in long, secret reviews that keep people like Barros and Finn in their jobs. Because if you excuse them, you have to excuse everyone who hurts children.

If you tolerate anyone who has abused or covered-up abuse, you have turned your back on Zero Tolerance. And there is no excuse for that.

So here are my Easter messages: Put children and victims first. Punish people who hurt children and cover-up crimes. Don’t fall victim to Pope Francis’ clever PR machine. All of the washed feet in the world don’t make up for one sexually abused child.



5 thoughts on “When the sheep smell a rat: A message on Zero Tolerance

  1. In light of the sexual abuse scandal, I wonder if the author of Hebrews 13:17 would, if he could, modify his admonition to his disciples to be obedient to their leaders.

    “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”

  2. Beimg stupid enough to shuffle abusers around is one thing. Being accused of being a witness and not stopping it is a dealbreaker. Being cruel to or lying to or sheltering funds should have criminal consequences.

  3. Right on Joelle: Your insight is tremendous and accurate. Rome with its pseudo Christian pope is at the heart of the paedophile problem. I doubt if any child is safe if he/she is not actively protected from priests, “brothers”, and some nuns. You are a wonderful gift from God.

  4. So true Joelle!..
    since the pope and his cronies could find NO reason for this bishop barros to be denied this promotion it is obvious that he and they don’t get it and never will..?

  5. There’s the fine article by Haselberger on her website on the Pope and Barros, where she makes the point that if zero tolerance is or could be observed, there would be very few of the hierarchy left in place. I’d guess there are some cloistered brothers at zero, but any bishops or beyond, all the way to the top? Very unlikely.

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