Oh, Pope Francis. He’s got a good racket going.
His fan base is huge. Recent trips to the U.S. and now Mexico show that people really like this seemingly humble and devout man. I mean, they “like him” like him.
But a pioneer in the prevention, prosecution, and exposure of child sex abuse? Not so much.
So, the next time your friend says, “Oh quit being such a pessimist. Pope Francis is changing things,” show them this:
Less than a week after a prominent child sex abuse victim appointed to Francis’ commission to prevent child sexual abuse was given a vote of no confidence (for the crime of actually trying to prevent child sex abuse):
- This morning, an Indian news outlet reported that a Catholic bishop there reinstated a priest who was recently convicted of child sexual abuse in Minnesota. The crimes were so bad that Interpol arrested the priest in 2012 and brought him back to the US to face charges. The bishop said that his decision was “not personal,” but was instead made with the full consultation and support of the Vatican.
- On February 7, leading Vatican observer John Allen reported that in the most recent training program for new Catholic bishops, the new prelates were told that they “have no duty to report allegations to the police.” Unless of course, they are required by local law (and, well, who’s more important: some cop … or the Holy Father?).
- In the same report, the new bishops were given no training on how to identify or prevent child sexual abuse.
- That papal commission I mentioned earlier? They had no role or voice in the training. Looks like Pope Francis wants to control the message.
- The commission did try to “ask” Pope Francis to remind bishops to return victims’ phone calls and to create a “Universal Day of Prayer.”
Yeah, that’s effective.
I could also mention John Feit, the former priest now charged with murder. Church officials sent him to a Trappist Monastery in Missouri after they learned that charges were pending. Or that Feit worked at a treatment center for sex-offending clerics, where he really botched the job.
Or I could mention the case of Joel Wright.
But I think that Francis is proving my point quite convincingly on his own.