FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Pope Francis’s Bumpy Road to the Catholic Church’s Redemption

Photo Source jojo nicdao | CC BY 2.0

These are not easy times for Pope Francis. Within two days he received strong criticism for Catholic priests’ sexual abuse of more than a thousand children in Pennsylvania. He was also confronted by Ireland’s Prime Minister and then by a high officer of the Catholic Church.

During his recent visit to Ireland, the first papal visit in almost 40 years, Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Prime Minister, told Pope Francis, “Magdalene Laundries, Mother and Baby Homes, industrial schools, illegal adoptions, and clerical child abuse are stains on our state, our society and also the Catholic Church [Magdalene Laundries, and Mother and Baby Homes are places where nuns mistreated single mothers and illegally gave their children up for adoption]. Wounds are still open and there is much to be done to bring about justice and truth and healing for victims and survivors.”

While the Pope listened as Varadkar talked about the children abused in Pennsylvania detailing the “brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic Church and then obscured to protect the institution at the expense of innocent victims.” This is a story,” he said, “all too tragically familiar here in Ireland.”

Not all of Varadkar’s words were critical of the Church. In measured tone he told Pope Francis, “Holy Father, we thank you for your care for the Earth, for emphasizing the urgent challenge of climate change, and for reminding us of our responsibilities.  We thank you for the empathy you have shown for the poor, for migrants and for refugees.”

But Varadkar also added, “There can only be zero tolerance for those who abuse innocent children or who facilitate that abuse. We must now ensure that from words flow actions. Above all, Holy Father, I ask for you to listen to the victims.”

Prime Minister Varadkar made his position clear on other topics where there is divergence with the Church’s position saying, “We have voted in our parliament and by referendum to modernize our laws –understanding that marriages do not always work, that women should make their own decisions, and that families come in many forms including those headed by a grandparent, lone parent or same-sex parents or parents who are divorced.”

Varadkar’s words echoed a similar –but even stronger stand—taken by his predecessor, Enda Kenny. In 2011, Mr. Kenny openly confronted the Vatican for its handling of the children’s abuse question, and for failing to cooperate with the investigation carried out by the Irish government.

Pope Francis responded, “I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection and education.” And added, “It is my hope that the gravity of the abuse scandals, which have cast light on the failings of many, will serve to emphasize the importance of the protection of minors and vulnerable adults on the part of society as a whole.”

Just as Pope Francis was ending his visit to Ireland, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who was apostolic nuncio in Washington D.C. from 2011 to 2016, accused Pope Francis and several senior prelates of complicity in covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick’s allegations of sexual abuse. Archbishop Viganò claimed that Pope Francis knew about sanctions imposed on then-Cardinal McCarrick by Pope Benedict XVI, but not only chose to repeal them and made him his trusted advisor.

Archbishop Viganò said that Pope Francis “is abdicating the mandate which Christ gave to Peter to confirm the brethren,” urged him “to acknowledge his mistakes” and “set a good example to cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them.” The Vatican press office refused to respond to Archbishop Viganò’s letter.

These are trying times for Pope Francis and for the Catholic Church. The determination with which abusers are punished and effective policies are put in place to  prevent further abuses will be an indication of how seriously Pope Francis decides to reform the Church and honor the survivors of abuse at the hands of catholic clergy.

 

More articles by:

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail