New abuse scandals in France and a lawsuit against the Vatican
I really don’t want people to think I am anti-Catholic or that I jump on the bandwagon regarding stereotypes about pedo-priests. Not at all. I like to keep facts and fiction separate. I know abuse is even worse in American public schools, but I have to say that Francis’ actions and inactions regarding the abuse scandals and piling up disasters with each passing day.
I honestly thought Pope Benedict XVI seemed to be fighting a noble fight against corruption and clerical abuse scandals till he resigned just when it was reaching its climax. Claims by insiders that he was pressured and the fact that he’s still alive nearly 10 years later continue to fuel speculation that it wasn’t completely voluntary.
Whatever the case, a French cardinal, Ricard, of 78 admitted to abuse of a teen girl 35 years ago as a priest. It initially seemed like he freely admitted to it. Now it turns out that she wrote to the Pope 5 years ago with no reply. She wrote again this summer to the apostolic nuncio. About 4 months later, ‘the nuncio acknowledged receipt of her letter in October’.
Only now that it is in the open, the Vatican is actually opening up a probe. Before that he continued serving in a Vatican body charged with dealing with abuse accusations. At least one French bishop knew since February and was trying to get it investigated by the secular authorities. If he actually did file a complaint then the secular authorities would have failed as well, likewise waiting till it became public.
Regardless, the Vatican has been slow as usual. The Vatican allowed bishop Michel Santier to resign for ‘health reasons’ after abuse complaints last year. No transparency.
Francis seems to follow the dictator’s philosophy: My friends get everything, my enemies get the law (except when they get too publicly exposed then I will throw them under the bus). Though even this isn’t entirely accurate. Francis has accepted dubious accusations and faulty processes for bishops he didn’t like.
The French bishops had asked the Vatican for experts to help them at their plenary meeting in dealing with the abuse scandals (which the Vatican and not they had made worse with the handling of Santier) but they received none. They did receive a letter from Parolin telling them to be very ‘pastoral’ in dealing with Traditionalist communities while implementing Traditionis Custodes (which would destroy those communities).
French bishops decided to actually be pastoral and not make war on Traditionalists. Hopefully this will give them more time to make war on abuse.
Speaking of Parolin, Francis’ right-hand man and once possible successor, the (show)trial against his subordinate and possible scapegoat Becciu has had its own fun twists.
Francis had appointed, Conservative Pell to oversee financial reforms shortly after becoming Pope. But little came of these reform attempts. Instead Pell was constantly obstructed while the dubious Becciu got promoted and made cardinal. Finally, Pell was thrown under the bus when he freely returned to Australia to deal with trumped up charges and his own show-trial. When Pell was vindicated and more corruption came to light, Francis threw Becciu under the bus very swiftly while shielding Parolin. The show-trial was such that Pell expressed worries regarding his nemesis’ treatment. Then, suddenly Francis started to make friendly gestures again (while the trial was ongoing, when the judges derive their authority from him).
And now we have Francis’ show-trial being interrupted by an independent lawsuit off former auditors, who like Pell were hired by Francis and then thrown under the bus. They’re attacking Becciu and undermining his defense but also threaten to expose more dirt regarding Francis’ inner circle.
Why are there people still trying to pretend this man is an honest reformer?
At least the Pope cannot rig this process. Hopefully the truth will be exposed. This may further influence an upcoming conclave. Meanwhile, bishops would do best to deal with abuse and corruption locally without expecting anything from the current papacy.