Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

A Long Learning Curve

Sep 10, 2018

I do not doubt the accusations of Archbishop Viganò saying that Pope Francis knew about the background of Cardinal McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington DC. However I am not stunned by the accusation nor would I push for Pope Francis’ resignation. We have been watching Pope Francis grow and learn about the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Several months ago there was an uproar in Chile when Francis appointed a man who was a close friend of a pedophile priest. During his ordination crowds interrupted and demanded that he not be ordained a bishop. They pushed on with his ordination and many who had been abused by the pedophile complained. At first Francis told them that they were just raising a big ruckus and he would pay no attention to them. There was enough complaining that Francis finally began to listen to them. He met with two of the victims and after that meeting he summoned all of the bishops of Chile to Rome and in the end demanded all of their resignations. In the end after they all submitted them he accepted several of them.

From the beginning of his Pontificate Francis has spoken about dealing with the abuse scandal. He has tried to use the formal structures and they have failed him. He created a commission to deal with the abuse, and in the end one of the members resigned because nothing was really being done. There was a lot of words, but little action. I think it was finally the Chile crisis that helped Pope Francis to realize he had to act and not just talk.

It has been a long learning curve and it would be a shame if all that knowledge was lost due to the resignation of the Pope. I do not think Archbishop Viganò is truly caring about the Church or the abuse scandal. It feels like he is using the McCarrick incident as a weapon to push his agenda. Pope Francis has tried many different methods to root out abuse within the Church. Some has worked, others have not. It seems that as the Church has begun working more closely with the civil authorities the incidents within the Church have lessened.

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