Conservative Catholic journalist Damian Thompson is ready for Pope Francis to start lopping off heads . Excerpt:

It’s hard to overestimate the moribund uselessness of the Vatican and its press office when confronted by yet a fresh wave of allegations of sexual abuse. Every department has its tubby, snoozing monsignori who either can’t read English newspapers and websites or, if they can, think they shouldn’t over-react to “persecution” by the secular media.

What they don’t grasp is that, even though some of the media coverage of Pope Benedict’s role in the scandals was unfair (take a bow, Andrew Sullivan, The Times, the BBC etc) any bias was outweighed by the enormity of the crimes and the cover-ups, which have all but destroyed Catholicism even in its loyal heartlands. Especially in those heartlands, in fact.

It’s a shame that Cardinal Bergoglio never had the opportunity to mingle incognito in the bars of modern Dublin, where he would have found an intensity of hatred for the Catholic Church that the Gordon rioters might have recognised. Young Irish people especially can hardly mention the Church without a curl of the lip. Older folk, meanwhile, feel miserably betrayed. It’s the same story in, say, Boston or Quebec. How telling that the siblings of Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, no longer go to Mass regularly.

I know this is a downbeat response to what, for Catholics, is a joyful and hopeful event. But savage reform to the curia is required so that Pope Francis can (should he wish) take advantage of the successful Benedictine reforms…

Bring it, Frank!

If Pope Francis wants to begin to rebuild the confidence and enthusiasm of his people, at least in Europe and North America, he should begin with some high-profile firings and visible punitive measurements. For example, order Cardinal Mahony’s worthless backside to a monastery to do penance. Shoot 10, teach 1,000, so to speak. Now is the time for strong medicine, not sweet, velvety draughts of romanità.