Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

The Stonewalling Pontiff

In press conference today, Francis continues to avoid straight talk

Pope Francis, from his in-flight press conference today:

And now today I had the meeting with youth. Young people are scandalized, I introduce in this way the first question that was outside the theme of the trip. The young people are scandalized by the hypocrisy of adults. They are scandalized of… They are scandalized by incoherence, they are scandalized by corruption, and into this [scandal] of corruption enters that which you were under-lining: sexual abuse. It is true that it is an accusation against the Church, and we all know, we are all aware of the statistics, I will not say them. But even if it was just one priest who abused a boy or a girl, this is atrocious, because that man was chosen by God to bring… I know that young people are scandalized by such great corruption. They know that it is everywhere, but in the Church it is the most scandalous because it should bring children to God and not destroy them. Young people search to make a way for themselves with experience. The meeting of young people today was very clear: they are asking to be heard. They are asking to be heard. They do not want fixed formulas. They do not want accompaniment, where they are ordered what to do.

The second part of this question that was first after the [questions about the] trip was that the Church does not do the things as it should in this [area], in punishing this corruption.

I take the Pennsylvania report, for example, and we see that the first 70 years there were so many priests that fell into this corruption, then in more recent times it has diminished, because the Church noticed that it needed to fight it in another way. In the old times these things were covered up, they even covered them up at home, when the uncle was molesting the niece, when the dad was molesting his sons, they covered it up because it was a very big disgrace… it was the way of thinking in previous times or of the past time. It is a principle that helps me to interpret history a lot.

A historic event is interpreted with the hermeneutic of the time period in which it took place, not as a hermeneutic of today passed on. For example, the example of indigenous people, that there were so many injustices, so much brutality, but it cannot be interpreted with the hermeneutic of today [now] that we have another conscience. A last example, the death penalty. The Vatican, when it was a State, a pontifical State, had the death penalty. In the end the state decapitations were 1870 more or less, a guy, but then the moral conscience grew, it is true that always there were loopholes and there were hidden death sentences. You are old, you are an inconvenience, I do not give you the medicine, it went so… it is a condemnation to social death. And about today… I believe with this I have responded.

The Church… I take the example of Pennsylvania, watch the correlations and watch when the Church became conscious of this. It dedicated all and recently, I have received so, so many completed convictions from the Doctrine of the Faith and I have said forward, forward, never have I signed a request for grace after a conviction. On this I do not negotiate, there is no negotiation.

Pathetic. Archbishop Vigano made specific allegations of corruption. Francis refuses to answer any of them. Francis is ducking responsibility. Francis has still not said a word about the Cardinal McCarrick affair.

He is stonewalling. This is not the behavior of a man who is interested in transparency and accountability when it comes to the predatory or otherwise. Look what he said about the Vigano memorandum:

When there was that famous communique of an ex-Apostolic Nuncio, the episcopates of the world wrote me, saying clearly that they felt close, that they were praying for me. The Chinese faithful wrote and the signature of this writ was from a bishop, let’s say it this way, of the traditional Catholic Church and from a bishop of the Patriotic Church, together and faithful, both of them. For me, it was a sign from God.

Because bishops — including a Chinese Communist pseudo-bishop — wrote to him to express support, Francis believes that is a sign from God that … what? That God is on his side? That Vigano is the devil, as he has indicated in several homilies recently?

Vigano has made credible accusations that neither the Pope nor his circle have lifted a finger to address. What is he afraid of? The truth?

UPDATE: Marco Tosatti writes about the papal press conference. Reader Giuseppe Pellegrino translates it. Excerpt:

It was an “armored” press conference held by the Pope [on Tuesday, September 26] on the flight which took him back to Rome after his trip to the Baltic Republics. The Pope – who according to several correspondents on the plane appeared nervous and in difficulty – did not wish to respond to any questions which were not on the topic of the journey he had just finished. Meaning there were no questions allowed on the McCarrick case, on the testimony of Archbishop Viganò, or on the case of Cardinal Murphy O’Connor.

In fact, none of the English-speaking journalists were allowed to ask questions – the ones who would have been most determined to ask for explanations on these burning issues. When one correspondent came forward to repeat the question asked by Anna Matranga of CBS on the flight returning from Dublin – namely, when was Pope Francis first informed of the crimes of McCarrick – she was asked whether her question concerned the trip to the Baltics. The correspondent said no, it is a follow-up to the questions asked a month ago. She was told in reply, “You need to wait, first we will talk about the trip.” And afterwards of course they never gave her another chance to speak. Many correspondents in the English-speaking group were stunned and irritated by this lack of availability and by this form of preventative censorship. Even more extraordinary coming from someone who is always calling for dialogue and frankness.

Thus, a full month after the appearance of the testimony of Archbishop Viganò, there is still no response – or any denial – of the affirmations of the ex-nuncio. And above all there is no response on the part of the principal protagonist of the whole affair, he who has been personally called into question regarding his relationship with McCarrick and accused of having rehabilitated the homosexual-predator-cardinal and elevated him to be his principal counselor for the church in the United States. After skating over the argument a month ago, the Pope “in difficulty” continues to avoid it.




Want to join the conversation?

Subscribe for as little as $5/mo to start commenting on Rod’s blog.

Join Now