Pope laments abuse in 1st post­bomb­shell Vat­i­can ap­pear­ance

Malta Independent - - FEATURE -

Pope Fran­cis lamented Wed­nes­day how Ir­ish church au­thor­i­ties failed to re­spond to the crimes of sex­ual abuse, speak­ing dur­ing his first pub­lic ap­pear­ance at the Vat­i­can af­ter bomb­shell ac­cu­sa­tions that he him­self cov­ered up for an Amer­i­can car­di­nal’s mis­deeds.

Fran­cis presided over his weekly gen­eral au­di­ence in St. Peter’s Square and spoke about his week­end trip to Ire­land, where the abuse scan­dal has dev­as­tated the Catholic Church’s cred­i­bil­ity. The fi­nal day of the trip was over­shad­owed by re­lease of a doc­u­ment from a re­tired Holy See diplo­mat ac­cus­ing Vat­i­can au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing Fran­cis, of cov­er­ing up for exCar­di­nal Theodore McCar­rick de­spite know­ing for years that he reg­u­larly slept with sem­i­nar­i­ans.

The au­thor of the doc­u­ment — re­tired Vat­i­can am­bas­sador to the U.S., Arch­bishop Carlo Maria Vigano — said Fran­cis should re­sign for his com­plic­ity in the McCar­rick scan­dal, which has im­pli­cated two decades’ worth of U.S. and Vat­i­can church lead­ers.

Fran­cis re­ferred Wed­nes­day to the Ir­ish cul­ture of cover-up, but he omit­ted from his re­marks a line in his pre­pared text not­ing how he had prayed in Ire­land for the Vir­gin Mary to in­ter­vene to give the church strength to “firmly pur­sue truth and jus­tice” to help vic­tims heal.

U.S. bish­ops, as well as rankand-file Catholics, have called for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion to find out who knew about McCar­rick’s abuse and when, and how he was able to rise through the ranks even though it was an open se­cret that he reg­u­larly in­vited sem­i­nar­i­ans to his New Jer­sey beach house and into his bed.

Fran­cis last month re­moved McCar­rick as a car­di­nal and or­dered him to live a life­time of penance and prayer af­ter a U.S. church in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined that an al­le­ga­tion he groped a teenage al­tar boy in the 1970s was cred­i­ble.

Vigano’s 11-page j’ac­cuse al­leges that Fran­cis knew of McCar­rick’s pen­chant for adult sem­i­nar­i­ans start­ing in 2013, but re­ha­bil­i­tated him from sanc­tions that Pope Bene­dict XVI had al­legedly im­posed on him in 2009 or 2010. The claims have shaken Fran­cis’ five-year pa­pacy.

There is am­ple ev­i­dence, how­ever, that the Vat­i­can un­der Bene­dict and St. John Paul II also cov­ered up the in­for­ma­tion, and that any re­ported sanc­tions Bene­dict im­posed were never en­forced since McCar­rick trav­elled widely for the church dur­ing those years, in­clud­ing to Rome to meet with Bene­dict and cel­e­brate Mass with other U.S. bish­ops at the tomb of St. Peter.

Vigano pro­vided no ev­i­dence that Fran­cis had lifted the al­leged sanc­tions, say­ing only that McCar­rick an­nounced af­ter a meet­ing with the pope that he was go­ing to China.

But he said McCar­rick had be­come a close ad­viser to Fran­cis, who was seek­ing to appoint more pas­torally-minded bish­ops to the U.S. church, which he be­lieved had be­come too ide­o­log­i­cally driven by right-wingers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.