26 February 2019

Sexual Abuse Through Too Much Power, Says Francis. But Meanwhile He Is Losing Power and “Accountability”

He lost his credibility long ago, and like many dictators, power is slipping away.

From Settimo Cielo

After the summit of February 21-24 between Pope Francis and the leaders of the whole world’s bishops on protecting minors from sexual abuse had just ended, the moderator of the meeting, Fr. Federico Lombardi, announced that “concrete initiatives will soon follow.”
In particular, the following four:
1. “A new Motu Proprio from the Pope ‘on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons,’ to
strengthen prevention and the fight against abuse on the part of the Roman Curia and Vatican City State. This document will accompany a new law of Vatican City State and Guidelines for the Vicariate of Vatican City on the same subject.”
2. “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will publish a Vademecum that will help bishops around the world clearly understand their duties and tasks.”
3. “In addition, in a spirit of communion with the universal Church, the Pope has expressed the intention of creating task forces of competent persons to help episcopal conferences and dioceses that find it difficult to confront the problems and produce initiatives for the protection of minors.”
4. “On Monday, 25 February, the Organizing Committee will meet with the heads of the Roman Curiawho participated in this Meeting in order to ascertain as of now the follow-up work necessary to the proposals and the ideas decided upon during these days, as desired by the Holy Father.”
So says Fr. Lombardi. But naturally, for an overall evaluation of the summit, one must consider the speech that Pope Francis gave at the end of the work.
It is an unusual speech in terms of the hefty dose of statistics that takes up the first part and the footnotes, aimed at highlighting the universal dimensions of sexual abuse against minors, in all its forms and in all its contexts.
What happens in the Catholic Church - the pope emphasizes - is part of this phenomenon of vast and multiform dimensions, with it own particular gravity because it is committed by consecrated ministers in doing the opposite of what they are supposed to do.
But in getting to the root of the phenomenon once again Francis generalizes in his own way. Sexual abuse against minors, both inside and outside of the Church, “is always the result of an abuse of power.” And this holds true “in the other forms of abuse affecting almost 85,000,000 children, forgotten by everyone: child soldiers, child prostitutes, starving children, children kidnapped and often victimized by the horrid commerce of human organs or enslaved, child victims of war, refugee children, aborted children and so many others.”
An abuse of power that for Francis - as he also reiterates in this speech - is in the Church synonymous with “clericalism.”
The unfolding of the summit has been evaluated in two previous posts from Settimo Cielo, the gist of which can be gotten from their titles:
The case of the Argentine bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta, very close to Jorge Mario Bergoglio and always protected and finally promoted by him as “assessor” of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, in spite of the pending accusations of sexual misconduct that were brought against him with the competent ecclesiastical authorities in Argentina and Rome starting in 2015, was brought up in a question at the summit’s concluding press conference, to which the reply was that “investigations are underway.”
It must be noted however that the Zanchetta case, on a par with the case of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, weighs directly against the person of Pope Francis, who has never replied to the allegations that he supported and promoted both of them in spite of the fact that he knew about their reprehensible behavior.
And this inevitably tarnishes Francis’s credibility in opposing the plague of sexual abuse and in demanding from the bishops that “accountability” - that readiness in rendering an account for one’s actions - from which he exempts himself.
In the United States, a “lame duck” is a president who is still in office but whose power has dwindled away.
This is the risk that now seems to be looming over Pope Francis.

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