Last Imperial Pope Francis Now Needs More Than Cardinals For Reform Push

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

I am now of the strong view as an international lawyer that Pope Francis has little time left to reform the Catholic Church. If he fails, likely he also will be compelled to resign like his predecessor, ex-Pope Benedict, ignominousily had to. The Vatican’s “house of cards”, as Francis realistically described it, will then probably collapse. If that happens, Cardinal Rigali’s Secretary, Monsignor Lynn, may have some hierarchical company in prison before his sentence is completed. It’s that bad.

Francis must make the Church’s leaders accountable to the faithful, the Gospels and civil law, especially with respect to protecting defenseless children. He must initiate and enforce specific and effective policies to do this, before government prosecutors from Australia, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, the USA, Peru, Chile, Argentina, the Phillipines, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, or from dozens of other countries, do so for him.

Prosecutors dictated to Kansas City’s criminal, but continuing, Bishop Finn the specific policies he must follow, as nearby Federal prosecutors buried Finn’s protected pedophile priest with a 50 year prison term. Prosecutors eventually can be expected to dictate to other bishops and even to Francis himself, no matter what Francis may be advised otherwise. Government regulators are already dictating to Francis how he must manage the hierarchy’s finances. Government lawyers can, and I expect soon will, dictate to him how he must manage the hierarchy’s approach to predatory priests, if Francis fails to get effective control of the bishops’ flawed approach first. Priests may not be the pope’s “employees”; but bishops are another story.

Francis can no longer just hope to finess, spin and/or avoid addressing authentically, directly and effectively the obscenity of priest child abusers and bishops, like Finn and many others, who protected them. Francis seemed to have used this spin approach to some extent in Argentina and to have continued doing this mostly in his first six months as pope. He is almost out of time to be proactive, before he will likely be forced by civil and criminal laws to be reactive.

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