Rules Softer For Pope Francis Than For Prime Ministers and Presidents

Christian Catholicism

Jerry Slevin

Parents should consider carefully the following horrible scenario. Your find out that your child has been raped by a government employee in the course of his work activities. You call the employee’s boss, say, UK Prime Minister Cameron or USA President Obama and tell him this. He tells you he is unhappy to hear that and for you to report it to his senior staff. He does NOT tell you to report this alleged crime to, or to cooperate with, appropriate law enforcement who are trained to deal with such allegations, independently and transparently.

In modern constitutional democracies worldwide, for over a century now, even top leaders generally are subject to the rule of law. So this scenario is very unlikely to occur. Indeed, right now the UK’s Cameron faces a crisis over finding an independent and transparent investigator of government employees’ alleged sex abuse of children. And even President Obama is facing threats of public impeachment proceedings over some of his executive actions. The principal accountability exceptions among world leaders today include popes, who appear to purport to be above any constitutional legal oversight even though their powerful European imperial protectors have been gone for a century now.

A similar scenario, to the above hypothetical one, recently happened according to Pope Francis. He indicated with his Jesuit press agent, Fr. Lombardi, to a group of reporters on the papal plane on Tuesday (11/25) that Francis told an abuse survivor he had called in Grenada, Spain to tell his bishop about the alleged crimes against the survivor. Three alleged Grenada priest perpetrators had been arrested the day before by Spanish police, so a Spanish reporter asked him about this in the plane press conference. Apparently, Francis omitted telling the abuse victim to contact, and to cooperate with, Spanish police. Interestingly, Lombardi had less than 48 hours earlier tried to spin past other reporters’ troubling related questions about the Vatican’s new “top cop”, Jesuit Fr. Robert Geisinger.

Of course, the local Spanish bishop under the Vatican’s current procedures is, in effect, subject to two Francis’ staffers, Fr. Geisinger, and Fr. Robert Oliver, who had earlier been infamous Cardinal Law’s canon lawyer. These two Americans reportedly have questionable records on diligently assisting past, and protecting potential, priest abuse survivors, especially when the interests of protecting accused priest predators is also involved.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.