This Pope needs a reality check in 2019

Albuquerque Journal

December 29th, 2018

By Diane Dimond

During this holiest of Christian seasons, who could ignore the latest statements of Pope Francis speaking about the festering child sex abuse scandal within his church? In a Christmas address, he spoke of priests who “prey like wolves on their flock” and a clergy “ready to devour innocent souls.”

“To those who abuse minors, I would say this,” the Pope declared. “Convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice.”

Some saw the Pope’s words as stern and definitive. I saw them as a public relations move and a mealy-mouthed response to criminals who have been protected by the Catholic Church for way too long. Does the Pope truly think offending priests are going to suddenly march themselves down to the closest cop-shop and confess everything? Get real.

As Anne Doyle, of – a group that tracks clergy sex abuse cases – put it, “In commanding child molesters to turn themselves in, Francis is pretending. He’s pretending that sick men can suddenly see the light.”

Priestly sex crimes against children are documented to have occurred for countless decades. Prosecutors in the U.S. and countries around the world have unmasked the felonious behavior of innumerable of these so-called “shepherds of Christ.” Yet, still, there are victims who are disbelieved or simply ignored by the very church in which they had worshipped.

Naturally, the Vatican isn’t asking for suggestions, but I’ve got some for the Pope if he’s interested in slowing America’s 60-year slide in Catholic church attendance.

Instead of shipping off predatory pedophilic priests to far-flung retreats in, say, New Mexico or Michigan – only to shuffle them off to other unsuspecting parishes after their “self-reflection” – how about the Pope order his cardinals, archbishops and bishops to gather up all the known clergy sinners and turn them in to authorities? That would finally put the imprimatur of the Church on the right side of this tragedy.

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