Falling on deaf ears: Pope Francis doesn’t fully grasp accusations against church

Watertown Daily Times

February 27, 2019

If Pope Francis is concerned that some people spend years accusing the Roman Catholic Church of wrongdoing, perhaps he should consider the institution’s history of covering up instances of sexual abuse and trying to silence victims.

Catholic authorities from around the world traveled to the Vatican last week for a summit to address the sexual abuse scandal. This is the first time the church has convened such an event pertaining to the issue.

Pope Francis on Thursday delivered a speech to representatives of the Archdiocese of Benevento, which is in Southern Italy. He spoke of the love that Saint Pio of Pietrelcina had for the church.

“He was distinguished for his steadfast faith in God, firm hope in the heavenly realities, generous dedication to the people and fidelity to the church, whom he always loved with all her problems and her adversities,” according to a transcript of the pope’s speech posted on the Vatican’s website. “I will pause a little on this. He loved the church, with the many problems the church has, with so many adversities, with so many sinners. Because the church is holy, she is the bride of Christ. But we, the children of the church, are all sinners — some big ones! — but he loved the church as she was. He did not destroy her with the tongue as it is the fashion to do now. No! He loved her.”

As he has done previously, Pope Francis said many of those who make repeated accusations against the Catholic Church have a malicious intent.

“He who loves the church knows how to forgive because he knows that he himself is a sinner and is in need of God’s forgiveness. He knows how to arrange things, because the Lord wants to arrange things well but always with forgiveness: One cannot live an entire life accusing, accusing, accusing the church. Whose is the office of the accuser? The devil! And those who spend their life accusing, accusing, accusing, are — I will not say children because the devil does not have any. But [they are] friends, cousins, relatives of the devil. And no, this is not good; flaws must be indicated so they can be corrected. But at the moment that flaws are noted, flaws are denounced, one loves the church. Without love, that is of the devil.”

It’s understandable that Pope Francis wants people of faith to continue loving the church. He is correct that it has been a source of much good in the world.

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