February 26, 2019
By Becket Adams
Pope Francis concluded the Vatican’s summit on clerical sexual abuse this weekend by promising an “all-out battle” against this disease plaguing the Roman Catholic Church.
A bold statement, but in the words of St. Thomas the Apostle: I’ll believe it when I see it.
“We are dealing with abominable crimes that must be erased from the face of the earth,” Francis said, adding that “even a single case of abuse” must be answered, “with the utmost seriousness.”
He also said the church would “spare no effort to do all that is necessary to bring to justice.”
Nice words, but we have no reason to take them seriously, especially when they come from Francis.
First, as just a brief aside, what does he mean by “all-out battle”? Has the church not been doing this already?
Secondly, we’ve heard these promises before. In the early 2000s, after the Boston Globe uncovered rampant sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese, the Catholic Church promised a vigorous and thorough housecleaning. It was not so vigorous and thorough as we were led to believe, as evidenced by recent reports from Chile, Australia, and Pennsylvania. Further, let’s not forget that it was the disgraced, now-laicized former archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, who led the church’s response to the Boston Globe’s reporting. He served in this capacity despite it being known for years within the church that he was a sexual predator.
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