The great papal cover-up

The Spectator [London, England]

May 3, 2023

By Rocco Loiacono

As readers of this esteemed publication would be aware, in 2018, the Vatican signed a provisional agreement with the Chinese Communist Party on the appointment of Catholic bishops. In doing so, the Vatican recognised the Chinese ‘Patriotic Church’, set up and controlled by the CCP.

Indeed, the late Cardinal Pell, in the ‘Demos’ document attributed to him, stated that under the 2018 secret Vatican-China pact, there had been ‘no public support for the loyal Catholics in China who have been intermittently persecuted for their loyalty to the Papacy for more than 70 years’.

While the Vatican-CCP pact remains secret, it has been possible to ascertain that, according to its terms, the Vatican is to be included in the decision-making process in the appointment of bishops, with the final okay by the Pope. Well, as critics of the agreement have warned, the Chinese would have no compunction in breaking the agreement, and have now done so, not once, but twice.

The first episode occurred in November last year, as Kevin Andrews has written. The CCP transferred a bishop from one diocese to another where he was installed as an auxiliary – assistant – bishop, in violation of the secret agreement between the Holy See and China.

The second slap in the face to Pope Francis occurred just some four months later, a week before Easter. As the Italian daily il Giornale reported, the CCP decided once again it didn’t need to consult with the Vatican, thereby confirming just how much the Church there is under its control.

The CCP decided it would move Bishop Joseph Sen Bin, a member of the ‘Patriotic Church’ from the Diocese of Haiman to that of Shanghai. The Vatican found out about this move via the media.

But that is not the worst of it.

The truth, as Damian Thompson pointed out so forcefully, is that Francis himself, both before and after his election, has empowered and protected predatory clergy and their accomplices.

La Nación, Argentina’s biggest daily newspaper, made allegations in 2019 about the promotion and potential covering up of clergy abuse in the past. These include Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, who was appointed Assessor of the assets of the Holy See despite seven priests – including three of Zanchetta’s vicar generals – formally accusing him of financial mismanagement, authoritarianism, and sexual misconduct. Last year Zanchetta was found guilty of sexually abusing two seminarians, and Francis was forced to sack him.

Then there is the case of Theodore McCarrick, the retired Archbishop of Washington. Banished by Benedict XVI once he discovered that McCarrick loved to seduce seminarians, he found himself back in favour as soon as Francis was elected, travelling around the world as the Pope’s unofficial emissary and fundraiser. Eventually, the New York Times revealed that McCarrick was being accused of child abuse, at which point Francis had no choice but to strip him of his title of cardinal.

Now he has been charged in Wisconsin, accused of assaulting an 18-year-old boy at a lakeside cabin in the south-eastern region of the state in 1977. According to Associated Press, the alleged victim told investigators that McCarrick had been sexually abusing him since he was 11 years old. He also alleged that McCarrick took him to parties where other men sexually assaulted him.

Francis’ poor judgment does not end there. One of the Pope’s closest confidants, one dubbed the ‘vice-pope’, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, has been finally forced to resign after years of allegations for which he has ‘refused to answer’. However, it seems he will not step down from his role on the Pope’s ‘C9’ council of cardinal advisers.

Then there is the case of the late Belgian Cardinal, who begged a child abused by his uncle – a bishop – not to go to the police, after which Pope Francis appointed Danneels to the Synod on the Family. He maintained that there was no intention of any cover-up.

All the while, Francis’ mindless crackdown on the only growth area of the Church – traditional Catholics – continues unabated, with Latin Mass goers forced out of churches and either into halls or even underground.

Nevertheless, it is not just Francis, nor all his coterie of implausible goons. Leadership culture in the Church has been rotten for a very long time, and Australia is not immune, as I have written in this publication and elsewhere.

For God’s sake, can it get any worse?