Statement on the Pope's Homily in Philadelphia
By Terence McKiernan
September 27, 2015
After the Pope’s remarks regarding bishops and priests, and his meeting with clergy abuse survivors and other abuse survivors together, it’s sadly no surprise that Pope Francis somehow preached on the Gospel passage most relevant to clergy abuse without confronting that issue.
|"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
The Gospel reading on the millstone has been embraced by survivors of clergy abuse. Pope Francis could have acknowledged those survivors by preaching at the closing of the World Meeting of Families on that crucial aspect of today’s Gospel, and by confronting the issue of clergy abuse squarely in his homily. This would have salvaged a visit otherwise tone-deaf on this terrible problem, and would also have corrected the failure of the World Meeting of Families to include clergy abuse on its agenda.
How the Pope might have addressed this difficult Gospel today may be seen in the “shadow homily” that I posted a week ago.
Pope Francis also referred several times in his homily to scandal, a concept with an egregious history in clergy abuse and its discourse. He used the word because in the Gospel passage, the English “causes … to sin” renders the Greek verb skandalizein, which literally means “to cause to trip or err.” Again, Pope Francis failed to confront a crucial aspect of the Gospel reading.
The Pope missed an important opportunity to address clergy abuse at the closing of the World Meeting of Families, and failed to acknowledge obvious links between today’s Gospel and the plight of clergy abuse survivors in the United States and around the world.
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