The Pope at a Loss for Words
By R. Emmett Tyrrell
October 16, 2018
|Illustration on Pope Francis at a time of church crisis by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times more >|
Back in late August, Pope Francis declared that he would “not say a word” about a letter from a former Vatican envoy to Washington who claimed, among other things, that the pope had ignored sexual abuse charges made against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, formerly archbishop of Washington.
The letter was written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, and it also implicated the present archbishop of Washington in a cover-up of Archbishop McCarrick’s decades of misbehavior. That would be Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Well, now as of Friday Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation as archbishop has been accepted by the pope. So is the pope going to continue to remain mum?
In accepting Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation Friday, the pope said the former archbishop’s admission to “mistakes” made in his handling of sexually abusive priests demonstrated his “nobility.” Is this really the pope’s spin on what has to be one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most serious scandals in centuries? Is that all that he is going to say? His continued silence is characteristic of the pope and typical of the Vatican. He has still said very little about the predatory behavior of an astonishingly large number of American Catholic priests. In the diocese of Pittsburgh alone, 300 errant priests were mentioned in an August grand jury report that goes back 70 years.
Why is the pope so reluctant to speak out? Archbishop Vigano also leveled charges against the pope himself. Is the pope going to address those charges honestly? His silence and euphemistic references to the heinous acts committed by American clerics is going to ensnare him in an even bigger crisis. Archbishop Vigano has already asked the pope to resign. This could get much worse. Around the world other voices could sound for the pope’s resignation.