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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pope Francis is failing on sex abuse

UPDATE: 2015 ... and now there's the case of Chilean bishop Juan Barros - Pope faces protests by sex abuse board against bishop’s appointment

As the notorious Cardinal Brady offers his resignation (mandatory at his age) ... Cardinal Brady's resignation 'too little, too late' ... one is reminded that when Pope Francis met with sex abuse victims, one of them from Ireland begged him to remove Brady from office ... Irish abuse victim tells Pope she wants Cardinal Brady removed ... but the pope's only reply was that "it was difficult to make these changes" - to date, no action or even comment has been taken or made by the pope on *any* bishop who has been known to have covered up sex abuse.

Meanwhile, the man Pope Francis has chosen to be one of his eight advisers and to clean up corruption in the Vatican's financial system - Cardinal Pell - shows once again his lack of respect for abuse victims.

And today I read about the Vatican's failure to deal fairly with the sex abuse career of former Dominican Republic nuncio Wesolowski ...For Nuncio Accused of Abuse, Dominicans Want Justice at Home, Not Abroad. I had an earlier post about him - How not to inspire confidence - and here Laurie Goodstein sums it up ...

[T]he Vatican has stirred an outcry because it helped Mr. Wesolowski avoid criminal prosecution and a possible jail sentence in the Dominican Republic. Acting against its own guidelines for handling abuse cases, the church failed to inform the local authorities of the evidence against him, secretly recalled him to Rome last year before he could be investigated, and then invoked diplomatic immunity for Mr. Wesolowski so that he could not face trial in the Dominican Republic ...

The district attorney, Ms. Reynoso, said her investigators had identified four children aged 12 to 17 with whom the nuncio had sexual contact, but that there were likely others.

The 17-year-old had epilepsy, and the nuncio gave him medicine for his condition in exchange for sexual acts, starting from when the boy was 13, the district attorney said. She said she had “no doubt” about the credibility of the youths’ testimony, because it was corroborated by other evidence. “This is the most terrible case that I have ever seen,” said Ms. Reynoso. “He was abusing kids who were living in extreme poverty, in exchange for pills for a boy’s illness. It’s very perverse.” ....

The Vatican has refused to extradite Wesolowski to Poland as well.

Even John Allen, something of a Vatican cheerleader, notes the lack of any progress on sex abuse by the pope ...

[In] the Church’s reform wing vis-à-vis the abuse scandals, there’s growing concern about a perceived stall at the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, launched in December 2013 to be the cutting edge of the clean-up operation. The commission, which includes Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, was instrumental in engineering Francis’ first meeting with abuse victims on July 7.

While there’s been plenty of work behind the scenes, statutes for the commission have not been officially approved, new members representing other parts of the world have not been appointed, and decisions about where the commission will be located and what its leadership will be have not been announced. Aside from the victims’ meeting, the commission has not launched any public initiative that would provide some indication of its priorities and direction.

All this stands in contrast to the rapid pace at which the financial reform launched by Francis and spearheaded by Pell is moving.

What reformers in the Church are saying, for now just on background, is that the commission needs to do something soon to create the impression of momentum. What they don’t want is for people to draw the conclusion that while managing money matters under this pope, protecting children is a comparative afterthought.


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