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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pope Francis and Fr. Mauro Inzoli

There's not been much about this pedophile priest and Pope Francis in the English-language news but I think the situation is a good example of why many people feel that Francis is failing miserably on the issue of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

One cliché in our church is that all those who criticize Pope Francis must be reactionary conservatives who fear his liberal reforms. It's true that many conservatives dislike him, but what often is left unsaid is that he is *not* a liberal reformer and that he is not popular with liberals either - he is the darling of moderates only. My point here is that there should be no ideological divide when it comes to the sex abuse problem - if the Pope is doing badly on this issue, that should be noted by everyone, conservative, moderate, and liberal.

Here are some mentions of the Inzoli situation and the Pope's role in it ...

- From the National Catholic Reporter: The strange disconnect between Pope Francis' words and actions about sex abuse

[...] In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Fr. Mauro Inzoli, who was accused of abusing dozens of children over a 10-year period. In 2014, Pope Francis reinstated him and required him to live a life of "prayer and penance", the same punishment that Pope Benedict XVI handed out to the notorious Fr. Marcial Maciel. When Italian Magistrates asked the Vatican to have access to the evidence submitted to Inzoli's canonical trial, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith refused, stating, "The procedures of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are of a canonical nature and, as such, are not an object for the exchange of information with civil magistrates." Pope Francis himself maintains the secrecy that this week he condemned ...

- From The Week: A child abuse scandal is coming for Pope Francis

[...] Consider the case of Fr. Mauro Inzoli. Inzoli lived in a flamboyant fashion and had such a taste for flashy cars that he earned the nickname "Don Mercedes." He was also accused of molesting children. He allegedly abused minors in the confessional. He even went so far as to teach children that sexual contact with him was legitimated by scripture and their faith. When his case reached CDF, he was found guilty. And in 2012, under the papacy of Pope Benedict, Inzoli was defrocked.

But Don Mercedes was "with cardinal friends," we have learned. Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto, now dean of the Roman Rota, both intervened on behalf of Inzoli, and Pope Francis returned him to the priestly state in 2014, inviting him to a "a life of humility and prayer." These strictures seem not to have troubled Inzoli too much. In January 2015, Don Mercedes participated in a conference on the family in Lombardy.

This summer, civil authorities finished their own trial of Inzoli, convicting him of eight offenses. Another 15 lay beyond the statute of limitations. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the CDF, for not sharing the information they had found in their canonical trial with civil authorities. Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired ....

- From Damian Thompson: Why more and more priests can’t stand Pope Francis

On 2 January, the Vatican published a letter from Pope Francis to the world’s bishops in which he reminded them that they must show ‘zero tolerance’ towards child abuse. The next day, the American Week magazine published an article that told the story of ‘Don Mercedes’ — Fr Mauro Inzoli, an Italian priest with a passion for expensive cars and underage boys.

In 2012, Pope Benedict stripped Inzoli of his priestly faculties, effectively defrocking him. In 2014, however, they were restored to him — by Pope Francis, who warned him to stay away from minors.

Then, finally, the Italian civil authorities caught up with this serial groper of teenagers in the confessional. Last summer Inzoli was sentenced to four years and nine months in jail for paedophile offences. The Vatican, under ‘zero-tolerance’ Francis, refused to supply evidence that prosecutors wanted.

If Pope Benedict XVI had displayed such a hypocritical attitude towards a clerical child abuser, the roof would have fallen in on him: he’d have been driven out of office instead of resigning.

But most of the world’s media have pigeon-holed Francis as a fearless reformer, doing battle against Vatican mafiosi, kiddie-fiddlers and ‘fundamentalists’. This perception made it easy for the Pope’s allies to keep the name of Mauro Inzoli out of English–speaking news outlets until last week ....

More from International Business Times: Playboy paedophile priest 'Don Mercedes' pays out €125k to families of abuse victims in Italy

More on Inzoli ... Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy

For more on the Pope and sex abuse, here are a couple of my past posts: Pope Francis and the sex abuse Cardinals and Pope Francis is failing on sex abuse


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