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Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Pope and Chile's bishops

In the news, All Chile's 34 bishops offer resignation to Pope over sex abuse scandals. It's unclear if the Pope will accept any of the resignations.

This comes after Pope Francis in 2015 installed notorious Juan Barros as bishop of Osorno despite protests both by local Catholics and also by his own sex abuse commission ... Barros had been accused of witnessing and covering up the sexual abuse by his mentor, Fr. Fernando Karadima (Controversial Chilean bishop's appointment continues to divide diocese).

Since then, the Pope has refused to remove Barros, has made insulting remarks about the victims who complained about the cover-up, and only a few months ago finally agreed to send someone to investigate and listen to the victims (Pope to send envoy to investigate Chile sex abuse claims).

Now the Pope has had the bishops of Chile come to Rome, has confronted them with the results of his investigation, and has said basically that it's their fault that a climate of abuse existed and persisted, thus precipitating the bishops' offers of resignation.

This all sounds nice, like something's actually happening and that the Pope is making it happen. But I think that's a false impression.

First, the Pope will probably not accept any of the resignations, except perhaps that of Barros, the guy he himself installed over the objections of practically everybody.

Second, there is not now and there is not likely to be in the future, any helpful explanation from the Pope or the Vatican of why pedophilia has thrived in the Catholic church, not just in Chile but in the US and in Ireland and in Australia, and in the Netherlands, and many other parts of the world.

And there is not now, and there is not likely to be under Pope Francis, any concrete plan to stop priests from sexually abusing children. This is so, despite continuing abuse and despite some evidence that sexual abuse by priests is linked to mandatory celibacy.

Catholic sexual abuse partly caused by secrecy and mandatory celibacy, report finds: Report examined findings of 26 royal commissions and inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and Netherlands

Mandatory celibacy and a culture of secrecy created by popes and bishops are major factors in why such high rates of child abuse have occurred in the Catholic church, a comprehensive study has found.

The report, which looked at the findings of 26 royal commissions and other inquiries from Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the Netherlands since 1985, found that while the endangerment of children in institutions has been considerably lowered in Australia, children remained at risk in Catholic parishes and schools and Catholic residential institutions in other countries across the world, especially in the developing world where there are more than 9,000 Catholic-run orphanages, including 2,600 in India.

The patriarchal nature of Catholic institutions meant that abuse went unchallenged and, while a small number of nuns were abusers, the report found the risk of offending was much higher in institutions where priests and religious brothers had minimal contact with women. The report estimated about 7% of clergy had abused children between about 1950 and 2000 ....


The Pope has refused to consider allowing celibacy to be optional ... "For the moment, I [Pope Francis] am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with all its pros and cons, because we have ten centuries of good experiences rather than failures.... Tradition has weight and validity."

And the Pope has refused to allow women to be priests (or even deacons) in the Catholic church (Pope Francis says women will never be Roman Catholic priests).

As long as this remains the case, I think the sex abuse of children in the church will continue, no matter how many bishops in Chile resign.

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