Pope Francis’ Action On Pedophile Crisis Awaits Further Actions

Donald A. Collins | 28 September 2015
Church and State

Pope Francis’ pledge to protect children from sexual abuse by priests and to hold accountable those responsible did not win over the head of a local survivors group.
Pope Francis’ pledge to protect children from sexual abuse by priests and to hold accountable those responsible did not win over the head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. (Credit: giulio napolitano / Shutterstock.com)

No one could say that we didn’t hear a variety of messages from Pope Francis while he was here on his 6 day 3 city visit in the USA this past week. Talk about getting his share of “earned media”!!!

As you know, “earned” media coverage is the kind the main stream media gives you which you don’t have to pay for.

Such coverage of course can be bad, if the stories are not favorable, but certainly we must agree that the preponderance of the vast coverage Pope Francis received was highly favorable and doubtless highly pleasing to those who agreed with the Pope’s points of view.

Admittedly, we atheists felt a bit left out but what clearly was at stake as he spun his messages was putting at risk the orderly conduct of secular affairs untrammeled by religious bias.

On his last day here, Pope Francis met with sex abuse victims to express, as the 9/27/15 Wall Street Journal article headlined, “Pope Francis Meets Sex-Abuse Victims, Expresses ‘Solidarity’ for Their Suffering” and then added that the “guilty will be punished”.

As the article’s author Deborah Ball tells us,

The pope met early Sunday morning (9/27/15) at a Philadelphia seminary with five adults—three women and two men—who suffered abuse by priests as minors. The group was accompanied by Boston Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, who is the chair of a papal committee for the protection of minors and has been leading the effort at the Vatican to establish new ways of dealing with the problem.

During the meeting, the pope directly addressed criticisms that the church hasn’t done enough to hold accountable bishops and other leaders who covered up the abuse.

Describing the sexual abuse of minors by priests as a “terrible violation of human dignity,” the pope said he “deeply regret(s) that some bishops failed in their responsibility to protect children” and decried instances when “you or your family spoke out, to report the abuse, but you were not heard or believed.”

Considering the magnitude of the pedophile crisis which surfaced very publically several decades ago in the US, this must have offered less than full satisfaction to the many victims and their families despite the financial payments which now exceed well over $1 billion for Catholic dioceses in the USA. However, we can only say that the symbolism was effective.

By the way, Pope John Paul II was reported to have believed that this pedophile crisis was a US problem but that has since been widely disputed.

So why bother to repeat this oft repeated tale of agony? Well, it is now up to the present Pope to make good on the punishment of Bishops NOT just priests.

There have been some bishop resignations, but the only Cardinal I could find who is now “resigned” is Keith O’Brien who was “stripped of the rank of cardinal – an extraordinary disgrace for the Scottish Church.”

Recall that joining Francis in this pedophile victim meeting was Cardinal O’Malley who replaced Cardinal Bernard Law as Archbishop of Boston when it became clear that Law had chosen to overlook the pedophile crisis in his diocese.

It would appear that Law could be another prime candidate for defrocking.

As Wikipedia tells us,

Bernard Francis Law (born November 4, 1931) is an American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the Archbishop emeritus of Boston, a member of the Roman Curia, former archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and titular Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna, the American Catholic church in Rome.

Law later resigned as Archbishop of Boston on December 13, 2002, allegedly in response to the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal after church documents were revealed which suggested he had covered up sexual abuse committed by some Catholic priests within his archdiocese.

Pope John Paul II appointed Law as Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome in 2004; he resigned from this position upon reaching the age of 80 in November 2011.

It was “commonly believed that [Law would] live out his retirement in Rome” when he was retired in 2011. As of March 2013, he was still living at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. As of 2015, he was living in Palazzo della Cancelleria.

While Law’s case may differ from the ex Scottish Cardinal in that Law apparently was not involved personally in pedophile behavior, since Francis is a master of symbolism, Law’s defrocking would be a signal that Francis plays for keeps.

After all, exile to a palace in Rome does not sound too shabby.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
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Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.

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  1. If he really wants to do something, he could require confession and submission to secular authority as a condition of penance for these crimes by priests and bishops, and no absolution without it.


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