For Pope Francis, the Great Accuser tries to uncover bishops' sin to cause scandal

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Jim's picture

Pope Francis has called a global meeting of Catholic bishops to discuss how to prevent sex abuse, an unprecedented move and a sign that the pontiff is trying to retake the initiative on an issue that has thrown his pontificate into crisis.

No pope has ever called such a large-scale meeting of church leaders specifically to address the sex-abuse crisis. The meeting, set for February, is a high-stakes gamble that instantly raises expectations of overhauls in the church and sets up the pope to take the blame if expectations aren’t met.

“If the meeting ends with statements of regret and of positive resolve but no concrete and meaningful measures to ensure accountability for abuse and coverup, it will backfire,” said John Allen, president of Crux Catholic Media and author of numerous books about the papacy.

Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world to Rome for an unprecedented meeting focused on protecting minors. The order on Wednesday comes as the pope wrestles with a global clerical sexual abuse crisis and explosive accusations of a cover-up that have shaken his papacy and the entire Roman Catholic Church.

The extraordinary meeting marks the first time that presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide have been summoned for a meeting on a specific topic — more than 100 will be there — and the choice of topic was telling. Just last month, the Vatican’s former ambassador in the United States accused the pope of willfully ignoring a history of sexual misconduct by an American cardinal.

After three decades of denial, the Vatican is being forced to treat the sex abuse problem as a global crisis, and not the failing of a particular country or culture.

Ron Bean's picture

So the Bachelor of the Tiber wants a meeting to discuss the problem. They'll then express their deep sorrow and indignation and share in the pain of the victims. Maybe they'll even issue papal blessed ribbons, bracelets, and tee shirts. Can I call it Papal Bull? I'm sure Luther would.

What they're counting on is the high probability that this will eventually be replaced in the news cycle and forgotten. The whole Boston priest sex scandal of 1976 that led to the movie "Spotlight" in 2015 is now "old news".


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Once again, I think this one gets legs.  Michigan has extended its statute of limitations, Pennsylvania is considering it and is likely to follow suit.  Up next; the hugely Catholic states of California and New York.  

And while this is going to hit "us", too, and already has to a degree, I think this is far worse for the Catholics.  Not only do their priests lack a legitimate sexual outlet, but the doctrines of sacraments claim a particular spiritual authority for priests and bishops that can't be dismissed lightly.  They can't simply fire the person, take steps to make sure it doesn't happen again, and move on like we can.  

Crazy thing here; all told,if indeed #MeToo keeps its legs and a large portion of victims get their time in court and compensation, I don't think the net cost to society is that much.  It simply straightens out the accounting for why that person's adult life is messed up and allows loved ones and caregivers to target their help.  It could very well greatly reduce the overall costs we're now paying in welfare, Medicaid, mental health spending, incarceration costs, and the like. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture


This is a fairly impotent response from the Vatican. They're fools if they think this is good enough.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Jim's picture

TylerR wrote:

This is a fairly impotent response from the Vatican. They're fools if they think this is good enough.

You mean ... it's mid-September and they aren't meeting until February !!!!