U.S. Media: Pope Aiding and Abetting Torture is a Moral Leader
The UN Committee Against Torture “found that the widespread sexual violence within the Catholic Church amounted to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” in May 2014. The members “ordered the Vatican to hand over files containing details of clerical sexual abuse allegations to police forces around the world … to use its authority over the Roman Catholic Church worldwide to ensure all allegations of clerical abuse are passed on to the secular authorities and to impose ‘meaningful sanctions’ on any Church officials who fail to do so.”
Pope Francis has refused to put any of these measures in place. Children around the world are now in even more danger because the powerful U.S. media has put the world on notice that the one man who can make real change need not do so. Not only is the pope not accountable, but also his “representative and their aides” around the world.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) found child sexual offenders employed by the Church were still in contact with children, Church officials were not cooperating with law enforcement authorities, the pope’s representatives and their aides were not monitoring the behavior of those under their “effective control” and that there was no accountability for hierarchs.
Pope Francis’ formal response to the CRC was to claim that his government, the Holy See, was only responsible for the 31 children resident in the Vatican City State “despite the fact that the Holy See decides whether thousands of clerics [the Vatican received 3,420 credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors between 2004 and 2014] from all over the world” are guilty of sexually abusing children, noted Kieran Tapsell, a retired civil lawyer and an author on canon law.
The pope is under zero pressure from the U.S. media to warn the public or notify civil authorities when a priest is found guilty.
What little that has changed to benefit of children since Pope Francis was elected, is due to the courage and tenacity of the survivors of clerical sex abuse in order to save others from suffering the same torture. What hasn’t changed is Pope Francis' continuous aiding and abetting of sexual predators and his officials who protect them.
Although he was personally informed of the accusations against them, Pope Francis protected these sexual predators: Fr. Mauro Inzoli (the pope later defrocked Inzoli but he is still a free man) Luis Fernando Figari, Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Miranda Melgarejo, Fr. Don Corradi and Archbishop Josef Wesolowski.
After Pope Francis did nothing to stop Corradi, the priest and four others were arrested in November 2016 and charged with raping and molesting at least 22 children. More reports poured in and “it’s now thought that as many as 60 children fell victim to abuse.”
Wesolowski was put under Vatican house arrest 14 months after the pope judged him to be guilty only after “there was a serious risk that [he] would be arrested on Italian territory at the request of the Dominican Republic authorities and then extradited,” as reported by Corriere della Sera. The archbishop was found with more than 100,000 computer files of child pornography, a “key ingredient” in sex trafficking. Wesolowski continued to possess child pornography even under Vatican house arrest.
Kamil Jarzembowski, a former student at the Vatican’s preseminary, wrote a letter about the sexual abuse of minors in the school and handed it directly to Pope Francis. The pope did nothing to stop it.
Pope Francis had ordered an investigation of Honduran Bishop Juan José Pineda by an Argentine bishop who was “shocked” by “accounts of sexual abuse perpetrated against priests and seminarians …. So far the only action that has been taken has been to send Bishop Pineda to stay with Jesuits in Madrid on a short retreat,” wrote veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin.
Pope Francis promoted Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that judges cases of clergy sexual abuse. While Ladaria held the second highest position in the CDF, he found Fr. Gianni Trotta guilty of sexually abusing minors in 2012 but failed to inform the Italian authorities. Trotta, already convicted of sexual violence against an 11-year-old and sentenced to eight years in prison by a civil court, is now standing trial for nine other alleged cases of sex abuse against boys that occurred in 2014. Ladaria, himself, will stand trial in April, accused by French authorities of “complicity in the alleged cover-up” of Fr. Bernard Preynat.
A month after his election, the pope appointed a Council of Cardinals to help him govern the Church. Three of the eight initial members had protected pedophile priests: George Pell, Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, and Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga who he named as head of the council.
Pope Francis promoted to cardinal Archbishops Gerhard Ludwig Müller and Ricardo Ezzati who had covered up for pedophile priests.
Pope Francis has taken no action against any of the 14 other bishops accused of complicity with abusive priests. A recent investigation in France exposed five additional pedophile-protecting bishops still in office.
(Pope Francis has no problem taking action against people for reasons other than sex abuse. He removed Cardinals Gerhard Müller and Raymond Burke from their Vatican positions. He removed Fra’ Matthew Festing as Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, a position equal in status to cardinal in the Catholic Church. He removed the “Bishop of Bling.” He ordered that three priests be fired from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith without explanation. Giulio Mattietti, deputy director of the Vatican Bank, was fired with no reason given. Although religious orders usually select their own superiors, the pope dismissed the head of the Order of the Franciscans of Immaculata. Pope Francis excommunicated Fr. Greg Reynolds for advocating for women’s ordination. He excommunicated Martha Heizer, head of the reform international movement We Are Church, and her husband, Gert Heizer, for celebrating Mass in their home with a small group of friends.)
Bishop Juan Barros Madrid
The U.S. media reported on Jan. 18 that Pope Francis accused Chilean sex abuse survivors of “calumny.” They objected to the pope's appointment of Juan Barros Madrid as bishop of Osorno, Chile, because they said that Barros was present while they were sexually abused by Fr. Fernando Karadima and did nothing. Later, Barros covered-up for the priest. "Who knows how many victims now will decide to stay hidden for fear they will not be believed?" asked Ann Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org which documents sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
The pope also said, "So far I haven't seen any [proof against Barros] at all."
On Jan. 22, it was widely reported that on the flight back to Rome, Pope Francis "apologized" to the Chilean sex abuse survivors even though he repeated that they were liars and that there was no evidence against Barros. "I have to ask forgiveness because the word "proof" wounded many people who were abused" but "one that accuses without evidence, with obstinacy, this is calumny," the pope said.
Days before the pope arrived in Chile, the New York Times and Daily News, TIME, the Italian L'Espresso, and the Chilean news website, El Mostrador (the best article, naturally) reported that, according to a letter Pope Francis wrote to the Chilean bishops in January 2015, he was “aware” of the “disquiet” caused by his appointment of Barros, also that a decision had already been made and rescinded to ask Barros for his resignation. Yet no U.S. media questioned the pope’s assertion that he had “never seen any proof at all" against Barros.
Pope Francis acknowledged he wrote the letter in his in-flight press conference. However, the pope stated only that Barros had offered his resignation twice and he had rejected it.
So two days after Pope Francis arrived in Rome, it was back to the business-as-usual for the U.S. media. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, HuffPost, Reuters, Politico, The Hill, CNN, CBS News, NBC News, and ABC News, all reported on the pope’s “Message for the 52nd World Communications Day - Journalism for Peace” as if he were the moral leader of the world and his opinion worth reporting. The New York Times even took the opportunity to remind us that Pope Francis is a “Vatican reformer, global advocate for refugees, the poor, and world peace” who gave a “sophisticated” and “spiritual” analysis.
Criticism of the pope has been limited to admitting that child sex abuse is merely a “blindspot.”
It was the same when, this past June 29, Cardinal George Pell was charged with “historic sexual abuse” and left for his native Australia. Pope Francis’ first “reform” of the Vatican had been to create a Secretariat for (his) Economy, and give Pell “authority over all economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State.”
“Yes, some coverage has been more critical of late, especially Francis’s handling of the sexual abuse scandals in the wake of the criminal indictment of one of his top aides, Cardinal George Pell, in Australia. Even then the tone tends to be, ‘Francis is such a great guy, so why is this area lagging behind?’" observed the experienced Catholic reporter, John L. Allen Jr.
It was reported with little, if any, criticism of Pope Francis by the mainstream American media that the U.S. State Department asked the Vatican to lift Msgr. Carlo Capella’s diplomatic immunity on Aug. 21, 2017, and said the request was denied three days later. Capella, posted by Pope Francis to his Washington D.C. embassy in 2016, was charged with possession of child pornography. The next month, police in Windsor, Ontario, accused Capella of “accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.” Capella is “safely inside the fortified walls of Vatican City,” noted journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau.
(Italian authorities have a more reality-based assessment of Pope Francis. In December, a Vatican employee was arrested in Rome “while he was carrying cocaine and five USB sticks full of child porn videos and photos." The investigating magistrate, Daniele Caramico D’Auria, denied him his freedom while he awaits trial for fear that he will escape prosecution by hiding in the Vatican City State, as reported by Il Fatto Quotidiano)
Again, when Pope Francis gave Cardinal Bernard Law a benediction at Law’s Dec. 21 funeral mass, there was little, if any, criticism. The Boston cardinal had been forced to resign after he had reassigned and covered-up for rape and sexual assaults of children by scores of priests for years without informing the public or the police.
Unfortunately for the world’s children, the U.S. mainstream media did not report that “There are still bishops who have chosen to protect the Church and their priests more than children” who “‘make Law look like an amateur,’” as declared by Fr. Thomas Doyle, a well-known author and victims’ advocate for over three decades.
(My previous blogs about Pope Francis and child sex abuse.)