Two New Books Reveal the Dark Heart of the Francis Papacy: Sex Abuse

Emiliano Fittipaldi’s Lussuria. Peccati scandali e tradimenti di una Chiesa fatta di uomini (Lust. Sins, Scandals, and Betrayal of a Church Made of Men) chronicles Pope Francis’ personal involvement in the global sex abuse of children.

Gianluigi Nuzzi’s Peccato Originale (Original Sin) recounts how Pope Francis was personally informed of alleged sex abuse of minors in the Vatican's preseminary where boys aspiring to become priests serve as altar boys for papal Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope did nothing to stop it.

From the beginning 

Fittipaldi relates how, a month after his election in March 2013, Pope Francis appointed a council of eight cardinals to help him govern the Church. Three had protected and covered-up for pedophile priests.

Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga is the pope’s close friend and he named Rodriguez Maradiaga as coordinator of the group. “Maradiaga had protected a pedophile priest from Costa Rica, a fugitive from Interpol, who was found in bed with an eight-year-old child by her mother,” according to Fittipaldi.

Prior to his selection by the new pope, Australian Cardinal George Pell had made national headlines for years. He was called a "sociopath” by relatives of children sexually abused by priests for his callous and combative treatment of the survivors and their families. When John Ellis, a former altar boy, sued Pell and the Sydney archdiocese, Pell “instructed his lawyers to crush this victim.”

Pell recently returned to Australia to defend himself against accusations of “historical sexual assaults” involving "multiple complainants" in the state of Victoria. “Up to 50 witnesses could give evidence.”

Another member of the pope's new council, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, the retired archbishop of Santiago, had made headlines in Chile for protecting the serial pedophile, Fr. Fernando Karadima. According to civil court testimony, Errázuriz, tried to shame accusers into dropping claims, refused to meet with them or failed to carry out formal investigations for years.

When Pope Francis appointed Errázuriz as one of his closest advisers, a victim of Karadima called it “a shame and a disgrace.”

On September 21, 2013, Pope Francis approved Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican department that has dealt with all sexual abuse cases since 2001. Pope Francis elevated Muller to cardinal in February 2014.

When Müller was bishop of Regensburg, Germany, in 2004, he appointed a convicted pedophile, Fr. Peter Kramer, as pastor of a parish. "Kramer sexually abused more children in his new assignment and was again convicted of child abuse."

Pope Francis replaced Müller on June 30, 2017, with his CDF deputy, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer. Fittipaldi reported that Ladaria “two years ago, had dismissed a pedophile priest [Gianni Trotta], but when he sent the letter to the Bishop of Foggia to give the news, told him not to tell anyone to avoid a scandal among the faithful. This former priest became coach of a children's soccer team and raped half of the team.”


“My feeling is that even today in the Vatican there are letters that say ‘keep quiet.’ This is not only an immoral matter, but a legal and criminal matter, because in these scandals not only will the victims not have their justice, but pedophiles who are still at liberty will have the possibility of making new victims ….

In the Church with Pope Francis, it is necessary to wash the dirty clothes inside the Vatican, without anyone seeing. If it's a mafia attitude, I do not know, but it's certainly a disgusting attitude, especially when we're dealing with children's lives ….

Sexual abuse of children is not an outdated phenomenon. In the first three years of the pontificate of Bergoglio, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted 1200 allegations of 'probable' abuse of little boys and girls assisted by the Vatican guideline, which still do not require compulsory denunciation [to civil authorities] for the sexual violence of priests … Changing this law would take a minute for Pope Francis, but he does not do so ....

I give an example. In 2014, two UN commissions, the Commission Against Torture and the Commission for the Defense of the Child, asked the Vatican to disclose information about the ongoing proceedings in the Congregation regarding children and priests, asked them to withdraw the obligation of silence in relation to this type of process, because if one speaks of these secret processes [he] risks dismissal and excommunication, and did not get any answer. We know nothing about the 1200 trials that were opened in these three years of this pontificate on pedophile priests around the world ....

There is always less talk about pedophilia now because the Vatican propaganda is very strong, but the official figures I publish exclusively show that the phenomenon is even more serious than before.

[Benedict XVI] was very traditionalist and conservative, and so the journalists did not like him, but he did important things. The things he did in relation to pedophilia, which was not much, but double the time for prescribing crimes in the Vatican, sent away almost 600 priests in a few years. The incredible thing is that Francis did a lot less.

More lack of concern in the U.S. media

Just last August, the U.S. State Department requested the Vatican waive diplomatic immunity for Msgr. Carlo Capella, one of Pope Francis’ senior diplomats who he posted to the Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. in 2016. Capella was accused of collecting child pornography.

“Granted, this priest is not known to be accused of directly abusing children. But if he is in possession of child pornography, as the United States alleges, he might as well be, since child pornography is almost always filmed under horrific circumstances,” noted journalist, Barbie Latza Nadeau.

Capella was "secretly swooped back to Rome" where "he won't face any secular charges any time soon because he is safely inside the fortified walls of Vatican City," noted Nadeau.

The next month, police in Windsor, Ontario - connected by a tunnel to Detroit, Michigan - accused Capella of "accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.” Robert Talach, an Ontario lawyer, said Capella should be extradited back to Canada. "If Pope Francis has been nothing but a PR exercise this will prove it," he said.

One can only imagine the response of the rest of the U.S. media if Pope Benedict had done the same.

Again, Pope Francis fails to take action

Nuzzi reported that Kamil Tadeusz Jarzembowski, who entered the St. Pius X preseminary at the age of 13, wrote a letter about the sexual abuse of minors and handed it directly to Pope Francis.

After Nuzzi’s book and a Italian television reported on the abuse, the Vatican said it opened an investigation on Nov. 18.

This is the seventh time that we know of where Pope Francis was directly informed about sexual predators and took no action until forced to, in some instances, by the foreign media. The current case of Fr. Corradi is especially egregious.

By open letter and video message “handed to Pope Francis” in May 2014, former students at the notorious Provolo Institute for the Deaf in Italy begged the pope for justice. More than one hundred deaf and mute children had been sexually abused at the boarding school.

The letter told Pope Francis that three of the accused Italian perpetrators – including Fr. Nicola Corradi – held current positions at the Provolo Institute in Argentina. The pope took no action to stop them.

Corradi and four others in the Argentine school were arrested in November 2016 and charged with raping and molesting at least 22 children. Other reports poured in and “it’s now thought that as many as 60 children fell victim to abuse.”

Prosecutors said the alleged anal and vaginal rapes, fondling and oral sex took place in the bathrooms, dorms, garden, basement and chapel. “Victims said they were taken to the Casita de Dios (the little house of God) where they were forced to perform sexual acts on one another and made to watch other students being abused.”

“One of the alleged victims said she witnessed how a girl was raped by one priest while the other one forced her to give him oral sex.”  Another accused a nun “of making her wear a diaper to cover up a hemorrhage after she was raped by a priest” when she was five years old.

“The tormentors” knew “the other children wouldn’t hear the screams as they were deaf.”

Pope Francis leaves complicit bishops in place

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 acting 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. 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.

This past June 10, Pope Francis gave priests in the Diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, "30 days to write a letter promising obedience to him and accepting the bishop appointed for their diocese; priests who do not write will be suspended." According to a press release issued July 3, "all priests have written their letter of apology to the pope."  Fr. David Iheanacho  said that every priest complied because the pope doesn’t “joke around” with threats of sanction.

Unfortunately, Pope Francis doesn't make a similar effort to save children's lives.


My previous blogs on Pope Francis and child sex abuse:

List of sexual predators protected by Pope Francis grows and grows.

Bishops still behaving badly on sex abuse as Pope Francis sets the example.

"Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children!" Plea by "Spotlight" producer falls on deaf ears.

From the Vatican to Sicily, France, India, Australia and Mexico, a "Spotlight" should be on Pope Francis enabling clerical sex abuse.

Vatican autopsy on archbishop accused of sexual abuse coordinated by the same man who performed the disputed autopsy on two murdered Swiss guards.

Pope Francis defies UN on torturing children.

Sex abuse: Just another PR opportunity for Pope Francis.


16 users have voted.


One was the Pope Francis's hugging little children and fawning all over the Rohingya issue when he has betrayed children all over the world with his shielding of predatory priests. The second was Peggy Noonan writing a column praising Pope John Paul II for being 'prescient' on the sexual harassment issue.

How can she write something like that with a straight face? The irony is overwhelming. Peggy forgot that this Pope along with all the others do not and will never feel that women should be elevated to the level of men and be ordained as priests. The RCC under John Paul was just as misogynistic and anti-women's reproductive rights as it always has been and continues to be. She doesn't see, apparently, that the message of women's inferiority to men in terms of their eligibility to be priests feeds, enforces and enables the kind of power playing done by men like Weinstein and Moore.

I am glad you are continuing to remind people that this Pope is NO PROGRESSIVE hero and should be lambasted in the press for his cynical facade when it comes to the rights of children AND women.

Thank you Betty!

12 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

zoebear's picture

Thank you for reporting on a very difficult subject. The pedophilia cover ups and the abuse that is taking place within the power structure of the Catholic Church is a symptom of what I believe is a much larger phenomenon among those who have power and money. When was the last time we've heard of a raid on an child slave ring taking place in an upscale neighborhood frequented by the most wealthy men? Exactly. And I think what's worse is that most people are incapable of believing it happens.

13 users have voted.

Soldier: What? Ridden on a horse?
King Arthur: Yes!
Soldier: You're using coconuts!
King Arthur: What?
Soldier: You've got two empty halves of a coconut and you're bangin' 'em together.

enhydra lutris's picture

4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Alligator Ed's picture

Here, in the "enlightened" West, many freely cast aspersions at those benighted Muslims who treat women just as they did in the 7th Century: subservient, no personal rights, no personal freedom. But those of the "many" need look no further than our own shores to see religiously-based silent acquiescence to Catholocism's and other sectarian religions' treatment of women and children. I am unaware of Islamic sanctions against sexual abuse of children, but it is perfectly clear that the West is as bad, if not worse, than the Muslim world in countenancing such despicable behavior toward women and children.

If one thought hypocrisy was confined to politics, one would surely be in for significant education after reading this well-written essay. In fact, the nexus of the powerful (religious, political, financial, etc.) definitely induces a type of "the rules don't apply to us" mentality.

A more fundamental question is why psychopathy promotes its own.

4 users have voted.

I am proud to be a member of the caucus99percent. You all "get it" when it comes to the corruption and hypocrisy that comes with power. Thank you Fishtroller 02: "this Pope along with all the others do not and will never feel that women should be elevated to the level of men" and "should be lambasted in the press for his cynical facade when it comes to the rights of children AND women." Thank you zoebear: "The pedophilia cover ups and the abuse that is taking place within the power structure of the Catholic Church is a symptom of what I believe is a much larger phenomenon among those who have power and money." Thank you enhydra lutris: "That, in its essence, is fascism." Thank you Alligator Ed: "But those of the "many" need look no further than our own shores to see religiously-based silent acquiescence to Catholicism's and other sectarian religions' treatment of women and children." All are astute and intelligent comments showing a firm grasp of issues involved and have said it better than I did.

5 users have voted.

Betty Clermont

@Betty Clermont is that you seem to be, as far as I know, one of the few writers in this country who are staying on top of and reporting what the RCC and this Pope are actually doing. Once again, the headlines in the MSM are all about how wonderful Francis is when he visits areas of strife and opens his arms to people. I want to see people like Rachel Maddow, who is supposedly a feminist and an atheist, do an expose' based upon your writings. I can hear the laughter all around me already!
And as you remember, the "progressives" over on DKos fawned all over Francis as often as they could, while they lambasted you for writing clear, well researched and well sourced diaries on how the RCC and Pope Francis were continuing to suppress women and cover up crimes against children. That in an of itself is a reason to feel quite low about Democrats along with Republicans.

2 users have voted.

"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin